THE World’s largest Willy Wonka collection is based in Lymm – and owned by super fan Nicholas Anderton-Franklin as the iconic film celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Nicholas, aged 43, has been collecting for more than 20 years and is friends with some of the original 1971 cast members including Julie Dawn Cole who played Veruca Salt.
Julie sold him her last remaining screen used Wonka Bar prop. He met her at Comic-Con at the NEC in 2014.
Nicholas said: “As I walked over to her she said ‘Are you the guy whose got everything Wonka?!’
He also owns Gene Wilder’s handprints and on-set chair back, which he lists as special items in his collection worth an estimated £100,000.
Nicholas got married at Peckforton Castle in early September this year to his partner Donnie and was originally going to USA for a mini-moon. But as travel was restricted they had to make last minute plans….. a six stop European trip to Paris, Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Amsterdam and Munich – Munich was where they filmed the original Willy Wonka – so 50 years to the day he visited the Munich Gas Works which was the exterior location for Wonka’s Factory – and then to Munich Film Studios. “It was incredible!” he said.
Now his ‘Wonka Room’ in Lymm has become the ‘Wonka Wing!’ with his collection growing and growing!
Nicholas who works as an operations director at Chester Zoo said:”I loved the hand made nature of the 1971 film. Pre CGI – it’s just so creative as the technology just wasn’t there. Gene Wilder’s performance and the whole piece is soooooo kooky! Julie Dawn Cole blasting out ‘I Want it now’ – was the only child in the film that got to have their own song. She made it iconic. I think there was pure magic created on that set at the Munich Film Studio soundstage- and there is still much talk about the longevity of the piece – and that is down to Dahl, Wilder – but there will always be that group of bratty kids in every classroom in every generation – so it will live on and inspire again and again. Magic.
“The art director Harper Goff was the genius set designer and inspired me from a very young age to be an art director myself. I trained at Mid Cheshire college studying a B-Tec National Diploma in Spatial Design gaining a distinction and then onto the University Of Central England to study Theatre Design gaining a 1st.
“I became Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen’s design assistant on the BBC’S Changing Rooms, then worked on Grange Hill and other TV shows. I changed direction to work on designing for live projects and events at Legoland Manchester, The Science Museum Group and now I work at Chester Zoo as an Operations Coordinator – currently spending late nights on The 10th year of Lanterns there.
“My prized Woka prop is Julie Dawn Cole’s 1971 screen used prop Wonka Bar given to her by the film’s director Mel Stuart on her 13th Birthday – the day she filmed the iconic ‘I Want It Now!’ And got sent down the garbage chute! Julie sold it to me the week Wilder passed and said ‘If you sell this prop while I’m alive – I’ll hunt you down and chop your Willy Wonka off!’ That was me told! She invited Donnie and me to her home to collect the prop and baked us heavenly Choccie Brownies!”
Nicholas has over 850 items in the collection and was featured on Channel 5’s “The Wonderful World of Chocolate” tv show in April this year.
His collection started after watching the 2004 Johnny Depp film as he thought it would be a good investment to obtain Wonka props from that film but he never thought he would own anything from the original film.
Now he plans to catch up with some of the Wonka cast at Manchester Comic-Con on July 30-31 next year including:
Peter Ostrum – CHARLIE
Michael Böllner – AUGUSTUS
Paris Themmen – MIKE TV
Julie Dawn Cole – Veruca Salt
Rusty Goffe – OOMPA LOOMPA