- 16 Mar 21
The documentary on the Irish punk legend is directed by Julien Temple – known for his short films on the Sex Pistols and mockumentary 'The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle'.
Julien Temple's award-winning documentary Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan airs on BBC Four tonight, focusing on the charismatic punk frontman of The Pogues.
Combining interviews, previously unseen archive footage and specially commissioned animations with an impressive soundtrack, the documentary details MacGowan's explosive existence from his early days growing up in Tipperary on the family farm, to the time he spent on the mean streets of London.
The gifted lyricist and musician would later embrace the '70s punk scene and form The Pogues.
No members of The Pogues are interviewed for the project; instead, MacGowan's sister Siobhan and father Maurice make the most telling contributions. The former is no-nonsense and direct, telling of her awe when she first heard audiences chanting her brother’s name and her choice to commit him to a psychiatric clinic in the late '80s. One controversial aspect explored is MacGowan’s enthusiastic endorsement of the IRA (“I felt ashamed I didn’t have the guts to join them,” he says at one point).
The film paints an intimate portrait of MacGowan overall, laying bare his passions, humour and deep knowledge of music, history and spirituality, as well as addressing his demons and darkest days. Produced by MacGowan's close friend Johnny Depp, the film celebrates MacGowan's accomplishments and shines a light on the artist's self-destructive talent.
The documentary was released late last year into limited cinemas and on digital platforms, but Crock Of Gold is now set to air on BBC Four. After receiving its world premiere at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in September, where it won the Special Jury Prize, Temple's documentary earned rave reviews.
Read Stuart Clark's full Hot Press interview with Julien Temple here.
“It’s the most difficult film I’ve done because Shane is by definition difficult," Temple told Clark.
"I can see that a film, which shows your whole life before you is going to be unsettling and weird and raw, and it’s never going to be right because it’s two hours some idiot’s put together. I totally understand his resistance towards being interviewed for it.”
“He’s a prickly character but I’ve always found that difficult people are the best people because they’re defending their creativity," Temple added. "There are elements of spoiled rock star in him – you can’t go through the adulation without having some sort of damage on that front – but at times he tried very hard to keep it under control. The fact he’s difficult, and we had to find other ways of telling the story, made a better film than if he’d said, ‘Yes, I’ll tell you everything’ in one go.”
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan airs tonight at 10pm on BBC Four.