The Force is strong with this one...

Mark Yates the owner of Brooks Collectables, Blackpool with a Star Wars Stormtrooper
Mark Yates the owner of Brooks Collectables, Blackpool with a Star Wars Stormtrooper

A few hours after a trailer for the new Star Wars film was uploaded to the internet, almost 20 million people had watched it.

It tells us one thing - there are a heck a lot Star Wars fans out there.

But there is one man on the Fylde coast looking forward to the new movie, The Force Awakens, more than most.

Step forward Mark Yates, owner of Brooks Collectables.

You probably know the place, it’s the shop with the six-foot high Stormtrooper outside.

Open for business on Waterloo Road since 1949, Mark is the third generation of his family to run it.

It specialises in retro giftware, with Star Wars souvenirs being one of the biggest sellers.

Little wonder then that Mark, 41, is looking forward to the release of the new film ... even if he can’t say too much about it.

“We have already put in our order for the giftware related to the film but I’m afraid I can’t tell you too much,” Mark said.

“I’ve had to sign a booklet promising that I won’t say anything about the characters from the new film or the products we are getting.

“All I’m officially allowed to say is that we’re getting Star Wars products at the end of the year, probably in October.

“Am I looking forward to it? Absolutely. I’m a huge StarWars fan. The last three have been terrible in my opinion - but Disney are in charge of this one, there’s a new director, all the old classic characters are there ... I think it is going to be a great movie.”

And given how many fans there are, it should mean plenty of business.

“Anything to do with Star Wars does tend to be very popular because it has a lot of hardcore fans and there is a lot of interest from people like myself, who love collecting,” said Mark.

Those who haven’t been to Brooks Collectables are missing out.

Not only is there a treasure trove of souvenirs and memorabilia in the store relating to all things weird and wonderful, but there is also a museum above the premises containing all sorts of rarities, including a giant model of Blackpool Tower and a Sinclair C5.

Mark has worked at the store since he was 12, breaking off only to go to university in London, studying textile design alongside Stella McCartney and the late Alexander McQueen.

He had no hesitation in heading back up North.

“It’s the greatest resort in England - just look at the Tower, what a fantastic thing to have,” he explained. “More than 14 million people walk along the promenade each year, that is astounding.

“People knock Blackpool because it’s easy but I don’t think we realise how lucky we are to have it.”