Sky snaps up film graduate’s Rolling Stones music documentary

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

Giorgio Guernier a recent graduate of Ealing’s MetFilm School, London, has had his music documentary snapped-up by national broadcaster, Sky. 

Suburban Steps to Rockland documents the Ealing Club as being the birth place of the Rolling Stones.

Guernier, who completed MetFilm School’s six-month course in Practical Film Making said: “I’m such a music fan, and living in Ealing I heard about the Ealing Club, and that it was London’s first ever ‘Blues’ club. 

“I did some more research, interviewed a couple of people and the project just grew from there – the story of how the Blues scene grew in the 60s to me is fascinating, so to make a documentary about it was a natural choice.”

Music heritage 

The documentary tells the story of a radical new music style bursting onto the British scene in the early 60s – Rhythm and Blues. 

The Ealing Club opened in 1962, as the name creatively suggests was based in Ealing, west London. The club dedicated itself to the emerging new sound and was the unlikely birthplace of the Rolling Stones. 

The Who in 1965: Early days at the Ealing Club

A dark, windowless ‘speakeasy’ style of venue that was only open for three years – but that short time was all it needed to help launch British Rhythm and Blues to the world.

British legends 

‘The Who’ played at the club several times and according to Giorgio, David Bowie made an appearance too. But, it was also the place that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards met Brian Jones in 1962, where they decided to start the band, ‘The Rolling Stones.’

It took Guernier four years to put the documentary together; he did 55 face-to-face interviews, sourced archive footage with the help of Studio Canal, and created various animations to link the different parts of the remarkable story together.

Guernier said: “People in Ealing had never heard of the club, it’s an obscure story. But, it’s a British story that’s actually taught to American contemporary music students at a university in Kansas.  

“And, it’s a story that I hope will help put the Borough on the map as a place of musical heritage – this story, now that Sky has it, could give Ealing an historical music heritage similar to Memphis, Nashville, Liverpool or even New Orleans.”

Suburban Steps to Rockland will air on Sky Arts this Sunday (8 September).

See all the winners from the Prolific London Awards

The inaugural event championed creative brilliance from across the capital