Boy story

Duglas 12 Stewart talks about THE STORY OF BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, his upcoming televisual portrait of the highest»profile recluses in the business.

TV star, Blue Coat, MC, DJ and BMX Bandit: Duglas Stewart has been all of these and many more. Now, as one of the key forces behind the Beat Room special The Story of Belle and Sebastian, he’s added ’filmmaker’ to the pages of his already bounteous CV. A cheap’n’chirpy half-hour popumentary, the film is a brisk summation of the band’s story so far and a cute, accessible introduction for the post-Brits newcomer. And, according to Stewart, the group’s notorious media-ambivalence turned

out to work in the programme's favour.

’The ironic thing is,’ he explains, ’the more you’re given doesn’t necessarily mean the final product’s going to be better. I think because the nature of the band made things difficult for us, we had to do an awful lot more creative thinking.’

Thus, deprived of appropriate band footage, Stewart hit upon the idea of


the fictional ’Sissy’ comic a Bunty-style rag in which the band are depicted as a rosy-cheeked, Secret Seven-esque mob who say ’Gosh!’ a lot

’Ray Brooks was very, very enthusiastic about it all,’ says Stewart ’He had no prior knowledge of the band but we told him a little bit about them and he understood exactly what we wanted. He was a lovely man and extremely professional.’

Discussing his problems making the film, Stewart says, ’It was very difficult to make. The band won’t go out of their way to assist the media, of course, even non-aggressive media like ourselves. Although I know Stuart Murdoch and we have a good personal relationship, that still wouldn’t make him say, "Of course I’ll do interviews 'cos you’re my buddy.” Still, the fact that they have these very different attitudes, and the fact that Stuart really does stick to what he says, is something which although it’s frustrating as a filmmaker I can only really applaud.’ (Paul Whitelaw)

Milking it: Stevie Jackson and Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian

having Ray ’Mr Benn’ Brooks narrate a delightfully over-simplified version of the band’s story through the pages of

The Story of Belle and Sebastian, BBC 2, 11.15pm, Fri 9 Jul.

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8-22 Jul 1999 THE “ST 11