The Cutprice Guignol

The Ninth Year: The Haunting of Swill House

Tag: richard. e grant

Movie Marathon #4: Withnail & I

How many of you, after watching Withnail & I for the first time, decided to model your life on Withnail? Started swaggering around in a big coat, drinking questionable substances and quoting Shakespeare in the park? Hands up. Right, fuck you all. You’re the reason I can never love this film as much as I should. Because it created scores of establishment-bending wankers trying to emulate Richard E. Grant playing one of the most interminably terrible cunts in silver-screen history.

And it is a brilliant film; dawdling around with pseudo-philosophical bullshit, reveling in the beauty of the English countryside, and constantly spouting eminently quotable lines. Very little happens to shake the earth, and that’s the beauty of the piece; Paul Mcgann’s guileless but neurotically endearing actor brings a wide-eyed innocence to the otherwise very black-hearted little movie. Richard Griffiths (may he rest in peace) is simply fantastic as Uncle Monty, one of the most watching-through-your-fingers lecherous poshos I’ve ever clapped eyes on. And the film is utterly British, in general-with coffee shops, pubs, Shakespeare and the muddy countryside, it smacks of a knowing but ultimately affectionate pat on the head to all the awesome and awful corners of British culture.

But yet. The constant imitation of Withnail is a testament to the sheer comedic force Grant brings to the role; he’s briliant. Shamelessly cowardly, pathetic, dependent, arrogant and pretentious, he represents the one of most toe-curlingly unbearable characters even created, and he delivers every line with a tongue-rolling aplomb that’s simply irrepeatable.

IRREPEATABLE. Get it? Withnail is a vile, vile man; deeply entertaining for a two-hour on-screen dalliance, but no-one you’d really want to have around for any lengthy period of time. He’s a child with delusions of adulthood; a grimly awful man who you’d simply tire of in the real world. So, to everyone who’s toying with that extra-long coat and furniture polish: chin-chin, motherfuckers. Chin-chin.

Doctor Who: Tenacity, Alcohol, Rollicks: In Summary

So, two days ago, Doctor Who came to an end (till FUCKING NOVEMBER ), with a stonker of an episode from the Machiavellian mind of Moffat. It’s difficult to sum up the episode in a few sentences (although I will admit that the first thing I remember from the episode was the title and the writers credit coming up and exclaiming, horrified, “JESUS, I’VE BEEN SPELLING HIS NAME WRONG ALL THIS TIME!”), because it so satisfyingly brought the first Clara arc to an end, let us spend some more time in the presence of the imitable Richard E. Grant, and delight in the lesbians-and-potato men sidekicks which shouldn’t work but do.

I will spoil nothing for no man, but here are the best things about The Name of The Doctor in ascending order: the increasingly hilarious Strax (“Surrender your women and intellectuals!”), the almost total absence of the kids from last week, the classic Moffat mind-bending plot, Matt Smith writing a formal and very convincing letter to the BAFTA committee to split the awards between him and SteVen next year, Jenna Louise-Coleman proving she’s the best choice of assistant since Sarah-Jane, a beautiful, truly touching and almost redeeming apparition of River Song, Vastra and Jenny having more girl-on-girl eroticism than me and half an hour with my Special Drawer, an appearance by a very lovely British veteran that had me almost spewing with glee, and an ending so superb you’ll want to watch it twelve times in a row with your eyes pressed to the screen till every frame is seared onto your brain forever.

It’s tempting to go for a big, wanky summary looking back over the last couple of months of episode, but I’ve had a better idea. Hop on iPlayer, get all the episodes set up, get some sort of vaguely classy spirits on the go, and get prepared to get pissed with my patented Doctor Who Drinking Game (I was going to try for a pun on Tardis, but I’ve done NOTHING BUT GIVE to you people on that front for weeks and I’m tired. I have a headache, alright? Stop jabbing it into the small of my back.),

1. Take one shot for every time the Tardis is shown in flight, crash-landing, or not liking one of the Doctors lady friends because she’s a Jeremy-Kyle level possessive bitch.

2. Take a drink every time Matt Smith delivers a line with reaLLY WIErd emPHASIS.

3. Take a drink every time a British institution appears onscreen.

4. Take a drink for every episode Clara is wearing a very short skirt of some description.

5. Take a drink for every secondary character actor you’ve seen in another British television show.

6. Take a drink for every time the Doctor is really touchy with someone he probably hasn’t even shagged yet.

7. Take a drink for every time the villain/alien is revealed for the first time in an episode.

8. Take  a drink for every time Matt Smith thinks he’s David Tennant.

9. Take a drink for every time the adventure music starts playing.

10. Drink continually till November 23rd when we get the blessed show back.


So now you’ve turned my brain inside out, fustrated me, delighted me, and ruined my liver. I’ll have you yet, Moffat.