doing something naughty?"
In 1966 the BBC
only played one hour of rock and roll music a day but with over half of
the population crying out for more, Pirate Radio Stations took over the
airwaves and broadcast the latest hits twenty-four hours a day. One of the
most popular was Radio Rock, sending out their signal from a ship anchored
in international waters out in the North Sea. With DJs Angus the Nut (Darby),
Simply Simon (O'Dowd), Midnight Mark (Wisdom), Wee Small Hours Bob (Brown)
and superstars Gavin (Ifans) and The Count (Hoffman), listeners tuned-in
in their millions but with freedom, peace, love and rock and roll broadcasted
throughout the day, the British Government and especially Minister Dormandy
(Branagh) wanted them shut down.
When it comes to
naming smash hit British romantic comedies one-person strings to mind but
can Richard Curtis move away from the genre that has served him so well?
During the 90s and
early part of the new millennium, one British writer, producer and director
was the king of the romantic comedy. With enduring hits like 'Four Weddings
and a Funeral', 'Notting Hill', 'Bridget Jones's Diary' and 'Love Actually',
Richard Curtis became the very definition of the British rom-com. Add to
this TV hits like 'Blackadder', 'The Vicar of Dibley' and 'Mr Bean', and
you have a huge contribution to the British comedy landscape. For his latest
project however, he moves away from love and romance and takes us on a journey
Back in 1966, music
was going through an evolution that would put Britain at the centre of the
musical world but unfortunately you could hear it on the radio, legally
that is. The BBC, the national British radio broadcaster only played one
hour of popular music a day so the only way music fans could listen to the
latest from the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks,
The Turtles, The Hollies, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and The Troggs was to listen
to Pirate Radio. Stations like Radio City, Radio Atlanta, Radio Northsea
and most famously Radio Caroline transmitted while anchored in international
waters to a UK public dying to hear the latest music from their favourite
bands. This time in history is filled with stories of the music and the
DJs that quickly became household names, so is there a Richard Curtis movie
in this, of course there is.
of a Radio Caroline biopic, Richard Curtis opts for a fictional story and
creates a fictional station called Radio Rock. This is, of course, populated
by a collection of DJs that played the music that the nation wanted to hear.
We have Dr. Dave, played by 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Hot Fuzz' star Nick
Frost, the smooth operator with an eye for the ladies, Angus 'The Nut' Knutsford,
played by 'Yes Man' star Rhys Darby, the comedian of the station or so he
thinks, 'Small Hours' Bob, played by Ralph Brown, who is all about the music,
late show presenter 'Midnight' Mark (Tom Wisdom), who says very little but
ladies adore him, Breakfast DJ Simon Stafford (Chris O'Dowd) who just wanted
to be adored, Gavin, brilliantly played by Rhys Ifans, the superstar returning
from the States to bring up the rating and finally The Count, played by
the always brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is the voice of the station.
The supporting cast is also excellent. Curtis stalwart Bill Nighy plays
Radio Rock owner Quentin, Tom Sturridge is Young Carl, Quentin's godson
and the character we see the station through his fresh eyes, Talulah Riley
impresses as Marianne, Quentin's niece, Tom Brooke is very funny as 'Thick'
Kevin, Jack Davenport plays a civil servant called, amusingly, Twatt but
stealing the show is Kenneth Branagh as British Minister Dormandy who aims
to shut all the pirate radio stations down.
As with all of
Richard Curtis' movies, 'The Boat that Rocked' is very funny and quintessentially
British. While it is a little strange that he chose to go with a fictional
story more than a factual one based on Radio Caroline, the characters capture
the essence of the era superbly and the soundtrack, of course, is simply
superb. For anyone who loves radio or works in radio, this is a must see
and for everyone else this is another superb British comedy that you will
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good.
Feature Commentary with director Richard Curtis, producer Hilary Beven Jones and actors Nick Frost and Chris O’Dowd
The writer/director, one of his producers and two of his stars provide a chatty and fun commentary track for ‘The Boat that Rocked’. Nick Frost is no stranger to producing a good contribution to a track and he really brings the best out of the other contributors by making it fun and revealing interesting fact from the production of the film. Fans of the movie will enjoy this track.
Deleted Scenes (51.42 mins)
Entitled ‘Eggs’, ‘Now’, ‘Senor Fallatio’, ‘Miss C’, ‘The meaning of life’, ‘Radio Sunshine’, ‘Guess who’s coming for diner’, ‘Welcome to our world’, ‘Spike Seattle and Abbey Road’ and ‘Stay with me’, each of these deleted scenes are introduced by director Richard Curtis, who explains why they were removed from the final cut.
Even with an excellent commentary and some very funny deleted scenes, you can’t help but think that the DVD treatment for ‘The Boat that Rocked’ is a little lacklustre. Some interviews or a featurette on the history of Pirate Radio wouldn’t have gone a miss. This aside, there is still enough to enjoy here but it could have been so much more.
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