Archive for Michael Winner

Rudy the Wrangler

Posted in FILM, Science with tags , , , on March 7, 2017 by dcairns

This story was told me by a friend who worked on a fishing TV show hosted by Scottish actor Paul Young. Young had been in Michael Winner’s western CHATO’S LAND (an unpleasant affair: don’t watch it) and had at least one story to tell. I’m telling it as my friend told it to me, hopefully correctly.

Young Paul Young

There was a horse wrangler on  the film called Rudy (this checks out: Rudy Ugland was his name). Rudy was a relaxed sort of cowboy, usually to be found with his feet up, hat pulled over his eyes, until needed. Whenever Winner let loose his nasal bray “Roooo-deeeee!” he would tilt the hat back, stand, and saunter over to see what needed doing.

One day, Winner decides to set up one of his periodic artsy shots, shooting under a horse, using its belly and front and back legs to frame the shot. I haven’t rewatched the somewhat obnoxious oater to locate this angle, but it sounds like the kind of thing Winner would do when he was feeling a bit Sid Furie.

The horse and the camera and the actual subject of the shot — maybe including Mr. Paul Young himself — were all in position, and Winner looked through the viewfinder to check the shot. Hmm, something not right. Some diagonal obstruction cutting right through frame.

It turns out the horse has an erection, which is making the shot a little TOO expressionistic. The image is cut in half from top right to bottom left, like a split screen. Like you might expect to see two characters engaged in a phone call, either side of the horse cock.

“ROOOO-DEEEE!” calls Winner.

Rudy raises his hat brim, stands, moseys over, looks through the camera, sees the problem, moseys over to the makeup artist, asks to borrow a can of hairspray, returns to the horse, and — SKOOSH — sprays the tip of the unruly member with hairspray. And the thing retracts like a telescope.

Tip of the ole hat to Mr. Winner, and Rudy walks back to the startled makeup woman, hands her the hairspray back, returns to his seat in the shade. Hat down Feet up.

Lady Latterly’s Shover

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2015 by dcairns


Marlon Brando gets jiggy repulsively bestial with the fragrant Stephanie Beacham in Michael Winner’s THE NIGHTCOMERS, reviewed by me over at Electric Sheep Magazine. Of course, frame-grabbing moments like this from the big sex montage allows me to present Winner’s World of Erotica in condensed diamond form, his lap dissolves (he edited it too) creating a Janus-faced limb-tangle, a Brando-Beacham telepod mishap, like something out of Brian Yuzna’s SOCIETY.


Look, Stephanie is eating a tiny arm! How adorable.

Arguably Winner was Britain’s greatest underrated experimental filmmaker, devoting fully three decades of his career to exploring the myriad ways of making a film simply fail to work. An inexhaustible field of study for one so resourceful.

Rejected TV Show Ideas

Posted in Television with tags , , , , on June 1, 2013 by dcairns


I once had a TV show proposal rejected with the words “I found the characters hard to relate to because they were all of above average intelligence.” To be fair to the exec in question, that sentence continued with the words “and mad.”

Here are some of my TV series proposals. Most of them are not real. None of them have happened.

Adolf Hitler Investigates. The adventures of a crime-fighting Führer. I thought this would be a natural for Channel 5.

It’s The Adolf Hitler Show! A history show for kids where Adolf Hitler, boiling in a cauldron in hell, tells the story of WWII.

They Saved Hitler’s Legs. Sitcom in which a man gets Hitler’s legs transplanted onto him and can’t stop goose-stepping. Alternative title: He Can’t Stop Goose-Stepping.

The Borgias Kitchen. Cookery show without Hitler.

Election Night of the Living Dead. The next General Election, covered live through the night by actors made up as zombies, acting like zombies (shambling movements, incoherent moaning instead of speech). Still think this is potentially a winner.

Dimbledon. Tennis coverage from Winbledon presented by David Dimbleby. Surprised this hasn’t happened.

Crufts Rollerball. In the spirit of Alan Partridge’s desperate suggestion of Monkey Tennis: pedigree dogs from the popular dog show play a violent contact sport on rollerskates.

Invisible Snooker. Snooker played by invisible men wearing night-vision goggles in complete darkness. On other words, a black screen with intermittent clacking sounds. Tense and relaxing at the same time.

Tick Talk. A late night open-ended discussion show about parasites.

A Brief History of Time on Ice. Stephen Hawking’s masterwork of popular science presented as an allegorical ice ballet.

Play it Again, Samurai. Casablanca restaged in feudal Japan. To be played by white actors in yellowface speaking gibberish, dubbed into English with fake Japanese accents. “We’ll always have Hokkaido.”

Battlestar Potemkin. A space opera about refugees seeking the lost planet Earth, made as a silent film in a Russian montage style. I think Dirk Benedict would be up for this.

Frears Sneers. To replace the gap left by Winner’s Dinners, which was a newspaper column about film director Michael Winner eating things, a TV show about Stephen Frears openly scoffing. It shares with its illustrious predecessor the fact that its whole existence is predicated upon a title that rhymes.

John C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. Punk poet John Cooper Clarke investigates bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the chupacabra or goat-sucker. He ponders the mysteries of this and other worlds, and tries to find something that rhymes with chupacabra.

Psychic Farmers. Show about dairy farmers with telepathy. Maybe they can communicate telepathically with cows, but I don’t want to stress that part too much.

Finally, to make up for the fact that I once, unknowingly, worked for the company that went on to make Embarrassing Illnesses, easily the most abhorrent show on television anywhere, I propose a show starring the executives and producers of that company, to be entitled Humiliating Deaths.

I’m sure everyone has at least a couple of rejected TV show ideas. What are yours?