This boy’s life

Acclaimed Edinburgh director Bill Douglas wrote several scripts he never lived to shoot, including one that has been posthumously adapted for television. Eddie Gibb profiles a filmmaker whose best work may still have been ahead of him when he died.

16 The List 22 Mar-4 Apr 1996

ill Douglas has been described as possibly the finest filmmaker to come out of Scotland the whole of Britain. even yet his huge critical acclaim rests on an incredibly slender body of work which adds up to less than six hours of screen time. Andrew Noble, lecturer at Strathclytle University where Douglas spent the year before his death as a visiting tutor. feels that the frustration of not being able to make films contributed to the cancer which killed Douglas in 1991 at the age of 57. ‘I believe that. I really do,’ says Noble. Now five years after his death, one of a handful of scripts which Douglas wrote but was unable to raise the money to shoot, has become the first Scottish film to be made using National Lottery funding. It is ironic that such a brash enterprise as the lottery should support the kind of art film that Douglas struggled so vainly to make during the Thatcher years,