Wrong turn leads to start of a five-year film journey

Jake Mangle-Wurzel and film-maker Michelle Heighway
Jake Mangle-Wurzel and film-maker Michelle Heighway

A wrong turn on the drive home from work has led a woman making a film about an eccentric Yorkshireman.

When Michelle Heighway missed her turn on the drive home from her job at Millers Oils in Brighouse, she spotted Jake Mangle-Wurzel, who has been dubbed “King of the eccentrics” by the media over the years.

Following the chance encounter Michelle, who is an independent film-maker, had the idea of making a documentary about Jake.

Five years and 60 hours of footage later, Michelle is putting the finishing touches to the project and hopes to secure a TV slot for it to be aired.

“When I saw Jake in a car with a toilet on it, I just decided to follow him and try to persuade him to let me interview him,” she said. “Jake is like Marmite - you either love him or you hate him. I love him, of course.“I just wanted to delve into his mind and find out why he became so unusual.”

Michelle secured funding from the National Film and Television School film clinic for the project after coming into contact with them at the Sheffield Documentary Festival.

“It was great to use their facilities and great to collaborate in order to complete the project,” she said. “Merging clips of old footage to create a story was so exciting and I am so grateful the film-makers were happy to help.”

The documentary, titled “Mr Somebody”, received a positive reception when a taster was screened at Google’s headquarters in London and she has since sent a copy of it to the BBC and Channel 4.

“Jake is very philosophical and has a lot to say,” Michelle said. “His life story is remarkable and very emotive.

“The documentary is great insight into the mind of the great British eccentric.”