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Featured Image Credit: Tony Taylor/Sky
The former landlord of a pub in North Wales has revealed what it was like running a site that once featured on 2000s programme The Toughest Pubs in Britain, claiming that the portrayal of the establishment wasn’t really ‘fair’.
Tony Taylor was once the landlord of the Old Vaults pub in Wrexham, having taken over from his parents in 2003 before moving on just two years later.
During his stint at the pub, Taylor allowed cameras behind-the-scenes access to film a 2004 episode of The Toughest Pubs in Britain, saying a production crew from Sky put £300 behind the bar to shoot before the footage became a five-minute segment on the programme.
But the 59-year-old wasn’t exactly thrilled with the final cut, saying the pub had been depicted unfairly – claiming it hadn’t been a particularly ‘tough’ place when he was in charge.
Taylor, who now runs a parking ticket appeal business, told NorthWalesLive: "The show was filmed on Sunday, starting in the morning, and the producers put £300 behind the bar.
"Sundays were busy days for us back then anyway because it was pound-a-pint so you can imagine that people were quite intoxicated by the end of the day. Most of the pubs in Wrexham had refused to go on the show but I didn't mind having the cameras there and the customers definitely enjoyed it - even more so as the day went on.
"My reaction to the show itself was mixed at the time because of the way it had been edited. It was edited in a way that just ignored the good parts.
“The way the pub was portrayed wasn't really fair, but once you let a film crew in you're asking for trouble really - add free drinks into the mix and you're going to have a lively time.
“At the end of the show, there's a shot of a man walking out the pub and falling over but he was part of the film crew."
The ‘good parts’, according to Taylor, included dominoes teams, darts teams and pool teams, regular karaoke parties and – on Sunday mornings – a game of Play Your Cards Right.
He said: “The atmosphere was great and everyone watched out for one another. We had a lot of regulars who I got to know quite well. Big June in particular was a character. She was a trans woman and would come to the pub on a regular basis. She's passed away now sadly but I remember her fondly - she was one of the regulars who was there when the show was filmed and had a starring role."
The pub is now called The Long Pull, as that’s what punters used to call it when Taylor ran it as the Old Vaults.
He said the current name is a nod to the time when people had to ‘pull the barrels up a hill’ to get them into the cellar many years ago.
Taylor added: "I wouldn't have said it was one of the toughest pubs when I was in charge. If there ever was a fight or anything like that it would sort itself out quite quickly, but it wasn't ever a big issue for us.”
Instead, he described it as more of an ‘anything goes’ pub, saying people went there for a ‘good time’.
"We had a lot of characters, a lot of them are dead now sadly, but a lot of really good people used to go there,” he said.
LADbible has reached out to Sky for comment.