OMG Scotland to uncover Falkirk's hidden film history

28 June 2019

OMG Scotland to uncover Falkirk's hidden film history

Objective Media Group Scotland has been commissioned to make a one-off documentary for BBC One Scotland about Scotland’s answer to Hollywood Westerns.

The 1 x 60’ programme, Falkirk Cowboys (working title), will show that nearly 50 years ago, in the unlikely setting of the British Aluminium rolling mill in Falkirk, a group of around 20 workers put aside 15p a week from their wages to fund their other life as film-makers.

Starring the workers from British Aluminium and directed by Robert Harvey, who also worked at BA, the films were shot on a shoestring budget, often made in a day, and showed the sagas of everyday heroes striving to make the world a better place.

The documentary will feature a gala screening of the old reels, to be hosted at the Hippodrome in Bo’ness on 8th July, to a crowd of locals including the relatives and friends of the original cast and crew from 50 years ago.

Originally shown in a makeshift cinema in the BA factory and screened in community centres around the town to raise funds for local charities and help buy wheelchairs for local residents, the Westerns’ titles included Wyoming Outlaws, Badlands, Apache Ambush, Border Badmen and The Lonesome Drifter.

Typically filmed in sight of a classic Central Scotland housing scheme, with The Empire Bar as the location for the saloon scenes, some of the cowboys’ holsters would be made from old school bags and briefcases, the Stetsons women’s hats picked up from jumble sales, and horses were hired in the municipal park for 80p an hour.

In the early 1970s the group even delved into horror films with The Mummy’s Hand, which is one of the surviving reels to be featured in the programme.

Falkirk Cowboys (w/t) tells a tale of friendship, industrial communities in Scotland, creativity, cinema and a social history of Falkirk across 50 years.   

Falkirk Cowboys is an Objective Media Group Scotland production, part of Objective Media Group, and was commissioned by David Harron, Commissioning Executive for BBC Scotland. The director is Ian Bustard, the producer is Liam McArdle and the Executive Producer is Toby Stevens.