Film ID: NEFA 20761 Video of NEFA 20761 The Pigeon Cree (1986) DB133 THE PIGEON CREE 1986 Visitor TabsDescription A pastel animation produced by Sheila Graber and based upon the short story by Sid Chaplin. Narrated by north east broadcaster Mike Neville the film tells the story of Geordie, a miner, and his love for his pigeons and the trials and tribulations of his passion which is very popular around the region. The face of Sid Chaplin is used as Geordie. Title: The Pigeon Cree by Sid Chaplin. Credit: Narrated by Mike Neville and Produced by Sheila Graber. Title: With special thanks to all at BBC Newcastle. The film begins with an animation of a green hill on which is drawn a wooden pigeon shed or cree. The view fades to show a close up of the cree with its big window running all along one side and a platform above it with trap doors. The film cuts to the animation of the central character Geordie who is wearing a miner’s helmet and lamp. Behind him is a drawing of a pit head. The image of the pit head is blacked out and eventually Geordie too fades away into darkness. The film cuts to a brown paper ‘pay-note’. A mouth, nose and a pair of eyes representing Geordie’s wife appear within the pay-note. Around the edges a collage of bingo cards, various shopping coupons and catalogue clippings. Sitting in his cree Geordie holds a pigeon in his hands. Outside on the hill he stands hold a pigeon in each hand. A black and white pen drawing of a man in suit, tie and bowler hat appears. He is John William Thwaites, Clerk to the Council. His mouth is animated and he becomes is transformed into the word ‘Shed?’ which in turn becomes the word ‘Cree’. In pastel bars drawn in front of the cree. The film cuts back to a John William Thwaites. He begins to speak, then looks angry and then becomes red in the face. John William Thwaites is drawn in miniature before disappearing into the screen. Slowly the face of Geordie is animated showing him smiling. This fades to show a pair of eyes in a blue background surrounded by black .The eyes transform into two pigeons flying in the sky which disappear as the blue becomes black leaving a small circle in the middle of the screen. The spot transforms into the sun in a blue background representing sky seen through glass. A white cross appears in the blue sky and transforms into the animation of a man standing in front of a stained glass window. Around his head in the stained glass window is written Title: Rev. James Aloysis Jefferies. A second animated stained glass window reads: Title: With the help of the Lord God the sinner will be led like a shorn lamb into the paths of righteousness Amen. The window fades and is replaced by the drawings of a pigeon in flight. The film cuts back to the Reverend James Aloysis Jefferies standing in front of a second stained glass window showing two trees and a pigeon in flight. The scene is transformed into the pigeon standing in the foreground wearing a dog collar the reverend flying in the sky. The film cuts to an image of the cree on the hill. The camera pulls back and the surrounding landscape is filled with images of houses, the local councillor in the window of a building and the face of Geordie’s wife in the ‘pay-note’. These images fades away to show the cree alone on the hill. The Reverend James Aloysis Jefferies stands in front of another stained glass window with a halo of glass surrounding him. Sections of the halo as well as the reverend are slowly replaced by an image of the cree. A typed written page of the word ‘DEMOLITION’ comes down and covers the image of the cree. Over the top of the pages a drawing appears of Geordie looking angry Title: Official. The screen fades to blue and from that a drawing of a pigeon appears inside a wicker basket. Moving right to left appears a collage of Geordie’s wife made up of photographs of a modern kitchen and other household items. The eyes of Geordie’s wife appear looking angry. More cut out photographs taken from a catalogue appear to fill the screen. Suddenly the images around Geordie’s wife disappear leaving her impression with eyes. The camera pans down a black and white drawing of an office block. Beside the office block a new house drawn. The film cuts to a view of the house on its own and a balcony with trap doors are drawn in colour. Geordie appears on the balcony. The film ends with a pastel drawing of a pigeon that is animated into: Title: The Pigeon Cree. Context When the fancy takes you An exuberant animated short celebrates writer Sid Chaplin’s short story about the defiant spirit of an old miner who finds his beloved pigeon loft is under threat. 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.