26th May2020

‘The Butcher Baronet’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Paul Stainthorpe, Richard Laverick, Steven Landles | Written and Directed by Paul Stainthorpe

A documentary featuring a couple of lads who have decided they want to find out the history behind the name of one of their local pubs? My initial thoughts were ‘Think I’ll pass’… I love it when I’m wrong!

After the unexpected success of their first documentary The Little Count, Paul Stainthorpe, Richard Laverick and Steven Landles – three local Durham lads – move on to the next quest… what is the history behind the name of local boozer The John Duck? Legend tells the story of a local character known as Durham’s very own Dick Whittington. Our gang of truth seekers (and world class dancers) seek to find out more about the local legend you probably didnt even know your favourite Durham pub was named after.

I’ll be honest, I’m somewhat of a documentary whore. I don’t even need to know anything about the subject and I am willing to sit there and learn from the film, as long as it has enough in there to hold my interest. This is why, when I read the synopsis to The Butcher Baronet, I kinda thought there is no way this holds my interest till the end. However I knew I had to give this film a fair shot and I had also heard goods things about The Little Count (the previous documentary from these guys). Really though, how interesting could this actually be?

To put it simply… Very. The meat of The Butcher Baronet lies entirely on the trio researching the subject. You can tell they have a lot of love for their home, Durham. A city that is absolutely steeped in history and these lads have chosen to look into characters you most likely would just gloss over but when you think about it, who doesnt love a good pub and who doesnt love the idea of the old tradional pub that is named after one of those important city folk? Often you can watch a documentary that is throwing interesting facts at you but they are not presented that well (often just a guy spewing facts) these lads went out to the streets and picked up random Durham folks and straight up asked “What do you know about John Duck?”, often being met with blank stares so they then have to seek out the local historians. In a word it’s fun, it’s being presented in a fun informative way and you find yourself interested in a character you never knew from a city you have probably never been to.

Is The Butcher Baronet perfect? No it’s not, it’s a tad sloppy in places but honestly that leads to, and enhances, the charm. The shots of Durham are gorgeous, I have been there on numerous occasions and never really taken in the beauty of the city. These lads live there and can clearly see how gorgeous it is so they affectionately show it. I loved the music in the doc too, it is as upbeat as the lads are themselves.

The Butcher Baronet is a solid recommend from us here and hope you guys head over to Amazon to check it out and who knows, it may inspire you to go out and find out who or what your local pub is named after… Not Wetherspoons though, never that.


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