211. The Likely Lads (UK 1976)

starring: Bewes, Bolam, Forsythe (Bridget and not The Governor), Mary Tamm

director: Michael Tuchner

script: Dick Clement/Ian La Frenais

FACT: Mary Tamm is the third Doctor Who assistant* to be listed on this s(h)ite.

LIE: Her real name is Mary Ponn.

music: porno-style interludes throughout

Big screen adaptation of seventies sitcom

Whereas the seventies is considered the golden age of American cinema, for the UK, it represented a horrible nadir.

The British film industry effectively collapsed in the 1970s and with the exception of one or two decent exclusively British made films (Kes/Get Carter), the UK film industry seemed to consist solely of tawdry Robin Asquith-style sex 'comedies' and tv spin-offs.

Almost without exception,  these spin offs are completely terrible, but there are gradations of awfulness starting at the bottom of the barrel with On the Buses, Holiday On the Buses and Mutiny on the Buses.

Anna Karen. 'Olive'.

Rising slightly higher, we have the more obscure spin off such as Wilfred Pickles' For the Love of Ada  (anyone?) and Patrick Cargill's laugh-free Father Dear Father.

Man About the House is a UEFA cup entry, before the big boys enter the fray with Steptoe and Son and Clement and La Frenais' The Likely Lads.

Now this isn't a bad film to start off. The usual seventies' pre-occupation with sex is tempered with more subtle themes regarding ageing and the destruction of communities.  (The demolition of Terry and Bob's favourite pub 'The Fat Ox' is almost cinematic.) There are numerous trademark La Frenais/Clement gags to contend with, including the film's most famous interchange where Terry tells Bob that he can't offer him any beer because he only has six cans.

Unfortunately, the film degenerates very quickly. Pressured with the need to 'open up' the film, the writers eschew wordplay for Brian Rix-style farce (including Bob being locked outside bedroom doors and kecks going missing at an alarming rate).

An OK film with a number of highlights and definitely the worst incidental music of any film until Ken Russell's Crimes of Passion.

*A two pound fifty pee postal order and a soiled pair of Olive's panties to the first person to e mail me the names of the other two.