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The Ups and Downs of a Handyman (1976)

A young handyman and his wife (Barry Stokes, Penny Meredith) move to a small village and set up business. There, the handyman encounters numerous strange characters, including a local ... See full summary »


John Sealey


Derrick Slater (screenplay), John Sealey (original idea) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Barry Stokes ... Bob
Gay Soper Gay Soper ... Maisie
Sue Lloyd ... The Blonde
Bob Todd Bob Todd ... Squire Bullsworthy
Chic Murray Chic Murray ... P. C. Knowles
Robert Dorning Robert Dorning ... Newsagent
Valerie Leon ... Redhead
Penny Meredith ... Margaretta
Helli Louise Helli Louise ... Newsagent's Daughter
John Blythe ... Farmer Elgin
Harold Bennett ... Gasper
Julia Bond Julia Bond ... Polly (as Julie Bond)
Jeannie Collings Jeannie Collings ... Mrs Wain
Alexandra Dane Alexandra Dane ... Mrs Knowles
Ava Cadell ... Schoolgirl


A young handyman and his wife (Barry Stokes, Penny Meredith) move to a small village and set up business. There, the handyman encounters numerous strange characters, including a local constable (Chic Murray) more inept than a squadcar full of Keystone Kops; an elderly magistrate (Bob Todd) whose primary passion is spanking young women; a schoolmistress (Sue Lloyd) with a closetful of kinks; and more predatory housewives than the young man can handle. Written by Dan Navarro <daneldorado@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Always Handy - the odd job man whose services are constantly in demand!




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

November 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Happy Housewives See more »

Filming Locations:

Surrey, England, UK

Company Credits

Production Co:

K.F.R. Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Gay Soper replaced Hilary Pritchard as Maisie. See more »


In the last shot of the bathroom sequence a crew member's hand can be briefly seen touching actress Mrs Wain's backside, directing her to move out of the way of the camera. See more »


Featured in Twisted Sex Vol. 19 (1998) See more »


The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
Music and Lyrics by Vic Elms
Theme song sung by Barry Stokes
See more »

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User Reviews

Confessions of an Odd-Job Man
9 December 2001 | by gavcrimsonSee all my reviews

Forget all those Confessions films if future generations ever need to know what a British sex comedy was look no further than The Ups and Downs of a Handyman. Every cliché home grown smut will be remembered/reviled for gets an airing in this world of 'comically' speeded up sex scenes, music hall derived farce, randy heroes, horny housewives, lower than lowbrow humour and Bob Todd. These days you're either likely to find it entertaining, embarrassing, cringe-worthy or somewhere in-between the three.

Double-entendres feature heavily in Derrick Slater's screenplay and John Sealey's 'final screenplay' even before the opening credits the film exhausts every sexual pun in the book- ('Aren't you up yet', 'Keep him at it', 'Are you under him already'). The subsequent plot as if quotes like those and the title doesn't tell you everything you need to know, finds newlyweds Bob and Maisie relocating from the hustle and bustle of the big city to an inherited cottage in a 'quiet' Surrey village. While the cottage is a blessing for the cash strapped couple Bob finds work hard to come by and turns his hand to being the village odd-job man. A mistake in the advertisement Bob places in the window of a newsagent gives the impression to many a frustrated housewife that Bob's offering a very different kind of 'service'. Cue much misunderstanding as Bob comes knocking on their doors looking to fix a bed or a bath only to be practically raped by his customers. Soon the subject of 'exhausting' the handyman becomes the most hotly talked about gossip at ladies lunches (an alternative title was 'The Happy Housewives'). Their husbands remain, of course, blissfully unaware of whats going on behind their backs, simply because they're too busy with their own little kinky pastimes, there's Arthur the newsagent whose a nudie-photographer on the quiet, Mr.Wain the secret transvestite, the butcher who has a taste for flagellation, and most perverse Bob Todd's bottom fixated Squire who goes out 'hunting' for women to spank and chase around. The Handyman's nemesis is Fred the bungling policeman who for no particular reason makes it his mission to drive Bob out of town, but whose attempts to find incriminating evidence (i.e. catching Bob behaving like a rabbit) usually ends with him falling off his bike or getting caught on fences. (Pete Walker's 'comedy' School for Sex uses a similar clumsy copper running gag with even more dire results). Things go from bad to worse when Maisie, worrying that her husband has been overdoing it at work, hires a senior citizen stand-in to do the handyman jobs, leading to charges of 'false pretences' from the women and angry fist-waiving from their husbands- still in the dark about the sort of work Bob's been up to that his old geezer replacement can't provide. But there is no problem that can't be resolved by that old Benny Hill mainstay the speeded up foot chase, as poor Bob gets pursued across Surrey by the housewives inevitably leading to women's clothes accidentally falling off and the policeman and Bob Todd being pushed into a pool ad-infinitum. With equal groans from the film's one-liners as there are from its handyman hero, on the whole this is a fairly pleasant but minor piece of soft-core slapstick. Although its hard to completely dislike a film that subscribes to the idea that everyone in Surrey is a raving pervert, and no director that assaults an audience with the sight of Bob Todd naked in the shower save a bowler hat spanking a woman about 20 years his junior could be accused of good taste either. Among the women hoping the handyman's brought the right tool are Valerie Leon (wasted in a brief, non-sex role) and Alexandra Dane of 'Corruption' and 'Not on Your Nellie' as the policeman's wife who makes a grab for Bob's crotch only to end up covered in paint. Speaking of Danes, special mention should also go to Copenhagen's own Helli Louise Jacobson- a petite, dark-eyed, actress who plays the newsagent's naughty daughter and features in the bathtub scene- the cleanest and the dirtiest moment in the film. What attributes made Helli so popular among hard and soft-core pornographers (not to mention Benny Hill and The Goodies)? Let's just say she wasn't petite in all departments.

For the ladies, there's strapping Barry Stokes and Surrey's housewife's favourite 1975 had some odd-jobs in his own career as well, from a part in the original incarnation of Crossroads to the ultra-obscure Iberian horror The Corruption of Chris Miller (La Corruption de Chris Miller, 1972). But by far the most memorable Stokes appearance must be in a little film Norman J Warren made called Prey where he played a rat faced, cannibalistic alien terrorizing a pair of lesbians with throat biting, entrail yanking results (The Ups and Downs of a Handyman and Prey would certainly make a curious double-bill). Strangely this film's initial tape releases, retitled in order to bamboozle late-80's viewers into thinking it was part of the Confessions series went unscathed by the British censor, but when submitted under its real name in 1998 and 1999 suffered 1 minute and 17 seconds of cuts. Having seen neither of these recent releases (on the Cinema Club and Arrow labels respectably) what the censors found so offensive twenty or so years after the fact remains a mystery, was the sight of Bob Todd chasing dollies and indulging in 'le vice anglaise' judged likely to deprave and corrupt? the mind boggles. Oh and if anyone out there decides that the world needs a CD compilation of Themes from British Sex films, along with title tracks from The Sexplorer and The Playbirds I'd nominate the particularly gruesome ditty that opens this film. Sung by Mr Stokes himself 'The Ups and Downs of a Handyman, living my life the best I can… up and down all over town, I can make ya smile, I can make ya frown'- it still sends shivers down my spine.

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