Film ID: YFA 4119 Video of YFA_4119 Supa Bupa 1980s SUPA BUPA 1980s Visitor TabsDescription The idea of 'what if cars were people' is adopted in this comedy, acted out by members of the Halifax Cine and Video Club. As a man's broken down car is taken to a garage, the garage is operating as a 'hospital', and the car is worked on by a 'surgeon'. Halifax Cine and Video Club Presents . . . Supa Bupa A man is driving down a road with his car stuttering and making noises. He manages to drive it into a car park where it makes all sorts of banging noises. He goes into the nearby building where there is a woman in a nurse's uniform behind the counter. Out comes a man in a white coat with a red cross painted on the back, carrying a wrench. Three men in white coats comically push the car into the garage. One of the mechanics, played by Peter Holroyd, opens the bonnet and taps the engine with a rubber mallet and goes to talk to the driver, who is led into a waiting room. Meanwhile the 'nurse' has rigged up a drip feeder for the car and the two other mechanics, or 'doctors', are acting as if an operation is about to be performed on the car. Over three hours later, with the car owner becoming frustrated, a land rover arrives and car rolled out for a 'consultant', or 'surgeon', in a suit, tie, top hat and umbrella. He is led to the car and after a while comes out in a white overcoat and holding up his hands in industrial rubber gloves. He dabbles about around the engine and puts a large thermometer in the exhaust, which bursts into flame. The consultant puts on his black bowler hat and they again examine the engine. The consultant makes a phone call and two hours later a courier arrives on a Honda Silver Wing motorcycle to deliver a spare part. They all wear surgical masks and work on the engine as of it was an operation, with the 'nurse' wiping the brow of the 'surgeon'. One of them pulls his arm out showing that he has lost a finger. A monitor shows that there is no life. Eventually they finish and the consultant goes to shake hands with the car owner and gives him a letter, headed: 'Crankcase, Propshaft & Sump Unlimited. Auto Engineers & Consultants (Certified).' On reading the letter the car owner faints. The consultant and the nurse attend to the unconscious man, pronouncing him dead and covering him over with a blanket. The End Context This film was made by members of Halifax Cine Club in the 1980s, when the Club was especially prolific. One of the main actors in the film, Peter Holroyd, has donated many of their films from this period, among others, to the YFA. These include a Scrapbook made each year recording local events, many documentary type films, and some comedies of a similar kind to Supa Bupa. One of these, Framed (1986), features the man who plays the consultant, Harold Baker, taking the part of the prosecutor. Some of the other Club members also act in both films, including Reg Tams and Margaret Greenhill, wife of fellow Club member John Greenhill. In fact acting in short comedy sketches was something that cine enthusiasts clearly liked to do – see the Context for Justice on Wheels (1968). Halifax Cine Club was one of many similar clubs across Yorkshire, especially strong in West Yorkshire where every city and town had one. At its height the Club had nearly a hundred members. As well as holding their own meetings and social gatherings, with annual public film shows, the clubs would get together for regional events and competitions. See the transcript of an interview with the Holroyds, Peter and Kate Holroyd Interview (2007). The Club celebrates its 75th anniversary in March 2013, and to coincide with this two long-standing members, the same Peter Holroyd, along with Ernest Jennings, have written a history of the Club. Here they explain how the Club was formed after a public notice was placed in the Halifax Courier and Guardian on 6th March 1938 inviting anyone interested in films or film making to attend a meeting on 8th March 1938 at the Green Room of the Thespians in George Street. It is believed the Club was the brainchild of John Ward, who was the manager of Taylor’s Chemist in Southgate. They go on to say that: “The Club felt it would like its own cinema and following a search rooms were found in Central Street on the top floor above the Royal Insurance Company office, acquiring some tip-up seats from the Electric Cinema. A crisis meeting took place on 11th February 1945 when the Club was issued with a notice to quit by the Royal Insurance Company, which meant new premises had to be found.” They eventually settled on a room above Lingard’s Wine & Spirit Warehouse, on North Parade. After several more moves, the Club went to Spring Hall Mansion and more recently to Oddfellows Hall. The Club first started showing films to the public on 13th and 14th February 1950 at Spring Hall Mansion, when they showed the ‘Ten Best’ to the people of Halifax for the first time. These ten winning amateur films of the year were from an annual competition run by the ‘Amateur Cine World’, a weekly journal for the enthusiast. This was just the beginning as Peter and Ernest explain: “On 17th April 1953 the Club summoned enough courage to show its own films at the Playhouse Theatre, a far from ideal venue for showing amateur films using members’ equipment. The local people so enjoyed watching this kind of amateur films that over the next years the ‘Ten Best’ was phased out and the public enjoyed ‘Our Own 8mm Show’ and ‘Our Own 16mm Show’ in venues such as the Marlborough Hall, Alexander Hall and Victoria Hall.” Cine Clubs, however, weren’t only for making and showing films, they also provided a great forum for socialising and making friends. Again, as Peter and Ernest write: “The Annual Club Dinner was always one of the highlights of the Club year, the very first being held at the Crown Hotel in Horton Street on 8th December 1948 at a cost of 3 shillings and two bread units.” As years went by more competitions were added, such as the Peter Boocock Trophy for the best documentary film, the Taylorian Trophy for the best film in any competition and the John Greenhill Trophy for the best story film. During the 1970s a quarterly news magazine called ‘Flash’ was produced to keep members informed (running until 1987, some 38 editions in total). By the end of the decade there were 80 members. As an example of their prolificness, in 1983 27 films were entered for the various Club competitions. The annual public show for that year, held to commemorate their 55th anniversary on 22nd March at Harrison House, titled ‘Halifax Through the Years 1925 to 1975’, “proved to be the most outstanding event within the Club’s history. A selection of 16mm nostalgic films about the town were screened”, helped by sponsorship and publicity by Halifax Evening Courier and a grant from Calderdale Council. The choice of Bupa as a vehicle (no pun intended) for this comedy is no coincidence. Although it was founded back in 1947, with an initial membership of 38,000 in the UK, it was in the 1980s that Bupa (British United Provident Association) become much more widely known through a large advertising campaign. This was to coincide with the extensive privatisation programme of the public sector underway during this decade by the Thatcher Government. Although this did not include the NHS the writing was on the wall. On top of a long history of cutbacks, the NHS has gradually been made ready, through restructuring, for private medical companies to profit at the expense of deteriorating services. Professor Alain Enthoven’s Reflections on the management of the NHS, which was published in 1985, proposed competitive tendering from private businesses for many NHS services. The Private Finance Initiative – where the Government awards long-term contracts to the private sector to finance the building of new facilities and the running of non-clinical services – was later to follow under John Major in 1992, and continued, and expanded upon, by the Blair Government (and is still in operation). Thus the 1980s saw the opening of Bupa’s first purpose hospital and first nursing home. In 1982 Bupa International was launched (and this is now a global concern operating in over 200 countries). During this decade it also began working in tandem with the NHS, including managing services. The uneasy relation with the NHS was there when Bupa was founded, in the lead up to the nationalisation of health services in 1948, when many doctors opposed the plans, and the British Medical Association threatened to go on strike. But Bupa was coming under increasing competition from other private medical insurance companies, all seeking to benefit from deficiencies in the NHS. At the beginning of the decade, in 1980, BUPA had a 70% market share, yet by the end of the decade this share had fallen to around 40%. The issue of the possible privatisation of the NHS is perhaps more relevant today than ever with the new Health and Social Care Act (2012), which leaves the door open for privatisation, and which has been heavily criticised by the medical profession (at the time of writing, February 2013, former Conservative Health Secretary Virginia Bottomley is a Director of BUPA). It isn’t clear whether the members of Halifax Cine Club who made this film intended it as any comment on Bupa. But the comparison of motor garages and private medical insurance is perhaps an apt one: in neither case is it easy to find thorough and objective assessments of different providers. And as in the comic ending here, the costs involved in both are enough to bring on a heart seizure. References Ernest E Jennings and Peter R Holroyd, Halifax Cine & Video Club, 75 Years Of Film Making, 1938 - 2013 Allyson Pollock, Colin Leys et al, NHS plc: the privatisation of our health care, Verso, London, 2004. Bupa SWOT Analysis, MarketLine, December 1, 2012.