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Sevenoaks: The Great Storm of 1987 remembered with weatherman Michael Fish and stage show Hurricane Michael


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You might think it’s a night weatherman Michael Fish would rather forget. Back in October 1987, the broadcaster uttered the infamous words that there was no hurricane on its way to the country. Within hours the Great Storm wreaked havoc across the country.

Kent was among the worst hit with Sevenoaks losing six of its seven oaks.

But as the country looks back on the storm 30 years ago, Michael is coming out of retirement to embrace the remembrance, joining forces with a theatre show called Hurricane Michael.

Some of the devastation at Scotney Castle after the Great Storm. Picture: National Trust, Mike Howarth
Some of the devastation at Scotney Castle after the Great Storm. Picture: National Trust, Mike Howarth

The comedy, which comes to the Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks this weekend, is being put on with rural insurer NFU Mutual, which dealt with 13,000 claims at a cost of £30m as a result of the storm.

As part of the evening, the 72-year-old, who gave weather reports on the BBC for more than 30 years, will hold a special question and answer session following the performance.

Local NFU Mutual agent Matthew Griffin, who was working in insurance during the Great Storm, said: “While the weather wasn’t technically a hurricane, the south of England was hit by the worst storm since 1703.

“The storm devastated homes, farms and trees. Many of the people affected locally are still customers with NFU Mutual today so we are pleased to support the Stag Theatre by bringing Michael Fish to the show for a special question and answer session.”

Weatherman Michael Fish
Weatherman Michael Fish

The production marks the start of a new partnership between the Stag and NFU Mutual, which will help raise funds for the theatre, which has charitable status.

Michael was made an MBE for services to broadcasting in 2014. He recently came out of retirement to give some weather reports on BBC South East.

Hurricane Michael, which is written and performed by Russell Layton, tells an alternative version of Michael’s ill-fated weather forecast.

Lisa Whitbread from the Stag said: “This show is ideal for Sevenoaks as many people will remember the storm.”

The Great Storm of 1987 weather map Picture: Peter Milford
The Great Storm of 1987 weather map Picture: Peter Milford

THE BROADCAST

It was in October 1987 that Michael Fish dismissed claims a hurricane was going to hit the country.

He told viewers on the BBC: “Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way… well, if you’re watching, don’t worry, there isn’t!”

Michael Fish presenting the weather more recently
Michael Fish presenting the weather more recently

But hours later, there was devastation across the UK, as winds reached speeds of 115mph, with the South East worst hit. The storm claimed 18 lives.

THE DETAILS

Hurricane Michael will be staged at the Stag Theatre on Saturday, April 8, at 7.30pm. For tickets call 01732 450175 or go to stagsevenoaks.co.uk

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