Day 18: at some point over the festivities, Two Way Stretch will be watched, as recorded at some point during Christmas 1994. Never mind your Carry Ons or your Ealing comedies, this is the apex of the British comedy film, and it was a favourite of mine and my mate Stephen Evens during our shared drab suburban adolescence. Even if the plot and script weren’t absolutely first-rate, which they are, the presence of Bernard Cribbins, Beryl Reid, Liz Fraser, Irene “You’re obviously mistaking me for an actress who gives a fuck*” Handl, David “I’m Dave Lodge, I was in Cockleshell Heroes” Lodge, Thorley Walters, George Woodbridge, Mario Fabrizi, Maurice Denham and just about all the greats would see you through. Lionel Jeffries is the man of the match, though. It takes a true great to outshine Peter Sellers on peak form, and he did it. Yes, he was superb as the Marquess of Queensberry, but Prison Officer Sidney ‘Sour’ Crout is his finest moment in a career of distinction. Oh, and it has the best theme/opening titles combo of any British comedy film ever. Ken Jones, we salute you.
* Apologies for mangling the quote. The full story is explained in the accompanying comments, and it’s a corker.