01 September 2014

Favourite scene from Lindsay Anderson's 'If...'

The Headmaster (Peter Jeffrey): 'I take this seriously. Very seriously indeed. Reverend Woods might've been quite badly hurt. Do you realise that? Now I want you to apologise to him, is that clear?'

'If...', the title referencing the hoary old Rudyard Kipling poem, was Malcolm McDowell's first film role. The film received an X certificate on release in Britain in 1968 due to its subversive content and won the Palme D'Or in 1969. Most of it was filmed at Cheltenham College, Gloucester, but I love the fact that it turns out I've actually been to one of the other filming scenes. The Wikipedia entry states that 'the motorbike shop was filmed at the Broadway Motor Company on Gladstone Rd, Merton, London SW19. The garage is now a Wetherspoons pub'. I had a drink there with friends at some point around 1998. (Clearly we weren't all that fussy when it comes to atmosphere). This is also the pub that Pamela Anderson popped into for a swift pub meal following her panto appearance at the nearby New Wimbledon Theatre in 2009. (Apologies for the illiterate Standard hack).

Interestingly, two supporting actors from the film were offered the role of Doctor Who but reportedly turned it down: Peter Jeffrey before Patrick Troughton took the role in 1966, and the History Master Graham Crowden before Tom Baker took the part in 1974. Crowden would later become best known for his five years in a lead role in the sitcom Waiting For God. Both eventually featured in Doctor Who playing other guest roles, but then so did nearly everyone else in British acting circles.
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