In the mid-1960s, Joan, not long married to comic actor John Le Mesurier, meets and is mutually attracted to comedian Tony Hancock, married to the long-suffering Freddie. Hancock's most ... See full summary »
In the mid-1960s, Joan, not long married to comic actor John Le Mesurier, meets and is mutually attracted to comedian Tony Hancock, married to the long-suffering Freddie. Hancock's most successful period is in the past and he has become depressive and alcoholic, recently emerging from a stay in a rehab centre. Joan tells him that if he can remain sober for a year she will leave John for him. Hancock goes to Australia to film a comedy series there but it does not work out and he commits suicide. Joan stays with John until his death in the 1980s. Written by
[Tony and Joan have just made love; in a panic at his forthcoming stage performance, Tony rushes to the toilet, suffering from a sudden attack of diarrhoea]
What am I doing? My arse has exploded and my teeth are chattering.
Joan Le Mesurier:
When I was living in Ramsgate, my friend Sheila worked on the dog track. She said when you see the dogs on parade before the race, if one of them has a hard-on or has just had a crap, put your money on it. I'd back you on both counts tonight.
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Maxine Peake showed her abilities with a terrifying performance as Myra Hindley. Considering she was opposite Jim Broadbent as Lord Longford and Andy Serkis as Ian Brady, that took some doing.
Here, she steals the show with a spellbinding turn as John Le Mesurier's wife Joan. Unfortunately, this drama is out of kilter with the rest of The Curse of Comedy series. All the others cover a timespan during which the subjects were at their peak of success. This covers a two year period several years after Tony Hancock was one of the biggest stars on UK TV with Hancock's Half Hour and Hancock, and also after his unsuccessful film career. The events in this dramatisation bring matters to the conclusion of Hancock's lonely suicide in Austratlia. The death scenes were unsatisfactory, as Hancock sees a ghostly image of Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock, the character from East Cheam which brought him fame and fortune.
A pity we didn't see Ken Stott saying "A PINT? THAT'S VERY NEARLY AN ARMFUL!"
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