Please submit details of any films you are aware of so that we can achieve our aim of cataloguing Spatchcock's entire oeuvre.

Verified submissions have been moved to a permanent archive and will feature in The Lost Films of 20th Century Spatchcock, due for publication in late January 2013.

We are sometimes asked if we can publish a list of all submissions.  We have hesitated to do so as this may discourage people from submitting entries - Spatchcock often filmed the same movie more than once, using the same title but with a different script and actors. We would hate to lose any potential Lost Films.

Submission Details

Terms & Conditions: All entries will be considered by our panel of expert Spatchcock assessors but we cannot guarantee publication. We will not share or sell your contact details, but may use them to send you information about the Spatchcock project. If you object to this please indicate. By submitting your entry you consent to it being published on this website and elsewhere. In so doing it becomes the property of LEB Ltd, T/A The Lost Films of 20th Century Spatchcock.


Youth Hostel (1965)

Javier Hernandez Richard Derekson Jon Gudbadsson

Grim horror film in which two teenagers on a camping holiday in the Peak District on a wet August Bank Holiday weekend are kidnapped and taken to a youth hostel where the evil manager forces them to sleep in dormitories, take cold showers, get up at 6 o clock in the morning, clean the hostel and leave by 10am. Shot in one day at a youth hostel in the Peak District where the actors and crew were forced to sleep in dormitories, take cold showers, get up at 6 o clock in the morning, clean the hostel and leave by 10am. In the remake (1988), the teenagers return to the youth hostel and cut off the manager's head with a chainsaw. 

Submitted by Franklin Aspel, Bolton

Cool And Look (1964)

The Fondu Set

Docudrama of the development of 'Float Glass' making in St Helens, taking its name from the gasp of awe from the crowd, on seeing they could look through it when cooled. Pilkingtons would not hold up production, so filmed on location at Platt Bridge, but beset with technical difficulties: their glass always sank! 'Outstanding' - The Saggar-makers Bottom Knockers' Gazette.

Submitted by Anon

The Car Chase (1939)

Frank Worrell, Oliver Hardly

The comedy duo are slightly late for a tram, but they hurry up and manage to catch it without incident.

Submitted by B Latimer, Plymouth

The Film That Never Was (1951)

In 1949, Spatchcock held a press conference at the Salford Hippodrome. He announced his plans for making his first exciting ‘kitchen sink thriller’, using the new 3D Panoramic Screen Multi-Colour Film. The Stars were to be James Kasen, Margaret Lopwood and Steward Manger. Work began on 1st Jan. 1951. This was not a fortunate day to begin shooting as the venue was a large 18 storey block of scruffy council flats in Moss Side. These flats were horrible and falling to bits and the tenants mostly suffering New Year hangovers. As the crew were setting up their cameras, some of the tenants had a word with the producer/director (Spatchcock) advising him to beware and not to leave any gear lying about, but as usual he knew best and he was very off-hand with them. Soon he had cameras at the base of the flats and they were panning up the front to the top to shoot the big murder scene, and as the camera was fully extended upwards, a window on the top floor opened and somebody threw out a large, black plastic dustbin bag, which came hurtling down and landed just at the side of Spatchcock,, hit the deck and sprayed bacon rind, baby's nappies, old curry containers and such...all over him and his cameras, crew and actors.. They immediately wrapped up and left, whilst the entire watching crowd was helpless with laughter. That would have made a great short comic film, but Spatchcock did not appreciate the humour of it and sadly missed a great opportunity.

Submitted by LH, Cumbria

Guys & Dogs (1961)

Frank Zapata, Brandon Marlo

It's fair to say, as the Croston Chronicle frequently did, 'nobody makes musicals quite like Spatchcock'. His song-writer, Frank Loser, was paid by the song length, so he always went for long, slow numbers often, as in this case, totally unsuited to the jaunty nature of an all-action film about lusty Lancashire lads on a night out at the greyhound races. The film's only memorable song, Let's park in a lay-by tonight was ruined by Marlo's gravel-voiced singing (although an instrumental version was turned into a minor hit some years later by Eric Claxon).

Submitted by Jacqueline Francis, Chalfont St Peters

Oh! What A Lovely Wart (1969)

Most of Hollinwood

Spatchcock assembled his entire stable of stars for a film that uses a variety of symbolic settings to portray vast summations of historical and societal forces at work.  Southport Pier, as a location, represents the First World War, with the British public entering at the turnstiles, and General Vague is selling the tickets. Spatchcock was determined to tackle the big issues of his day and, fifty years after it finished, he thought he was safe having a go against the Great War.  Not so.  Reducing the four grueling years of warfare to a facial blemish didn't endear him to the powers that be, and he was snubbed at that year's awards ceremonies.

Submitted by Alec Jones, Swansea

Captain Flamethrower (1949)

Gregory Plank, Virginia Mayonnaise and Hubert Batter

From the start,Spatchcock was determined to use the Cutty Sark, but The Mayor of London, Boris Spotson, refused permission, so it was eventually filmed on board the wreck of the Mary Deare, on the Goodwin Sands. Trouble began on the morning of the second day of filming, when the pirate boat Radio Caroline flying the Skull & Thighbones, attacked earlier than planned. This surprised First Officer Flitch Christian (Hubert) who fired his blunderbuss and unfortunately missed his target.

A couple of the pellets hit Captain Flamethrower (Gregory) and perforated his left ear (sadly, his best photographic side). This created an uproar which involved all parties, stars, film crew, 2nd Electrical & lighting boys, (the 1st were on strike for more money), sound producers grips, carpenters, Naval advisers, & tea ladies. The 'Costume Hair & Make-up' chaps were particularly cross. "Oooh! Gracious me’, they said  ‘How common, we didn’t have trouble of this sort when we were doing "The Adventures of Prunella, Queen of the Desert" (see Spatchcock,1947 - an antipodean adventure series).

Coastguards and lifeboats were dispatched swiftly from Portsmouth and Plymouth Hoe, arriving in time to save some of the cast & film crew. These were taken to Rick Rinds fish shop in Padstow to dry out and have a haddock & chips lunch. Spatchcock, nothing daunted, was ever one to grasp an opportunity, and when the giraffe&flotsam4u@insurance.
com eventually paid up, he directed his next film using the remains of the cast who had sunk in the Goodwin Sands to good advantage. The Things from Inner Space won good reviews at the Wigan Empire. “We like a good laugh” said Jed Bread in the Arts & Crafts section of the Chorley Reporter. “I don’t believe this!” said Sandra Formaldehyde in the world famous Little Hulton Sunday Literary Review.

Submitted by LH, Cumbria

Stardrops Memories (1980)


Nobby Wood


Noting the failure of  Everything You Wanted To Know About Socks (But Were Afraid To Ask), Spatchcock’s film for the Sock Marketing Board, but also his cheap rates, the Soap Marketing Board paid Spatchcock £25 to make a film to boost sales of cleaning products which were under pressure from cheap eastern imports and natural ingredients such as aloe vera. Spatchcock chose to make a serious film in which he reminisces about his earlier ‘funny’ films and the women in his life (his mother and sisters) on his way to the St Anne’s Film Festival with lingering close-ups of bottles of washing-up liquid and multi-purpose cleaners in almost every scene. Sales of cleaning products went through the roof in the Hollinwood area of north Manchester where Spatchcock spent his £25 fee buying up stocks but fell everywhere else.

Submitted by LA Jones, Manchester

A Night to Forget (1959)

Abit More, Ronald McDonald

The low budget remake of the famous Titanic disaster movie with the addition of fictional subplots including the audacious attempt of a steerage class passenger to pinch a "White Spur Line" embossed teaspoon from the first class dining room as a souvenir of the occasion. The movie was filmed entirely on location in Fleetwood and Blackpool - keen eyed viewers will notice the launch scene involving the Isle of Man Steam Packet "Ronaldsway" steaming out on her fateful maiden voyage down the Wyre into a storm black Irish Sea. The sinking sequence required using the entire production of the Fleetwood ice company to create a massive iceberg moored to Blackpool pier, with scenes involving shoving unwary holiday makers into the waves for true realism and genuine reaction to the icy cold water. The true circumstances surrounding the unfortunate misunderstanding involving the Fisherman's Friend and the young actress will remain a mystery to this day. LEGAL NOTICE. no fish were harmed in making this movie.

Submitted by Nigel Entwistle, Cumbria


Rosemary's Brother (1968)

Mimi Furrow, John Cassata

Another dismal attempt at a horror film from Spatchcock - not a genre he ever made his mark in. Audiences didn't warm to the suggestions of incest, and his decision to transpose the Ira Levin's story from New York to Wigan, Lancashire was questioned by many.  The diminutive Furrow famously walked out half-way through filming, so her role was taken over by an understudy who was almost 6 inches higher, leading to some unusual camera angles for the second half of the film.  One star.

Submitted by W, via Movie Forums

Picnic in the Streets  (1950)

Richard Tidemark, Barbara Bel Goombas Jack Parlance, Zero Moscatel

Spatchcock's film noir set in Wigan on VE day. Public Health Officer Herbert Clutterbuck (Tidemark) discovers that a pound of tripe that's past its sell by date has been sold to an organiser of a street party and he must find it before it is consumed. The English Tripe Council and Tripe Britain made vehement protests about the film, questions were asked in parliament ("Why is this man allowed to make films?") and the Lancashire branch of the National Tripe Wranglers Confederation voted to strike. The government, faced with the threat of tripe rationing, caved in and ordered an outright ban on the film in the north west of England. Thousands flocked to illegal back-street projectionists to see the film - most were disappointed.

James Johnson, Macclesfield

Alaska (1941)

Angelina Higginbottom, Brad Crab

This was Spatchcock’s adventurous attempt to encapsulate James Michener’s epic tale into a one and a half hour movie. Despite lack of funds he staged the film in Bury Marketplace, this being handy for Pies, teas and comfort zones for the cast of seven. It was soon apparent that lack of snow would become a problem. This was solved by Spatchcock’s clever idea to spray Palmolive bubbles and cheap shaving soap around. Not having any Inuits available he paid several staff from the local Curry fish & chip shops to act the Inuit’s parts. How was he to know that there was was an intense and longstanding bitter rivalry between them? However, this turned out to be a stroke of genius, The ensuing bloody and vicious battle was filmed and the scene was included as part of the ‘Battle of McCafferty’s creek’.  This won an Oscar in 1941 for the most bloodthirsty film scene ever. Strangely, this film became passably popular and made a very slight profit. Unfortunately this was mostly used up in Crown court legal fees and in paying compensation to the market shoppers who slipped on the soap, many breaking limbs and spectacles. This determined Spatchcock to leave arctic conditions alone in future, and to concentrate on desert scenes, sand being plentiful (and free) on Arndale sands (see Only Cool in Alex).


Submitted by LH, Cumbria


The Jigsaw (1939)

Frank Worrell and Oliver Hardly

The comedy duo get involved in doing a jigsaw, which they complete without incident.

Submitted by B Latimer, Plymouth

Henry: Portrait of a Cereal Eater (1986)

Michael Hooker, Terry Towelling, Arnold Tracy

A crime horror film (released in 1990) directed and co-written by Spatchcock from an original screenplay by his six year old niece, Emily. It tells the story of the random crime spree of a man who is addicted to breakfast cereals and steals them from corner shops and supermarkets with impunity. It starred Michael Hooker as the nomadic thief Henry, Terry Towelling as Otis Elevator, a prison buddy with whom Henry is living, and Arnold Tracy as Billy, Otis’ brother. The character of Henry is loosely based on fascist leader and real life cereal addict Oswald Muesli. It’s opening shot of a naked woman lying in a field covered in porridge was considered controversial at the time. The film was shot on 16mm in less than two hours with a budget of only £10. 

Submitted by LB, Lancs


Guess Who's Coming to Pinner (1967)

Slender Tracy, Sidney Pontefract, Katherine Bannockburn

Groundbreaking for its positive representation of the controversial subject of marriage between a Lancastrian and a Londoner. Spatchcock was never shy of tackling difficult subjects, particularly if, as with this film, sponsorship was available via the Greater London Council and London Transport, keen to encourage northerners to venture south.  After its premiere at the Pinner Odeon, the film sank without a trace.

Submitted by Philip D O'Leary, Harrow

Three Birthdays and a Bar Mitzvah (1994)

Hughie Grantswhiskey, Andie Dowelling

Dowelling plays the proprietor of a cake shop in a small village outside Nelson, Lancashire, faced with a busy week of birthdays and family celebrations.  Grantswhiskey's winsome hero falls head over heels in love with her, but they spend most of the film studiously avoiding each other.  Audiences failed to warm to Spatchcock's attempt at a very British romantic comedy, and the film won few plaudits.

Submitted by J Madeira, Hull

The Bolton Strangler (1963)

Charlie Vicar, Mary Picknose, Noel Craven

The final film Spatchcock made in that disastrous Easter week, 1963, when he learnt that the film critic for the Croston Chronicle, responsible for consistently vicious and vituperative reviews of all his films, was none other than his leading tripod hand, Randolph Stead. Spatchcock had no option but to sack him immediately, resulting in a disconcerting consequence for the seven minute tracking shot with which the film opens as Stead took his tripod with him. Audiences were not yet ready for shaky hand-held camera work, nor was 72 year old camera man, Joe Trembly. The camera was far too heavy, so not only are his victims unaware of the Strangler's identity, for the most part neither are the audience, although the film has some very strong shots of his feet and lower trousers. Ingenious as ever, Spatchcock tried to resolve problem by having the cast lie down, to make filming possible for Tremble, but this severely limited the terror element of this unfortunate film.  

Submitted by Eric Fast, Ullapool

The Shawforth Redemption (1994)

Tim Bobbins, Morgan Freeloader

Andy Duffy (Bobbins) is imprisoned in an Open Prison near  Shawforth, Rossendale for a crime he didn't commit, and spends the film trying to clear his name.  Spatchcock was getting old at this point in his career, and some felt he was losing his touch.  Freeloader vowed never to work for him again when his promised private dressing room turned out to be a cubicle in a public lavatory in  Whitworth. 

Submitted by Anne Morris, Bristol

The Tripe Machine (1963)

Charlie Vicar, Mary Picknose, Noel Craven

Easter 1963 was a difficult time for Spatchcock and all the films he made that week reflected this. A case in point is The Tripe Machine, Spatchcock's adaptation of HG Weld's fantasy about a Hyde butcher who invents a machine capable of producing tripe from any era of English history. Spatchcock's usually slavish attention to detail lapsed badly, with Ng, the Neanderthal tripe leader (Craven), wearing a Timex watch and his customary cravat. The shots of Henry Vlll (Vicar) and his consort (Picknose) catching a tram also did little for the film's verisimilitude and quite rightly it received a caning from both the Croston Chronicle and the public alike. It was revived briefly as a cult film amongst students, but even they tired of it within seconds.

Submitted by Eric Fast, Ullapool

Spring & Port Vale (1970)

James Bricklayer, Rodney Likely, Hannah Gordon-Bennett

Moving away from his comfort zone, Spatchcock portrays a Stoke family in crisis as football fan Ralph Blunt tries to maintain his dictatorial grip on his children during the latter part of the Swinging 60s.

Submitted by B Norman, Halifax, Newfoundland

Soup Man (1976)

Christopher Cheese, Albert Knorr

In this 'half-baked waste of celluloid' (Croston Chronicle), the plot revolves around Clark Essex (Cheese), by day a mild-mannered colour sergeant in the Royal Marines but who, each night, transforms into an aggressive, bullying, foul-mouthed soup kitchen assistant. Spatchcock himself later admitted that the three hours he spent on this film was "probably time misspent."

Submitted by Janice Beech, Weymouth

Brief Encounter (1945)

Frankie Howierd, Celia Holme-County, Stanley Galloway

Filmed in one afternoon at a laundry in Bacup, what set out as a classic romance movie turned into high farce due to a simple misunderstanding in 20th Century Spatchcock's casting department.  Howierd does his best, but is clearly out of his depth playing the debonair Dr Harvey who meets married mother Laura Jetson (Holme-County) while picking up his freshly-washed underwear.  Bolton brick-layer Trevor Howierd, originally slated for the film, was given a few consolatory parts in other Spatchcock films as a result.

Submitted by GRH, Swansea

I'm Alright Cock (1959)

Peter Seltzer, Tommy-Terence, Ian Chinless-Wonder, Dame Margaret Rumbelow, John Messier

Upper-class Stanley Exhalation is demobbed and joins his uncle's tripe factory in Wigan. Fred Tumm, Communist shop steward, takes Stanley under his wing, only to have him cause friction between the unions and the management, leading to a major strike. The plot is loosely based upon the Wigan Tripe Strike of 1932 which is said to have been the main cause for the slump in the tripe industry immediately before WWII.

Submitted by Ferdinand De Vere-Hamilton

The Lone Arranger (1958)

Johnny Depthcharge, Helena Jimmy Carter, Kimo Therapy

Spatchcock’s only foray into bank-based comedy musicals was completely misjudged according to the seventeen people who attended the film’s first and only screening at Garston Gaumont. Very loosely based on a day in the life of a mortgage advisor, the film was a ‘hodge podge of half-baked monetarist theories set to an excuse for music’ (Croston Chronicle). In Spatchcock’s defence, the middle reel arrived too late for the showing, depriving the audience of the chance to hear what Spatchcock believed to be the showstopper - Depthcharge’s version of what came to be known as the ‘Statutory Reserve Ratio’ song.

Submitted by M Martin, Bickerstaffe

Whiskas Galore (1955)

'Corporal' Jones, Pat Bitcher, Cyril Lard

Probably the most renowned of Spatchcock's 'pudding noir' films. When a narrow boat full of offal runs aground, a horde of scantily clad housewives swim across the 'cut' to purloin its precious cargo and there is much merriment as the owner searches for his goods, hidden in all kinds of unlikely places. The 'pudding noir' genre was forced on Spatchcock by his business partner, DW Blunt, who had secured a six-month sponsorship deal from a cartel of Hyde butchers. Unknowingly, Spatchcock invented product placement, as, in all these films, he had to engineer a set piece in which the entire cast feigned delight in hearty meals comprising offal, gristle and fat, to boost sales and reduce the butchers' wastage.

Submitted by Ernest Milcheman, Winnipeg

Tramspotting (1996)

Ian McGregor, Billy Bremner and Robert Penrith

With Spatchcock indisposed (he had trod on a toy garden rake and the wound had turned septic) it was a chance for DW Blunt to dust off his directorial gloves.  Follows the exploits of a gang of Chorley teenagers who reject convention and 'Choose Tripe' during a weekend of excess in Blackpool.  Halfway through filming, McGregor quit when he discovered the studio had accepted money for product placement from The Tripe Marketing Board.

Submitted by AW Bligh, Fleetood, Lancs

Mosley Common or Bust (1969)

Peter Cooker, Dudley Shorthouse, Tony Carthorse, Tommy-Terence, Eric Sacks, Hattie Jokes, Britt Eggplants, Jack Hawkeye 

Another star-studded flop. Contestants in the trans-Wigan car race will stop at nothing to win, and prevent the other contestants from winning. Much of the comedy derives from crass national, regional and racial stereotypes that did not go down well with the audience. The film could have bankrupted 20th Century Spatchcock, but the studio was saved by selling the rights to the film to female animator Hanna Barbara, who made it into the highly successful cartoon Wigan Racers.  

Submited by Gerry Grierson, Hartlepool

Journey To The Centre of Worsley (1959)

James Macespray, Pat Boondock

Another Spatchcock film let down by its cheap special effects.  Professor Worsleybrook (Macespray), a geologist from St Martins College of Mechanical Engineering in Wigan, finds a passage to the centre of Worsley.  The hitherto unknown ginnel leads directly onto the side entrance for Woolworths, and he shows his student (Boondock) how to cut through the store to find the town centre.  At one point, a large spider (clearly fake) falls onto Worsleybrook and a ten minute wrestle ensues. A flop even when it was premiered at the Worsley Gaumont.

Submitted by Oliver French, Sandwell


Glove Story (1951)

Rhino Neal, Ali Barber

For this rare excursion into sentimentality, Spatchcock paired the unknown teenagers (Neal and Barber) against each other and the legend was born. They meet in the tanning roooms at the Trew Glove factory, Bacup, where trainee solicitor Oliver (Neal) is investigating an influx of counterfeit gloves which Jenny (Barber) is accused of masterminding. At the trial it is Oliver’s testimony that “Trew gloves are never off the back of a lorry” which convinces the jury to convict her and the judge to condemn her to death by hanging.

Submitted by Tyndall Moses, Bacup

Those Magnificent Men in their Frying Machines  (1968)

Errol Brown, Alistair Simple, George Coalman, Peggy Mountebank,Thora Hard, Jack Hawkeye,Beryl Common, Terry Thompson, David Nivea

Spatchcock assembled a galaxy of Hollinwood stars for this rumbustious tale of competition between drivers in the pioneering days of mobile fish and chip vans in the Rosssendale valley. To ensure authenticity, Spatchcock spent twenty minutes travelling in a mobile ‘chippy’ accompanied by his preferred dialogue coach, Valentine Spraggins. It was whilst filming ‘TMMitFM’ that Errol Brown acquired his legendary trick of being able to quaff a quart of malt vinegar. No wonder his leading ladies swooned!

Submitted by Peggy Gordon, Somerset

The Italian Jobbie (1969)

Michael Pain, Noël Craven, Benny Banks, Rossano Grazzi, Gina Lottaloblollies, Irene Knob

Unsuccesful crime caper. Pain's gang attempting to steal millions in Italian gold and smuggle it across the border in a septic tank pump-out tanker. Went hopelessly overbudget (a figure of £107 has been mentioned) because of Spatchcock's insistence on filming on location in Wales and converting Llandridnod Wells to look like Rome. The film only broke even because the rights to the logo on the side of the tanker (You dump it, we pump it) were bought by an American sanitary company. The literal cliffhanger at the conclusion of the film was shot in Spatchcock's garden using his son's Scalextric.

Submitted by TT, Little Compton

Scrodge (1951)

Alistair Simple, George Coalman, Thora Hard, Kathleen Morrison, Michael Hoarder

Old miser Ebenezer Scrodge is shown the error of his ways by three spirits on Candlemas Eve. The film was plagued by delays and scandal. Simple and Coalman, targetted by the gutter press about their private lives, refused to come out of their caravans for several weeks.  Spatchcock was able to complete at least 35 other films while waiting for their emergence.

Submitted by Charles Cholmondely, Bucks

The Importance of Being Firmest (1972)

Big Dick Davis, Jim Member, Barbara Baps, Diana Dumplings

Spatchcock's desperate attempt to earn money to shore up his failing studio by producing soft porn was an unmitigated disaster.  Even The Sun called it 'dismal'.

Submitted by H. Hole, Seaham Harbour, Co Durham

A Fistful of Lollies / For a Few Lollies More  (1964)

Daniel Raddled, Diana Dumplings, Richard Haggis, Woody Eastclint, Bernard Cribbage

Biopic of the life of Wigan confectioner Thomas Blunt, an epic tale that could not be told in just one film. The first film takes the story up to the invention of the spice that made Blunt famous, Licorice Tripe. The young Blunt, (Raddled) would go on to star in the "Harry Pooter" series of films. Woody Eastclint played Blunt in the sequel, a sad tale of economic decline and foreign competition. The audience found the casual violence and the high body count puzzling. The score to both films, by Ennio Morrisonse, was truly awful.

Submitted by Samantha Sinclair, Ipswich

Hotdog Day (1993)

Bill Murraymint, Andie MacDowelling

An unemployed middle-aged man is offered a job in a fast-food restaurant. After four years in the job, he wakes up to the realisation that every day is exactly the same as the previous one.  He slowly acknowledges that he is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing every day. 

Submitted by AS, Middlesborough

Turned Out Ince Again (1941)

George Banjo, Peggy Mountebank, Derek Minnow

George Ukulele, an employee at a whelk bottling factory in Wigan, is caught between his modern wife and his meddling mother. After concocting a special vinegar and getting his wife to promote it, he has an argument with his boss, Mr Poppadom who insults Ukulele's wife and refuses to apologise. Ukulele then resigns. After finding out that the vinegar is actually improving sales, Mr Poppadom tries to buy it from Ukulele but finds that he has set up in competition in Ince.

Submitted by BGH Farnsworth, Droylsden

Bridge On The River Mersey (1957)

Alec Mackeson, Jack Hawkeye

Hundreds of prisoners of war imprisoned in Birkenhead are forced to build a bridge across the river Mersey based upon the plans of Isambard Kingdom Blunt.  Despite their best efforts, the bridge continually collapses.  A group of prisoners escapes by building a tunnel which still exists to this day. 

The horrific scene in which motor vehicles are seen plunging into the swollen river after thieves removed the “Warning Bridge Not Yet Completed” signs were filmed using only three toy cars and a tin bath.

Submitted by Henry Gee, Essex

Wigan Casino Royale (1966)

David Nivea, Peter Byers, Deborah Carbuncle, Andrea Undress, Orson Buggy, Bernard Cribbage, Jacqueline Bisto, Ronnie Carboot

A spoof spy thriller loosely based on the history of the Wigan Casino bank with a script written by children from a local primary school. James Blunt (Nivea) is persuaded to come out of retirement to stop SMASH’s evil plan to destroy the world’s potato crop.  To trick them, he thinks up the ultimate plan -  every agent will be named James Blunt.

A truly awful film with Miss Carbuncle’s performance described by one critic as “monstrous.”

Production problems resulted in the shoot running hours over schedule with an accompanying increase in costs. By the time it was finally completed the original budget of £125 had more than doubled and the film almost bankrupted 20th Century Spatchcock.

Submitted by Henry Gee, Essex

The Charge of the Light Company (1936)

Errol Brown, Olivia deSecondhand, Donald Snack

The film charts the descent of a poverty-stricken Wigan family, unable to pay their electricity bill, into crime, prostitution and utter degradation. Unwittingly one of Spatchcock's funniest films.

Submitted by CE, Doncaster

Runaway Tram (1985)

Jon Void and Derek Richards

Directed by Spatchcock under the pseudonym Andrei Kanchelskis and written by Edward Bonkers and Hilda Ogden

Two escaped convicts from HM Prison Fleetwood and a female train worker (Rebecca Cod-Mornay) are stuck on an out of control tram as it hurtles through snowy desolate Blackpool at speeds of up to 25mph. Void and Richards were both nominated for awards for worst actor for their respective roles.

Submitted by Stanley Q Brick, Parbold

Flying Down To Widnes (1933)

Fred Adaire, Ginger Dodgers

The first, and arguably the worst, of Spatchcock's musicals paired one-legged dancer Fred Adaire with Ginger Dodgers, who left her job as jam spreader in Burton's Biscuit factory in Blackpool to find fame in the entertainment industry. The rest, as they say, is history. Incidentally, Burton's Biscuits named the Jammie Dodger in honour of the pair (Adaire, a poor dancer, was extremely jammie to have got into films at all). The film includes the first screen appearance of future star Norman Winsome.

Submitted by B Thwaites, Hereford

The Makerfield Thunderbolt (1953)

Stanley Galloway, Dame Margaret Rumbelow, John Greggs-Pastie, Diana Dumplings

The inhabitants of Ashton-in-Makerfield rally round when British Railways withdraw their railway service, running it as volunteers, much to the disgust of the local bus company. A cult classic for train spotters. Spatchcock couldn't get permission to film on British Railways tracks so he had an entire branch line from Ashton to Wigan constructed, along with cuttings, embankments and tunnels. It provided a valuable transport link for the people of Ashton but was torn up when filming ended. The film that almost bankrupted 20th Century Spatchcock.

Submitted by George Ian Thompson. Sunderland

The Shevington Hill Mob (1951)

Stanley Galloway, Alec Mackeson, Alfie Worthington, Ted James

Mild-mannered bank clerk Henry Pemberton devises a scheme with fellow lodger Alfred Bickershaw to rob the bank of millions in gold bullion and export the gold as models of the Parbold Bottle. Shooting over-ran by 17 months because a feud between Galloway and Mackeson meant that they refused to be in the same town together. Rehearsals were by phone and all scenes in which they appeared together had to be shot twice, once for each star, with body doubles used. Norman Winsome had his first speaking part in this film (newspaper seller).

Submitted by William T Fisher, Cheadle

Last Tango in Prestwich (1972)

Brendan Marlo, Marie Snider

Marlo portrays a Cheetham Hill cabby, recently widowed, who embarks on a torrid sexual relationship with a young, soon-to-be-married Prestwich woman (Snider). The film's raw portrayal of sexual violence and emotional turmoil led to controversy amongst film censors as far afield as Burnley and the Runcorn.  Spatchcock is reputed to have later expressed regret at the despairingly dismal 'lard' scene.

Submitted by Franklin Aspel, Queens Park, London


In Which We Sink (1942)

Noël Craven, Bernard Yards, John Hills, Celia Jackson, Richard Lovey, Kathleen Cockney

Technically one of Spatchcock's most ambitious films, it tells the story of a commercial barge captain (FG Spittle) and his crew during WWII as his vessel is sunk by enemy bombers while carrying a vital cargo of segs to the clog factories of Skelmersdale.  Mainly filmed using one-thirtieth scale models on the Municipal Boating Lake at Platt Fields Park, Rusholme.

Submitted by Shirley Bingham, Tankersley

Murder Most Fowl (1964)

Margaret Rumbelow, James Geordie, Dennis Costco, Terry June

Paddy McGinty, a barman and part-time chicken-sexer, is found hanged, and his  lodger, caught at the scene, seems plainly guilty. Everyone believes it's an open-and-shut case ... except for jury member Miss Jane Stockport (Rumbelow), who decides to investigate further.

Miss S infiltrates the chicken farm where McGinty worked, and the plot thickens almost as quickly as the audience begins to lose it.  This was one of Spatchcock's most complex films.  Margaret Rumbelow walked out on the movie after only three scenes, claiming to be allergic to chickens.  Her role was taken up  by a clearly under-rehearsed Terry June, in drag.

Submitted by Henry Gee, Essex

It Came From Out of't Fireplace (1958)

Fred Arrowsmith, Edna Arrowsmith, Hilda Arrowsmith, Jeff Arrowsmith and Rex Arrowsmith. (Fireplace supplied by Arrowsmith's Fireplace Supplies - 'A Grate Place to Shop')

Spatchcock's only venture into Sci-fi 3D was a spectacular failure. The so called 3D glasses were RAF flying goggles, which merely made the screen look darker. With 60% of the film's budget blown on goggles, Spatchcock had only £20 to spend on special effects, actors and plot, which revolved around extras apparently scared witless by a harmless looking twig that had crackled out of an ornate grate. An utter failure, shown twice to fulfill a contractual agreement with the Clitheroe Gaumont

Submitted by G D Bridge, Whalley Range, Manchester 

Kind Hearts & Crumpets (1955)

Alec Stout, Dennis Halfprice, Jacqueline de Bois-Vert

Whilst in prison awaiting trial for selling crumpets on the black market, baker Louis Maserati decides to publish the recipes for all known Lancashire savoury griddle cakes. He is visited in his cell by the ghosts of thirty two generations of his baking family, all pleading that they remain secret. Stout's acting coach, Stan Lavski, insisted that he 'become' each of the thirty two characters he played, causing the film to take seven years to film and for Spatchcock to vow never to use him again.

Submitted by N Broadhead

The Road To Radcliffe (1947)

Bing Bootle, Dorothy Lame, Bob Charity

One of a series of five The Road To films that spanned 1940 to 1952 and led Variety to describe Spatchcock as 'the man who put the 'dire' in director'.  Bootle and Charity stow away on a barge on the Manchester Ship Canal, but nobody notices. When they finally emerge in the film's closing reel, they find themselves not far from the A56 and heading out of town - the cue for an execrable rendition of the title song by Bootle, who admitted himself that he was no crooner.

Submitted by Anon

 

The Towelling Inferno  (1971)

Charlton Blumenthal, Steve Princess, Red Adair

Even the Croston Chronicle praised Spatchcock for his invention of ‘Sensurround sound’ although they quite rightly slated him for the way he tried to achieve it. This film, based on a terrifying blaze at Tyldesley’s Terry Towelling factory, still maintains the world record for the most times that an intruding microphone can be seen - and it’s not surprising. In his efforts to maximise the total sound experience, Spatchcock forced his usually reliable sound man (Eddie ‘One-Arm’ Graham) to strap seventeen microphones on to his boom. The result was inevitable - no man could be expected to hold this weight ten feet off the ground all day, so every shot shows a slowly descending cluster of microphones, completely dwarfing the devastating conflagration that blacked out Tyldesley for the entire week.

Submitted by P Pauls, Sabden, Lancs

Fight Pub (1959) 

William Pitt, Helena Jimmy Carter

The nameless narrator’s work colleagues can’t understand why he turns up every day covered in cuts and bruises, about which he is aggressively secretive. The film reveals that he meets up with disenchanted tripe salesman (Pitt) every night at the Fight Pub and neither can remember a thing after closing time. Convinced of the international viability of this film, Spatchcock paid twelve guineas to have it dubbed into forty-seven languages, in all of which it was clearly a film about two drunks.

Submitted by S Porridge, Oldham

The Frenchay Connection (1971)

Gene Hackedoff, Roland Schneider

Who knew that Spatchcock had an aunt in Bristol?  Nobody - that is, until this film premiered at the Filwood Park Odeon in 1971, when afficionados began to make the link.  Made during the course of a weekend trip to visit his aunt, the movie's  complex  international plot, poor dialogue and terrible scripting all contributed to making this one of Spatchcock's most forgettable films. Two stars.

Phil Jameson, Preston, Lancs

The Taking of Oldham 124 (1977)

Chortle Brothers, Walter Mathieu

Even the Chortle Brothers, Spatchcock’s standby screen savers, couldn’t help with this one. Based on a flimsy plot to kidnap the 124 tram to Oldham, the whole sorry affair stretched credulity to breaking point - and beyond. As Lawrence Chortle wrote in his memoirs (Chortle through the Pain), “For once I had to agree with the Croston Chronicle - this was 124get.”

Submitted by D Pluck, Haydock, Lancs

The Small Electric Organ (1939)

Frank Worrell and Oliver Hardly

The comedy duo are assigned to deliver a small electric organ to a bungalow, which they accomplish without incident.

Submitted by B Latimer, Plymouth

The 39 Stepford Wives (1975)

Nanette Soapsuds, Robert Donut

A creditable attempt to save money at a time when cinema revenues were beginning to tumble, this is nevertheless not one of Spatchcock's best films.  Combining two winning scripts might seem like the recipe for a sure-fire winner, but not when they're the worst bits of each.  Soapsuds spends her time endlessly washing dishes until Donut appears at the kitchen door and manacles himself to her.  The two then flee through the streets of St Helens before Donut frees himself and climbs the town hall clock tower for no obvious reason. 

Submitted by FJ, Longridge, Lancs

They're Naked and They're Dead (1957)

Ronald Bright, Stuart Bright and Ernie Bright.

The Bright Brothers who had achieved moderate success as a music hall act in post-war Oldham were drafted into Spatchcock's comedy set in an hospital morgue. The slapstick humour of the Bright Brothers and their pet goat Horace proved to be a little distasteful for cinema audiences however and revelations that Ernie had been caught in flagrante delicto with one of the film's extras on a slab in the morgue further diminished any interest the public may have had.

Submitted by Pete Mason, Lincoln

The Rambusters (1962)

Cast uncredited

Spatchcock couldn’t believe his luck in ‘Bob a job’ week, 1962, when hewas able to persuade  a local boy scout, Stephen Stillgreen, into directing seven films in a week for seven shillings. The films, unsurprisingly, fell well below even Spatchcock’s often appalling standards. 'The Rambusters consisted entirely of a small group of motionless, munching rams, whilst in the background Stillgreen chanted tunelessly, “Who you gonna call ?”.  Silence of the Rams had a similarly ovine look, as did  A Ram called Wanda and  It’s a Ram Ram Ram Ram World. Perhaps Stillgreen was not as innocent as he looked, as it became clear that all he had done was set up Spatchcock’s equipment in his father’s field and rolled the camera until the film ran out, not even bothering with a soundtrack on the remaining six films.

Submitted by Hymie James, Bannockburn

Sons of the Dessert (1939)

Frank Worrell and Oliver Hardly

The comedy duo tell their wives that they are going to attend a weekend reunion, which they do, without incident.

Submitted by B Latimer, Plymouth

Thirteen Angry Men (1957)

Lee J Cobbon, Henry Fondu

Whatever Hollywood was doing, Spatchcock always had to go one better, pushing the cinematic boundaries wherever he could.  He found the perfect vehicle in this gritty tale of the schism in Rugby football that resulted in the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union (later the Rugby League) in 1895.  Filmed entirely on location in Widnes, Fondu was reportedly paid £5 for his role in the film - then a record for an actor from the Spatchcock stable.  

Submitted by D Reed, Garstang

Top Bun (1988)

Tom Croup, Gladys Awkward

All action thriller set in the proving vat of Sitwell's bakers, Dent, as rival bakers battle for the coveted annual village award for which the film is named. In a role he made his own, Croup drew on his personal experience of prickly heat. The film suffers from Croup's legendary poor attention span - after an hour's filming he trounced off the set. Undaunted, Spatchcock recruited a body double, Jimmy Stilts, who, although bearing a slight facial resemblance, was a good two feet taller than the diminutive Croup, forcing Spatchcock to film everything from twenty metres further away. Some say that the final two reels hardly suffered from anything other than a particularly strident shout being inaudible.

Submitted by Arnold Books, Inverness

Digging in The Rain (1959)

Chortle Brothers, Gene Pool

Superficially everything was going well for Spatchcock in this glorious romp about three itinerant grave diggers, scripted by Les Griffin, chief headstone cutter at Gorton's Grave Emporium (Coffins 'R' Us). With his favourite threesome, the Chortle Brothers (or CB's as Spatchcock affectionately called them) on board, eight corpses and a taproom dance, he should have been in his element. Perhaps, though, the strain was beginning to show for the always autocratic auteur. He lavished an unprecedented one hour and thirty five minutes on the dance sequence and later was observed to be wearing odd shoes - a practice he continued for the rest of his life. When questioned about this eccentricity, Spatchcock explained enigmatically, "freedom from the tyranny of locating a matching pair gives me time to think."

Submitted by J Pavillion, Worcester

102 Dalmations (1961)

Various

A determination to always go one better set Spatchcock apart from other film directors, but his insistence on using a cast of largely unknown Yugoslavian actors for his first foray into cinema verite was an unmitigated disaster.  There was just no audience for an unscripted movie of foreigners wandering around looking intense, and the Dubrovnik scenes (filmed in St Helens) were particularly dreadful.  One to miss.

Submitted by Randall James, Morley

Algie (1966)

Michael Pain, Shelley Whoppers, Alfie Worthington, Millicent Marimbas, Jane Apples

The story of a young, self-centred man and his many relationships with women. He is forced to face up to life when his dole cheque is stopped. Pain often broke the "fourth wall" and spoke directly to the camera, usually to say, "What's the next line?" The title song, by Burt Snackattack and Hal Tepid, performed by young Scouser Cilla Blackhead, got to number 97 in the Top 100. 

Submitted by Bill Thomas, South Queensferry

Dial A for Astley (1954)

Ray Milliband, Grace Jelly, Robert Lemming

Tony Blunt, Wigan whelk entrepreneur, discovers that his wife is having a secret affair with the tripe delivery boy, so he blackmails a local criminal to murder her. Norman Winsome has a brief walk-on part. Spatchcock himself appears briefly in the opening scene, quite accidentally - he wandered into shot while avoiding a troublesome bee.

Submitted by Tony Bell, Spennymoor

Cleo Patricroft (1956)

Elizabeth Tinker, Richard Tailor

There's consternation in the steam train shunting sheds at Patricroft and Agecroft when dashing trainee shunter driver Monty Sleeper (Tailor) discovers that his fireman is actually a firewoman, Cleo (Tinker)! Tinker's emergence from her grubby boiler suit is a iconic moment in the Spatchcock oeuvre and caused the extraordinary scene in the Fleetwood Regent when baying schoolboys (and their fathers) stormed the projectionist's box and forced him to re-show the scene until the leading thread sprocket disintegrated. Sales of pre-grubbied boiler suits rocketed throughout the region whenever the film was shown.

Submitted by Desmond D, Nantwich

The Wimpoles of Barrett Street (1934)

Norma Specials, Frederic Match, Charles Naughton, The Chortle Brothers

Love overcomes all as poet Robert Gravy-Browning convinces sickly Elizabeth Wimpole to elope with him to Bryn, despite the protests of her tyrranical father. Spatchcock's inexplicable decision to cast the Chortle Brothers as Wimpole's brothers must go down as the worst in his career. Their eccentric costumes, unusual sound effects and endless "fart" jokes meant that audiences stayed away in droves. The film was remade by an ageing Spatchcock 20 years later as "The Allsorts of Bassett Street" as part of an advertising campaign by the well-known sweet company, with Bertie Bassett playing the male lead.  

Submitted by OH, West Brom

Finklestein (1931)

Colin Clovis, Boris Killoff, Les Chortle

Another film sposored by Gorton's Grave Emporium. Henry Finklestein, an obviously ga-ga undertaker, attempts to create the perfect man but his incompetent assistant bungles the job. A hideous creation is loosed on an unsuspecting northern town, but that's enough about the film's opening night. Spatchcock's attempt to jump on the horror bandwagon was not a big success. Chortle, playing the hunchbacked assistant Trebor, in his first straight role, had difficulty with the artificial hump and it appears to change from left to right shoulder from scene to scene. Audiences found this hilarious and led to Chortle receiving the Golden Rivet for Funniest Performance at the New Brighton Film Festival.

Submitted by Mary Gordon, Tavistock

Recent Submissions



Beef Encounter (1945)

Charles Crumb, played by Robert Donut. Felicity Kindle played by Sylvia Pimms.

Tracks a doomed love affair between Charles and Felicity. Locked in loveless marriages, they meet in the, now famous, Eccles branch of Edge's Butchers while buying a pound of tripe. Felicity has something in her eye, and Charles, in an attempt to remove the foreign object with his handkerchief, accidentally permanently damages it, resulting in long term hospitalisation for Felicity and the eventual removal of the injured eye. The film plots Charles's doomed attempts at rescuing the affair,amid the turmoil of Felicity's disfigurement and the knowledge that she will have to wear an eye patch for the rest of her life. The film ends in hospital, when Charles walks away from Felicity for the final time, and she sheds a tear from her good eye. It is rumoured that Spatchcock dropped the project when he found out that Ealing studios were planning a similar film, later to become Stranglers On a Train directed by Hugh Cornwell.

Submitted by D & J Allender, Wirral



Wendy Does Wigan (1978)

Turbary Woods as Wendy, Hazel Grove as Little Moss, Todd Morden as Oldham Greenfield. Charnock Richard as Richard Charnock

Wendy is captain of her 6th form college tripe eating team. She and a friend have been offered the chance to appear as Wigan Fairlymobile's team mascots Pornix and Bluey, but they have no money for the tram fare. The girls take on a succession of jobs including welly washing, chimney polishing and flagpole painting to earn money for the fare. Sadly, the Lancashire weather and politics defeated Spatchcock and the film was never released in cinemas. Rain shrank the stars' goat-wool skirts and the remainder of their clothes were lost in howling gales. Bravely, Spatchcock kept the camera rolling but the film was impounded by the police acting on a tip-off from the Public Morals Committee. It is claimed that one copy of the film still exists and is shown annually at the Police Masonic Lodge Christmas dinner, but this rumour has not yet been proved true.

Submitted by Philip Richardson, Bletchley

'Clash Morgan' A Space Odyssey (1935)

Rock Soapsud, Greta Harpo and Elliott Mess


On the 30th April 1935 Graham Spatchcock won a sizeable amount at the White City Dog Track. After consulting his 5th wife, Greta Harpo, (star of silent films and Speciality Fan-Dancer at the Azerbajan Music Hall, Azerbajan), he decided to invest the whole amount of £28.17s.6d into the first ever Sci-fi film. The world was ready for it. International film stars clamoured to appear, but his wife had told him who she wanted and he was prepared to pay the price. The studio was set up in the old Abattoir at Chorley and the exciting project began. No expense was spared.Tagged offenders were drafted in to begin scenery painting. Several second hand doors were hired from the Wigan 2nd Hand Door Emporium. A Lapis Lazuli blue sky was created on the doors together with the Moon, Mars, Saturn and several stars which were painted in gold leaf.

The press were allowed in to photograph these for publicity purposes which was fortunate as, shortly after, the offenders stripped them off and sold them on Bolton Market. However, determination was Spatchcock's middle name ... “Onwards ever onwards” he shouted through his megaphone ...  all was going well. Our intrepid hero, Dirk (Rock Soapsud) had just rescued the lovely Gale (Greta Harpo) from the evil clutches of Zing the Impaler (Elliott Mess) and his Flying Scotsmen, when the large doors opened and hundreds of people streamed in carrying their tables and heaps of jumble & junk. Yes, it was the world famous Chorley & District Car Boot Sale. (As advertised in that weeks Chorley free weekly junk supplement).

Spatchcock had to admit defeat. He, the stars & crew had to finish the film at the rear of the Turks Head, but by then the cast and crew had lost their enthusiasm. Most of them wanted to get back to the car boot sale; there had been several only slightly burned lamp shades, some pairs of used socks. Greta and the 'Hair & Make-up' boys had spotted some 2nd hand (only slightly soiled) whalebone corsets, and besides that, they had all noticed a stall selling tea, hot pies and bacon butties. The film was premiered at the Dominion,  Salford receiving only poor reviews. “Awesome ubiquitous eclectic futuristic rubbish’ proclaimed the staid but solid Haslingdon Trumpeter. Clive Pimple RCA, the Clitheroe arts reviewer, said “This film should be sent back to whence it came, outer space”.

Submitted by LH, Cumbria
Bateman (1989)

Michael Nylon, Jack Nickersoff

By day he is Harold Bateman, the proprietor of Tall And Stocky, a gents outfitters specializing in clothes for the larger gentleman-46” waist and above. By night he walks the mean streets of Lytham with his young friend Malcolm Robins as part-time police community support officers. Together, they assist the police in areas that need a certain level of police presence, but not necessarily the expertise of a trained police officer. Their mission - to free up some of the time police officers might spend on routine tasks or low-level crime issues and providing a valuable service to the community. In this, the first of the series, Bateman and Robins try to rid the town of the twin scourges of illegal parking and litter louts and come up against their arch nemesis-local builder and town councillor, Joe Kerr (Nickersoff).

Submitted by CPB, Birkenhead

Electra Glide in Bryn (1973)

Joule Brynner

Stock story of a cop who goes off the rails. And the sheer futility of riding your motor-cycle along the railways in the first place. Oh those agonising delays at signal checks. A film saved from complete obscurity, only because of special interest to bikers: The Left-hand Drive 'HOG' made specially for the part was ridden here from the factory in York, Pennsylvania, by Spatch, himself.

Submitted by Anon

Murder on the Orrell Express (1974)

Albert Finnicky, Richard Widemark, Vanessa Trotsky

Detective Herbert Putlow (Finnicky) is returning to Kirby  aboard the Orrell Express.  Shortly after the train's departure from Manchester a wealthy Bramhall businessman, Ritchschitt (Widemark), tries to secure Putlow's services for £5 since he has received many death threats, but Putlow finds the case of little interest and returns to his crossword. That night the train is caught in heavy snows outside of Wigan Wallgate station and the next morning Ritchschitt is found stabbed to death in his cabin.   Putlow soon discovers that Ritchschitt was not who he claimed, and his secret past indicates a clear motive for murder.

Spatchcock aimed low with this one, and missed.  Interestingly, it was one of the few adaptations of her works that author Agatha Crustie is thought to have approved of.

Submitted by Jean D., Preston

Chitty Chitty Flop Flop (1949)

Dick Van Clump, Dolores Spratt and introducing child stars Hubert & Honoria Bluebottle (Spatchcock’s children by his 7th wife Gloria de La Fey).

This was Spatchcock’s first and last adventure into films for children and all the family. It started out encouragingly.  Set in a Windmill in olde Amsterdam, the production was going surprisingly well until on the fifth day of shooting, Dolores Spratt saw a mouse on a chair and all hell broke loose. Young Hubert, trying to catch the mouse, tripped over his clogs and crashed into Dolores, who fell into the traditional home vat of Edam cheese. Surprised at the violence of the ensuing melee, the Dutch police and Border officials decided that enough was enough. After medical treatment the whole film team was despatched back to the UK on the Flying Dutchman. The film (minus several scenes) was premiered at the Scunthorpe Essoldo. Most of the audience who were still awake  demanded their money back and got it, when the police arrived. The news reviews were not interesting... “Another waste of time & money” wrote Percy Sproggnash in the Barnsley Evening Press.

Submitted by LH, Cumbria
Paint Your Drag On (1969)

Woody Eastclint, Lee Margin, Jean Shebas

Spatchcock's biopic about the life of female impersonator Danny La Rouge almost bankrupted the studio. Eastclint looks uncomfortable in the lead role, especially as he smokes a huge cheroot throughout the film. Audiences were shocked by the high body count and many could barely hear Eastclint's lines. They were the fortunate ones. Margin almost rescues the film with his excellent portrayal of Larry Graystoke, but you can hear "Shut that door" only so many times. The Aspul Argus called it, "A queen of films" but the Tydesley and District Examiner simply commented, "A film about queens".

Lee G, Salford

3:10 to Whelley (1967)

Glenn Fork, Van Heaving, Richard Dingo

An unasuming Hobby Bobby has to transport a resourceful criminal to Whelley police station before his gang can intervene. Controversy stalked this picture leading to its early withdrawal from the circuit - in fact it was shown once only, in the Whelley Hippodrome. Local train spotters created uproar in Whelley High Street when they marched in protest at the lack of realism in the film. They claimed that there wasn't a 3:10 to Whelley, and insisted that the film be called 3:27 to Garswood calling at Whelley, Amberswood and Bryn.

Submitted by J Tracey, Garstang

The Accrington Queen (1951)

Humphrey Go Kart, Katherine Bannockburn

Staid middle-aged spinster Rose Sprayer (Bannockburn) falls for rough bargee Charlie Crunchy-Nut (Go Kart) as they attempt to thwart a gang of tripe runners on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Denied permission to film on the canal, Spatchcock moved the entire production to Mexborough, in South Yorkshire, where the council were more compliant. This pushed up costs (cheap day returns across the Pennines sucked in most of the budget) and delayed the release of the film by two days. The Aspul Argus called it, "A romantic tour-de-force" whereas The Standish with Langtree Free Press said, "More boring than the tour de France."

Submitted by Enoch Muller, Skelmersdale


The Man With the Golborne Gun (1974)

Roger Mortician, Christopher Lean, Britt Eggplants

Another outing for regional superspy James Blunt. Sent to investigate illegal seg imports into Lowton Common, Blunt confronts hitman Scaramouche Scaramouche Will You Play The Fandango (known professionally as Scaradango). Blunt defeats the villain, as usual, while Miss Eggplant's breasts regularly fall out of her blouse (as usual). Audiences stayed away in droves; Spatchcock made the mistake of releasing the film during the Leigh Bobbin & Shuttle Festival, and that proved to be infinitely more entertaining. The film that almost bankrupt Spatchcock.

Submitted by G Plume, Peterlee
Leigh is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)

Ian McLovie (narrator)


Spatchcock's documentary about the small town south of Wigan caused a mass exodus to Golborne. House prices in Leigh tumbled and did not recover for many years.

Submitted by Anon
The Man From Atherleigh (1955)

James Stewpot, Arthur Kenwood-Chef, Donald Snack, Cathy O'Doodads

George Bickerdyke (Stewpot), a tripe polisher from Atherleigh, arrives in Tyldesley and angers Jabez Stamp (Snack), a local tripe manufacturer, by working for his oldest rival. Bickerdyke fights Stamp's sadistic son (Kenwood-Chef) in a duel and downs him with a squirt of vinegar in the eye. The eye becomes pickled and leads to the son's death. This triggers an all out territory war in which both tripe barons are killed. Bickerdyke gets the girl, his money and 150lb of dressed tripe. None of Wigan's tripe manufacturers would supply the film, so Spatchcock set up his own tripe dressing factory. The film was a financial disaster and almost bankrupted the studios, but sales of Spatchcock's tripe bouyed it up for several days.

Submitted by H Pocket, Thrislington

Moss Side Story (1961)

Natalie Wooden, Rita O’Moron, George Chakrabarty

 

Multi-award-winning musical set in the Moss Side district of Manchester about a tragic love affair between members of two rival gangs-The Bears, who believe a bear would win a fight between a bear and a shark and The Sharks, who disagree. Spatchcock’s mistake was to employ real gang members as actors and, for added realism, to film on the streets of Moss Side on a Saturday afternoon when Manchester City were playing at home. The film ends in a pitched battle between gang members and supporters of Manchester City and Manchester United on their way to the match. Most of the dialogue in the last twenty minutes of the film is inaudible over the sound of police car and ambulance sirens. Won ten awards at the 1961 St Anne’s Film Festival including Worst Film, Worst Choreography and Best Fight. United won 3-1 with goals from Dawson, Pearson and Charlton.


Submitted by Eddie B, Bolton

Sabden Night Fever (1977)

John Traviata, Karen Gorblimey

Never one to turn down sponsorship or a product placement deal, Spatchcock was doomed to failure by attempting both in this unintentionally hilarious but ultimately doomed venture. Spatchcock wanted to portray the relentless misery and despair of Tony Manyana (Traviata), a young machine minder trapped in a soul destroying job in a desperately dull mill town, so sponsorship from Blackburn's Decca Ballroom seemed like a godsend. Typically, though, Spatchcock couldn't resist a product placement deal - this time from Sabden's Truss and Surgical Appliance Centre. Traviata tries his best, but the entire cast is severely hindered by surgical encumbrances and the showpiece dance-off in which Traviata's exertions cause his trousers to split, revealing a sequinned truss is 'quite frankly risible.' (Croston Chronicle). Ironically, at the film's premiere at the Garstang Gaumont, two film critics laughed so much that they suffered abdominal hernias, for which they were prescribed a Sabden truss!

Submitted by H Fellows, Clitheroe

Loveclough Actually (2003)

Alan Rickshaw, Emma Pompom, Hugh Grunt, Keira Twice, Colin Froth, Bill Nighty, Joanna Paget

A more than usually difficult film to follow, given that Spatchcock shot the first reel accidentally in the tiny village of Loveclough whilst awaiting the arrival of the RAC to fix his broken timing belt. Initially Spatchcock didn't realise that he was filming - the van's sudden halt jerked the camera into action fortuitously filming eight separate people walking up to the van and asking if he would like a cup of tea. Stimulated by these acts of kindness and his dislike of wasting film, Spatchcock returned the following week to try to complete the film. Continuity suffered badly as a result - the travelling barber's van had called the previous day giving the entire cast their six-monthly shear and the leading lady and her boyfriend were sporting broken noses and black eyes following a discussion about the price of cod and chips. Ever the optimist, Spatchcock hoped that the inclusion of a cover version of a catchy pop song would redeem the film - it didn't.

Submitted by Dani Groes, Anglesey

He Died With His Boot On (1941)

Beryl Flynn, Oliver De Havilland Mosquito, Champion The Wonder Ferret. Catering Manager and Tripe Wrangler: Mrs Ethel Spriggs

Low budget (even by Spatchcock standards) biopic of the life of Georgie Custard, the infamous one-legged Burnley milkman and toffee-apple impersonator extraordinaire, and his untimely death at the hands of a gang of Blackpool landladies known collectively as 'The Sues'. The soundtrack was provided by the Diggle Co-op Ladies All Comers Kazoo Ensemble, and is generally regarded as the only high point of this miserable offering.

Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

The Four Horsemen of Ashton Under Lyne (1921)

Pompom Canopy, Joe Backyard, Bridget Clarkson, Rudy Valentine , Alice Terrytowel

Inspired by the history of  World War One.  Madariaga (Canopy) is a harsh but popular Ashton Under Lyne landowner who has a Failsworth-born son-in-law whom he dislikes and a Stalybridge one whose family he favours—especially his grandson Julio (Valentine)), with whom he often carouses at seedy dives in Oldham’s Waterloo Street.

When Madariaga dies the family breaks up, one half returning to Failsworth and the other to Stalybridge.  Julio enjoys a shiftless life as a  painter and decorater and falls in love with Marguerite (Terrytowel) the unhappy and much younger wife of his grandfather’s friend. The affair is discovered, and Marguerite divorces. It seems as though Julio and Marguerite will be able to marry, but both end up getting caught up in the Great War.

For many years the Holy Grail of Spatchcock lovers, this film was among the first three dozen made by the studio in its opening month.  The film changed Rudy Valentine’s life: after it was shown he had to resign as a Chadderton Councillor following public ridicule of his attempts at the tango.  Using Failswoth as a metaphor for Germany didn’t help Spatchcock’s reputation.

Submitted by Andy Farrow, Oldham

 A Collyhurst Yankee In King Arthur’s Court (1949)

Bingo Southport, Rhonda Penicillin, Sir Cecil Hardup

Musical adaptation of the Mark Twain classic which transposes the King Arthur story to north east Manchester. Only three of the film’s twenty reels are known to survive - fortunately, none of them include the movie's execrable score.  Bingo Southport is actually Ringo Clevelys, working under a pseudonym for tax purposes.

Submitted by Alec Jones, Swansea

Lullaby of Chadderton Broadway (1951)

Doris Dayglo, Gene Halfnelson

Lacklustre musical featuring variety acts from the Angela Franklyn School of Dance (Oldham).  The distributors refused to touch this one, so Spatchcock financed showings himself - leading to rumour and innuendo that he was having a liaison with a dancer in the troupe half his age.  Dayglo at first refused the lead role, but Spatchcock had her contracted for 200 films, so she reluctantly clocked another one up.

Submitted by Anne Harrison, Failsworth

The Bells Goes Down (1943)

Tommy Cinder, James Matron, Norman Hartnell, Champion the Wonder Ferret. (Ferret Wrangler: Mrs Ethel Spriggs).

One of Spatchcock's ill-conceived 'pub docu-dramas', filmed on location in the tap room of the Aardvark & Eartrumpet, Diggle. There was no script and few paid actors - Spatchcock was attempting to cut costs. However, the entire cast (including Champion The Wonder Ferret) proceeded to drink themselves blind at his expense. Regarded by many as the film that inspired the long-running soap 'Coronation Chicken', in which the role of Champion was reprised by Minnie Calder's cat Tiddles.  

Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

Sithee Slickers (1991)

Billy Kristel, Jacky Balance, Danny Soft

Spatchcock’s documentary about three middle-aged, Lathom loom hands who think that life may be passing them by. Spatchcock was fiercely criticised for encouraging the men to spend a weekend in Bacup, during the Coconutters festivities. At first appalled by the scenes of drunken debauchery and unlimited access to Eccles cakes, the three quickly acclimatise and by Sunday are openly discussing their intentions of telling their wives that things are “going to be different from now on”. Their resolutions were quashed on their return, however. ‘Bacup men back down’ as the Chroston Chronicle headlined it.

Submitted by Jilly Dickle, Chirk

Faecal Impaction (1987)

Michael Ramsey, Glenn Culdesac

Even in 1987, Britain wasn't ready for a movie about a bowel cancer specialist being stalked by one of his patients.  Culdesac was terrifying, though, as the woman obsessed by her specialist.  Perhaps that was because in real life she was besotted by Ramsey.  Spatchcock had picked up on this, and persuaded the actor he'd be safe in the confines of the studio.  Not so.  The police had to be called four times, and Culdesac was arrested as soon as filming ended, and subsequently jailed for six months.  Ramsey vowed never to work for Spatchcok again, and even marriage to Catherine Beta-Blocker hasn't erased his horror of working on this film.

Submitted by Terry Williams, Garstang

The Last Time I Saw Parkfield (1954)

Elizabeth Naylor, Walter Starling, Donna Reedwarbler

If there's one thing all the critics were agreed on, it was that Spatchcock rarely did romantic comedy well.  No surprises then that this is a trite story with writing so pedestrian you yearn for a zebra crossing and acting so dull that you'll be reaching for a tin of polish before the show is over.  Rochdale Town Hall never looked better, though.

Submitted by Frank R, Marple

The Fall of the Romily Empire (1964)

Sophie Lorenzo, Alec Mackesson, Jamie Stonemason, Christopher Plumber

Spatchcock spent literally days planning this epic production charting the dying days of a Stockport cinema before it is finally converted into a bingo hall.  The film went way over budget mainly because Spatchcock insisted on showing his own films during interior shots in the cinema, and extras playing the audience demanded premium rates for sitting through them.  Lorenzo, originally from Oldham, liked Romily so much she bought a home there and when she retired from film-making she found a job in a local cafe.

Submitted by P Hall, Wigan

Sleepless in Shevington (1993)

Tom Hankies, Meg Ryman, Bill Pullout

Spatchcock's film about love and insomnia was sponsored by the Bryn Bed Supermarket. Obadiah Thripp (Hankies) is a night shift clog carver but he can't sleep during the day. This causes his wife (Ryman) to start an affair with an itinerant seg sharpener (Pullout). The purchase of a new bed solves the problem. Audiences were put off by non-subliminal advertising, poor dialogue and dark, out-of-focus images. Although the Aspull Argus called it, "A dream film", The Lowton East Advertiser said, "It gave me nightmares".

Submitted by Jim Fletters, Northampton

Mosley Common Belle  (1990)

Matthew Modern, Tate Donothing, Bill Insane, Eric Stilts, Sean Abstain, Harry Colic Jr

Spatchcock's anti-war film about the American crew of a bomber during WWII was responsible for a 37% increase in applications for recruitment into the RAF. In his unending search for realism, Spatchcock used a veteran B52 bomber and real bombs. Owing to an unfortunate accident with the bomb release mechanism while filming over the Wirral, part of Birkenhead was heavily bombed, causing thousands of pounds worth of improvement. Not able to afford US actors he recruited in the North East; the Geordie accents were virtually undecipherable by the audience, which turned out to be a boon as the dialogue by Bob Monkfish was truly awful. The advertising poster simply said, "They Bombed"; how prophetic that was!

Submitted by Ted Rowley, Tadcaster

A Swan Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Jack Nickersnatcher, Louise Thatcher

Spatchcock was attempting to expose the undercurrents of emotion that lurk unseen beneath the calm exterior of a lab technician in a tripe factory. New recruit (Nickersnatcher) severely tests the tolerance of the old guard as he tries to undermine established ways of curing cows' stomachs. Some saw this as Spatchcock's veiled message to the 'establishment' as yet another year passed without recognition of his work. Superficially nonchalant, privately Spatchcock railed against those who could afford to spend more than half an hour in the cutting room, or, in this case, devote more than ten minutes to training a lab technician's pet swan to lead a flock of seagulls in a raid on the chemical store. The outcome for the swan is not for the faint-hearted.

Submitted by Margaret O'Shaughnessy, Dun Laoghaire

Oh! Liver! (1968)

Ron Morose, Mark Leinster, Shani Woofers, Oliver Pint, Jack Wilderbeest, Harry Seaton, Peggy Mountebank

Sponsored by Outhwaites Offal Outlet, this is the tale of Jabez Noblett (Morose), a man obsessed with the promotion of liver as a healthy and cheap staple food source. He raises his son (Leinster) solely on liver, but he is arrested when his wife (Whoppers) complains to the doctor (Pint). Noblett is convicted of child cruelty and transported to the Wirrall for life. Based upon the celebrated 18th century Standish Sweetbreads case, it failed to strike a chord with audiences; even the offer of a free kidney with every ticket couldn't get them into the cinemas.

Frank Wharton, Garstang

Men in Blackburn (1997)

Tommy LeeAndPerrins, W H Smith, Champion The Wonder Ferret

Lacklustre attempt to cash in on the cult film market, Men In Blackburn was loosely based on a comic strip which appeared many years earlier in the Wigan Poultry Breeders Gazette. The plot - such as it is - centres around the attempts of two agents from the Tripe Marketing Board to thwart an alien invasion of Blackburn and Darwen by the Yorkshire County Cricket Team. Most notable for the cameo appearance of Champion The Wonder Ferret as Agent Special K. The voice of K was provided, to everyone's surprise (including her own) by Mrs Ethel Spriggs.

Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

The Cruel Hornsea (1955)

Jack Hawkeye, Donald Sniffy

Spatchcock had a couple of hours free while waiting for his return train to Liverpool during the making of To Hull And Back, so proposed a little side trip to his cameraman and sound recorder.  Inevitably, Spatchcock saw a film opportunity and recruited two local folk to play the parts.

Hawkeye plays a Hornsea shopkeeper, anxious to close up shop by 5pm while Sniffy is still making up his mind about a purchase.  Drama it wasn't, and the film garnered little support from the critics.  Grist to the mill for those who say Spatchcock doesn't travel well.

Submitted by Kevin Goodge, Norwich

That's Another Ince Moss You've Got Me Into (Unfinished)

Ronald Ray-Gun, Pants' People

Looks at the strongest evidence yet to emerge, for the existence of a parallel universe. 'Another' Ince Moss, which periodically has been reported to be visible through the Amberswood South Worm Hole. Could easily have become Spatchcock's most significant contribution. The distraction of his moped stalling, and refusing to re-start, each time he crossed Taylor's Lane Bridge, prompted his fascination with the effect of the worm hole on material objects. Film unfinished, as all his effort became focused upon producing Start Wreck (with John Cheese and the Saplings).

Submitted by Anon

The Post Graduate (1967)

Justin Hoffner, Anne Barncrufft, Catherine Rouse

Bradley Bendock (Hoffner) , recently graduated from an East Coast college, returns home and takes a casual job as a postman. Whilst on his round he encounters Mrs Robertson (Barncrufft) who is married to his father’s business partner. The naive Bradley is seduced by Mrs Robertson and the two of them have an affair. Then, Mrs Robertson’s attractive daughter, Eileen (Rouse) comes home from Burnley College and Bradley is pressurised by his parents into taking her out on a date. The situation becomes complicated when Bradley falls in love with Eileen much to the displeasure of her mother. When Eileen finds out about the affair she is heartbroken and returns to Burnley. Some trivia about this film (1) Whilst waiting to return home from location filming in Widnes,  Spatchcock met a young folk singer at the station who had, coincidentally, just composed a song called “Mrs Robertson”. Despite being offered the song for his film Spatchcock declined as the asking price of a train ticket to Warrington would have broken his budget. (2) Mrs Robertson is about 40 and Bradley is nearly 21 but in real life, whilst Barncrufft was 38 Hoffner was approaching his 60th birthday.

Submitted by Steve Wennell, Hampshire

It's A Wonderful Loaf (1946)

James Stewpot, Lionel Borrowmore, Donna Ready

George Bailer (James Stewpot) is a baker in a small town in Lancashire. George’s business is threatened by a rich skinflint, Mr Porter (Lionel Borrowmore) who is buying out all the bakeries in the town. To save his bakery George is pinning his hopes on the angel cake he has just invented - he feels sure it will be a hit with the townsfolk. Unfortunately on Christmas Eve, George’s Uncle Willy loses the recipe and, in despair, George becomes very drunk and contemplates suicide at a bridge over the canal. At the last moment Clarence, the guardian of the bridge, persuades him down and takes him into his office. In a drunken haze George listens to Clarence explaining how different the town’s bakeries would be without him. George is convinced and makes his way back home to celebrate Christmas with his family. The final scene of the film shows him holding his young daughter next to the Christmas tree and the ending is immortalised with her words “Every time a bell is tolled, another angel cake is sold”. A tear jerker of a film - tears of laughter!

Submitted by Steve Wennell, Hampshire

Carry (1974)

Harry Bicknumbers

Deep metaphysical film, about how numbers may be moved from adjacent columns, to allow us to do arithmetic with quantities greater than ten. This film attempts to succeed, where The Borrowers failed: by replacing the 'Zero Energy Thermonuclear Assembly' with a working 'Cold-Fusion' device. The resultant disagreement amongst the gathered experts turns into a complete melee. Damage to the Harwell Laboratory amounted to Two Shillings and Five pence.

Submitted by Anon

Where Eagles Darn (1975)

Woody Eastclint, Richard Tailor

Spatchcock was sent on a wild goose chase by notorious prankster David Attenbrough, who convinced him that prior to breeding, the eagles on Pendle Hill returned to their nests and carried out a unique, darning ritual, making intricate sewing motions with spindles of straw. Woody Eastclint and Richard Tailor were in on the joke and worked a sorry looking, mechanical golden eagle from a distance. This was Spatchcock's only foray into nature filming and famously he retaliated by dressing up in a Mountain Gorilla costume when Attenbrough was making his TV series, Life in Erith.

Submitted by J Taylor, Edinburgh

A Sven Goran Pet Detective (2001)

Jim Caries

Very off-beat film that could have proved a rare hit with younger audiences, except for the frequent full-on scenes of debauchery and licentiousness. The film was basically a vehicle for Caries to show off in an absurd plot about his search for domestic animals who bear a passing resemblance to an England football manager. Filming was held up for almost half an hour when Spatchcock was accused of ill-treating animals on the set, however he was able to convince local magistrates that it was only actors who were being abused and filming resume.

Submitted by J Tatler, Sandringham

From Here To Maternity (1953)

Herbert Lancashire, Montgomery Cleft-Palate, Bill Kerr

Set in wartime Skelmersdale, this unsavoury offering from the Spatchcock stables tells the tale of a mild mannered delivery boy who is cruelly punished for not cheating in the British Legion Cribbage League final, while the team captain's wife falls in love with 'Nancy Boy' Entwhistle, local darts champion and pie-eating champion. Mrs Ethel Spriggs detected echos of this film in Spatchcock's later work 'Cathy, Go Home!'  

Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

Lostock and Two Smoking-Barrels (2000)

Rip Tappart Catherine Heartburn

Brad, an employee of The Lostock Tripe Importing company, attempts to use his position to smuggle two barrels of Opium, which are sent to his employer's works disguised as two barrels of herrings for smoking. The eager workers in Lostock decide immediately to smoke the 'herring' before they go off, but do not realise that they first should be removed from the barrel. The conflagration or the two barrels of opium results in a whole town pipe-dreaming for a whole week, and no-one could be bothered to finish the film.

Submitted by Anon

To Hull And Back (1955)

Audie Stout, Marshall Catalogue, Charlie Drake

With generous sponsorship from the recently nationalised British Rail, Spatchcock was engaged to produce a docu-film about a return rail journey from Liverpool to Hull.

Technically, this involved strapping the camera to the front of a train and filming the entire journey - the plan being to edit it and show it speeded up into a palatable sitting of 2 hours.  But when it came to editing, Spatchcock always found it hard to sacrifice footage, so the film ended up at over 7 hours long.  Audiences could buy a ticket for the actual journey cheaper than they could watch the film - and most of them did.

Submitted by Kevin Goodge, Norwich


Bike Up The Strand (1940)

Mickey Loony, Judy Garbage, Paul Blackhead and His Orchestra

Lester Chitterlings (Loony) attempts to beat the world record for cycling from Trafalgar Square to Aldwych and win the heart of Enid Pledge (Garbage). Not even a musical score by Irving Madrid, choreography by Busby Burnley and the talents of the Paul Blackhead Orchestra could save this truly awful film from musical Armageddon. The Aspull Argus gushed, "Best Picture", whereas the Pemberton Evening Post said, "Best forgotten".  

Submitted by Bill Portland, Rostholme

Four Funerals and A Wedding (1994)

Hughie Grantcheque, Andie McTowel

Critics complained that Spatchcock had got the balance wrong with this tale of unremitting death spiced up by a single registry office marriage at the end.

Grantcheque's performance was described as 'stilted, wooden and formulaic' (the most positive review of his career to date).  At one point, you can catch a glimpse of the rear of Spatchcock's head in the mirror during the scene in the ladies loo where McTowel's friend tries to talk her out of getting wed.  He was simultaneously directing a second film on the same set and had strayed into shot accidentally.

Submitted by J Emsworth, Hull

Harvey's (1950)

James Stewpot, Kingston Upon-Hull

Elwood P. Dowdy (Stewpot) is a middle-aged, incoherent dypsomaniac whose best friend is an invisible 6' 3.5" tall bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream. Filmed entirely on location in Yates' Wine Lodge, Diggle, it has never been entirely clear whether the film has a script, or indeed a plot. Some critics (notably Mrs Ethel Spriggs) have voiced the opinion that it was merely an excuse for a piss-up. A film that drove strong men to drink: 'Mine's a pint' - The Barrow-In-Furness Temperance Society.

Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

Deliverance (1972)

Jon Void, Burt Rennies, Ned Beatties

Four Garstang white van drivers (Lewis, Ed, Bobby and Drew) get lost while trying to deliver a consignment of Spacehoppers to a remote Moss Side council estate.    Lewis (Rennies) is an experienced driver and the leader. Ed (Void) is also a veteran of several trips but lacks Lewis's machismo. Bobby and Drew are novices.

Spatchcock had been reading up on Stanislavski during a summer holiday, and liked the idea that his actors should draw believable emotions to their performances, so he consigned both Rennies and Void to work for two years as Royal Mail parcelpost deliverers.  They money they earned financed the making of the film.

Acclaimed as a landmark picture, the film is noted for the memorable music scene near the beginning that sets the tone for what lies ahead ('Are You Looking At Me?' became a minor banjo success in 1973) and for the infamous 'squeal like an Opportunity Knocks winner' scene.  Ned Beatties was a local from Moss Side who played Lonnie, the almost toothless banjo player: he required over £30 of dental improvements  before he could take on the part.

Submitted by Trevor Parsons, Swanage

The Pigeon Has Landed (1976)

Michael Pain, Donald Sunderland, Robert Dulux, Jenny Abbatoir, Donald Pleasant

A tale of deceit and betrayal set in the cut-throat world of the pigeon fancier. Albert Cudworth (Pain) owns a rare English Short Faced Tumbler but it is stolen by his rival, Ted Utterthwaite (Sunderland) who has developed a microwave beam that will cause a pigeon to veer off course. Cudworth hires international pigeon detective Dirk Thwaites (Dulux) to trace the lost pigeon and he exposes the nefarious scheme. The Aspull Argus called it, "The best film of the week", and The Pigeon Fancier's Monthly, for once, was complimentary, but press reaction was generally poor. Box office receipts were also low - this film almost bankrupted 20th Century Spatchcock. An entire allotment site was created for the film, pigeon crees and all, and the studio only made a profit on the sale of vegetables on Orrell market when filming was over. No pigeons were harmed during the making of this film.

Submitted by John Stamford, Purbright

Moby Duck (1956)

IJames Robertsons-Jam, Gregor E Peck, James Robertsons-Jam, Orson Carte

ll-fated comedy in which Peck plays a one-legged tripe salesman obsessed with an Aylesbury duck who is eventually pecked to death when the duck mistakes him for a piece of bread pudding. Filmed entirely on location at Oldham Municipal Gas Works at a cost of £1 4s 6d (not including the price of bread pudding). The duck went on to star in Spatchcock's musical Mary Pops In before meeting an untimely end at the hands of Mrs Ethel Spriggs.

Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

A Passage to Inglewhite (1984)

Peggy Ashtray, James Glaciermint, Alec Mackeson

With Alfred Spatchcock indisposed - he was on an extended lunchbreak at the Reform Club in Manchester - DW Blunt seized the reins.  Critics who saw the rushes had high hopes for this  tale of the Empire Cinema in Inglewhite in its 1920s heyday, but they were dashed when they saw the final cut. Blunt shot some terrific footage of the Forest of Bowland but his attempt to tell a complex story in just 40 minutes was always doomed to failure.  Even the Aspull Argus turned its nose up - although some have suggested this is because the film critic was a nephew of Alfred Spatchcock.

Submitted by William J Goodge, Edinburgh

The Unmentionables (1987)

Kenna Costco, Roberta DeZero, Shawna Gonorrhea

Special agent, Ella Doodiddle, and her squad, The Unmentionables (so named because they worked in their undies) work diligently to expose wicked Alice Cologne. It isn't easy because Cologne's enforcer, Fran Titti, keeps blowing them off, with a leaf blower. Famous for its baby carriage down the court steps scene, which was an accident as Spatchcock's wife left their infant son with him while she went shopping and Costco, thinking the carriage was a food cart, dislodged it looking for a salami sandwich.

Will, USA

2001: A Sausage Factory (1968)

Bernard Manning, Bernard Matthews, Bernard Winters

Set in a refrigerated lorry stuck on the East Lancs road this film was an ambitious attempt to introduce the then futuristic genre of mechanically retrieved meat products to an international audience. Unfortunately the world wasn't ready and despite a cracking soundtrack from The Grouse Brothers and oversize licorice lozenges only ever attracted a small cult following from black pudding stuffers in Pott Shrigley. Undeterred Spatchcock went on to make the sequel, 2002: A Turkey Twizzler. Sadly that film was vetoed by the censors on grounds of 'gross indecency' due to scenes of naked turkeys juxtaposed with Cumberland sausages. Naturally Spatchcock conceived this as a resounding success and basked in his role as an avant garde auteur for at least 6 weeks.

Submitted by Derry Hunter, Birkenhead

The Wild Lunch (1969)

Robert Tryon, Ernest Porcupine, Warren Oatmeal

Spatchcock's documentary about an ageing group of tripe dressers on their annual day out was described by the Chroston Chronicle as 'controversially shocking and gratuitously blood thirsty'. Filmed entirely on location in St Helens, a violent confrontation was sparked when the tripe dressers chance upon a midday hen party at 'The Old Withered Arm' pub. Unknown to the prospective bride, the translation of her Chinese tattoo was 'I love liver' - the ultimate provocation to the tripe dressers. The horrific devastation of the pub was captured in slow motion when the cameras sprockets were jammed by flying debris. This exacerbated the effect and was a device Spatchcock returned to repeatedly as it enabled him to halve his film expenditure.

Submitted by Peter Gullit, Much Wenlock

Anne of a Thousand Pies(1969)

Richard Tailor, Jenny Budgie

Eager to maximise use of the set he had constructed for filming The Other Bollington Girl in the Tripe Factory, Spatchcock intended to spend the evening recreating all the atmosphere, tension and romance of Tudor England with an historical epic. His characteristic parsimony revealed itself, however,  when the night shift arrived to start  production. Rather than pay for an additional hour's hire of the Studio, Spatchcock tried to incorporate pie-production into the film. Audiences were consequently  bemused at Henry VIII's attempts to woo Anne whilst she was deftly prodding, tasting and packing a steady stream of steaming pies on a rickety conveyor belt, surrounded by squawking women in anything but period costume. 

Submitted by Dorothy Adnam, Brussels


Abram For All Seasons  (1950)

Sir John Upffisster

Exposes the  mental anguish experienced by Dick Head, coming out, and revealing his heterosexual feelings. A coming-of-age drama: fearing sarcastic humour, he leaves Minor's Colliery to work at the intimidating Mains Colliery. Dark and brooding: almost exclusively filmed upon the rooks - the famous Three Sisters which Spatchcock had to re-position to achieve the desired effect. The desolate image of Dickie, head in his hands, sat brooding amongst the melting snows, stained black by run-off from the rook, and stained red by the blood of sacrificed virgins, would have moved audiences to beers. Disaster struck however when a local tinker objected that the spoil-heap was not in Abram, but Bryn. The Regional Arty-Farty Re-distributor of tax-payers' moneys promptly withdrew their funding. Attempts were made to render the work less gloomy, (by extending the Spring Season.) Re-branded as Bryn Me Sunshine it became limited to the late night cult film circuits.

Submitted by Anon.

2 till 10 (1980)

Jane Fondu, Lily Tomtom, Dolly Pumpkins, Drab Coalman

The film addresses the problem of unwanted sexual advances in the work place. Male shift workers in a tripe dressing factory band together for mutual protection from voracious sexual predators Doris Pledge (Fondu), Ivy Cummerbund (Tomtom) and Florrie "the Flasher" Fletcher (Pumpkins). The film didn't do well at the box office, despite lurid and titillating advertising in the run up to its release, much of it involving close-up photographs of Miss Pumpkins' unfeasably large breasts. Shooting in a disused cloth cap factory on the outskirts of Ormskirk had to be abandoned for an hour when the buttons on Miss Pumpkins' blouse gave way under the strain and several cast members received quite serious crush injuries. 

Submitted by E Van Der Dalk, Amsterdam

My Monocle (1958)

Jack Scruffy

This film follows the misadventures of a lovable, clumsy Lancastrian, the pipe-smoking Mr Lilo as he attempts to come to terms with postwar Britain's infatuation with modern architecture, mechanical efficiency and American-style consumerism. The dialogue is barely audible; some suggest that it concentrates the mind on the visual image, others that Spatchcock's sound recorder was drunk again. Some critics saw the film as a reactionary or even poujadiste view of an emerging British consumer society, which had lately embraced a new wave of industrial modernization and a less rigid social structure. Most thought it was rubbish. Released in France as Mon Monocle.

Submitted by Charles Champion, Twickenham

My Fare Lady  (1964)

Audrey Heartburn, Rex The Dog, Stanley Hollow-Legs and others to tedious to mention

Another Spatchcock musical, this time based on the life of Gracie Chips, who, under the influence of gin and Professor Higginbottom, becomes a successful Blackpool tram clippie. With music by Lesser and Even Lesser, and costume design by Cecil Eau-De-Nil, this was a sure-fire failure from the outset. Mainly famed for the musical numbers 'Why Can't Southerners Teach Their Children How To Speak, Tha Knows', 'In't Slum Weere Tha Lives' and 'I've Grown Accustomed To Her Corns', the infamous 'Blackpool Tower Gavotte' (filmed at a cost of 1/3d at Saddleworth Dogs) completely failed to make the Top Fourteen Thousand. The Cleckheaton Gazette (film critic: Mrs Ethel Spriggs) commented 'Words fail me.'

Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

Evicted (1996)

Maradonna, Antonio Badedas, Jonathan Priest, Jimmy Tack

Nellie Cogthporpe (Maradonna), a seg finisher from Orrell, can't afford the rent and is threatened with eviction by wicked landlord Jim Plunger (Priest). She appeals for help to local councillor Chay Gravel (Badedas) who falls in love with her. Spatchcock adapted the succesful musical by Tim Bryce and Sir Andrew Lloyd Grossman for the big screen. Although the Aspull Argus called it "a delightful love story set to music", the Ince and District Mercury reported: "Pure Spatchcock magic! Only an accomplished magician could take a successful show and turn it into unadulterated ordure." Badedas worked with Spatchcock again in the films The Manc Called Zorro and Friday the 13th Warrior.

Submitted by Mary Gardener, Torquay

Tom, the Fan of Opera (1999)

Gerard Butter, Emmy Rostholme, Minnie Doodads, Miranda Richbitch

Tom (Butter) is enraptured by the opera, so much so that he moves into the opera house cellar. He feels at home in the maze of passages and uses them to pop out to surprise the singers. The prima donna hatches a plot to get rid of Tom, but he gets wind of it and takes his revenge by causing a 40 watt light bulb to fall on her head. He then sprays the cast with perfume. They are so incensed that they drive Tom from the building and he is never seen again, unless, that is, someone writes a sequel. Another collaboration with Tim Bryce and Sir Andrew Lloyd Grossman that ended in disaster. Spatchcock insisted that the film was filmed on location at the Wigan Empire to get the right atmosphere. However, its conversion to a modern multiplex two years earlier did nothing to enhance the film, and by God did it need enhancing!  

Submitted by Fred Johnson, Sunderland

The Best Little Warehouse in Tydesley  (1982)

Burt Rennies, Dolly Pumpkins, Dom DeLoose, Charles Dunroamin

Malcolm Thatch (Rennies) inherits a small, rundown rhubarb warehouse from his Uncle Jess and, with the help of local tart Doris (Pumpkins) makes it one of the most succesful warehouses in the north-west. Spatchcock thought that a musical with a score by Sir Andrew Lloyd Grossman would cheer up everyone afflicted by the bleakness of 1980s Lancashire. How wrong he was. The Aspull Argus called it "a happy-go-lucky romp with a definite feel-good factor", whereas the Shevington and Standish Times thought it had, "no talent, no tunes and no wonder". Spatchcock worked with Andrew Lloyd Grossman again on the films Evicted, Stairlift Express and Tom, the Fan of Opera (q.v.)

Submitted by Trevor Billings, Prestatyn

Septico (1973)

Al Pastino, Randolph John

Spatchcock transposed a tale of corruption in the NYPD to a firm of septic tank cleansers in Bolton for this gritty, early seventies film about rogue sanitation inspectors who were on the make for bribes and handouts.

This was a film that made Pastino, and he went on to movies such as Dog End Afternoon (1975), Scarisbrick Face (1983) and Frankie & Johnnie Craddock (1991) - one of Spatchcock's favourites.

Submitted by Phil Jameson, Preston, Lancs

Tripe Miner's Daughter (1980)

Cissie SpacedOut, Tommy LeeAndPerrins, Levon TheNextTram, Champion The Wonder Ferret

Recently discovered in the footings of a condemned potting shed, this musical biopic tells the rags-to-poverty story of Mrs Ethel Spriggs. Spatchcock was all too aware of the (albeit unintentional) boost to his career due to the publicity generated by Mrs Spriggs' reactions to his films, and 'Tripe Miner's Daughter' was an affectionate tribute to this remarkable lady. Touched by his concern, Mrs Spriggs promptly reciprocated by suing 20th Century Spatchcock, and the resulting compensation was enough for her to realise her life-long dream of becoming homeless. 'Oh God!' - Barry Normal, film critic.

Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

Attack of The Fifty Foot Wombat (1959)

Spatchcock's low budget scifi film is remarkable only for the fact that, in an effort to cut costs, the wombat was real and all other characters represented by OO gauge Airfix figures. This may explain why the acting is far beyond the standard normally expected in a Spatchcock film. Filmed entirely on location in Blackpool Zoo, the film almost bankrupted Spatchcock, as the price of the Airfix figures was far beyond the budget. The Fleetwood Mercury said 'Knowing that this was another offering from the Spatchcock stable, I stopped in and washed my hair.' Orson Carte was unavailable for comment.

Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

The Evil Dad   (1981)

Bruce Cowbell

Low budget horror film in which Albert Grimshaw rents a holiday cottage in a remote part of the Forest of Bowland for a summer break.  Amongst a pile of old books he finds a Reader’s Digest guide to conjuring up ancient Babylonian spirits. He reads one of the spells and  is transformed into a hideous monster with the head of a snake and the body of a cow. His wife manages to lock him in the cellar but he escapes. He attacks his children and eats them one by one.  After a prolonged struggle his wife cuts off his head with a chainsaw. The film cost less than a fiver to make (the holiday cottage belonged to a friend). “The most horrific thing about this film is the script”-The Salford Messenger.

Submitted by LA Jones, Manchester

On the Watercloset (1954)

Brandon Marlo, Lee J Cobbon, Karl Welldone

Spatchcock was never afraid to tackle the big subjects of the day and in 1954 this was the biggest. Factories throughout Lancashire were gripped by turmoil as owners put studs on all the toilet seats to prevent workers taking extended comfort breaks. The National Union of Longhosemen defended their members’ rights and this searing, allegorical film depicts the outcome. This is probably Spatchcock’s finest film about toilet breaks and the iconic moment when Terry Molinas (Marlo) emerges interrupted from the toilet, holding a half-read newspaper, became a catch-phrase throughout the county, with husbands everywhere saying through gritted teeth, “I could have been contented.”

Submitted by T Driscoll, Hathersage

Breakfast at't Piggeries (1960)

Audrey Hipfracture, George Pepper

Spatchcock wanted a vehicle to showcase the talents of his latest 'factory girl', Audrey Hipfracture in yet another 'pudding noir' film. It didn't work. In this ridiculous, hackneyed romance (pig slaughterer meets girl, girl rejects pig slaughterer, pig falls in love with slaughterer) Hipfracture had an immediate allergic reaction to the 780 pigs Spatchcock was using as extras, causing her face to swell to gigantic proportions, so that even at 20 yards all that could be seen was her huge, bloated cheeks, completely obscuring the slaughterman's (George Pepper's) unconvincing attempt at a dalliance. The film rescued Spatchcock from the brink of bankrupcy as he was able to sell all the meat from the slaughtered pigs, undercutting other meat wholesalers: he didn't pay any abattoir costs as Pepper had slaughtered the pigs as scripted (and took a career change as a result). Incidentally, Pepper changed the lyric of the film's song to 'Moonface Diva', which became a minor hit for Englebert Cyclepump.

Submitted by Yvonne Curley, Knutsford

The Effluent Man (1980)

Antony Hipkiss, John Pain and Ann Ban-Smallholdings

Thought now by many Spatchcock afficionados to be based on a total misreading of the original outline (due in part to spilling sarsaparilla on the pages), this biopic centres round a Victorian sturgeon (played by Hipkiss covered in fish scales and tomato sauce) who rescues Jonah Merrick (played by Pain without any artificial aids) who is condemned to scrape a living down down the sewers of Oldham. Realising his mistake, Spatchcock tried to tempt cinema goers with an offer of one free bag of fertilizer for every two seats sold. The audience responded by throwing the fertilizer at the screen, resulting in Spatchcock being sued not only by every cinema manager in Burnley, but also by Merrick's only surviving grand-daughter, Mrs Ethel Spiggs, a freelance ferret-sexer of no fixed abode, who was later to be recognised by the Royal Horticultural Society. The film received a one-word review in the gardening column of the Bolton Courier. Sadly, the word is unprintable.

Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

The Greatest Cape (1963)

Steve McQueeze, Alf Garnett, Richard Attenburger, Charles Branston, Donald Prescence, Gordon Upstairs-Downstairs

Prisoners of war in Germany plan a mass breakout under cover of a gigantic homemade cape. The cape is nearly discovered on several occasions by German guards.Several classic scenes in the film, which is shown every pancake day in England, are as well known as any of Spatchcock's work - notably the scene in which McQyeeze attempts to traverse an electric fence using only a penny farthing bicycle. Two of the would be escapees are caught when a German police officer says "good luck" in english to which Gordon Upstairs - downstairs replies "thanks ,were actually escaping from an oflag so any luck is gratefully accepted".   A remake is  currently in post-production starring Susan Boyle as the "cooler king".

Submitted by Jason T Richardson, New Brighton

Zebu!  (1964)

Jack Hawking, Ulla Jacobsbiscuits, Michael Crane, Stanley Bakerlite, Ivor Novella and the Bacup Britannia Coconut dancers

Otto Witless (Hawkings) attempts to convert the heathen tribes of Bacup into cleaning their black-lead grates with Zebu. His daughter Marguerita, however, is transfixed by the size of their coconuts. Driven half-mad by his failure, Witless drinks himself blind on Fiery Jack, leaving Broompusher (Crane) and Shard (Bakerlite) to abandon their game of cribbage and attempt to save the day, helped only by Ivor Novella singing 'Nellie Dean', accompanied by the massed bands of the South Wales Leek Growers Association. Described by Orson Cart as 'a laugh a minute' (he admitted later that he was drunk at the time), the film sank without trace. In 1979 Spatchcock released a sequel, 'Zebu Dawn'. After its premier the star, Herbert Lancashire, was stoned to death by Mrs Ethel Spriggs, a ferret-sexer of no fixed abode, who in 2004 posthumously received an ASBO.

Submitted by Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

Whatever Happened to Baby, Jane? (1962)

Betty David, Joan Crawfords-Biscuits, Mickey Ronnie

Shot entirely in Lower Crumsall (as indeed the actors should have been) on a budget of £3.10s and a book of Co-op Divi stamps, Spatchcock's venture into the world of film noir centres around two sisters (David and Crawfords-Biscuits) who can't remember where they left the baby (played by Ronnie in an ill-fitting wig). Few will fail to forget the climatic ending where David and Crawfords-Biscuits sober up and realise that there was never a baby in the first place. Most memorable for the nightmare scene where Ronnie shouts 'Let's do the show right here!' whilst Crawford-Biscuits attempts to act her way out of a paper bag, (although Orson Carte was heard to remark that all scenes were nightmares) the film met with critical indifference. This was, of course, the film that led to the infamous Hebden Bridge Affair of 1962, when Mrs Ethel Spriggs, a ferret-sexer of no fixed abode, was so moved by the plot that she attempted to set fire to the projectionist. She was later acquitted on grounds of reasonable behaviour, and in 1994 was awarded a posthumous BAFTA for services to the film industry.

Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

My Beautiful Ladette (1985)

Daniel Day Tripper, Jeffrey Saaed, Shirley Ann Sheep

Spatchcock was mesmerised by the youth subculture of the 1980's and 1990's - so much so that couldn't resist taking on this cutting-edge film of drunken teenage girls in Wigan out on a Saturday night binge.  Filmed over an entire evening in King Street, Wigan, this was the film that (for a weekend at least) made navel-piercing cool.

Sadly, the critics panned it.  The plot bravely tackles many subjects such as racism, homosexuality and the generally dismal state of the nightlife in Wigan during the 1980s, but it lost the studios shedloads of money.

Submitted by Carole Ford, Wrexham

Twelve Hungry Men (1959)

Henry Fondu, Laurence Bath-Oliver, James Robertsons-Jam and including Little Albert Cleghorne

A little-known brutal expose of the intriguing and often dangerous world of mass catering. Shot entirely on location in Dewsbury Tripe Market, the film is remarkable for the first known appearance of Little Albert Cleghorne, whose career promptly sank without trace. Total filming costs were 7/6d (not including the fine paid to the Council for trading without a licence). Rarely seen today, except where strong men gather to throw tripe at passing traffic wardens. The film critic of the Cleckheaton Argus And Tripe-Fanciers Weekly said "If I'd known it was this bad, I wouldn't have bothered to shave my legs."

Submitted by Kate Westwood, Wolverhampton

Of Meissen Men (1939)

Burgess Merrydeath, Lon Chav Jr, Noah Boozy Jr, Betty Flapjacks

A film about the development of hard paste porcelain in 18th Century Germany was hardly likely to get audiences queueing at the box office, and it didn't. The Aspull Argus praised the "gritty realism" of the film, but the film critic of Exchange and Mart was less than impressed. Sponsored by Jebthorpes Fine Antiques and Cargills Crockery Store.

Submitted by T Jones, Port Talbot

North West by North North West (1959)

Gary Crant, Eva Marie Scones, James Bricklayer, Leo G Carlisle

Evil genius Professor Dampvan (Bricklayer) mistakes succesful clog salesman Roger Hornythrill (Crant) for a CIA agent and attempts to kill him as he goes on the run in Lancashire. Spatchcock shot the meeting of Hornythrill and Doris Glaithwiate (Scones) on the Skelmersdale tram, but he had forgotten to purchase tickets for everyone. The resultant fine almost bankrupted 20th Century Spatchcock. The scene where Hornythrill is buzzed by an aeroplane was shot in Mesnes Park using Airfix models. Spatchcock built a scale model of Parbold Hill for the climax at the Parbold Bottle and shot the whole thing using his nephew's Action Man figures. Critics praised the fine acting in those scenes.

Submitted by Ethan Durbridge, Pontefract

The Thomas Blunt Affair (1968)

Steve McLean, Faye Dunnawaywith, David Nivea, Vincent Priceless

A fictionalised account of Thomas Blunt, owner of Blunt's Footwear Emporium, and the story of the segless clog. Blunt (McLean) inherits the company from his father (a brief cameo role by Nivea), and begins the process of modernisation. Boldly moving out of Mintball Square, he relocates in a former rhubarb forcing shed in Ince and chances upon the design for the segless clog. His chief of production, Doctor Adolf Scholes, (Priceless) hatches a nefarious plan to distract Blunt by introducing him to his beautiful neice Florrie (Dunnawaywith), meanwhile making off with the designs. Scholes markets the clog as a foot care sandal and makes millions while Blunt is left alone and friendless among the ruins of his once lucrative company. Made with sponsorship from The Worsley Mesnes Cornplaster Company and Utterthwaites Athletes Foot Powder.


Submitted by Charles Cambert, Andover

Benny Hur (1959)

Charlton Blumenthal, Jack Hawkeye, Sam Jaffacake

The advent of TV meant that cinema audiences were declining, so Spatchcock gambled heavily by investing almost £300 (approximately £2400 at today's prices) and a full weekend of shooting to make this ambitious biblical epic (filmed at Pennington Flash, outside of Wigan).

The novel on which the script was based ran to over 500 pages so Spatchcock ordered a severe edit where every third page was discarded.  Although it meant for some unusual directing decisions and a storyline best described as 'different', it brought the film in at under 90 minutes.

For the now-famous chariot race, Spatchcock borrowed three pit ponies from nearby Pemberton Colliery.

Submitted by Geoff Spelling, Harrow


No Segs Please, We're British (1973)

Ronnie Carboot, Ian Ogler, Susan Polygons, Arthur Lowestoft

Based on Joe Organ's award-losing play, it chronicles the misfortunes of Trevor Spline (Carboots), a seg master from Skelmersdale, as his company fails, with terrible effects on his personal life. The film is based upon fact; in 1962 expensive Italian shoes flooded the market and fashionable young people no longer wanted to wear clogs, and as the clog industry collapsed the seg makers of Skelmersdale lost their chief customer almost overnight. The plight of the Skelmersdale Seggers was hardly light entertainment for Spatchcock's audiences and they stayed away in droves.

Submitted by Gerry Rumbelow, Bridlington

Each Dawn I Dye (1937)

Peachy Probus, Nina Duretti, Molly Umbridge

Spatchcock's study of the lives of three sisters who all married men who insist on having a freshly dyed shirt each morning was a modest hit at the box office but would have been much bigger had it been made two years later when colour film was first made available.

Submitted by Herbert Herbertson, Lincoln

The Whelks of August (1987)

Bette Dayglo, Lilian Glitch, Vincent Priceless

Two elderly widowed sisters (Dayglo and Glitch), near the end of their lives, open a fish and chip shop on Wigan Pier and become romantically involved with Jess Ormanroyd (Priceless), owner of the whelk bottling plant next door. Spatchcock's "chip flick" was very poorly received. Although he managed to tempt silent movie star Glitch out of retirement with the promise of free whelks, audiences could not hear her dialogue over the sizzling of the batter in the hot oil. On set, Dayglo was almost injured in a saveloy accident. In the unending quest for realism, Spatchcock constructed a fully working fish shop that became very popular with the local populace. The film's producer, Harry Rumsden, bought the shop from Spatchcock, and that was how Barnacles began.

Submitted by Matty Sprakes, Oldham

 An Afro To Remember (1975)

Gary Crant and Debra Kerbstone

Set in the throbbing world of a Harlem hairdessing salon (but filmed entirely on location in Pensby, on the Wirral) this was a film that proved how limited the audience was for movies with barbers as their main focus.

Shortly after the movie premiered, Spatchcock was accused of racial stereotyping - something he denied by pointing to the fact that Gary Crant was actually Caucasian, and that some of his best friends had coloured complexions and tightly-permed hairstyles.

A film to forget.

Submitted by RG Furrow, Stevenage

Cat on a Wet Tin Roof (1961)

Elizabeth Tinker, Paul Oldman

Spatchcock's attempt to chronicle such social mores as greed, superficiality, mendacity, decay, sexual desire, repression, and death were completely overshadowed by inept camera-work. The dramatic, ten minute scene between Oldman and Tinker, in the pouring rain in Bolton, where it is clear that their relationship has deteriorated beyond redemption is ruined by Spatchcock's failure to spot an apparently inebriated cat struggling repeatedly to scramble up a corrugated iron shed roof (hence the name by which the film became known). A tragedy for Spatchcock, but probably the funniest few minutes in any of his films.

Submitted by Ged Mullins, Lytham St Annes

Dr Hyde & Mr Jekyll (1941)

Tracy Spencer, Ingrid Iceberg, Lada Turner, Donald Snack

Another cheap throwaway from the Spatchcock studios. Spencer ducked out of shooting half way through the film as he had a dental appointment, so Donald Snack doubled as Mr Jekyll for the remainder of the film (to some critical acclaim).  At this stage in his career, Spatchcock was producing at least 6 movies a day, with films in continuous production in three adjacent rooms at the Tripe Factory.  The interior shots for How Green Was My Valet were being shot at the same time, and just occasionally the audience can hear Roddy McDowelling during quiet parts of the film.  Donald Snack was in both films, and caused consternation in the continuity department as he flitted from room to room. 

Submitted by HPJ, Essex


Keep The Aspidistra Watered (1997)

Richard E Blunt, Helena Jimmy-Carter

Spatchcock's adaptation of George Irwell's 1936 novel about  successful copywriter Gordon Capstick (Blunt) at a flourishing advertising firm in 1930s London was actually Spatchcock's third attempt at making this film - he tried in 1936 and 1956 with not much success.  There was clearly something about Irwell's hero never settling down to a money-based life-style and his search for artistic perfection which appealed to Spatchcock - perhaps he saw something of himself in the Capstick character?

Jimmy-Carter, playing Capstick's girlfriend Rose, famously vowed never to work for Spatchcock again after he made her use a stunt double for the love-making scenes.

A case of third time, third-rate.

Submitted by Tom Ellis, Durham

Some Dog, Millie (an Airedale) (1954)

Millie Spatchcock

Jealous of the success of Lassie, Spatchcock was convinced he could turn his three-legged Airedale, Millie, into an international star. It never happened. Audiences quickly tired of an aggressive, lame dog pointlessly chasing around and barking. The fact that Millie's violent temper was exacerbated by anything that moved, including cameras and Spatchcock himself, made working with this dangerous animal impossible for any actor. In this nonsensical film, Millie is supposed to silently lead the police to a raffle-ticket counterfeiter. Her constant barking, however, gave Lawrence Chortle a 3 day migraine so he could not appear in the last two reels of this or Spatchcock's next four films. Despite Spatchcock's valiant attempts at editing, the film was clearly like all the rest of the 'Millie' movies - a manic dog barking at a camera.

Submitted by Tony Rockford, Devon

Beefstock (1970)

Spatchcock was paid £100 by the Tripe Marketing Board to make a documentary about the Beefstock Festival of Music and Tripe held in the grounds of  Stuart  Hall, Wigan on August Bank Holiday, 1969.  More than 100 people braved the torrential rain and gale force winds to watch over 30 unknown acts including Tim Hardon, Ravi Hamshank, Joe Wimpy, John B Coe, The Incredible G String Band,  Canned Lager, Johnny Summer and  Ba Na Na. A twelve year old Billy Blunt sang Victory to the Popular Liberation Front of the People's Democratic Republic of Congo.  The film is memorable only because it records the first and last performance of supergroup Blunt Faith who split up after the first song. Curiously, the film lasts 9 hours even though the concert itself lasted only 8. Spatchcock felt the film captured the essence of the festival and the Wigan Globe and Argus agreed-sort of: "The film is just like the festival-a wash out."

Submitted by RJS, New Jersey, USA

Great Expectorations (1974)

Orson Carte (narrator)

Spatchcock's documentary record of the Shevington and Standish All Comers Spitting Contest is best forgotten. Interestingly, his nephew, Irving Spatchcock, used extensive clips from this film to pad out his 2005 flop Harry Pooter and the Gobbet of Fire.

Submitted by H Mole, Winchester

A Night Nobody Could Recall (1958)

Kenneth Coors, David Hiccups

The Teetotaler Society of Boozwick hijack a ship bound for Rumney, unaware there are fifty crates of scotch aboard. A thirsty crew member opens the crates during a turbulent storm and the passengers drown in the stuff. The screenplay was penned by Welton Dumbo, an American writer Spatchcock thought was blacklisted because of communist sympathies, but it was for drinking spit.

Submitted by Will, USA

Days of Ale and Posies (1962)

Jackie Lemonpopsicle, Lee Emetic

An alcoholic (Lemonpopsicle) falls in love with and gets married to a young florist (Emetic), whom he systematically addicts to booze so they can share his "passion" together.  With sponsorship from Oldham Brewery, what should have been a  cautionary tale of the dangers of drink was subtly changed by Spatchcock to accommodate his paymasters.

In real life Emetic was a devout abstainer but before filming Spatchcock insisted she spend three weeks in a Yates' Wine Lodge to ensure she played the role authentically.  After the film, she spent years in and out of rehab and never quite recovered her previous innocence.  Lemonpopsicle, by contrast, took to the part like a duck to water, and was happy to appear in role at the premiere at Chadderton Gaumont and at any subsequent parties where there was free drink available.

Submitted by W, via Movie Forums

Hindley Green Mon Amour (1959)

By 1959 Spatchcock's reputation had spread far and wide, and so he was forced to make this film in France, where his work was unknown. Hailed as a masterpiece of the French cinema it is generally regarded as the first of the Nouvelle Vague films of the early 60s. French critics liked the use of random flashbacks and the unique non-linear approach to plot development, due mainly to the editing by Spatchcock's myopic one-armed Uncle Oswald. For British audiences, it was just more of the same old rubbish.

Submitted by Serge Simpson, Ilford

Dad's Boot (1981)

Jürgen Pressnow, Klaus Dedore, Kurt Reply, Heinz Beenz

Biopic of the life of Henry Blunt, owner of Blunt's Footwear Emporium, and his unfulfilled dream of developing the segless clog. Loosely based on the biography written by his son, the project drew on sponsorship made available by the German Tourist Authority to stimulate holidays there. Audiences were puzzled by Spatchcock's decision to employ German actors speaking their lines in their native language. While the Aspull Argus called it, "Ein sehr schöner film", the film critic of the Leigh & District Advertiser simply wrote, "Der schlechteste film des jahrzehnts".

Submitted by Gilbert Powell, Chudleigh Knighton

How the North West Was Won (1962)

Lee J Corn,  Henry Honda, Karl Seasalt, George Pepperspray, Debbie Dallas, James Stewpot, Marion Morrison and Richard Skidmark. The film is narrated by  Tracy Spencer

One of Spatchcock’s last attempts at the North Western genre he created but never mastered.. Set between 1839 and 1889, it follows four generations of a family (starting as the Blairs) as they move ever westward, from Burnley  to the Irish Sea. The idea behind the film was to provide an episodic retelling of the progress of westward migration and the development of Lancashire.

The projectionist at the Gaumont, Parbold where the film premiered (Spatchcock’s 12 year old nephew Walter) couldn’t get the hang of the widescreen process which worked by simultaneously projecting images from three synchronized 35 mm projectors onto a huge, deeply-curved screen and mixed them up. The showing ended in a riot with the Wigan Constabulary having to be called to restrore order and issue refunds to an irate audience.

Not even the all star cast could rescue this turkey. “Makes Gunfight at the O. K. Sauce Factory look like Citizen Kane” (The Wigan Gazette and Sentinel).

Submitted by P Proby, Exeter

A Fair To Remember (1957)

Gary Grunt and Debra Core

Nick Ferrari (Grunt) meets Terri Mackay (Core) on a pleasure steamer day trip from Blackpool North Pier to the Isle of Man. They become friendly and, just before the boat returns to Blackpool they agree to meet in 6 months time at the Pleasure Beach. The story then tells of how 6 months later she is injured by a runaway tram and is left confined to a wheelchair. Meanwhile Nick goes to the pleasure beach on the agreed date but is left waiting by the roller coaster not knowing what has happened. Nick returns to his job (painting the Blackpool Tower) and by chance spots Terri one day sitting on a tram. When he eventually discovers her address he visits and the climax of the film is when he discovers why she hadn't met him at the pleasure beach. It's interesting to note that the original script for this film had the characters meeting at the top of Blackpool Tower but it had to be rewritten when Spatchcock found he couldn't afford the admission fees for his cameraman and stars.

Submitted by Steve Wennell, Hampshire

Squadron Leader Z  (1943)

Derek Postman, Ann Mozart, Gerald Fitzwalter, Martin Muller, Beatrice Marley

Albert Silcock, a handsome German-speaking RAF pilot and film-maker, is parachuted behind enemy lines in Luftwaffe uniform and within two weeks rises to the rank of second in command to Adolf Hitler. He becomes official film-maker to the Nazi regime and makes films which are so awful that the morale of the German people collapses. Realising that he is beaten, Hitler retreats to his Berlin bunker accompanied by Silcock. Silcock offers him a mint imperial which, unbeknownst to Hitler, is laced with strychnine. Hitler dies and the Allies win the war. Spatchcock made full use of his collection of model aircraft to film the bombing of Berlin. Reviews were unfavourable. “Risible” - The Spalding Picturegoer. “Preposterous” -  The Wigan Messenger. “Utter tosh. The acting is dire and the songs are even worse” -  The Luton Herald.  Only The Aspull Argus seemed to like it.

Submitted by SF Franklyn, Jersey

 

Snicker Man (1990)

Dustman Hoffbin, Laurence Fagin, Roy Dishwasher

Spatchcock waited until Marathons were rebranded as Snickers before making this film, and was accused of unwarranted product placement by the critics.  Nevertheless, when you can see past the large close-ups of the candy bars there's a film that repays at least a couple of viewings.   This movie hints at the era of McCarthyism and was a great thriller. Fagin, Hoffbin and Dishwasher played it straight (for once) in asking "Is it safe?"

Spatchcock hadn't realised Senator McCarthy had died over 3 decades earlier, and insisted on not being credited as the director for the film.

Submitted by Harry Worthington, Sussex


Pub Story (1970)

Brian O’Neil, Ali Katz, Bob Morley and Ray Miliband

Romantic drama film written by Jonathan L Seagull and based on his novel, the film tells the story of the doomed love affair between a Radcliffe pub bouncer and a college student who is working part-time as a barmaid. The love affair is doomed almost from the start as Katz is run over by a bus in the first reel and O’Neil doesn’t even notice. The pub brawl scene in which O’Neil is glassed is believed to have been real. The film’s last words - ‘Being a hard bastard means never having to say you’re sorry’ - captured the hearts of hardly anybody. The film, purportedly a tragedy, is considered one of the funniest films of all time by the St Anne’s Film Institute.

Submitted by PJ, Plymouth

Hannah and Her Blisters (1986)

Weedy Allen, Michael Pain, Mia Furrow, Barbara Hefties, Dianne Waldos Carrie Flasher

Joint sponsorship by The Worsley Mesnes Cornplaster Company and Henry Blunt's Footwear Emporium did nothing to prevent this film from sliding rapidly down the bannister of oblivion. Although the Aspull Argus called it "a delightful social comedy", the Bickerstaff Bugle said "The curtain opening was the most interesting part of the film". Spatchcock spent literally hours assembling a star-deficient cast from all parts of Wigan and, for once, they do a workmanlike job. The script, written by Jack Rosencrown on the back of a fag packet while riding home from work on the bus, was heavily edited and revised by Spatchcock until it was unrecognisable as drama or language.

Submitted by Ted Gartside, Kirkintilloch

Out Of Accrington (1970)

Moral Streak, Robert Rufford, Klaus and Maria Brandysnap, Michael SoupKitchen.

Epic story of Donna Blitzen (played by Streak in one of the most unremarkable roles of her long career), who sets up a whippet farm in the exotic wilds of the West Pennine moors. After contracting piles from sitting on a cold rock while whippet herding, she meets the love of her life played by Rufford and some scouts from Cleckheaton (Rufford was long past his prime and rumour has it that the scouts doubled his action scenes as well as most of his acting. As most of his dialogue consists of him muttering dib-dib-dib and randomly bursting into choruses of Gin Gan Goolie this could well be true - although he denied this vigorously when interviewed on the Michael Parkingspace show).

Streak's husband is played by identical German twins Klaus and Maria Brandysnap (Maria appearing in the night-time shots to save on having to make her up to look like a man). The last reel of the film has never been shown as Boots were closed when Spatchcock went to have it developed.

Renowned film critic Barry Normal rates Out Of Accrington as the pinnacle of Spatchcock's work, adding "Please quit while you're on top, please! Please!"

Submitted by Peter Wood, Tyne & Wear

It's A Wonderful Lift (1946)

James Stewpot, Donna Reedy, Lionel Marrybore

George Oldbailey (Stewpot) has the perfect lift. However, on Christmas Eve it breaks down, giving Scrooge-like Mr. Plotter (Marrybore) the chance to charge people to use the stairs.  George has a mid-lift crisis and contemplates suicide, only saved at the last moment by the apperance of his guardian circus animal, Clarence the Lion (on loan to Spatchcock from Billy Smarto's). Clarence shows George how much his lift means and how everyone would have to use the stairs without it.  

It was a thin plot, and the lion was only available for an hour, so Marrybore had to double as Clarence for the second half of the film using a costume hurriedly obtained from a school pantomime.     Cheap to make (filmed mostly in the confines of a lift in Kendal Milnes department store in Manchester) the film didn't hit the right notes: in particular, the concept of a guardian circus animal was new to most people.  Few were prepared to waste an hour and a half of their life watching the film, even in bleak post-war Lancashire.

Submitted by Sandy Fellows, Tewksbury 

7⅜  (1963)

Marcello Mastitis, Claudia Chihuahuas, Anouk Aimless, Little Jimmy Krinkly

The biopic of Wigan capmaker, Italian-born Arthur Blunt, and his struggles against racial prejudice, male pattern baldness and the wooly hat. Krinkly plays the young Arturo Bluntini, arriving on Wigan Pier alone and penless. Ill-equipped to sign the immigrants register himself, he is recorded as Arthur Blunt. The film was shot in Italian and Glaswegian Scots (Krinkly knew no other language) but Spatchcock ran out of money before he could hire a translator, so audiences couldn't understand the dialogue. Lucky audiences! Spatchcock felt that the original screenplay by J. B. Proust was too funny so he brought in Bob Monkfish to finish it off, and finish it off he did!

Submitted by Amelia Woodburn, Basingstoke

Gunfight at the O. K. Sauce Factory (1957)

Burt Lanchester, Doug Kirklees, Jo Van Flapjacks

A band of criminals led by "Bad-Tempered" Barry Todmorden (Kirklees) break into the O. K. sauce factory in an attempt to steal the secret recipe and sell it to Daddies. Sergeant Henry Simkins (Lanchester) of the Wigan Constabulary gets wind of the plan and lays siege to the factory. The inevitable shootout leaves the gang dead, Simkins a hero and the secret recipe safe for posterity. In his unending quest for realism, Spatchcock insisted on using live ammunition in the gunfight scenes. The film is dedicated to the memory of Hugh Evans, Tommy Carter, Bill Nance, Herbert Fellows, James Jackson, Terry Galloway, Norman Flint and Peter Barlow.

Submitted by P Yarrow, Barry, Wales

Big Trouble in Little Hulton (also known as Alfred Spatchcock’s Big Trouble in Little Hulton) (1986)

Bert Muscle, Mee T’Pai

Martial arts/adventure/comedy/thriller/musical/romance which stars Bert Muscle as truck driver Jack Bolton who helps his friend Wa Hey rescue Wa's fiancee (Mee T’Pai) from bandits in Little Hulton. They go into the mysterious underworld beneath Chinatown, Manchester where they face an ancient sorcerer named Fry Pan. This was a film Spatchcock had wanted to make for many years, largely due to his fondness for Chinese food. Filmed mainly on location in the Kwik Wan on George Street to take advantage of the All You Can Eat For A Fiver menu which reputedly bankrupted the restaurant. Saturday night diners can be seen looking on in amazement as the cast leap through the air performing kung fu kicks on each other.

Submitted by TK Hutton, Middleton

The Woollen Horse (1950)

Leo Gong, David Tomintoul, Bryan Forebears, Anthony Iron, Peter Flinch

A group of Allied POWs attempt to escape from captivity in a pantomime horse made from army pullovers. Another sponsorship from Courtalds. The Aspull Argus called it, "A well knit plot" but the film critic of the Orrell Evening Post simply wrote, "Woollen horse, wooden cast". Spatchcock searched for hours for a location for the lonely, featureless prison camp filled with drab individuals with pointless existences and no hope of escape. Filmed in Birkenhead.

Submitted by Tom Rogers, Kilmarnock


Everything You Wanted To Know About Socks (But Were Afraid To Ask) (1972)

Nobby Wood

 

In the early 70s, the Lancashire cotton industry was under pressure from cheap eastern imports and synthetic materials such as nylon, acrylic and polyester. The Sock Marketing Board paid Spatchcock £100 to make a film to boost sales. Spatchcock chose to make a comedy based upon the Sock Marketing Board’s 1972 winter catalogue. The film consists of a series of sketches each of which features a different type of sock including long socks, short socks, sports socks and toe socks and, memorably, a sheep wearing two pairs of leg warmers. Sock sales plummeted following the film’s release.


Submitted by LA Jones, Manchester


Thoroughly Modern Millom (1967)

Julie Liver-Saltz, James Fops, Mary Tyler Mounds, Carol Chainsaw

Following a visit to the bright lights of Barrow-in Furness, a young woman attempts to bring her sleepy Cumbrian home town bang up to date. Spatchcock could only afford a cheap day return to shoot on location in Millom so he used a second unit to film in and around Wigan Flashes. The film was edited by Spatchcock's myopic one-armed Uncle Oswald. The only existing print is a confusing jumble of dark, out-of-focus scenes with barely audible dialogue and excessively loud score played on mouth organ and spoons. In many respects, a typical Spatchcock film.

Submitted by E Blewitt, Hereford

Seven Bras for Seven Brothers (1991)

Simone Farsley, Holly Harding, Kim Newsome, Leanne Cole, Christine Vole, Jean Sark, Pam Newel.

Spatchcock's supposed documentary on the lives of seven transsexual brothers from the same family was widely panned by critics and public alike when it was discovered that the entire cast was female and unrelated. The film did however win a coveted 'noodle' award for Best Foreign Film at the 1992 Taiwan Film Festival.

Submitted by H Herbertson, Lincoln

An American in Parbold (1951)

Gene Pool, Leslie Carrion, Oscar Occident

A musical that Gene Pool was to later disown, although it contained the popular hits Embarrassable You, Nice Work If You Can Avoid It  and  I Got Rickets which went some way to pulling in the crowds when this premiered at the Wigan Odeon.  

Due to roadworks on the B5246 Parbold was closed to shooting, so Spatchcock took advantage of a few empty seats on a coach trip to Derbyshire to film the entire movie in Clay Cross (near Chesterfield) and this led to a few quirks in the Lancashire dialogue.  Near the beginning of the I Got Rickets number, one of the market stallholders says 'Hey up, me duck' as Carrion attempts to purchase some leeks, so the film occasionally shows up on Film Blooper compendiums.

Submitted by FR James, Nottingham

The St. Valentine's Day Manicure (1967)

Jason Roadblock, George Seagull, David Cannery, Vital Spitoon

The film charts the attempts of gang boss Al Caseltza to get to the beauty parlour while his enemies try to rub him out. The film that nearly bankrupted 20th Century Spatchcock. To get the atmosphere of the mean streets of Chicago, Spatchcock filmed in the back streets of Orrell. His cameras were stolen and sold back to him three times. Spatchcock pursuaded flamboyant hairdresser Vital Spitoon to play the part of Caseltza's flamboyant hairdresser. The film critic of the Aspull Argos wrote, "What realism! This was the role he was born to play".

Submitted by George Plympton, Haddington

The Layby and the Tramp (1955)

Animation

Encouraged by Spatchcock, primary school teacher Walter Dismal made his infant class spend every morning ‘colouring-in’ thousands of slightly different drawings. Spatchcock thought that by filming these drawings carefully he could make an ‘animated’ film of of a Snow Goose, flapping majestically across its natural habiitat of coastal marshland. Careful filming was never Spatchcock’s forte, however, although even he should have noticed that, in his haste to complete the film in under an hour, he had spliced all the crude drawings upside-down. On first showing at the Garstang Gaumont, bewildered audiences complained that it was like watching a tramp on the A6 lay-by, a name which stuck and which haunted Dismal until he moved away from the area.

Submitted by Anon.

The French Lift Attendant’s Woman  (1981)

Jes Steel, Meryl Christmas

A French lift attendant (Steel), working in Kendal Milne’s, Manchester, is engaged to be married to an orange-faced make up salesgirl on the second floor. That much is clear in this convoluted tale of broken hearts and mid-floor liaisons. Quite how love blossoms between him and a depressed Manchester Clippy (Christmas) is never satisfactorily explained, nor the reason she spends days gazing at the foot of the lift, waiting for the doors to open. Spatchcock himself was involved in several torrid love affairs throughout the filming of the movie, spending the morning closeted with Christmas, the lunch break with Steel and finally the afternoon with his leading tripod hand, Randolph Stead, whose claustrophobia prohibited any filming inside the lift.

Submitted by JP, Bergerac, France

The Return of Drabula (1958)

Christopher Leerdammer, Peter Cossetting, Diana Dumplings

The vampire is brought back to life and is hunted down by Doctor Van Halen. The sequel to "Drabula", it didn't do well, chiefly because the original film was never shown (the only print was lost on the bus to Ormskirk). Audiences were puzzled by the plot, the dialogue and the characterisation, so nothing new there. Leerdammer made 137 Drabula films for Spatchcock, but never again with Cossetting, who became famous playing Jewish detective Shylock Holmes.

Submitted by B Torrenson, Shincliffe, Co Durham

From Here to Infirmity (1953)

Bert Lancashire, Clift Michelmore, Deborah Kerb, Frank Sonata

Post-war audiences were initially shocked by the scenes of Lancashire and Kerb kissing in the surf of the Arnside tidal bore.  Love between pensioners had rarely featured in cinema, and once again Spatchcock was pushing the boundaries, although he considerably toned down the original novel to appease the censors of the time. In a move that brought the studio close to bankruptcy, they imported two hundred tons of Hawaiian sand to form the backdrop to Lancashire and Kerb's kiss.  Fortunately, they were able to sell the sand to St Helen's Glass at a profit and 20th Century Spathcock lived on.

Submitted by Carol G Ferris, Halifax

Nora! Nora! Nora!  (1970)

Yasimo Okaro, Bashimo Nuaru, Mataro Clitheroe, Betty Hunter

Spatchcock's observations of pre-war Britain were beautifully portrayed in the tale of young housewife Nora Mason(Hunter)who announces that she wishes to abandon her life in the cotton mills of pre-war Lancashire and enlist in the Imperial Japanese Navy. Initially her friends and family are supportive. However, a bout of food poisoning at the local takeaway turns the local community against Nora's plans and she finds herself torn between her family and the battleship Nagato. Critics of the film pointed out that model planes used in the action scenes were historically inaccurate as Harrier Jump Jets didn't come into service till 1969.

Submitted by H Herbertson, Lincoln

Once Upon A Time In Ancoats (1992)

Bob the Nero, Jimmy Forrest, Joe Pepsi

A former tripe factory worker returns to Manchester to face some old ghosts and confront the regrets he had at changing careers to become a pipe cleaner salesman. The film came seventh in the 1992 Manchester Arts Festival Short Films Awards even though it was pointed out that the reason the film was only 37 seconds long was because Spatchcock had run out of money to buy film. 'Once Upon A Time In Ancoats' warranted a mention in The Times 1992 film review as 'possibly the only film in history to finish before any of the cast had appeared'

Submitted by H Herbertson, Lincoln

Much Ado About Knitting  (1993)

Kenneth Bracken, Emma Tomatoes, Kimo Therapy, Denzel Washhouse, Richard Brambles, Kate Bombshells, Brian Gob

Sponsored by Courtalds and described by The Aspull Argus as "a good yarn", this film is loosely based upon William Shaftshaker's play. Despite a star-depleted cast, it almost bankrupt the studio and was not a big box office hit. The knitting needle fight between Benny (Bracken) and Don (Washhouse) was bungled and Bracken was hospitalised for 3 hours, leaving Spatchcock no option but to bring in Bob Monkfish to finish the film, which explains why Benny is always seen from the rear in the last 8 minutes of the film.

Submitted by B Farthing, Bolton

Hordes of the Things (2001)

Viggo Morticelock, Elijah Stiffy, Sean Pea, Ian McLovey, Sean Abstain, Orlando Blimp

An ambitious dramatisation of J. R. R. R. R. R. R. Tolpuddle's epic novel that lost something by being squeezed into a 20 minute film by Spatchcock. Pemberton Colliery slag heap was given a facelift and brightened up to double as the dread land of Modroc. It is rumoured that Spatchcock almost bankrupted the studio in his quest for authenticity while filming the battle at Ball's Deep; several hundred thousand east European extras were brought into the country, many of whom stayed after filming was over.

Submitted by Terry Capp, South Shields, Tyne & Wear

The Berts (1963)

Albert Neverurdofim, Tippi Hedren (possibly, or was it that other blonde one that was in 'Suspicion'?) Michael Craine

A small fishing port in the North West is overrun by men  called Bert. Horrifically changed from their usual innocuous meanderings and endless twittering they appear to gain a collective consciousness and hang around chippies in huge, threatening queues. Then our hero comes to town and all heck is let loose! One of Spatchcock's enduring classics; it set twitchers alight from St Helen's to Helsby and remains a masterwork of subliminal frippery.

Submitted by Franco Cuccino, Birkenhead

One Upon A Time in the North West (1968)

Henry Fonder, Charles Brontosaur, Jason Roberts, Claudia Cardigani; music by the Henry Morriccini.

Classic Fish'n'Chips Western Epic encompassing the expansion of the Northern folk (cf The OK, The Bad'un & the Twat) into the wide open spaces of the Northern Moorlands featuring the classic struggle between evil mill-owner (Fonder), beautiful widow (Cardigani in one of the few non-jumper-related roles) and Brontosaur as jumped-up leftie troublemaker (unlike Fonder, cast to type) struggling to form a union and bring decency and disorder to a troubled land.

Submitted by Franco Cuccino, Birkenhead

Another Fine Mass (1939)

Frank Worrell & Oliver Hardly

The comedy duo surprisingly find themselves participating in a church service, which all passes off without incident.

Submitted by B Latimer, Plymouth

A Horrid Day on Nights (1964)

The Dave Blunt Five, Wilfred Branston, Norman Rawtenstall, John Rubbish, Victor Spaghetti

Four young lads working night shift at the local whelk bottling plant decide to have a day out in Formby, but it all goes drastically wrong. Spatchcock was trying to cash in on the success of The Dave Blunt Five's debut album which had gone straight into the charts at Number 47. Despite hiring some of the cheapest film actors in the business the film failed to succeed. It has a cult following among music fans as it includes some of The Dave Blunt Five's greatest hits "I Should Have Had Butter", "All My Clubbing", "Don't Buy Me Gloves", "She Hates You" and "I'm Happy Just to Glance at You". Bass player, Percy Flange, doesn't appear in the film. Dave Blunt explained to Spatchcock, "He's visiting his gran and he asked me to collect his money for him".

Submitted by Tracey Little, Ormskirk

Greaseball (1978)

John Traviata, Olivia Newton-Heath

Musical extravaganza which tells the story of a love affair set in a Blackpool holiday camp. In the summer of 1958, chip shop worker Danny Subo meets holidaying Sandy Ogden at Pontlin’s holiday camp. They fall in love. When the summer comes to an end, Sandy, who is going back to Birkenhead, worries that they may never see each other again, but Danny tells her that their kneetrembler is "only the beginning". Instantly forgettable soundtrack includes Summer Fights and Hopelessly Devoted to Glue. Greaseball was voted the worst musical ever on Channel 4’s 's 100 Worst Musicals.

Submitted by S Balotell, Cheshire

Bored of The Pies (1965)

Johnny Clitheroe, Nicky Rooney, Bonny Longbottom

Spatchcock’s gritty adaptation of William Golden-Wonder’s challenging novel. Set in 1960’s Wigan, a group of rebellious, adolescent boys confront the social norms by telling their mothers that they are dissatisfied with their staple diet. This allegorical film forced audiences to explore their feelings as the boys, cast out from civilised society, struggle with their consciences and the acquisition of trim physiques. Spatchcock treats the impending break down of society (as one by one the boys turn vegetarian) with panache. It is interesting to conjecture how the subtle sub-plots of the film would have have been resolved if the light hadn’t faded, forcing an abrupt end to the afternoon’s filming. For many this is a disappointment, but Spatchcock was keenly aware that the hire of the Tripe factory was 7/6d per hour, so insisted that Piggy (Clitheroe) wake up and realise that it had all been a dream.

Submitted by Jan Sale, Amsterdam


Billy Blair (1963)

Tommy Courthouse, Julie Crustie, Wilfred Branston

Billy Blair (Courthouse) spends his time fantasising about what it would be like to be Prime Minister, master of his own make-believe kingdom, while simultaneously juggling a constant series of affairs with women (including Crustie).  Spatchcock rarely ventured into political satire - when you watch this film you can experience the relief at this knowledge.  

Submitted by Hayley Jones, Preston

Look Back in Bangor (1959)

Richard Burden, Claire Bloomsday, Mary Uriah, Dame Edith Outsize

A film that changed the course of British cinema. It was  watching this Spatchcock movie  that inspired directors such as Kenny Roach, Danny Boy and Kenneth Branston to get into film-making.  Roach in particular said: "We knew we could do better than this miserable offering".  Filmed entirely on location on a rainy afternoon in north Wales, excerpts were later used in adverts for the Scottish Tourist Board's Come To Scotland, Don't Go To Wales campaign, much to the annoyance of their Welsh counterpart. 

Submitted by Gavin Thorenson, Hull

Curry on Sergeant (1978)

Hattie Jackass, Kenneth Walliams, Sidecar James, Kenneth Conman

Suddenly the bandwagon of success appeared to lurch awkwardly in front of Spatchcock with this run of what he described as his ‘Bollinwood films’. He seemed to have chanced on a winning formula, as he could not export enough of these films to the independent cinemas in Didsbury. Spatchcock could not understand what made all his films (Curry on Camping, Curry on Doctor, Curry on Everything, etc) so popular in September 1978, as they seemed to be using the same tired scripts, cast and costumes as always. As Spatchcock discovered to his chagrin many years later, the cinema owners were discarding the films without even showing them, as the cans were changing hands for hugely inflated prices as Chapati baking trays during a time of national shortage.

Submitted by J Drome, Nuneaton

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Formby (1966)

Zero Bankbalance, Phil Slivers, Michael Crawfish, Buster Keystone, Michael Hardon

Spatchcock assembled a strong cast for this bawdy story of Romano-Southport slave, Pseudolus (Bankbalance) and his attempts to win his freedom by helping his young master woo the girl next door.  Crawfish is best known for playing the hapless Frank Marks in the popular 1970s British sitcom, Some Mothers Have Effeminate Sons (which made him a household name).
This was Keystone's last feature film.  The experience of working with Spatchcock was so shocking that he bowed out of films and brought his fifty year career to an end.

Submitted by DG, Harrow

Mr Lilo's Holiday (1952)

Jack Scruffy

Follows the misadventures of a lovable, clumsy Lancastrian, the pipe-smoking Mr Lilo. Released as Les Vacances de M. Lilo in France. Spatchcock shot the film on location in Blackpool on August Bank Holiday Monday 1952 in typical bank holiday weather.The film crew had to cope with sub-freezing temperatures and gale force winds. The film is mostly silent but not intentionally so-the sound equipment was damaged by the torrential rain but Spatchcock decided to release the film anyway.

Submitted by Niamh McMahon, Chorlton, Manchester

Rear Widnes (1954)

James Stewpot, Grace Whelley

Amateur photographer Jeffrey 'Jeff' Jeffreys (Stewpot) wanders the back streets and ginnels of Widnes recording them for posterity.  He spots someone fly-tipping a sofa, and reports them to the town council. Post-war audiences were getting more sophisticated, and snubbed this low-key crime drama in their droves.

Submitted by K James, Bristol


Merry Bobbins  (1965)

Archie Andrews, Dick van Halen

‘With a script this thin, who needs tracing paper ?’ asked the Croston Chronicle and it’s hard to disagree. ‘Let’s get weaving’ trills the film's star, whilst the audience eagerly anticipates his/her wish being granted so they can exit into the lashing Todmorden rain, infinitely preferable to another song from a transvestite puppet and his gorblimey handler. There is a limit to how many films can be made about a weaving shed with a falling order book, something this film makes abundantly clear within the first fifteen frames.

Submitted by Gerry Monk, Handsworth

The Spy Who Came In From Chorlton-on-Medlock (1965)

Bruce Saga, Bob Monkfish

When the Chortle Brothers temporarily deserted Hollinwood to work in the Wakefield studios of J Arthur Rival, Spatchcock was forced to call on the comedic talent of Saga and Monkfish.  Audiences found it hard to keep track of the frequent plot changes and the idea of Soviet espionage in South Manchester felt a little far-fetched. 

Submitted by JK, Queens Park, London

Arthur Sixpence (1988)

Arthur Sixpence

Spatchcock’s cautionary, yet strangely moving, homage to his mentor, the pioneering cinematographer. There is no doubt that the Croston we know today would be a hugely different place had Sixpence not located his studio there. Sadly, there was insufficient local interest in re-building the town following the conflagration which engulfed it after the spontaneous combustion of 10,000 reels of incorrectly stored celluloid. ‘Crash, Bang, Wallop’ as the Chronicle headline put it. Spatchcock reveals that it was from Sixpence that he learnt how to extend a flimsy page of script into a whole film and avoid paying performing rights to musicians by running the soundtrack backwards. Towards the end of the second reel, a tearful Spatchcock tells us that he ceremonially dons one of Sixpence’s charred socks prior to any filming.

Submitted by Yousef Sahi, Abbotsford

The Man Who Fell to Burnley (1937)

David Knife, Torn Zip, Candy Fromababy

Surreal early film which audiences struggled to understand, mainly because Spatchcock accidentally spliced the scenes together in the wrong order. It was his fourth film of a busy Bank Holiday Monday, but nevertheless this cavalier approach caused considerable confusion. The plot, such as it was, involves a Yorkshireman (Knife) mysteriously arriving in Burnley and eager to transport some decent ale back home. Lancashire County Council become involved, although quite how is never satisfactorily explained - Spatchcock owed them a favour for failing to inform them about his filming on what was then termed ‘the Preston bypass’. Owing to the editing fiasco, having given the Yorkshireman a tearful send-off with full orchestra, his (by now pregnant) girlfriend (Candy) returns home to find him just arriving and not recognising her.

Submitted by Jan Wong, Huddersfield

Good Morning Rotherham (1985)

Bob Williams, Woody Whittaker

Spatchcock’s over-the-top re-telling of the true story of a wartime BBC continuity announcer’s struggle. In reality, on one occasion the announcer dropped a single aspirate, saying “‘Ere’s the nine o’clock news”, for which he was mildly reprimanded. With typically Spatchcockean hyperbole, the announcer (Williams) resorts to smashing up the studio, demanding that he be allowed to say, “Eh up, me ducks, ‘ere’s t’ bloody news’. It is an open secret that to achieve an authentic wartime feel to this film, shot entirely on location in Rotherham in 1985, Spatchcock spent £47 on improvements to the town centre.

Submitted by A Hall, Dundee

Supertripe Me (1974)

Melvyn Spatchcock

Spatchcock's nephew Melvyn stars in this documentary which follows the drastic effects on his physical and psychological well-being of only eating cow products. Spatchcock dined at tripe restaurants three times a day for 30 days, eating every item on the chain's menu at least once including tripe, cow heel, pigs trotters, lamb’s fry, tongue, brains, elder, wessel, genitals and anus. The film had the opposite effect to that intended. Although Spatchcock went completely bald and lost the use of his arms as a result of the experiment, he also lost two stone in weight. Thousands of overweight Lancashire women went on tripe-only diets and tripe sales rocketed. The film was discredited by the Tripe Marketing Board when it emerged that Spatchcock was a member of a radical vegetarian movement dedicated to the elimination of tripe from the human diet.

Submitted by SDL, Blackburn

The Wilmslow Boy (1946)

Robert Donut, Sir Cedric Hardup

Ronnie Biggins is accused of the theft of a quarter of midget gems from the Pick'n'Mix counter at the Wilmslow branch of Woolworths.   His father, Arthur Biggins (Hardup) thinks he's been fitted up, and engages local solicitor  Donald Grabbit (Donut) who is able to discredit much of the supposed evidence.  Woolworths eventually withdraw the charges against Ronnie. Loosely based on Terence Ratcatcher's play of the same name, the production was shot entirely on location in Didsbury, Manchester, which was thought to be a close approximation to leafy Wilmslow.

Submitted by Geoff Spelling, Fallowfield, Manchester

Things To Do In Droylsden When You're Dead (1995)

Andy Gardenia, Christopher Santander, Steve Bus-Conductor, Christopher Walking, Don Cheadle-Hulme

The adventures of a crime boss who uses an undertakers as a front to his nefarious activities. Spatchcock's homage to the film Pulp Fiction had an unintelligable plot, barely understandable dialogue and images that were dark and almost unwatchable, so no change there. Droylsden Town Council would not allow filming within the town so Spatchcock used picture postcards of Droylsden as a blue screen backdrop to the action. Many critics admired the rare sense of realism that this gave the film.

Submitted by Bill French, Leicester

Butcher Cassidy and 'Fat Chance' Sid (1963)

Charlie Vicar, Mary Picknose, Noel Craven

A script Spatchcock had left over from the 'pudding noir' period and which he should have ignored. A puzzling collection of disconnected scenes depicting the film's two protagonists involved in a series of highly unlikely scams - 'Fat Chance' Sid's attempt to sell an unsuspecting tourist the River Mersey being a case in point. It was during the filming that Spatchcock discovered that the leading actors, his three most bankable stars, had found a way to break free from their binding contract and intended to set up a rival studio 'Untied Artists', a co-operative venture to be based in Rochdale. The rest is history.

Submitted by Eric Fast, Ullapool

How Green Was My Valet (1941)

Walter Partridge, Maureen O'Heifers, Roddy McDowelling, Donald Snack, Barry Fitzbadly

Spatchcock's attempt at a comedy of manners. A young Welsh lad (McDowelling) is taken on as trainee butler by a rich mine owner (Partridge) and has to learn, not only his duties, but how to behave in polite Wigan society. Denied permission to shoot at a working pit, Spatchcock constructed an entire mining village, complete with mine, on waste land near the canal. After shooting it was bought by the Pemberton Coal Company and within six months was the most profitable pit in the area. The film almost bankrupted Spatchcock, but he was saved by the commission on the coal from the mine.

Submitted by P Mather, Boston, Lincs

DT (1970)

Johnny Clitheroe, Bonny Longbottom, Nicky Rooney

Three young children chance upon an illicit whiskey still, high on Todmorden moors. In a poignant scene, they drink all two gallons of of the eyeball-popping liquid then try to find their way home, describing to all and sundry the little green men, pink elephants and huge white rabbits they can see all around. In his memoirs, Rooney castigated Spatchcock, not for spiking the young actor's cold tea with vodka, but for refusing to subsidise the cost of the Ormskirk alcohol treatment centre they all had to attend in later life (and in which Spatchcock had a half-share).

Submitted by Xavier F, Nottingham

 

The Hunchback of Walton-le-Dale (1939)

Charlie Lawless, Maureen O'Haha

Nobody foresaw this film winning any Oscars, and they were right.  Spatchcock's decision to cast O'Haha as Quasimodo and Lawless as Esmeralda was described in turn as 'audacious' and 'inexplicable' by the local press, and may have contributed to the film's box-office failure.

Submitted by CR, Preston

Florrie and Madge II (1991)

Susan Sanatogen, Geena Jones, Harvey Kaytel

The unexpected success of his Lancashire road movie Florrie and Madge (fewer than half the audience had left during test screenings) led Spatchcock to rush back into the studios with the same cast for a sequel.  But a succession of hastily-hired scriptwriters struggled to come up with a believable plot, given that the main characters had died in the first film when their mopeds had plunged off the end of Blackpool pier. 

Submitted by Donald McIntyre, Aberdeen

The Magnificent Severn (1960)

Orson Carte (Narrator)

Spatchcock leapt at the chance when the English Tourist Board  asked him to add a film to their "Rivers of England" series of documentaries, but it was a monumental mistake on the part of the powers that be.   Owing to budget difficulties, the film was shot entirely on the River Douglas in Wigan. Spatchcock enjoyed the documentary genre, chiefly because they were cheap to make, and went on to make hundreds in the next two weeks, making the most of Orson Carte's availability to do the voice-overs.

Submitted by Harry Ball, South Medomsley

The Bridge Over The River Wyre (doc) (1932)

Alec Stout, Jack Hawkeye

Spatchcock's follow up documentary to 'The Story of Isambard Kingdom Blunt's Unsuccessful Attempt to Build a Bridge on The River Mersey'.   The shooting took almost three full days - a record for the Spatchcock studio.  Spatchcock filmed the entire building of a six foot bridge over the River Wyre and refused to edit a single frame "to respect the verite" as he wrote in his memoirs. Eleven ducks died in the making of the bridge (which was never used as the construction method accidentally diverted the course of the river).  Rarely screened.

Submitted by M Platting, Manchester

GI Blues (1960)

Elvin Pessary

A musical about a depressed diabetic?  It could only be a Spatchcock.  The backers, the distributors, the cinemas and (ultimately) the audiences all said 'No!'  Pessary's performance, though, was enough to mark him out as a future star of at least a dozen more Spatchcock films, as well as leading to a lucrative cabaret contract at the Eccles British Legion - quite a triumph for the octogenarian.

Submitted by Colin J., Marple

The Belles of St Triplicate's (1953)

Alistair Simples, George Coalman, Joyce Posh, Beryl Common, Barbara Baps

The Department of Education are desperate to close St. Triplicate's school and the local police keen to investigate the headmistress, Miss Mitten. They try to get a female officer on the inside but she gets drawn into the pupils' plan to kidnap a racehorse to foil the staff's gambling consortium. To reduce the cost of extras, Spatchcock shot the film in a real girls school in between lessons. It took two days to complete the film (much longer than the average Spatchcock movie), during which time Simples suffered a stroke and his dialogue had to be dubbed by Norman Winsome.

E Plumtree, Essex

The Postman Always Folds Letters (1981)

Jackie Nickersnatcher, Jessica Flange

Some saw this as something of a personal vendetta by Spatchcock after his holiday snaps were ruined by an over-zealous postie cramming them through his letterbox.  Whatever the motivation, a dire performance by Flange failed to redeem an already dismal script.  Not one of Spatchcock's best. 

Submitted by Alan Shaw, Chorlton-cum-Hardy

The Man who Broke the Bank at Chorlton-cum-Hardy (1966)

Bob Morley, Reginald Magdalen

Lacklustre biopic of Len Grules, the Chorlton-cum-Hardy bank clerk, whose excessive weight broke seventeen office chairs, eight toilet seats, a pen-holder and, eponymously, the bank counter. Cashing in on England's hosting of the World Cup, Spatchcock wrote in a walk on part for Gherkin, a 'looky-likey' for Pickles, the dog who found the Jules Rimet trophy. A film very much of its time, which avoided all mention of Len’s private pastime and from which he was beginning to amass a vast personal fortune as the co-inventor of the blow-up doll.

Submitted by P Brick, Compstall

Seven Hives for Seven Brothers (1954)

Baldy Chortle, Lawrence Chortle and Les Chortle

The third of a series of films Spatchcock made with the Chortle Brothers, this time with them getting into scrapes on the moors as they search for the bee hives their father left them in his will. The three brothers played all seven parts, leading a certain amount of confusion on both sides of the camera. Interestingly, the trained bee that played the lead role formed a strong attachment to Spatchcock during this film and followed him on to his next production (‘Dial A for Astley’) Following this incident, Spatchcock uttered the immortal words, “That bee will never work in Hollinwood again!”

Submitted by Sandra Marks, Cheadle Hulme

A Sanitary Inspector Calls (1954)

Alastair Simples

Based loosely on JB Blunt's play of the same name, the film focuses on a visit to a local fish and chip shop by council sanitary inspector Ralph Biggins.  When rat droppings are found in the potato store, one by one the other cast members are implicated.  Features a young George Coalman (a later favourite of Spatchcock) in one of his first bit-parts.

Submitted by FG, Honiton

Accrington Graffiti  (1972)

Johnny Clitheroe, Hayley Berry-Mills, Hughie Groan, Nicky Rooney, Bonny Longbottom, James Bowland

Spatchcock's affectionate tribute to his last day at Holroyd Street primary school. The film follows a gang of six eleven year olds as they roister round Accrington, high on Mackesson and Burdock. This was the first of Spatchcock's 'rites of passage' films, showing how the youngsters cope with their first bar-room brawl, TWOCing and necrophilia, themes he returned to in 'Wrestle Down the Wind' and '101 Detentions'. Spatchcock consistently denied repeated accusations that showing of these films was inevitably accompanied by outbreaks of 'copycat' lawn thefts.

Submitted by Jonathan Rossendale

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