The former pitman and influential regional writer Sid Chaplin plays with the cultural stereotypes of language and symbols associated with the northern working class male. A deceptively simple short story about an old miner (based here on Chaplin himself) who defends his colourful pigeon cree against the council, church and his own wife is warmly illustrated in this pastel animation by the celebrated South Shields artist, Sheila Graber.
Sid Chaplin was born into a Durham mining family in 1916 and started working at a pit as a teenager. In 1947 he won the Atlantic Award for Literature for his collection of short stories, The Leopard Lad. He also scripted episodes for the acclaimed 1976 BBC historical drama When the Boat Comes In. In articles for The Guardian newspaper, he was an astute social observer on north-east masculinity and language, lamenting the decline of the cloth cap, which he saw as “the victory of Subtopia over good old industrial common sense.” The Pigeon Cree was narrated by the legendary BBC Look North and Tyne Tees TV news anchor man Mike Neville, with whom Sheila Graber worked on the BBC commission Inside Look North in 1977.
North East Film Archive is one of a network of regional film archives established to collect, preserve and show film made in, or about the North East of England. Our collections are non-fiction, and date from the early 1900s to the present day, providing a rich record of life in the region over the 20th century. Many of our films are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.