Could Southend be in danger of becoming trendy? Jamie Oliver claimed to have been conceived at the end of Southend Pier in this week's Jamie's Britain. Sounds like a great starting point for an Ian Dury song. Jamie, whose speech is a weird mix of Essex and Jafican and peppered with words like 'brother', 'these bad boys' and 'know what I mean?', was filmed with his dear old mum and dad and nan sitting in deck chairs on Southend beach — his mum denied the pier story, as she would, while his dad merely smirked.
All this comes after Southend Pier featured in the opening chapter of David Nicholls novel Starter for Ten and Southend council claimed in the Basildon Echo that "We can be Hollywood-on-Sea". Southend doubled as war-torn Iraq in the film Screwed (ok, maybe that's not too flattering), Southend airport was in the 2006 film The Queen and it featured in EastEnders this year.
The council should capitalise on all this Southend mania. A plaque to mark Jamie's conception (was it a 30-minute recipe?) might be a start.