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Raymond De Felitta
[Arthur and Tim are in their fishing boat]
We've got something all snarled up in the nets.
If it's another of those damn tourists, we're throwing the bugger back - too much bloody paperwork.
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Writer/director Guy Jenkin successfully synthesizes a variety of English social, political and cultural themes in this 1996 British TV film. The end product is somewhat like a sophisticated Brian Rix farce. No one loses their pants, but this is a delightful way to pass a couple of hours.
Viewers are served with a very full plate. There's family angst, British political intrigue, MI5 agents, pagan rites, cannabis smuggling, the gutter press, and the disappearing English fishing industry -- and it's all served on the colorful backdrop of a delightful southwestern coastal town.
The cast is impressive. Viewers are treated with an opportunity to see one of Pat Hayes' last performances. James Fleet (Vicar of Dibley) plays a smooth-talking Tory Prime Minister who eerily resembles Tony Blair -- Fleet's NHS TV ad is particularly well done. Richard Wilson (One Foot in the Grave) is excellent as the cranky family patriarch and disaffected ex-Lord Chancellor who has the ability to topple a large part of the English Establishment. Prunella Scales (Fawlty Towers) plays the Government's Minister of Fisheries who is sent to make Wison's character, Bill Webster, see some sense. Angus Deayton plays a delightful cameo as the head of MI5, swinging golf balls at Japanese tourists on the Thames. Martin Clunes (Men Behaving Badly) briefly appears as the Minister of Defense. and there's a surprise appearance by old Labour stalwart Dennis Healey.
OK, so you'll never see a British PM wrestling with Sun journalists in a duckpond over a briefcase containing 500,000 UKP -- the price of the PM's Singapore secrets and Cabinet Members' indiscretions -- but that does not detract from a well written, well acted, typically English comedy, which won a comedic award for Hat Trick Productions. Just one criticism though. Richard Wilson's hairpiece is awful!
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