Hooray! Asterix on film; what could be better? Quite a lot, as it turns out, because what all Asterix films miss is the crucial element that made the (English) books so great – translators Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge’s extra-curricular Brits-only gags. Asterix the Gaul is the first of the films, not bad, not great, but fun in a serialised-over-summer-holiday-mornings-in-1979 way. That ‘dum, da-dumty daaaa da’ theme tune refrain does get under your skin after a bit, though. Asterix and Cleopatra is the second Gaulish flick, which we’ve never seen, but the book was a pretty good one, satirising the architectural profession. Can’t see the gags about the Egyptians talking in hieroglyphs making it to the screen, though. For Asterix in Britain there’s still no Bell and Hockridge for this ’80s vintage tale of the origins of rugby and tea which is therefore 50% less funny than it could have been. Then there’s Asterix v Caesar (why not The Mansions of the Gods or Obelix and Co? They were dead classy) which we think is probably a film of Asterix and Caesar’s Gift, the one where Orthopaedix contests the chieftainship of the village, resulting in much election satire. Anyway, Terry Jones handles translation duties on this one, so it is actually a cut above. Not to be confused with the more recent Asterix Takes on Caesar starring Gerard Depardieu, which is rubbish. Lastly (here, anyway) is Asterix and the Great Crossing which was largely poor even in book form apart from a Danish explorer called Haraldwilssen, and Asterix and the Big Fight which is really just another limp late ’80s bodge job of a great book – the menhir-concussed Getafix and additional druid (“How are you, my dear sir!”) concocting polka-dot potions are present and correct, but the rest is hopelessly screwed around, and whither little Prawnsinaspix?