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The Human Touch Blog ~
David Farrant

Scene 1 – Take 2367

Yet more Takes

I am not a movie critic, nor have I ever professed to be, but I had the absolute misfortune to watch a film today about the legendary Robbing Hood that was filmed in 2002 AD in and around Brighouse, West Yorkshire. 

The film was given to me by a friend who lived in Brighouse at the time, but who periodically visits London to help organise professional film events for television (the last major one being the BAFTA presentations in February), and when he does so, he frequently stays over at my flat in North London.  I enjoy his visits as we have several mutual friends in the Yorkshire area, and can ‘catch up’ on local gossip and activities, much of which centres around a local belief that Robin Hood himself was originally from Yorkshire, and is buried in a secluded woodland grave at Kirklees.  Such is the local belief, at any rate, and newspapers (local newspapers, that is) always seem ready to try and establish that Robin was a ‘born and bred’ Yorkshireman and that Nottingham Castle and Sherwood Forest (Robin’s reputed historical domain), are only ‘fairy Tale myths’ whose only true motivation was a ruse invented by the Nottingham Tourist industry.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the latter have argued that the entire situation is the other way round,  and that it is the ‘Yorkshireites’ who are trying to filch the historical tradition to attract tourists to their own impoverished area.

But I digress.  The fact remains that the current day dispute does exist; in fact, has done so since the early 1980’s when a local woman from Brighouse, known affectionately as ‘Babs the witch’, began a ruthless Press campaign to establish that the woodland grave at Kirklees (just 2 miles from her home, and in fact only a Victorian folly) was the exact place where Robin was buried after firing off his last arrow.

It is against this background that the film was made, and kept by my friend as a recorded account of ‘local history’ for his extensive archives.  Perhaps the fact that the film in question was made as a ‘spoof’ of the Yorkshire legend, was another reason my friend agreed to impart the film to myself and Della, wanting only serious research material to make up his library.
Anyway, Della and myself finally got around to watching it yesterday, and it has to be said that its content was truly hilarious!

The film is introduced and presented by one Mark Gibbons, and the only other participants – apart from surprised pedestrians having a microphone forced into their faces – were Mark Gibbons himself at a couple of locations near to Brighouse, and Babs herself who had agreed to be interviewed in the local Three Nuns pub.

But the film had some interesting moments near its beginning, before the ‘grand finale’ in the pub and the filming of the interview.

Perhaps most amusing was the sheer amount of ‘takes’ needed to perfect just one scene.  And maybe it didn’t help when Mark Gibbons was trying to give an introductory commentary about the famous outlaw, and Babs decided upon that very moment to walk her little dog in the background, right in camera view, when it was desperately pulling her towards some selected ‘doggy spot’ where it was trying to defecate!

The film crew’s luck did not seem to hold out when, later at the Three Nuns, and Babs was trying to describe some bonky person who had declared that the Kirklees grave was really the haunt of a blood-sucking ‘vampire’, that the portable pay-phone on the bar rang – not just once, but on three separate occasions!  If this was not enough,  people kept using the nearby loo, and as the toilet ‘flushings’ were clearly audible in the footage, those takes as well, had to be re-filmed.

But to be fair, the film itself made for great amusement.  Well, it certainly had its moments!  And perhaps little wonder that it had been filed away as a ‘spoof’!
Well, Della and myself were certainly entertained by it anyway.  Its not often you can turn in after a late night ‘film’, without ‘Hollywood violence’ giving cause for unwanted dreams.  The film scarcely did that much, but it did provide an opportunity for brief discussion about the potential importance of keeping our Green Belts clean!

For now everyone
David  (and Della who is now asleep!).


18 responses

  1. The film is indeed dire – where serious documentary making attempts end and spoof begins is a no man’s land of confusion. In my opinion the comedy gold which is this interminably long series of wacky larks should be bequeathed to the nation. What do you think my lover?

  2. Apart from anything, it is an embarrassment to the BPOS! What if people thought WE had something to do with it? Zut alors, what horrors.

  3. I couldn’t agree more, sweetheart! I do not see why the nation – the world even – should be deprived of this classic film footage. And it won’t be, don’t worry! My favourite bit has got to be the ‘doggy scene’. Talk about messing up a public place! Obviously Babs must have forgotten her doggy bag!

  4. I like the bit where Babs is sitting in the Three Nuns, and inbetween the toilet flushing she puts on her serious face and the slightly faltering voice as she describes her terrifying ghostly visions at t’grave ….. ‘It was actually a very dickipoggy experience….’ TOO FUNNY, it needs a health warning. There is no way that bit was intended to be a spoof, which just makes it all the funnier.

  5. And of course – it certainly WAS a very ‘dickipoggy’ experience – considering she confessed to you and Brother Gareth in the pub that she made the whole thing up!

  6. Yes, that’s right; when she was talking about her ‘vampire sighting’, I believe. And don’t forget the Yorkshire Pudding was also there as well.

  7. She really needs to take a leaf out of the Bonky One’s book – if you’re going to tell the world that you have seen a vampire, stick to your guns and never back down – and NEVER get drunk and confess that you made it up for a laugh!

  8. And they accuse myself of ‘going on’ about the Highgate ‘vampire’ when I have to keep telling people I don’t even believe in them. Such hypocrisy!

  9. The point they seem to miss is that if you speak or write about the Highgate case, it is only ever because people have asked you about it – or are disseminating inaccurate information. I think people would be surprised at the sheer volume of media enquiries you receive from people asking about the ‘vampire’. I reckon it must be around 15 enquiries a month. It was very good to meet the two ladies who came round last week, who did not want to focus on that case.
    The point is, even though the facts of the case get garbled and lost in translation often, it remains the subject of enduring interest. I don’t see many people going round asking about Red Roger. Well, except me haha.

  10. David,
    I don’t know why you’re devoting so much time to mocking Barbara and the Robin Hood thing, when you were the Patron of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society for nearly ten years, wrote to local press to defend Barbara’s claims, and filmed a ‘blessing ceremony’ at the grave. It reeks of sour grapes.
    I know you have a beef with her, but you’re being rather disinegenous about your own involvement. Almost like you’re trying to ‘erase’ it through ‘humour’. In the meantime, what did you think of Kai’s book?

  11. Hi darling,
    Just heard from Drew and he says he tried ringing last night but we must not have heard the phone – he is coming deffo sometime after 6pm. Am posting this here incase you canne get on your email as RM would say.
    Cool beans,
    D xxx

  12. And yes I agree with you, putting it on Youtube would be the funniest thing ever. Only it will be me who ends doing all the conversion, editing and upload. Might be more practical to let them do the donkey work.
    I am almost – almost – inclined to just send it to them and let them do it. If they really want the public to see it! I certainly don’t want OUR names associated with it, oh the shame! I might even send a little notelet with it, sprayed with my signature perfume.
    If – of course – they were to say the magic word. ‘Please’.

  13. No, I really don’t mind if they want to put the film up on YouTube; as long as they don’t associate it with the BPOS! The magic word ‘please’ would not go amiss rather than making ‘threatening demands’ when they don’t even hold the copyright! Babs just doesn’t seem to understand the laws of copyright – just as she didn’t with the Red Monkey film crew!

  14. If you get a chance to speak to Gareth before he leaves the house can you ask him to see if he has that book I am after? Its in your email, you know. My phone has died! xxx

  15. “David,
    “I don’t know why you’re devoting so much time to mocking Barbara and the Robin Hood thing, when you were the Patron of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society for nearly ten years, wrote to local press to defend Barbara’s claims, and filmed a ‘blessing ceremony’ at the grave. It reeks of sour grapes.
    I know you have a beef with her, but you’re being rather disinegenous about your own involvement. Almost like you’re trying to ‘erase’ it through ‘humour’. In the meantime, what did you think of Kai’s book?”
    So says Anthony Hogg.
    The answer is really very simple, Anthony, if you would all but look! We have made no comments or observations that have not been in answer to wild accustions previously made by Barbara herself about Della and myself. She was aided in doing this by a close neighbour who just happened to have been dismissed by the BPOS in 2oo7 from her her (then) position as secretary.
    So ‘sour grapes’? I suppose you could say that. But its only those two females who have been eating them!
    David Farrant

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1946 - 2019




From the vaults ...

A flashback to one of David’s comedic, profound or quizzical blog entries. Dive into the archives to find more gems.