ALISON Rowat’s enjoyable account of the making of The Bowler and the Bunnet, Sean Connery’s sole foray as a director ("From Govan with love for the workers: director Connery shows his colours", The Herald, December 2), stirs some happy memories.

The project was the brainchild of the Scottish industrialist, Sir Iain Stewart. Connery and Stewart (a former captain of the R&A) were golfing buddies. The gregarious Stewart, with a seat on the main board, took the idea to Scottish Television.

The fact he lacked a "director’s ticket" issued by the Association of Cinematograph Television and Allied Technicians (ACTT) threatened the project for a time; ironic, perhaps, when you consider the subject matter was the need to improve worker-management relations throughout industry.

The problem was solved by STV assigning staff director Bryan Izzard, a larger-than-life character with a history in light entertainment, to accompany Connery on his mission.

At the end of each day’s shoot, the man known to more than half the world as James Bond could be found, supping pints, in a crumbling building in Cowcaddens, a mile or more to the north. Doherty’s, the pub where Connery parked his custom-built Jensen Interceptor (to the unalloyed joy of the neighbourhood children) had, as its regular clientele, an assortment of people who lived nearby, as well as workers from the old Buchanan Street railway yards, off-duty policemen, and a real hybrid crew (journalists and production staff and their celebrity guests) from Scottish Television across the road.

Thanks to the location of the TV studios and the impeccable manners of its gentlemanly owner, Hugh Doherty, well-known faces were a regular sight in Doherty’s. Except, of course, this was no ordinary celebrity – this was Sean Connery, perhaps the most glamorous, envied man in the world.

How did Doherty’s regular clientele react? Following their initial surprise at finding the man who was James Bond drinking in their midst (without once hearing him utter the famous line, "I’d like mine shaken not stirred") no-one appeared to find his presence in any way remarkable.

For some, of course, it might have been difficult to reconcile the handsome star of the Bond movies, in his designer clothes, with the casually dressed figure seated at the bar.

Gone was the immaculate clean-cut image made famous by the world’s most glamorous spy. In its place was a balding figure, badly in need of a haircut, sporting a large Mexican-style moustache. One man said the Connery with whom he exchanged a few words in Doherty’s looked more "like Viva Zapata than James Bond".

Connery, it must be said, was polite, good humoured and not unapproachable, within the bounds of acceptable pub behaviour. Amazingly (and this is surely a sign of the times) no-one betrayed his whereabouts to the tabloids.

Russell Galbraith, Formerly Assistant Controller of Programmes, Scottish Television, Bearsden.


IT is interesting that Inverurie has Scotland’s fastest broadband speeds ("In the fast lane: Rural market town is hotspot for superfast broadband", The Herald, December 3). It is obviously a welcome accolade for the town to have this recognition as being at the top in certain aspects of modern communications.

What is perhaps less well known in terms of communications is it is reported that in the 19th century, when postal services were growing significantly , the council in the town decided that the name to be used for Council business should be changed from "Inverury" to "Inverurie", because so many letters addressed "Inverury" were going to Inverary in Argyll. Support for the change was derived from the fact that it was considered that "Inverurie" was the ancient spelling and the public were asked to adopt this spelling.

Sometimes, the answer to the question "what’s in a name?" is "quite a lot".

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


BOTH pictures of Glasgow families enjoying the Botanic Gardens environs in 1950 and 1957 (Those were the days, The Herald, December 4) occasion my comment. Without exception the citizens highlighted were well clad with not a hint of the extreme poverty which beset Glasgow in that era. Not a sign of any tenement back court weans strutting around in ill-fitting wellies or proudly hurling their home-made timber bogies around the park.

Perhaps Botanic parkies had instructions to exclude such citizens, albeit they and their families resided in teeming overcrowded tenements adjunct the park perimeter. Thankfully these aspects of times past no longer apply.

Allan C Steele, Giffnock.


I MUST take issue with John Dunlop and Ian Wilson (Letters, December 3 & 4) regarding your photograph of the trams at Glasgow Cross. At the risk of being pedantic, it is apparent that the gentleman is picking up his penny after the tram had run over it – not placing it. The trolley bar on the tram is sloping towards the camera, the destination board reads "Clydebank" and the thing is heading west.

I think it is important to get these things right, especially as there isn’t much else happening at the moment.

Simon Paterson, Glasgow G12.

I NOTE the correspondence on people laying pennies on tram tracks. Here in Aberdeen, our tramways department ensured that all pennies laid on rails were added to the city coffers.

We used glue on the wheels.

Gordon Casely, Crathes.