“The story you are about to see really took place
…only with less swearing and more nudity.”
I’m being naughty, posting something that’s half way to expiring on iPlayer, but I only got a chance to watch this last night, and it’s a complete corker. So, run! run! to watch it in the next 3 days.
Mary Whitehouse. You wouldn’t think she’d be the most sympathetic central figure in a film; I certainly remember her as an anemone-hatted battle-axe, grumbling about trivialities in the early 80s. Amanda Coe‘s script shows a reasonable woman whose position ossified as she was ignored by the BBC and ridiculed by the new satirical comedy movement growing out of the Establishment club and TW3. There’s some proper private tragedy in there for good measure, too.
BBC Four also put out a supporting documentary about the censorship of entertainment at the BBC, Auntie’s War on Smut which gives a useful bit of historical background to the drama. It serves to highlight how knowledgeable and well made the film is by contextualising the ‘new morality’ of the 60s permissive society.
Having said that, it’s the little details in this one that give it life – it’s crammed with incidental jokes, and blimey, what a cast. As a one-off drama, it’s a very good one. As a biopic, it’s bloody amazing.
(Whilst the writing credit is to Amanda Coe, the film was based on an original idea by Patrick Reams. Credit where credit’s due, etc.)