After Henry has celebrated his 71st birthday by jumping into the sea and Charles has eaten a dodgy kebab they both end up in hospital. Charles' jealousy of Margaret's friendship with Dr Cranmore ends...
Henry's friend Charles seems to have gone missing, but is in fact working at a new charity shop "Virtuous" that is in direct competition with Margaret's shop. Henry leads a rebellion against the new ...
Fundamentally one note and ready made, but still works as what it is
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
Henry Palmer (Simon Callow) lives on Brighton Beach, where he is seeing out his final days, with the prospect of going in a home and losing his independence looming. Unable to accept where he is in life and the travesty and injustice he sees all around him, he embarks on a crazed, anarchic splurge of lawlessness and anti-social behaviour, much to the chagrin of his daughter and two closest friends.
From the plot description, The Rebel may just as easily have worked as something more serious and grim, of an elderly man with no hope being pushed over the edge, rather unlike the wild, slapstick farce it actually is. There have been real life tales documented on television and in the papers about 'lawless OAPs' that would have served as inspiration in themselves, but this is derived from a comic strip called The Oldie, that many may not have heard of, an original production for the channel UK Gold, usually awash with endless repeats from years ago.
In spite of this, The Rebel doesn't seem to have any significant social comment to make, just a fluffy, flimsy excuse for something silly and funny. The Americans have certainly been making capital on the 'old man does naughty things' formula, with films including the recent Robert De Niro vehicle Dirty Grandpa, and the similarly named Jackass film adaptation Bad Grandpa. As undemandingly funny and amusing as it is, it's the type of humour Tony Hancock was known for hating-the 'ready made' style that doesn't require any great thought, but follows a safe, easy pattern and gets cheap but effective laughs from that.
And so, that's the show covered in a nutshell. It's very derivative and lazy, but with it being so subversive and ridiculous watching an old man behaving yobbishly, it works, and Callow works well in the lead role, managing an effective presence that carries things along well. For cheap, easy fun, it's fine to settle down to. ***
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