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Stanley Baxter ...
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Peter Cadley ...
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Isabel Chidell ...
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Russell Davies ...
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Bill Kenwright ...
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Nanette Newman ...
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Andrew Ray ...
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Paul Richardson ...
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James Roose-Evans ...
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Barry Wade ...
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23 September 2001 (UK)  »

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Followed by The Unforgettable Mike Reid (2010) See more »

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Interesting film thanks to the value in the life of Williams rather than the makers of the film
1 October 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Using contributions from friends and acquaintances along with a generous helping of clips, this short documentary looks back at the man who was Kenneth Williams. Although there are clips from his many films and appearances, the thrust of the film is the man himself, his relationship with his mother, him as a homosexual and other traits of his character in his later years.

I had seen the film on Joan Simms from the same makers so I approached this one with caution, assuming it would be as average as the previous film. I didn't feel any better as it started because the presentation was the same rather cheap style with lots of clips and a tacky title sequence. It also suggested that the same weakness would be here as with Sims, in that it relies heavily on the contributions of "friends" and "actors". Fortunately this film was better and I think it is mainly because Williams was a more interesting character than Sims and sufficient about him is already in the public domain so "friends" don't feel like they are betraying him or his memory by talking.

As a result the film is actually quite interesting and it does provide a personal view of the man outside of his films. OK, 95% of the talking heads you will not have heard of, but their contributions do make you feel like they actually have something to say about the subject rather than just being there to fill time. It is also worth noting that aside from a couple of stories, most of what is being said will be things that fans of Williams will already be aware of.

Better than I expected it to be then but I suspect this is mainly because Williams is an interesting enough character to fill 40 minutes. However I will say that the BBC4 drama "Fantabulosa!" covers similar ground but does it in a much more engaging and interesting fashion.


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