Eccentric Jake Mangle-Wurzel has had a bust-up with the film-maker who made a documentary about his life.
Feisty Jake, 76, a larger-than-life character in Huddersfield in the 1980s and 1990s, was brought back to public prominence by former student Michelle Heighway.
Michelle, 34, met Jake seven years ago and the unlikely pair struck up a close relationship.
As time passed Michelle recorded a series of revealing interviews until she had enough footage to produce a documentary which she hoped to get on TV.
Former Huddersfield University media student Michelle secured funding from the National Film and Television School to edit her video into an hour-long broadcast-quality documentary.
The finished film – called Mr Somebody – won acclaim at film festivals in Leeds and Sheffield last year and will have two showings at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield on Friday (April 24). One is already sold out.
But Jake, whose past exploits included marrying his dog and later tying the knot with a female mud wrestler, believes the final cut doesn’t do his life story justice.
Watch a trailer below.
A former lorry driver he battled severe depression for many years before settling for a solitary but not lonely life in a makeshift home at Peat Ponds, Salendine Nook.
Jake said he was “frozen out” of the final editing of the film and described it as an “act of betrayal.”
He said Michelle “seemed serious, sensible and conscientious” and he never imagined they would fall out but added: “Alas, this has come to pass.”
Jake said 60 hours of filming had been condensed into just 60 minutes and he had been kept out of the editing process.
“Miss Heighway certainly hasn’t done justice with HER version of MY life. I am not a silly old duffer always acting the goat,” he said. “I have done more with my life than that.”
Jake said aspects of his pre-Wurzel life were missing. This included: the unpatented invention in 1953 aged 15 of the pedal bike twist-grip gear change 10 years before anyone else; his three years of National Service, the first two in the RAF police; and his many years working in his father’s butcher’s business.
He also wanted to highlight the 103 pints of blood he donated between 1958 and 2013; the restoration work on his cottage and the building of various follies; his two decades of serious genealogy work; and his obsession with “death, suicide, burials and grave-building” since the age of 17.
The present Mrs Mangle-Wurzel was also left out. Jake has been married for the last six years to blood donor nurse Wacky Jackie, “the Happy Vampire” as she describes herself. The marriage has been “harmonious, pain-free and celibate,” said Jake.
At previous screenings Jake has appeared alongside Michelle but has denounced the film in his own inimitable style in Q&A sessions.
He said he had decided against seeking a legal injunction to ban the film instead attending the shows to deliver a “savage denunciation” in person.
Michelle told the Examiner their relationship had broken down over the film and his behaviour had “almost made me hate him.”
She added: “In his mind he has made me into the villain, which is sad. We know Jake is eccentric but he has behaved like an absolute diva.”
Michelle said it was her first documentary and she had probably got too close.
She said the subject of documentaries were not usually involved in the final edit but Jake had been consulted quite extensively.
“It’s not meant to be Jake’s life story, it’s more a representation of the human condition,” she said. “It’s a shame it’s come to this.”
A few tickets are still available for the 9.15pm showing on Friday. For tickets costing £6 ring 01484 430528.