Melvyn Bragg (as himself) arrives at the country home of Sir Norbert Smith (Enfield) in the week of his 80th birthday, to reminisce about a distinguished acting career that ranged from Hamlet to the face of Sudso washing powder.
Sir Norbert’s recollections, addled by drink, are supported with clips from his greatest hits – from comedy capers Passport to Puddlewitch and Whimsy Galore! to the shocking tale of 1930s juvenile delinquency Rebel Without a Tie. He serves the war effort by scuttling off to Hollywood to make musicals about the Blitz, and leads the cast of Rover Returns Home, an English take on Lassie.
It’s Grim Up North reprises the misery of 1960s social realism; and in his final role he gamely plays Nelson Mandela (as Alec Guinness was unavailable).
The cast includes self-parodying Carry On regulars Jack Douglas, Barbara Windsor and Kenneth Connor.
“A mock-reverent look at the life and career of a venerable old actor… a marvellous jape.” – People Magazine