Second showing for Bute film programme

THE organisers of last Sunday’s screening of past and present Bute promotional films have organised a repeat showing of their programme due to public demand.

The list of names on the waiting list for tickets to last weekend’s sell-out event had grown to around 50 by the time the lights went down at the Discovery Theatre in Rothesay, prompting VisitBute, the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme and Bute Film Club to decide on a second showing on Sunday, March 11, at 7.30pm.

Two brand new promotional films showcasing the best of 21st-century Bute rubbed shoulders with footage from the Scottish Screen archive showing off Bute’s best features to the holidaymakers of the 1920s, 1930s and 1950s at the Discovery Theatre in Rothesay on Sunday.

The new films, narrated by actor and Bute lover David Hayman, are the work of former BBC producer and director Brian Barr, who was commissioned by the Discover Bute Landscape Partnership Scheme to create two promotional DVDs to be shown on board Caledonian MacBrayne’s two Rothesay-Wemyss Bay ferries.

His first film uses an open top bus tour of the island as a basis for the showcasing of Bute’s stunning scenery, with stop-offs at the Kyles of Bute, Ettrick Bay, the seals at Scalpsie, St Blane’s Chapel, Kilchattan Bay and Mount Stuart en route.

The second looks at just a few of the activities on Bute for the 2012 holidaymaker, and includes testimonials from the likes of Tony and Keir Edwards on cycling, Jack Robertson on rambling, Norman Lamond and Lennie Moffat on golf, Duncan McKellar on the warm welcome from the island’s bowling clubs, Laura McArthur on equestrian opportunities, and visiting trio Tim Fish, Simon Hepsworth and Naz Gulzar on the fishing available on Bute’s fresh water lochs.

For many of those present on Sunday night, though, there was at least as much pleasure to be had from the trip down memory lane provided by the Scottish Screen archive.

These began in the early 1920s with a piece made by Green’s Topical Productions, exclusively for the Palace Cinema, showing some of the classic scenes of Rothesay’s pier and seafront crammed with thousands of visitors every day at the height of the season.

Also from the 1920s, there was footage of Lady Lauder – whose husband was Sir Harry – visiting the island in August 1922 to judge a Daily Mail Sand Modelling Contest at Ettrick Bay, filmed by the famous Rothesay projectionist Jimmy Gillespie, again for the Palace Cinema – which may explain the lingering look at a rather downcast-looking donkey wearing a sandwich board proclaiming that ‘everyone goes to the Palace Cinema except me’!

Two short 1930s films then showed off the remarkable feat of logistics involved in getting large groups of people and their equally large trunks of luggage from Glasgow to Rothesay in the years just before the outbreak of the Second World War.

The final two historical films both dated from the 1950s – the first made by Colin M. Liddell and narrated by the legendary Magnus Magnusson, then just starting out on a career as a print and broadcast news reporter, and the second made and narrated by Glaswegian journalist and author Cliff Hanley and slightly risque by those still innocent post-war standards – though it was no less entertaining for that!

No tickets are required for the repeat showing of the programme on March 11 - just a readiness to bask in the best of Bute both past and present!