The Supergrass – tape 479

Is The Supergrass well remembered? I remember enjoying it a lot, possibly only when it reached TV, after its cinema release. But I don’t know if it’s one that people generally remember.

Ade Edmondson plays one of his losers, Dennis, who tells his girlfriend Andrea (Dawn French) that he’s a big-time drug dealer, and she has to go with him on holiday as a front for a massive drug deal.

Ade Edmondson in Supergrass

His plans are scuppered when policeman Michael Elphick overhears the conversation and arrests them. Despite his lack of a criminal record of any kind, the computer tells them to cease questioning and await a senior officer, who appears in the guise of Ronald Allen (famous from the soap Crossroads).

Ronald Allen

He’s connected Dennis’s story about a west country drug deal with an ongoing case he wants to crack before he retires.

Peter Richardson, who also co-wrote and directed the film, plays officer Harvey Duncan, tasked with taking Dennis to his supposed drug drop, and he’s working with his old girlfriend Lesley Reynolds, played by Jennifer Saunders.

Jennifer Saunders in Supergrass

On their way to Hope Cove, they’re stopped by a traffic cop, wonderfully played by Alexei Sayle, in one of the best scenes in the film.

Saunders delights in playing the ‘girlfriend’ to Dennis, so she can make Richardson jealous. And while it seems like it must be a wild goose chase, elsewhere in the cove, Robbie Coltrane arrives carrying a suspicious looking guitar case, and Nigel Planer and Keith Allen are masquerading as a couple with two small children, hired as actors.

Just when Richardson gets sick of pretending there’s anything criminal going on, he asks Edmondson to tell him exactly where he met his contact, at which point Edmondson stumbles on a buried chamber on the beach filled with incriminating evidence. We learn the Coltrane is another policeman, Troy. He doesn’t like drug dealers.

Edmondson says he planted £30 out at sea, as part of the ruse to impress his girlfriend, but when they pick it up, there’s thousands of pounds in the bag. Troy beats up Edmondson to get him to tell them the plan, and Edmondson makes up more nonsense, about a white boat arriving early in the morning. This leads to one of the best scenes in the film, as Coltrane, to the strains of Two Tribes by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, strides along the sea wall, carrying his guitar case, buffeted by high waves. In the guitar case is a chainsaw, which he uses to dismantle the first white boat that arrives in the bay.

Coltrane on the wall

I like this film. It’s maybe not as great as The Strike, but it’s fun enough, and even has some nice character moments, like the truth game that Edmondson, Saunders and Richardson play.

After the film, recording continues with a programme called The Street, which looks like a reality cop show, but sounds scripted.

Then, recording continues with the Cecilia, a film from Cuba. The whole film is here, and the tape ends shortly after it.

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5 comments

  1. I remember Barry Norman reviewing The Supergrass and Alexei Sayle’s bit is the only part he liked. I don’t mind it as far as the Comic Strip’s cinematic outings went, it’s better than Eat the Rich and Churchill The Hollywood Years, but the best thing they ever released to the big screen was Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, which was basically a TV episode they thought was good enough to receive the five star treatment. And it was, it’s hilarious, but I think this was better as a television series overall.

    1. It’s worth hanging on to your eighties off-air of this, as the version currently available is about ten minutes shorter. Peter Richardson is keen on ‘improving’ Comic Strip films with tighter edits decades after the event.

      1. I remember watching this version and being surprised it had whole scenes I didn’t remember (probably from rental VHS). Rest assured, all my off-air recordings are being archived digitally.

  2. I watched the movie on video – I didn’t think it was very funny, but then I never did find anything involving Peter Richardson, Dawn French or Jennifer Saunders funny.

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