It's destined to be a blockbuster and its stars were out in force in Yorkshire last night. Reporter BRIGID SHAW joined them.
THE red carpet was laid out in true Hollywood style.
The champagne corks were ready to be popped and people excitedly buzzed around in posh frocks, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the stars of the latest Yorkshire blockbuster, Calendar Girls.
Well, that's what the critics are predicting it will be. And, personally speaking, I don't think they will be far wrong.
The northern premiere of the film - at The Light cinema in Leeds - was packed with invited guests and paying guests, who stumped up £25 to see the film and its stars.
It's a charming and entertaining tale based on the making of the famous "nude" fundraising calendar produced and modelled by the ladies of Rylstone Women's Institute, near Skipton.
Praise should go to the scriptwriters, who captured Yorkshire wit perfectly. I could imagine half the members of my mum's branch of the Mothers' Union coming out with similar banter!
Equal praise should go to the casting agent who picked an illustrious cast, led by Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie and Geraldine James - and all, except James, strip off in the name of charity.
James, who plays the branch chairman, said she was disappointed she did not get the chance to disrobe.
"I was desperate to join in, but unfortunately I didn't get the chance," she said.
Imrie, on the other hand, was relieved she got her bit over and done with first.
"I'm proud that I've done it, but I don't think I will do it again in a hurry!" she said.
The foursome, who dashed up from London, where they were at the southern premiere the night before, said they were all struck by how extraordinary this group of seemingly ordinary people were.
Walters plays Angela Baker, whose husband, John, died of leukaemia. It was his death which prompted the idea for the fundraising calendar.
The women's imagination, enthusiasm and energy has so far raised £650,000 for Leukaemia Research - and there's no sign of it ending yet, with the Hollywood launch imminent.
Walters said: "I was a little daunted at first, because I had to work very closely with Angela and it was very personal to her.
"Some of the scenes were very emotional, but then I thought `come on, she's behind this - and she was great'."
Angela, who gets a cameo role in the film, was also full of praise for Walters.
"She has got me off to a T; there's a lot of her in me. And she portrayed the sadness and emotion really well," she said.
Tricia Stewart, her best friend and the instigator of the calendar (played by Mirren), said: "This is the fourth time I have seen the film, and every time I see something different."
The pair, as down to earth as you can imagine, posed for photographs with some of the best of British acting talent as if they were the latest recruits to the WI.
Director Nigel Cole said he had initial fears that the story could become something of a Carry On film.
"But I didn't want to do that, and the calendar was so beautiful that in the end it was quite straightforward. It's quite discreet."
The film covers the whole story, from John's death, the women's decision to make that year's calendar a little more interesting than the churches of Wharfe- dale, to their meteoric rise and interviews on America's chat show supreme, Jay Leno.
Mirren said: "That's the extraordinary thing about the calendar and these women. That so much can come out of so little - and that a group of ordinary housewives."
She added: "These women have an amazing ability to enjoy whatever is thrown at them in an innocent, open and free kind of way."
And they were not the "middle class, frumpy ladies" that Walter admitted she imagined WI members to be.
Cole added that he went to the branch's spring show.
"They were scarily competitive," he said.
"It was not a matter of life and death. It was much more serious!"
He added: "God knows what will happen next!"
* Calendar Girls opens at Huddersfield's UCI and Birstall's Showcase cinemas on Friday, September 12.
* Don't miss our interview with Helen Mirren tomorrow.