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He lavished money on him and tried to make him into a star but fans stubbornly resisted.

Another key theme in Telstar is Meek's preoccupation with spiritualism.

Meek, obsessed by the 1960 horror film Village of the Damned, persuaded him to dye his hair blond.

Like Henry Higgins with Eliza Doolittle, Meek was determined to transform Heinz Burt.

Moran first had the idea for making Telstar (which he first wrote as a play) after catching a taxi on the Holloway Road one drunken evening in the mid-1990s and noticing that incongruous plaque above No 304.

At times, at least before the tragic denoument, Meek is almost a Tony Hancock to her Hattie Jacques. Meek knew the Beatles' manager Brian Epstein but rejected the chance of working with them. They're rubbish," we hear Meek say in Telstar as he throws their demo tape in the bin.) Like Epstein, he was a gay man in a society in which homophobia was rife.

Actor Con O'Neill (who also played Joe Meek on stage) excels as the tormented record producer.

In the film, he is played to tweedy perfection by Kevin Spacey as the kind of patrician Englishman who judges a man by his posture and by the firmness of his handshake.

His landlady (Pam Ferris), meanwhile, is a bustling, maternal figure who clucks around him and seems extraordinarily indulgent of his foibles, just as long as she is made cups of tea and gets to meet the minor celebrities who used to flock to the Holloway Road flat.


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