This film is part of Free

B-Day

An experience many of us will be able to relate to, though there wouldn’t have been someone around to film the comic consequences.

Amateur film 1965 Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive

Overview

We are all so continentally savvy now, but back in the early days of holidaying abroad there would have been many a puzzling encounter with some foreign custom. Here Bingley amateur filmmaker Eric Hall has just such an experience with a bidet while in France in 1965. Rather like the Francophile Tony Hancock, Hall brings some English humour to the occasion.

Eric Hall was a dedicated filmmaker who clearly loved making films, counting both travelogues and comedies to his extensive oeuvre, from the 1930s through to 1980. He was President of the Bradford Cine Circle and for a while Chairman of the North East Region of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers. The earliest records for bidets date from early 18th Century France; the word means pony, hence to ride one. Although bidets are common in many countries, they are still struggling to get a foothold in Britain. Perhaps they are still seen as a bit embarrassing, which might explain their continued source as an object for comedy: there is a Citizens Bidet in the Carry On film ‘Don't Lose Your Head’, made in 1966.