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Pelliccis’ Celebrity Album

December 23, 2017
by the gentle author

For over twenty years they have kept a celebrity album behind the counter at E.Pellicci, the Italian family-run cafe in the Bethnal Green Rd that was founded in 1900 by Priamo Pellicci. Toni (on the extreme left of the picture above) started the album after Julie Christie came in for a cup of coffee years ago and they did not think to ask for her picture until she had gone. So Toni decided that any celebrity who passes through must be recorded for posterity, either in a snapshot or at very least by an autograph on a scrap of paper. Regular customers will be familiar with this fat little album which is brought out frequently, whenever anyone feels like leafing through the pages of treasured images and savouring the memorable moments enshrined there, but now thanks to generosity of the Pellicci family I am able to publish a choice selection here for you to enjoy.

The distinguished gentleman with the stylish glasses who recurs throughout these pictures is Nevio Pellicci senior and the skinny young man who grew up to develop Groucho Marx eyebrows is Nevio Pellicci junior (in the green shirt above) whose glamorous sister Anna Pellicci is also to be seen completing the happy family group in many of the photographs.

Colin Farrell and Anna Friel were photographed at Pelliccis while filming The London Boulevard. There is no doubt that Mr Farrell carries the picture above with his graphic features and charismatic emotional presence, just as we are accustomed to seeing him do with such exuberant success in the cinema. But in this instance, while he makes a plausible show of looking cool at first glance, on closer inspection there is an undeniable element of the-rabbit-caught-in-the-headlights about his expression, whereas on the right hand side of the picture Nevio Pellici junior is hamming it up with gleeful reckless abandon.

In fact, as I examined these pictures in detail, it dawned on me that the real star turn here is not delivered by any of the celebrities, it is Nevio Pellicci junior himself with his shameless cartoon features who reveals the most potent star quality on display. Scrolling through these images, I was almost blinded by his dazzling grin that has a wattage sufficient to light up the entire Bethnal Green Rd at night. Only hoary old troupers like Michael Gambon and Su Pollard manage to avoid being upstaged by young Nevio’s incandescent smile.

The open-hearted playfulness of the album makes it irresistible. Here you see the Pellicci family (except Maria Pellicci who is always in the kitchen) as they participate in the long-running drama enacted daily at their beloved cafe. And by the end of this series, Nevio Pellicci junior has taken over from his father Nevio Pellicci senior in Bethnal Green, just as Michael Douglas took over from Kirk Douglas in Hollywood. Interestingly, a comparison of the images of Nevio senior and Nevio junior reveals that Nevio junior inherited his trademark smile from Nevio senior, just as Michael inherited the dimple from Kirk.

If you want to see the full album for yourself and pore over all the autographs too, you simply have to go round to E.Pellicci and – if you have a claim to  celebrity status – you should be aware that you cannot truly be considered to have arrived until you have got your picture in Pelliccis’ album. Toni confided that he was thinking of getting the famous album insured, which sounds like a wise move to me because it is priceless.

Eastenders star Patsy Palmer, who grew up round the corner in Columbia Rd, experiences an emotional return to the cafe where she once enjoyed spaghetti as a little girl

David Schwimmer takes a break from filming Run Fat Boy Run in Columbia Rd to chill with his new friends at Pelliccis in 2007

Eager young Frank Lampard in 1998 when he played for West Ham before he transferred to Chelsea

Better known as Sergeant Lynch from Z Cars, James Ellis knows how to froth a coffee

Dizzee Rascal takes a break from filming a video to hang with his brutha in the hood, Nevio

Clive Owen enjoyed a slap-up breakfast with all the trimmings

Boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper is proud to make his mark at Pelliccis

Michael Gambon, who signed himself as Dumbledore, re-enacts a ham sandwich for the camera

Coronation St’s Ali King and Nevio Pellicci deny all the rumours

Lil Peters flirts shamelessly with two Chelsea Pensioners

Ross Kemp and the Pellicci boys

Jools Holland always pops in when he is in the East End

“I’m completely stuffed,” declared Su Pollard

You may also like to read about

Maria Pellicci, Cook

Pellicci’s Celebrity Album

The Meatball Queen of Bethnal Green

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Michael Ayres permalink
    December 23, 2017

    Brilliant, a Bethnal Green institution.

  2. Jane Anne Clouston permalink
    December 23, 2017

    Love you guys..we are from New Zealand and Rodney Archer and Martin lane would take us for breakfast ..every time we were in London..I was enjoying breakfast in July ..xxxx

  3. Helen Breen permalink
    December 23, 2017

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, nice, fun piece about t the Pellicci Family Album. I hope to return to London in June and had bookmarked your earlier story about “The Meatball Queen of Bethal Green.” What a handsome family!

    This will be a “must do” for me on my next visit. Gracias …

  4. December 23, 2017

    I am sure that Julie Christie will stop back in, once she reads this.
    Happy Holidays!

  5. Marcia Howard permalink
    December 23, 2017

    What a lovely idea, and yes, think it should be insured – even though the album’s priceless!

  6. Mike permalink
    December 24, 2017

    Wonderful series of pictures

  7. Kitanz permalink
    December 25, 2017

    Great Pictures-Especially Clive Owen- So Handsome!! Thank You for these!!!

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