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Family’s anger at Heinz Burt film’s gay ‘slur’
THE family of a Sixties pop icon from Hampshire fear that a new film about one of the most sensational stories in British pop history could tarnish his name.
Telstar, which opens in cinemas nationwide today, is a biopic of eccentric pop producer Joe Meek who shot his landlady Violet Shenton before turning the gun on himself.
The gun belonged to Meek’s protege Heinz Burt, who grew up in Eastleigh.
He shot to fame when, as one of The Tornados, he made the legendary instrumental Telstar a number one hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
The bass guitarist who, died nine years ago at the age of 57, appears on the film’s posters and is one of the central characters in the film.
Heinz’s former wife, Della Burke,was married to the musician at the height of his pop career.
She is furious that the film reviews infer that Meek had a gay relationship with Heinz.
Reviews of the film have described Heinz as Meek’s ex-lover but Della told the Daily Echo: “It is completely and utterly untrue. Heinz was definitely heterosexual.”
When fame first drew him to London Heinz stayed at the pop producer’s famous Holloway Road studios. But he had always been eager to get away from Meek, who had become a control freak, manipulating Heinz’s career.
Della said: “Heinz did not actually like Joe Meek and he wanted to get away from the flat.”
Della’s anger is shared by her son Simon Burt and Heinz’s granddaughter Danni Pitcher.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Echo, Della, 67, who was married to Heinz for 15 years before they divorced, said: “We felt that we could hold back no longer and Heinz is not here to defend himself. In every review and write-up about the film there are slurs, innuendoes and inferences.
It’s families that get hurt.
“This is the first time I have really been able to talk about Heinz. But I have happy memories of him and he was fun person to be with. He was also a major part of pop history.”
Fighting back tears, she added: “After all these years I did not think it would affect me so much.
When I look at my son and granddaughter it really upsets me.”
Simon is also angry about the way his father has been labelled in Telstar’s publicity. The 39- year-old DJ said: “It is not fair because they are trying to make something out of nothing.”