Sid Gibson is a soap powder salesman who decides what he really needs is TV advertising. The problem is, he's absolutely broke. He calls upon his friend Arthur Ashton, who arranges to sneak... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Askey ...
Arthur Ashton
Sidney James ...
Sid Gibson
Dermot Walsh ...
Martin Russell
Olga Lindo ...
Mrs. Burgess
Clive Morton ...
National TV director general
Sally Barnes ...
Sally
George Margo ...
Assistant
Lionel Murton ...
Commercial TV director
...
Jack
...
Anxious husband
Martin Benson ...
Chairman
David Nettheim ...
Professor
Bruce Seton ...
Supt. James
Tommy Trinder ...
Himself, Cameo appearance
Dickie Henderson ...
Himself, Cameo appearance
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Storyline

Sid Gibson is a soap powder salesman who decides what he really needs is TV advertising. The problem is, he's absolutely broke. He calls upon his friend Arthur Ashton, who arranges to sneak a plug for Sid's suds into a live TV spectacular. The public goes bananas for the product but to maintain sales Sid and Arthur must arrange for ever more outrageous plugs on TV shows. The Ascots races, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo - no show is safe. Written by Anonymous

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Comedy

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Release Date:

13 January 1965 (USA)  »

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1.37 : 1
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Trivia

The film has three future Carry on stars, Sid James, Kenneth Williams and Barbara Windsor. See more »

Goofs

The first pile of laundry that Arthur's landlady gives him is large and untidy. After walking through the crowd in the street market, the height of the pile is shorter and is tidy. See more »

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User Reviews

Funny, fast-moving Fifties comedy
14 September 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Arthur Askey plays a make-up man working for National TV (a thinly disguised BBC) inveigled into advertising a washing powder, the improbably named Bonko! by its rascally promoter Sid James. The plan works, Arthur is fired but Bonko! sales boom. Then another promoter turns up at the Bonko! 'factory' run from three public call boxes, to engage Sid and Arthur to advertise cake mix on the National in the same way.

This is a light comedy with likable characters which is very much of its time, never letting up. Though to call it a satire would be pushing it a bit, a lot of fun is had parodying the BBC as envisaged by Lord Reith, also the sheep-like nature of the public who won't buy a product that hasn't been advertised "on the telly". In fact commercial TV had only arrived in the UK three years previously, in the face of determined opposition from some influential voices in Parliament and other sections of the media; the idea of any sort of advert on the BBC was taboo. Askey was at the height of his popularity at the time and was one of the first major UK TV stars, though he had been in the entertainment business for decades already. Here, he's his chirpy, irrepressible self, whether quipping with landlady Olga Lindo, or incongruously plugging Dermot Walsh's "slap-happy cake mix" on stage with the Royal Ballet, in an amusing and adeptly directed scene. Yet, along with Benny Hill, he seems to have become a non-person in the eyes of many of the professional pundits on British comedy. He works well with Sid James, as funny as ever, playing the same kind of comical rogue he did so well in the Hancock radio series. The guest stars include Sabrina, who appeared in Askey's TV shows, causing an early case of carping from moral watchdogs. It's all a fascinating glimpse of TV at the time, and can be recommended to all who, as Edwin Richfield's lugubrious plain-clothes cop observes at the ballet "prefer a good laugh".


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