Sir Sean Connery’s first and only film as director to be screened by STV
and live on Freeview channel 276
The hour-long documentary, entitield The Bowler and the Bunnet, sees Edinburgh-born Connery visiting Glasgow to examine the impact of new working practices at the floundering Fairfields shipyard on the River Clyde.
James Bond actor Connery, who died on October 31 at the age of 90, chose to direct the film during a turbulent period for Glasgow shipbuilding, when the industry appeared increasingly uneconomical, several major yards were facing closure, and relations were deteriorating between management (traditionally wearers of bowler hats) and their bunnet-donning workers.
In the programme, which was filmed in black and white and first broadcast on 18 July 1967, Connery observes: “To the worker’s bitter eye, the situation looks clear – the boss takes the gravy when the going is good, and when things look bad, he sells out, takes his money and vanishes.
“And that’s the crux; the gulf is complete – the gulf between the Bowler and the Bunnet.”
Connery worked with Glasgow scriptwriter Cliff Hanley on the film, which focuses closely on the famous “Fairfield Experiment” – a test of new industrial management methods, supported by the then Labour government, which were introduced at Fairfields in the mid-1960s.
In a 1967 interview with Bernard Braden to promote The Bowler and the Bunnet, Connery said: “I’d never considered myself a particularly political animal at all, but when I went up to Scotland to look at this Fairfield Experiment, it awakened all sorts of dislikes and likes that had obviously been dormant in me.”
Discussing his experience of working with Connery in 1969, STV camera operator Bill Scott said: “He’s quite a character and played football with the boys in the yard every lunchtime. So skilful was his footwork that one of the lads commented, ‘He’s maybe a ham actor, but he’s a first-class centre-half.’”
The Bowler and the Bunnet was produced by STV Studios – then known as Scottish Television Enterprises – and received its international premiere at the Rome Film Festival in 2006.
The Bowler and the Bunnet airs on STV at 11:05pm on Monday, December 7 and will be available on demand on the STV Player.