Local Legend: Bill Heine

By on

Oxford grad, cinema geek, modern art lover and king of the local airwaves...

Bill Heine is an Oxford eccentric, but not your usual peculiar tutor or barmy bus-stop companion.

He’s the reason for the continued existence of indie cinema mecca The Penultimate Picture Palace in Cowley, the brainchild of the bizarre Headington Shark, and BBC Radio Oxford’s maverick presenter.

Moving from America to study law as a postgrad at Balliol in the 1960s, Heine fell in love with the area: The place was buzzing, it was so full of energy and light.’

In 1976 he discovered the decaying Oxford Picture Palace on Cowley Road and bought it along with the Moulin Rouge Cinema in Headington.

He restored the cinemas, renaming them and attaching controversial sculpture to the outside: a huge pair of hands and a racy pair of legs.

Heine describes the cinema’s 1970s heyday as ‘a very political time.’ He quickly gained a reputation for the Penultimate Picture Palace by challenging censorship and screening controversial cinema.

Ian Hislop was an Oxford student and cinema-goer at the time: ‘This was an independent cinema that showed whatever it felt like whether you liked it or not really!

Cool kids queue up at the PPP

Not afraid to take the law in his hands, in 1985 Heine planned to screen ‘a pretty explosive film’ – the banned documentary ‘MI5’s Official Secrets’, exposing phone tapping by MI5 headquarters at Cheltenham.

The Independent Broadcasting Standards Agency stopped Heine from showing the film on the grounds of national security, about which he casually remarks look, if you’re going to sail, why not sail in dangerous waters?

In 1988, Heine incurred the wrath of Stanley Kubrick with a now-infamous attempted screening of the taboo film ‘A Clockwork Orange’.

The free showing never started: before the curtains rose it was announced to a full audience that the director had sent an injunction to stop the screening. Stanley Kubrick’s lawyer arrived with a writ and served it on Bill Heine in a pub in Cowley.

A short shark shock to the neighbourhood

In 1986 Heine employed sculptor Jeff Buckley to design and install a 25-foot fiberglass shark to the roof of his semi-detached house in Headington, taking on Oxford County Council in the process.

Quickly escalating to a matter of national importance, Environment Secretary Michael Heseltine eventually ruled that the aquatic appendance should stay.

The controversial local landmark has since become somewhat of a national curio.

Take that Damien Hirst

Nowadays, Heine can be found shaking up BBC Radio Oxford as resident silver fox, a career ironically jumpstarted by Shark-gate: ‘the bosses took me out for a long liquid lunch and said why don’t you join us on the other side of the microphone?’

The self-proclaimed ‘Heinstein of the Airwaves’ is known for his subversive and eccentric interview style, shaking up local radio since 1989 with his controversial take on everything from local art to Oxford United Football Club.


  • ?

    This is a load of bollocks. It’s not fucking censorship – he was so damaging that his own media company chose to not renew him. The issue everyone has is with the fact that this was allowed on TV in the first place? Men wouldn’t know because they aren’t victims of this sort of derogatory attitudes on a regular basis.

    • #

      People got him banned because they don’t like his comedy. Pretty sure that’s censorship.

      • Kaine

        ITV haven’t given me my own tv show yet. Clearly they’re censoring me.

      • xargirl

        It’s not censorship, it’s “TV channel with PR department charged with figuring out what people like to watch figure out that people don’t like to watch this”. So they haven’t renewed his show. Basic capitalism 101.

        It’s not censorship to remove an unpopular show from a TV channel when it gets too unpopular. Dapper Laughs has every social right to continue to perform his unpopular comedy routine. It’s just that ITV has decided he should perform it elsewhere than on their channel. Just like the EDL doesn’t get a weekly column in the guardian, the people who own the means of communication have worked out that their viewers don’t like him, and are showing him the door.


    • SupremeLeader

      I hear North Korea have openings in the PR sector, pop your CV over and I think you’ll do well.

      • Luke Otis Hewitt

        Yeah, pretty sure a dictatorship isn’t defined as ‘somewhere it’s not acceptable to say you want to rape people’.

    • sick of hearing this shite

      ‘Men wouldn’t know’ – why not ‘you wouldn’t know’? Aren’t you kind of a being a tad sexist right there by assuming all men are ignorant to sexism. Hypocrisy. Enough of us have had feminism shoved down our throats to know otherwise by now.

    • Guest

      Dapper Laughs knew exactly what he was saying; he even said it himself that these views are the ones that he thinks men have all the time. He was normalising sexism and degrading women. Yes it might be a joke, but all you have to do is look at some of the stuff his followers write about him to know they idolise him and utilise his methods in everyday life. I’m not saying men don’t understand, (I’m positive they do understand and see how it’s wrong, hence Dapper Laughs getting cancelled) but it’s very easy to write this article as a man who doesn’t go through street harassment on a regular basis, Dapper Laughs encourages that, so yes he should be censored. At least for now, until regular sexism stops.

      • JustCommenting

        He said he was taking what some men think, exaggerating it and clearly mocking it. Is it normalising when it is a mockery? Does political satire normalise war crimes? Does slapstick comedy normalise assault? Shall we censor those too? Why not? If people are too stupid to understand a clear derision of an attitude, is that the comedian’s fault? Whether you think his material is funny, or clever, or not, these points still stand.

        His material definitely snowballed to becoming more and more graphic and offensive. But at the beginning it was very clearly a mockery. He would “arrogantly” say stupid lines to people and then they would shut him down.

        You can laugh at something and not adopt the attitude. We don’t go on killing sprees because we watch violent films or play video games or listen to songs about violence. We don’t go killing babies because Frankie Boyle makes a dark joke in his stand up routine. We don’t think men are stupid idiots because a female comedian makes a joke playing on stereotypes. We aren’t encouraging violence towards men when a female comedian jokes about “ripping a dick off”. So why is Dapper Laughs any different? He might not be as funny, or as skilled as the comedians making these jokes, but that doesn’t make much difference in principle.

        Just because something is offensive or dark, doesn’t mean it should be censored. And just because certain people don’t like things, doesn’t mean they should be censored.

        • ***

          I just think that at this present moment in time with the momentum he was going at: making rape jokes, abusing female homeless people and directly attacking female journalists online it seemed like he was directly attacking women. I think the other comedians you speak of would not stand by their jokes whole heartedly and would say that actually in hindsight they totally didn’t mean it in a serious context.
          However, Dapper laughs initiated an attack via snapchat and his twitter account advising his followers to attack those who disagreed with his content. I think in this sense Dapper Laughs is completely different. He has a very high following and was abusing what he was using that following for. If charities won’t accept his money, his own tv programme has been cancelled and he, himself can see it being beneficial to leave this type of humour alone surely that means something.

    • Tom


  • anon

    Pretty sure the other comedians mentioned don’t street harass in their comedy, so I think it’s pretty poor to group Dapper with them

    • anon

      The word “harass” is bandied about quite liberally these days. Definition of ‘harass’: “to irritate or torment persistently”. PERSISTENTLY. Cat-calling someone on the street is NOT harassment, stop being such a drama queen

      • anon

        Street harassment has a separate meaning. And Dapper going up to women, asking if they are moist and if he can smell there fanny etc, is definitely street harassment. It’s degrading and humiliating.

  • yes you have

    Learn what ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘self fulfilling prophecy’ mean. You’ve used them both wildly out of context.

  • anon

    Comedy about sexism and rape culture does have an impact! Yes, people who do sexist stuff have a problem individually, but comedy like his acts as confirmation and normalisation of the problem. It takes a serious problem and trivialises it. It’s comedy made at the expense of the victim, not to point out the terrible behaviour of sexist individuals. And they’re not censoring his work, they’re simply saying they won’t support it. He can still perform somewhere else.
    If this was comedy which was blatantly racist at the expense of black people, for example, everyone would be horrified and 100% support the union’s stance. But the fact that people dismiss the legitimate concerns they have over the damaging nature of the content shows just how much society dismisses and trivialises sexism. This article proves why the union and people in general need to start making a stance and calling sexists out on their behaviour.

    • also anon

      Should we ban violent video games for the same reason?

  • Not a stupid bellend

    christ you are a boring moron. couldnt even be bothered to read past ‘black comedy’. you probably laugh at your own turds.

  • omg confucius is that you???

    “If someone is ignorant of comedy, the answer is not to remove the comedy; it is to remove the ignorance”

  • Nah

    it NORMALISES these attitudes towards women and makes them a source of amusement. Dapper Laughs said he was trying to parody how some men think- that means some men do actually think that way. He said his life has been ruined by this whole thing, people’s lives are ruined every day when they are sexually assaulted and abused in ways that Dapper Laughs ‘jokes’ about.

  • Back Off Feminazi’s

    Comedians make jokes about genocide, 9/11, mass murder, racism all the time but as soon as someone (obviously because it’s a man it’s so much worse) makes a joke about sexism or rape culture there’s a massive issue. He might have been a shit comedian but that doesn’t mean he should stop telling his shit jokes just because a minority of people get offended. No one forces you to watch his tv program, or vines or “like” his facebook page.

    • ugh

      who said making jokes about racism was ok? give me an example of comedians who regularly make racist jokes on television?

      • .

        Chris Rock. Or does that not count because he is black too?

    • Luke Otis Hewitt

      Jokes about rape ≠ rape threats. Dapper Laughs did the latter.

    • Kaine

      And no one “forces” companies to drop his act. They’ve made a commercial decision that he’s not worth it. I believe it’s called capitalism.

    • Dale

      You don’t see many white people making jokes about slavery, though.

      That’s the equivalent here.

  • Liv

    I’m a proud feminist and COMPLETELY agree with you. Hear Hear.

    • eh

      troll. you’re not a proud feminist then lol, a feminist believes in equality of the sexes and nothing from dapper laughs’ comedy promotes that in anyway, it detracts from it.

  • No

    Who are these people to tell me what i find funny or not?

    • Annie

      feminists, and they’ve been comin after men and women enjoyin themselves for years now

    • Kaine

      You can find whatever you like funny. Feel free to book a venue and host the comedian. Or just watch his clips online. You don’t have a right to see a performer at a specific venue.

  • Radek Piskorski
  • My opinion

    The reason that Dapper Laughs was pulled was not due to people simply not liking his comedy, of course comedy is meant to push boundaries and be controversial. However, the statements he made were overtly sexist and in favour of rape culture. If typical well-known comedians make jokes this offensive, then they also come under fire, however their entire act is not based upon it. When your entire act is based upon being demeaning to women and this is the joke, that is too far. This isn’t censorship of comedy because it is instead preventing somebody appearing to promote rape, which is a major issue that needs to be tackled, not laughed about. I was actually not in favour of banning blurred lines, because in this case I feel the song was not overtly offensive and was open to interpretation. In this case, the entire act is putting down women, and this should not be allowed the same way an entire act putting down men or other groups of people should not be allowed. The odd joke we can handle, we have a sense of humour, but this is too much, sometimes you just have to draw a line.

  • Religion of Peace

    There’s women in this country being forced to wear cloth bags and beaten or killed if they marry the wrong person. Where’s the left-wing politically correct feminist outrage at a large minority of Muslim men? Why choose the Dapper Laughs bandwagon?

  • Annie

    If I say to someone, ‘Oh that person is always late, I’m going to kill him’, it’s safe to say that such a statement doesn’t cause people to commit murder for tardiness. It does not normalise the act of murder. It most certainly does not create a murder culture that trivialises and accepts murder.

    We don’t ban violent action movies, or crime dramas, or the TV show Dexter.

    Feminists logic on this one is so painfully wrong, and it pains me how little of a surprise that is to me these days.

  • A matter of opinion

    It amuses me that while I read this article, (the only one so far that I have read referring to the public decimation of Dapper Laughs that I actually agree with) I find my eyes drawn to a Tab article entitled ‘How to pull a Languages student’. Seeing as advice on pulling was what Dapper’s TV show was based on, and what it was ultimately banned for, ought not the banner waving hypocrites (or activists, whatever…) of Y Plas start constructing another such systematic destruction of the Tab as they did for poor old Dapper? after all, they will need something to keep them in their rapidly fading lime light after all this blows over, and realisticly it is attention they want more than equality.
    Food for thought….

  • Dapper Farce

    He is so talented, I mean who else can be sexually threatening, unfunny and propagate the uneducated, regressive lad-culture in 6 second vines like him? Let’s compare him to other people like Frankie Boyle and ignore the issue in itself… because I can only judge things by relativity. I judge all my actions on whether there is someone worse than me, if there is than that makes what I do acceptable.

  • anon

    Making sexist jokes is one thing (dark comedy is a field of its own and shouldn’t be censored oth,erwise we are becoming a society who is feared of saying anything), but actively promoting sexist behavior is the main problem.

    I actually think his Vine posts are pretty funny, but his whole show wasn’t just making a joke like they were. Instead, it was saying that this is how you should act. Obviously its up to the viewer to decide if they will act like this or not, but he was presenting it in such a way that some people could think its acceptable.

    Basically, his fame snowballed him too quickly to really build the character ‘Dapper Laughs’ into something genuinely funny – instead it was just exaggerated to a such an extent that it lost its comedy value and, to be honest, the show wasn’t even very funny.

  • ***

    Dapper Laughs knew exactly what he was saying; he even said it himself that these views are the ones that he thinks men have all the time. He was normalising sexism and degrading women. Yes it might be a joke, but all you have to do is look at some of the stuff his followers write about him to know they idolise him and utilise his methods in everyday life. I’m not saying men don’t understand, (I’m positive they do understand and see how it’s wrong, hence Dapper Laughs getting cancelled) but it’s very easy to write this article as a man who doesn’t go through street harassment on a regular basis, Dapper Laughs encourages that, so yes he should be censored. At least for now, until regular sexism stops.

  • Lord of the Potatoes

    And here was me thinking the issue was his advocating assault/sexual assault as a pick up tactic.

    • FuckSake

      And I suppose anyone who makes a joke about murder or theft or terrorism is advocating those acts? Pull your fucking head out your arse, jokes are not meant to be taken seriously.

  • JD244

    “If an individual is misguided enough to believe that publically deriding or assaulting women is acceptable then the issue lies with them”

    So, Dapper Laughs then.

  • anon

    Woman are being treated like precious little children and it’s pathetic. Anybody who’s seen ‘Loose Women’ or ‘The View’ (US tv) will have watched grown women make incredibly sexist jokes and serious comments about men on a regular basis: nobody cares. Dapper Laughs has never really been funny, but fuck, the fact that there’s been such an uproar over him yet nobody cares about the constant sexism against men in the mainstream media says all you need to know about how women are portrayed in the media: weak and easily offended.

    • Kaine

      A lot of the ‘anti men’ media depictions continue to push a patriarchal set of gender roles when you peel back the veneer.

      The classic, “clumsy dad who can’t be trusted to cook a meal/ do laundry/ change a nappy” is a case in point.

      What is the message of these ads overwhelmingly? Women, you are putting your family at risk when you ask a man to help with domestic work. Men, don’t help, because you’ll just mess it up.

  • C***

    As much as I hate Dapper Laughs, at least he is getting us to talk about sexism and generating a much needed debate as to why it’s still happening today.

  • K

    You completely fail to mention that he uses every day, unsuspecting women walking around their day to day lives in order to create this comedy. This is not a man standing on a stage telling jokes.

  • Dale

    Dapper laughs “provokes thought” and “pushes boundaries”?

    …Sexism is an artform?

    …Oli Dugmore has a job as a journalist?

    There is a key difference between “Dapper” and Micky Flannigan or Frankie Boyle – who are also shit – by the way. If either of those acts consisted of essentially the same joke, targetting the same section of society, ad nauseum – they would rightly be decried too.

    In case you didn’t notice, noone seems to be commissioning a new series of “Love thy Neighbour”

  • Guest

    Should he have been censored? No. Should his ‘comedy career’ have fallen to pieces as a result of his horrendously unfunny material? Yes.

  • Ball goer

    It is unfair to label the trouble makers as rugby boys, it was those wannabes trying to be “rowdy” but just took it too far beans.
    The Hilton tree tops is a rip off and a shit venue for all of the balls throughout the year, especially graduation where there has to be two separate balls unlike any other university in Scotland! Although I’m not condoning this behaviour it could lead to a beneficial change like having it in the arches or something!

    • It’s Rugby’s fault

      “it was those wannabes trying to be “rowdy” but just took it too far beans” – Aye pal, AKA, rugby

    • Ball goer

      No wana be rugby boys AKA lax

  • Baller

    Dunno who I hate more, those lame fucking “baller” 20somethings tunnels dj wannabe wanks or the Tab

  • Kaine

    Oh darling, I’m sorry to tell you foil has been aluminium for some time now. Though somehow the information that you have a big head and are a bit behind the times isn’t surprising.

  • oldiemoldie

    you should pretty 90’s with your twisted feminism views actually. Ever thought that actually youre behind the times with your Patriarchal conspiracies?

  • Kaine

    Can any of the other Dapper apologists in the thread translate this gibberish for me?

  • #

    I think they were saying your feminist view’s are from the 90’s. This is a bigger issue than Dapper himself..

Heard something newsworthy?

By on

The other, better, things you could spend your £250 Union membership fee on

At least we’re honest about how we screw you

By ,         on

Clubbers of the week

Only two more weeks of Bridge to get through

By , Contributing Editor on

All things considered, doing DofE Gold is quite weird

So many blisters

By on

London’s plubs are the best thing about UK nightlife right now

(It’s a pub and a club mixed together)

By , Contributing Editor on

We asked guys whether they prefer thongs or french knickers

The finer things in life

By , Chief Reporter on

Your gluten free diet is killing the wheat industry

Bread just makes me bloat

By , Chief Reporter on

How to get into a Boiler Room DJ set

There are a few options

By , Head of Marketing on

There’s just something about girls who DJ

They exude coolness