IMDb > The Plank (1979) (TV)

The Plank (1979) (TV) More at IMDbPro »


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Eric Sykes (written by)
View company contact information for The Plank on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
17 December 1979 (UK) See more »
This is a pantomime about two construction workers, who discover that a plank is missing from the floor they are just building... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win See more »
(10 articles)
Graham Stark obituary
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 31 October 2013, 5:07 PM, PDT)

Graham Stark obituary
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 31 October 2013, 5:07 PM, PDT)

Eric Sykes dies aged 89
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 4 July 2012, 4:01 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
I just don't get it, I'm afraid See more (4 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Eric Sykes ... Larger Workman

Arthur Lowe ... Smaller Workman
Lionel Blair ... Paint-covered House Owner

Henry Cooper ... Beer drinker
Harry H. Corbett ... Amorous Van Driver

Bernard Cribbins ... House painter
Robert Dorning ... Fork-Lift Truck Driver

Diana Dors ... Woman with Rose

Charlie Drake ... Delivery man with cake
Jimmy Edwards ... Policeman
Liza Goddard ... Young lady helped across the road

Deryck Guyler ... Milkman
Charles Hawtrey ... Co-Driver

Frankie Howerd ... Photographer

James Hunt ... One-Eyed Truck Driver

Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Old man trying to cross the road (as Wilfred Hyde White)

Joanna Lumley ... Hitchhiker
Kenny Lynch ... Dustman
Brian Murphy ... Truck Driver

Kate O'Mara ... 'It's Paint' Woman
Ann Sidney ... Photographers Model
Reg Varney ... Window Cleaner
Frank Windsor ... Car driver
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pat Gorman ... Dustman (uncredited)

Directed by
Eric Sykes 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Eric Sykes  written by

Produced by
Dennis Kirkland .... producer
Original Music by
Alan Braden 
Film Editing by
John Plummer 
Production Design by
David Richens 
Costume Design by
Janet Bevan 
Makeup Department
Gilly Wakeford .... makeup supervisor (as Gillian Wakeford)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Aidan Boulter .... third assistant director
Art Department
Ruth Bribram .... graphics designer
Sound Department
Gordon Temple .... dubbing mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Tom Ingle .... film cameraman
Casting Department
James Liggat .... booking executive
Location Management
Brian Heard .... location manager
Other crew
Michele Green .... production assistant
Auriol Lee .... stage manager
Angie Piper .... production assistant
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
28 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Frank Windsor's character is the driver who leans out of his car window tapping his watch, as he does so a short burst of the Music Hall tune "If you want to know the time, Ask a Policeman". Windsor was well known in the UK for playing a detective in "Z Cars" (1962) and later "Softly Softly" (1966)See more »
Movie Connections:


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7 out of 72 people found the following review useful.
I just don't get it, I'm afraid, 1 March 2000
Author: berthe bovy ( from paris, france

The main appeal of this short is probably the cameos from a certain strata of 60s and 70s British comedy that support leads Eric Sykes and Arthur Lowe - Lionel Blair, Harry H. Corbett, Bernard Cribbins, Frankie Howerd, Reg Varney, Joanna Lumley, the guy from GEORGE AND MILDRED etc. Unfortunately, (with the exception of the great Charles Hawtrey) this is the comedy against which I've always defined my own loves - e.g. MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS, REGINALD PERRIN, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE LIKELY LADS, FAWLTY TOWERS etc. - so there isn't much enjoyment for me here. But it's rare that popular TV stars experiment with the riches of short silent comedy, so I gave it a go.

The first barrier to pleasure is not the profusion of performers I have never found funny, but the aggressive laughter track stuck on, telling me how truly hilarious what I'm watching is, when it clearly, bewilderingly, isn't. The gags are so obvious, and are set up so far in advance, and are executed as precisely as you expected, that not only can you not understand why everybody's enjoying themselves; but you get the feeling that you are not watching a comedy, but a lecture in the mechanics of comedy theorems.

The plot concerns two builders, Sykes and Lowe, who are laying the wood foundations of a new house, only to find one plank stolen by children to make a see-saw. They head off to the plankyard (or whatever it's called) in their clapped out old car, and the rest of the film details their chaotic, socially disruptive, attempts to bring it back to the house.

There is some abstract pleasure in seeing a plot dominated not by bewildered comics, but a piece of wood, which probably dramatises some Marxist gubbins about the commodity fetish and the alienation of the worker from his labour. There is an intriguing contrast between the very British cast and their brand of saucy seaside humour, and the very abstract Anywhere-ville that frames their adventures, a new housing estate under construction and some generalsised suburbs.

This, and the pleasing, bouncy music, give the film a HULOT-esque feel, but there is none of Tati's complex struggle between individual and environment (or hilarity). This rush of new building and the profusion of labourers give some sense of 70s Britain, its anonymity and dehumanisation, while the ultimate circularity of the plot calls into question the very progress (eg economic) that allows the film's content.

While the leads are sympathetic in their passivity, the jokes and slapstick are so old, corny and uninventive, stolen from hundreds of better 20s comedies. Men get splattered by paint, hit by the plank, are run into a pond etc. The one genuinely funny sequence is when the great Wilfred Hyde-White tries to cross a busy road and his walking-stick is broken.

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