Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
15/10/2017
DVD: Shawn Moran Racing
12th California Reunion
Your Feedback
 
01/10/2017
The Tebbys - Stan and Jim
California 2017 Reunion
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
25/09/2017
Trouble for Monarchs
Svein Kaasa Cuttings
Your Feedback
 
17/09/2017
What Happened to our "Season"
Riders to Remember: Ray Moore
Your Feedback
 
03/09/2017
Ronnie Moore and the Atom Car
Nigel and Jack Memorial Day
Your Feedback
 
20/08/2017
Let's Promote Speedway II
Speedway Pennants
The Voice No. 66
Your Feedback
 
06/08/2017
Let's Promote Speedway
Your Feedback
 
30/07/2017
Woffy's Warm Up
1982 Overseas Final
Your Feedback
 
14/07/2017
Syd van der Vyver
More Magazines from Bill
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
04/06/2017
A Letter from Maurice Stobbart
Bill's Booklets
 
14/05/2017
A Mystery Solved
The Voice - Issue 65
Your Feedback
 
01/05/2017
Dave Collins
The Mystery Rider from 1948
Your Feedback
 
23/04/2017
Bill's Pictures
Toronto Board Track
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
16/04/2017
Melbourne in the 1950's
The History of Sim Speedway
Your Feedback
 
26/03/2017
All About You: Mike Redfern
Bill's Posters
RIP Plough Lane
Your Feedback
 
12/03/2017
NZ World Team Cup 1986 +
Glasgow Speedway Posters
Your Feedback
 
05/03/2017
Almaty Ice Speedway
NZ World Team Cup 1985
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
26/02/2017
Dream Team: David Pickles
NZ World Team Cup 1984
Your Feedback
 
19/02/2017
Dream Team: Martin Wilkins
NZ World Team Cup 1983
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
05/02/2017
Video: Berrington 2000
NZ World Team Cup 1982
Your Feedback
 
29/01/2017
Vic Ridgeon
NZ World Team Cup 1981
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
22/01/2017
Jim Ryman Crash at Boston
NZ World Team Cup 1980
Your Feedback
 
15/01/2017
NZ World Team Cup 1979
Skid Kids
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
05/01/2017
Otto Holoubek
NZ World Team Cup 1978
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 


Tracking Down the Swagman
By Ian Harwood

Noticing just now the link to Amazon for the Once A Jolly Swagman DVD reminded me of the time over twenty years ago now that I decided to try and track down this mysterious and rarely seen piece of speedway folklore.

Remember 1987 was pre-internet and pre-DVD, and I couldn't find out if if the film was available on video. I decided to do a bit of research and picked up the phone.

Assuming it was probably a Rank film I decided to ring Pinewood Studios. "Hello, my name's Ian Harwood. I'm trying to find out how I could get to see a film called Once A Jolly Swagman". "I'll just put you through to archives". So far so good.

A very frosty lady answered the phone so I repeated my question . "Why?" came the response. "Erm," I said, mouth going dry, "Well, it's a film about speedway ...."

"I know what it's about", she interupted. I thought, blimey, she probably knows every film they ever made.

"Well", I started again, "I'm, interested in speedway and I wondered if there was anyway of being able to see the film. I don't think it's available on video."

What came next was better than I could ever have expected. "I've just sent it over to the British Film Institute for a viewing. You could try calling them". So I did.

Turns out some ex-West Ham fans had booked it for a club visit to the BFI but had cancelled. As luck would have it I was due to visit friends in Kent (I'm in Cheshire) about a week later so a trip into London by train was a piece of cake.

I think it cost me something like £25 for the viewing. I was shown to a little rooms with a Steinbeck machine and four cans of film which I had to load myself. I was really excited. I felt like I'd personally discovered this lost and forgotten speedway film as I sat and watched it whir and flicker in the semi-darkness. I felt like Howard Carter lifting the lid on Tutankhamen's sarcophagus.

Then would you believe it got shown the following week on Channel 4.

 


Classic speedway film 'Once a Jolly Swagman' is now out on DVD. The film features Dirk Bogarde, Sidney James, Thora Hird and Bill Owen amongst the cast. You can order now at Amazon.

 

This article was first published on 10th February 2011

[ Use Mobile Version ]
 

 

Comment on this Article | Contact Us | Go Back to Main Menu

   Please leave your comments on this article or on the site as a whole