Clockwise, 1986

We’re off to the movies for this post as we go back 37 years to look at John Cleese in something other than Python or Fawlty Towers.

Clockwise was a British comedy film first screened in 1986.  Filmed around the West Midlands, Yorkshire/Lincolnshire with additional rural scenes shot in Shropshire.  Filmed at a time where British Film was becoming popular again after a spell in the doldrums, Clockwise earned John Cleese the 1987 Peter Sellers Award For Comedy at the Evening Standard British Film Awards.


Brian Stimpson (Cleese), headmaster of Thomas Tompion Comprehensive School, has been elected to chair the annual Headmasters’ Conference.

He is the first headmaster of a comprehensive school to chair a Headmaster’s Conference, that honour usually being reserved for heads of the more prestigious private schools.

As a young man, Stimpson was habitually disorganised, but now in later life, is fastidiously organized and punctual, and his school runs “like clockwork”.  However when a series of events put him on course to miss the event things run anything but ‘Clockwise’













John Cleese – Brian Stimpson
Penelope Wilton – Pat
Alison Steadman – Gwenda Stimpson
Stephen Moore – Mr. Jolly
Sharon Maiden – Laura Wisely
Tony Haygarth – Farmer with a Tractor


Written By: Michael Frayn
Produced By: Michael Codron
Directed By: Christopher Morahan
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Original Release Date: March 1986





Despite meticulous rehearsal of his speech and preparations for the journey, his ordered world unwinds as a series of misfortunes befalls him en route, in a manner reminiscent of Greek tragedy. Early signs of trouble include his boarding the wrong train and losing the text of the remarks.

One Response

  1. Mark Hyde

    This came out about a month after i started senior school (Kaskenmoor in Oldham).

    Those first few scenes at the school remind me so much of being at my school, its so much like it its unreal lol.

    Just bought this on DVD yesterday, another one off the list!!


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