Laurel and Hardy
and the
Sons of the Desert
are at the heart of
Bowler Dessert Online



Barry Boyd RIP

Barry Boyd, a founder member of the County Hospital Tent on Bradford, has passed away. Says Craig Lightowler, "It's very sad news, he was a force of enthusiasm for the Boys and the friends he had within the society.

Barry died on 13th November at Gateway Nursing Home in Bradford.

Willie McIntyre says, "Barry was a great guy. I met him a few times and corresponded with him a lot in years gone by. Barry was a prolific contributor to Bowler Dessert a long time ago. When Nancy Wardell set up the Laurel and Hardy Charity Fund, Barry helped considerably and raised a great deal of support and money."

Mark Wall adds,"Those of you who knew him will recall that Barry had suffered from Parkinson's for a very long time, but was always a loyal Son, attending both Huddersfield and Bradford tents until his illness made that impossible. Barry was an early member of our [One Good Turn] Tent and came to his first meeting in March 1996, when the tent was only 5 months old. In total, he came to 81 of our gatherings and his last one was in November 2013. RIP Barry Kelvin Boyd."

Children in Need

Matthew Cooper staged a Laurel and Hardy marathon, watching all of their short films back-to-back in the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Ulverston. It took over 24 hours during which time the museum was open, with the only entrance fee being donations to the Children in Need charity. 

Stephen's stuff

Stephen Neale posted on Facebook the photo below of part of his impressive Laurel and Hardy collection.

Atoll K on new DVD

Released on DVD on 3rd December will be a BFI restored dual format edition Blu Ray / DVD of ATOLL K. 

Vic Pratt describes it as, "A project that I've been co-producing with Doug Weir (who has led on the new restoration), our colleagues over at the Archive, and with the splendidly erudite expert assistance of Glenn Mitchell and Dave Wyatt, and a network of fellow enthusiasts around the world, including Norbert Aping and Chris Seguin. There's a bumper bundle of extras and the film looks better than it ever has before."

Go to

There is a new trailer Doug has made at

Stan & Ollie: Another review

Nobody was more excited about seeing this film than I was. I am a HUGE fan of "the boys" and have studied and enjoyed them since I was a child. NOBODY wanted to love this movie more than I did. But alas, I only liked it.

When I'd heard that BBC Films was responsible for this film I was extremely happy. The BBC has produced excellent bio-pics about Morcambe and Wise, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, and Peter Sellers. And since STAN AND OLLIE was getting a very big build-up I assumed it would be even better than those others. It really wasn't. It was on a par with the others. Perhaps I just expected too much.

The performances are quite terrific, especially John C. Reilly as Babe Hardy, Nina Arianda as Ida Laurel, and Rufus Jones as Producer Bernard Delfont. In fact, Jones gives the funniest performance in the film. Steve Coogan is just fine as Stan, but at times he seems too young. The real Stan was much more weathered by this time in Laurel and Hardy's history. That was a sore point with me.

The story begins in Hollywood during the boys' heyday. We see the tumultuous relationship that Stan had with Hal Roach which sets the scene for things to come. Yes, I am one who believes that Stan and Babe just might have had an argument, or two during their almost 30 years as a team, so that aspect of the film bothers me not at all. But, if you are looking for all the facts to be accurate you will be disappointed. This is not about facts. It's more about the feelings of these two old lions of comedy as they face their twilight years. There were definitely a few missed opportunities here and there, but apparently these were not important enough to focus upon. (One of these things involves church bells in Cobh, Ireland.)

To sum up, STAN AND OLLIE is a fine film. I wouldn't be surprised if the three standouts I'd mentioned are nominated for Oscars. But, much like the recent documentary about Buster Keaton (BUSTER KEATON: A CELEBRATION) I left the theater feeling kind of empty. That's not to say that the film isn't an excellent piece of work, but rather than rising above the other comedy bio-pics from the BBC it merely sits among them. Not a bad thing, just less than I'd hoped for.

Nick Santa Maria on Facebook

Talking Pictures

Drum roll!.... delighted to announce that Talking Pictures TV is officially the largest independent channel in the UK! From a little idea of my dad's many years ago, three and a half years of hard graft, blood, sweat and tears. I feel like people are starting to notice us now, but keep spreading the word please, folks. The more viewers we get the more films we can afford to buy, the more subtitles, the more series and the more interviews we can film. Thank you, all of you, for your support from me, dad (Noel) and Neill Stanley.

Sarah Cronin

Did you spot this?


Steve Bartley on Facebook asks, "How old were you when you learnt there's an 8 in the middle of the 8 of diamonds card?"

And finally

Have you heard the story about the broken pencil?

There's no point to it.