Martin Urban, a young accountant, is gay but unwilling to own up to this fact because he desperately wants to be the ideal son for his parents. When he wins a fortune on the football pools,... See full summary »





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Episode credited cast:
Robert Austin ...
Mr. Cochrane
Francesca Brown
Honora Burke ...
Woman at Grafton Road
Charu Bala Chokshi ...
Mrs. Bhavnai (as Charubala Chokshi)
Finn (as Philip Davis)
Robert Davis ...
Jacqui Docker ...
Ann Blake
Martin Urban's father
Alexandra Eagle ...
Martin Urban
William Gaminara ...
Tim Sage
Ann-Marie Gwatkin ...
Martin Urban's secretary
Paula Jacobs ...
Mrs. Gogarty
Carl Pizzie ...
Flower shop delivery boy
Chris Sanders ...


Martin Urban, a young accountant, is gay but unwilling to own up to this fact because he desperately wants to be the ideal son for his parents. When he wins a fortune on the football pools, he decides to give half of it away to deserving people. But he neglects to include his friend Tim Sage, who filled in the coupon for him and really needs the money. Perhaps Martin doesn't acknowledge Tim because Martin is strongly sexually attracted to him. Tim's revenge upon Martin succeeds beyond his wildest dreams, setting in motion a chain of events leading to a tragic climax. Written by <>

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Release Date:

17 January 1988 (UK)  »

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Remade as Ruth Rendell Mysteries: The Lake of Darkness (1999) See more »


Baroque Suite
Music by Raymond Bennell
Cavendish Music Ltd
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User Reviews

Suspenseful Mystery Film with Gay Theme
3 August 2002 | by (Stroudsburg, PA) – See all my reviews

"Dead Lucky" was made by the BBC for TV, shown in America on A&E, then released on video. It remains largely unknown to American viewers.

It's a suspenseful mystery film of the sort the British excel at. The plot depends on deception and irony, and requires close attention, stimulating much thought on several topics.

The film focuses on Martin Urban, a prosperous young accountant, and his friend, Tim Sage, who meet after not having seen each other for quite a while. During this initial conversation, Tim urges Martin to play the football pools (somewhat like the American lotteries), but Martin hasn't a clue as to how to do this. As a financially well off man, Martin has not concerned himself with lottery tickets. A week or so later, when Martin has Tim to dinner, Tim tells Martin how to play the pools and provides Martin with a series of numbers to play. On a whim, Martin plays and wins 150,000 pounds, which he doesn't reveal to Tim. Nor does Martin share any of his winnings with Tim.

Martin's denial of aid to Tim derives largely from Martin's refusal to accept his own homosexuality and acknowledge that he is sexually attracted to Tim. A dream sequence makes explicit Martin's desire for Tim. If Martin gives some of his winnings to Tim, Martin thinks this will acknowledge Tim's importance in his life. And Martin refuses to give Tim this importance because of what Martin would have to face about himself.

However, Tim knows that Martin has won the pools because he recalls the numbers that he told Martin to play, and when Martin doesn't offer to share the winnings with Tim, Tim sets into motion a revenge plan. The plot is too complex to detail here, but it has many fascinating twists and surprises before it culminates in disaster for several of the characters.

Because Martin refuses to accept his homosexuality, he is easy prey to Tim's revenge plot, which turns on Martin's desire to please his parents by marrying and Martin's wanting to be thought of as "just one of the guys" and "a regular fellow" by his coworkers.

The film also asks, What is charity? Who best deserves our charity? Friends? Neighbors? Someone to whom we owe something? Strangers? And in what manner should charity be given?

Martin is a fraud because he won't face the truth about himself. And this fraudulence carries over into his life at large, best exemplified in his charitable gestures. Martin does his good deeds in the spirit of noblesse oblige, coldly and impersonally, a rich man helping the little people. Martin means well, but there's no soul, no love, in his charity, and it leads to disaster.

The film is well cast and performed. Nicholas Farrell is good at conveying the stuffy, upper-class Martin. And Harriet Bagnall is particularly good as Francesca, appearing first as a sympathetic woman and then revealing herself as hard and calculating.

While working well as a suspense film, the film is multi-layered with meanings and will well repay your time, if you like films that make you think.

Note: Watch the closing credits, which reveal important information about Theodore Finn's fate. Also, "Lake of Darkness" by Ruth Rendell, the novel upon which the film is based, is an interesting book, filling out many details--particularly about Tim Sage's sexual history--that the film didn't have time for.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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