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STV to air first – and only – film directed by Sir Sean Connery

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STV has announced plans to broadcast The Bowler and the Bunnet the only film ever directed by the late Sir Sean Connery – 53 years after it originally aired on the channel.
 
The hour-long documentary sees Connery visiting Glasgow to examine the impact of new working practices at the floundering Fairfields shipyard on the River Clyde.
 
Connery chose to direct the film – first broadcast on 18 July 1967 – 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, 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.”
 
Sir Sean 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 Sir Sean 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.
 
Sir Sean Connery, originally from Edinburgh, died aged 90 in Nassau, Bahamas on 31 October this year. He starred in seven James Bond films between 1962 and 1983.
 
Stephen O’Donnell, Director of Programme Strategy & Marketing at STV, said: “While everyone remembers Sir Sean Connery as one of the world’s greatest Scots and the definitive James Bond, I don’t think many will be aware that he directed this fascinating passion project about the volatility of Glasgow’s shipbuilding industry in the 1960s.
 
“The film provides a vivid insight into a bygone era, and demonstrates Connery’s directorial flair alongside his more widely celebrated acting talent. Little over a month after his sad passing, we’re pleased to be able to introduce viewers to a compellingly different side of the cultural icon they adored.”
 
The Bowler and the Bunnet airs on STV at 11:05pm on Monday 7 December and will be available on demand across the UK on the STV Player.
 
NOTES

Image courtesy of Bill Scott family.

Media contact: 
​Stephen Innes - stephen.innes@stv.tv