Super 8 Stories: Winter Fun in the Big Freeze






03 October 2004 (first transmission)


02min 55sec




Super 8





BBC NI, Billy McCormick, Doubleband Films

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Billy McCormick, Doubleband Films

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During the Big Freeze of 1963 not everything came to a halt and one hardy bunch of cylcists endured the extreme conditions to have fun in the winter landscape. Billy McCormick and Paddy McAteer look back at their antics on frozen ponds and cycling into snowdrifts. This clip appeared in Series 2, Programme 1 of Super 8 Stories.


“I was interested in photographs and as an active participant in a cycling club this seemed to lend itself to cine photography”, says Billy McCormick a “budding travel agent” at the time he took up the cine habit in the 1950s. With a Bolex Standard 8 camera to record events Billy joined the CPA Camera Club for a short time to improve his skills. Only occasionally did Billy put on shows for the family - “Once a year at Christmas! But I gave shows to church groups and cycling clubs on a small scale before TV was common”. Nowadays Billy isn’t able to watch his films at all. As he jokingly puts it: “The projectors – like myself – are old and worn”. Billy gave up film making when cine began to be replaced by video. “I did not find video as interesting as, at that time, editing was difficult, and so most of my films were around the 1958-84 era”. Sadly, many of these films remain untransferred as Billy says, “I have many thousands of feet and it’s just too expensive to convert”. A keen rail enthusiast Billy has many films relating to trains in Northern Ireland and he looks back on his movie making days happily. “I’m glad to have a record of my children growing up and also to have railway films of the ‘steam age’ of trains”.

Shot List

Quick collage of wintery images. Man cycling on frozen pond. Group cycling along snowy road. Group of people sliding across frozen pond. Shots of dancing, cycling and a conga chain on the pond. Man deliberately cycling into a snow drift and going over the top of the handlebars to land in the snow. Men relaxing in snowdrifts beside road and more fun on top of the frozen pond.


Narrator - Maire Jones; Camera - Michael Quinn; Sound - David Kilpatrick, Kevin McCarthy; Music Consultants - Jim Meredith, Ralph McLean; Production Accountant - Anne Hegarty; Production Assistant - Tammy Moore; Dubbing - One Zero Zero; Online Editor - Alan Perry; Researcher - Ronan Feely; Archivist - Evan Marshall; Assistant Producer - Jenny Waugh; Executive Producers - Deirdre Devlin, Michael Hewitt; Editor - Greg Darby; Producer - Diarmuid Lavery; Director - Brian Henry Martin



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