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Britannia Hospital (1982) Poster

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (3) | Spoilers (1)
Actors Mark Hamill, Alan Bates and Malcolm McDowell worked for free.
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Edward Arthur was cut out of this project
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Third part of a trilogy featuring the character Mick Travis played by Malcolm McDowell in each of the three films. If.... (1968) and O Lucky Man! (1973) are the previous and slightly better known films. All were directed by Lindsay Anderson.
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Final film of both Arthur Lowe and Valentine Dyall.
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Some British critics walked out of its first screening at the Cannes Film Festival.
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Upon seeing it, Derek Jarman predicted that the film "would finish Lindsay in the British film industry". It was a fairly accurate prediction as the remainder of Lindsay Anderson's career was spent in the United States. Anderson later wrote a letter to Malcolm McDowell in which he wrote "I've been in London - how long? - about three or four weeks... Time is rather featureless at the moment. I'm sure you'll understand when I say it's a dispiriting place to return to. The dark waters have closed over 'Britannia Hospital'."
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Robbie Coltrane and Richard Griffiths would later appear together on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001).
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David Sherwin wrote the script in 1979 and it was originally set to be produced that year by Twentieth-Century Fox. There was a shake-up at Fox and the new head of the studio cancelled the project after reading the script. Funding was then secured through EMI, who would eventually withdraw the film from cinemas a month after release.
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Arthur Lowe died shortly after his part was filmed. Some EMI executives allegedly tried to use his death as a reason to shut down production.
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The name of the new modern state-of-the-art medical research facility was "The Millar Centre", its full title was actually "The Millar Centre for Advanced Surgical Science".
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The film was entered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1982.
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Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell)'s code-name was "Spider".
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The film won the "Audience Jury Award" at the Portugese Fantasporto film festival of Sci-fi, Fantasy, & Horror films in 1983.
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After about one month in release in England, EMI Films withdrew the film from distribution.
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Billing of the main cast in the film's closing credits was grouped under a number of character categories which were Medicos; The Media; The Unions; The Palace; The Radicals; and Administration.
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The movie was in development for quite a long time. According to the "Going Mad in Hollywood" diaries by David Sherwin, this picture was originally going to be financed by 20th Century Fox, supervised Sherry Lansing. The project went under at Fox but was picked up by EMI Films through Barry Spikings.
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The name of Professor Millar (Graham Crowden)'s top-secret scientific project was "Genesis".
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Britannia Hospital is so described in the movie as having 53 wards and 1100 beds. It employs a nursing staff of over 3000 and operates in the south-eastern catchment area [of London]. The medical facility hosts 90,000 patients per year from a population of two and three quarter million.
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The birthday that the Britannia Hospital was celebrating was its 500th Anniversary.
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Actor John Bett appears in drag for his entire performance as Lady Felicity Ramsden.
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Penultimate cinema movie of actor Leonard Rossiter whose final theatrical film was Water (1985) around three years later.
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The name of the documentary film being shot at the Millar scientific research institute was "Creation".
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The slogan on hospital disc-jockey Cheerful Bernie (Richard Griffiths)'s jumper said "Die Laughing With Bernie!".
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The member of the Royal Family that was visiting Britannia Hospital is only ever referred to in the film as "H.R.H." and is billed in the closing credits as "H.R.H.". The character resembled and was unofficially meant to be the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, the wife of King George VI and mother of Queen Elizabeth II.
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Some of the characters from the first film If.... (1968) of Lindsay Anderson's trilogy that didn't appear in the second film O Lucky Man! (1973), appeared in this third part. People appearing in the movie included actors who had worked on both these first two pictures or had worked with director Lindsay Anderson before.
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The film is considered a critique, amongst other things, of England's National Health Service (NHS).
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The movie, the third part of trilogy, was made and released about nine years after the second part O Lucky Man! (1973) and fourteen years after the first film If.... (1968).
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The film featured approximately seventy speaking parts, with about seven hundred cast and crew working on the film in total. The film's finale featured around five hundred professional actors.
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Actor Leonard Rossiter and director Lindsay Anderson previously had worked together on This Sporting Life (1963) about nineteen years earlier.
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Actors Malcolm McDowell and Leonard Rossiter previously had worked together on Voyage of the Damned (1976) around six years earlier.
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Britannia Hospital (i.e. its exterior) was portrayed by Friern Hospital in Colney Hatch in the London borough of Barnet, England. The psychiatric medical facility was formerly known as the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum. The hospital was built as the Second Middlesex County Asylum and operated between 1851 and 1993. When the hospital closed, it was converted into an upmarket apartment block called Princess Park Manor.
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Fourth and final collaboration of actor Malcolm McDowell and director Lindsay Anderson who had previously worked together on If.... (1968), O Lucky Man! (1973) and Look Back in Anger (1980).
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Mark Hamill accompanied Malcolm McDowell, a good friend, to London purely for a leisure trip, and ended up being cast alongside him in the film.
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The film's interior scenes were filmed at studios in Wembley, London. The exterior shots - of which there were many - were filmed at Barnet Frier Hospital, New Southgate, north of London. The hospital continued to operate normally throughout the filming in September 1981, although some disruption was inevitable: the hospital's green fields were covered with marquees, providing dressing rooms, toilets and wardrobe facilities, and a kitchen to feed the 500 cast and 200 crew was installed in the grounds. Near the entrance, a pair of gatehouses and two tall wrought-iron gates were erected, to be knocked down by the stampede of protesters at the end of the film. The hospital itself was chosen because of its impressive Victorian architecture - albeit not quite Britannia's 500 years old - and it received a payment of £5,000 for its involvement.
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Cameo 

Arthur Lowe:  As a guest patient.
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Alan Bates:  As a guest patient.
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Robbie Coltrane:  In an early screen appearance as a picketer.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The monologue said by the robotic voice of the machine-wired brain of 'Genesis' at the end of the film is the "What a piece of work is a man" speech from William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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