RIP Bill Shipton

I’m incredibly sad to hear of the sudden death of writer, fetish filmmaker and all-round good bloke, Bill Shipton. Bill was one of the few people I’d class as a legend in the world of fetish – originally a writer for most of the leading UK top-shelf men’s mags, including Penthouse, Men Only and Razzle, he went on to found Splosh!, the seminal magazine and series of spin-off videos devoted to all things wet and messy. If you liked to see pretty women being covered in custard, beans, water or mud, while losing their clothes in the process, Bill was the man who provided the pictures and stories that catered to you. He loved classic slapstick, from Laurel and Hardy to Charlie Cairoli, and this was reflected in the humour in Splosh! – many of the photosets in the mag were deliberately silly parodies of films and TV shows, and he once featured a spy spoof where the evil villainess from behind the Iron Curtain was called Inya Pantigusset. You get the kind of thing… For the last few years, Bill, along with his partner in sploshing crime, Hayley, had been running a photo studio in Hastings, providing facilities for people who wanted to shoot their own wet and messy material for private consumption.

Bill was one of the easiest interviews I ever did for Forum, alongside the wonderful, quintessentially English madam, Cynthia Payne – both people who you’d sit down with, ask ‘How are you?’ and get a print-worthy twenty-minute answer out of just that simple question. In return, I took custard pies in the face for both Splosh! and the Messy Missies video (where I also got to flan the editor of Big and Fat magazine – happy days!). Both truly memorable experiences, if only for the fact that I couldn’t get the smell of custard out of my nostrils for the next three days…

On a personal level, Bill was one of those people who could make you laugh till you cried. He provided comedy material for the Two Ronnies (who, according to him, promptly decided to bring the show to an end, having used the one and only sketch he sold to them) and his good friend and BBC Radio 2 DJ Alex Lester. Bill was the man responsible for creating the ‘Argos Catalogue Price is Right’ game (turn to a page in the Argos catalogue at random, read out the description of an item and get everyone to guess how much it costs – whoever’s closest to the actual price gets the next turn) and because of him, I can’t look at the classic Victorian image below, Charles Burton Barber’s Suspense, without thinking of his comment that the kitten is, in fact, stoned and exclaiming, ‘Hey man, look at the pretty colours in the tea…’

Barber_suspense

You always had a good time when Bill was around, and I’d like to think he’s looking down on us all now, waiting for the best moment to tip a bucket of wallpaper paste over our heads…

RIP, Bill – Rest In Pies.

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One thought on “RIP Bill Shipton

  1. A beautiful tribute Elizabeth, I am so saddened by Bill dying, he was one in a million truly funny decent and lovely, thank you for writing this xxx

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