TV Cream

Films: W is for...


It seems to have a fair few fans but we don’t care, we don’t give a damn – this Clement/La Frenais ‘satire’ is a farce and a sham, marking the mid-’80s low point for Handmade Films, after the early glory years (‘Brian, ‘Friday, ‘Bandits, The Missionary) gave way to a string of expensive, rubbish comedies – Privates on Parade, Bullshot, Shanghai Surprise, and this queasy tale of Eastern Caribbean diplomacy and – spot of hilarity in the commentary box – mineral water rights. Still, the cast list is fantastically all over the shop – Michael Caine, Leonard Rossiter, Billy Connolly, Fulton Mackay, Dick ‘LSD’ Shawn, Fred ‘Car 54’ Gwynne, William ‘Porkins’ Hootkins, Brenda ‘Peter Cook anecdotes’ Vaccaro, Paul ‘it’s a haemorrhoid preparation, to be brutally frank’ Heiney, Ruby Wax and Maureen Lipman, plus George, Ringo, Clapton and, er, Jon ‘ver Purp’ Lord as Billy’s band, and Eddie Grant on theme duties.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    May 24, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I saw this on a holiday resort’s free cable channel back in 1986 and thought it stank to high heaven, despite the impressive cast list. And I must use this window of opportunity to mention a Brenda Vaccaro film that nobody seems to have heard of or even seen – Death Weekend (1977), co-starring Don ‘Buddy Holly’s drummer’ Stroud. She’s bloody fantastic in it.

  2. Droogie

    May 30, 2022 at 9:59 pm

    I only watched this on TV a few years after it was released just to see Paul Heiney play the role of a hard man mercenary he prepped for In At The Deep End where Ollie Reed famously threw him out of his house after an unsuccessful acting tutorial . Christ it’s such a stinker of a film. I get the feeling the producers realized this halfway through too and only allowed Paul to play opposite Michael Caine in the desperate hope it would get some more bums on seats at the cinema.

  3. Sidney Balmoral James

    June 2, 2022 at 11:07 pm

    Valerie Perrine did however say that she loved working with Michael Caine on this (but she had previously had to contend with Hoffman, Steiger, Nicholson etc.)

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