Following an acclaimed career in hard-hitting TV drama Alan Clarke achieved a rare cinema release with this somewhat lighter and more accessible sex comedy.
In fact, while there are broad strokes to the story of a married man’s affair with two teenage babysitters, Clarke’s incisive edge is apparent in the film’s depiction of the social division and deprivation of 1980s northern Britain. The contrast of bawdy laughs with astute social comment results in one of the more memorable and enduring British films from the period. Its screenplay was adapted from series of plays by Andrea Dunbar, which were based on her own austere upbringing on Bradford’s Butterworth estate. The relationship between Dunbar’s fictions and reality was later explored in Cleo Barnard’s astonishing 2010 film The Arbor, which uses actors to dramatise documentary recordings of Dunbar and her associates.