Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Boat that Rocked

I'm not surprised that the critics hated The Boat that Rocked, Richard Curtis's homage to Radio Caroline and the sixties pirate radio stations that led to the creation of Radio 1 and nearly 300 local pop stations. I would normally be with them.

But, instead, as one who had a fleeting involvement with dry land pirate stations in Ireland in the late seventies and early eighties, I preferred to wallow in the great music and enjoy the absurd caricatures developed by Curtis and a pretty good cast - including Bill Nighy as the louche station boss, Kenneth Branagh as a Pythonesque cabinet minister (who bore little resemblance to Tony Benn) and Philip Seymour Hoffmann playing a version of the legendary Emperor Rosko (whose shows later graced the Irish pirates).

True, it didn't go into the reasons why the BBC couldn't play more pop (a Musicians' Union ban) or the ideological objections of the Labour government (who handled the whole thing very badly). And the ending was a bit ridiculous. But if you take it at face value, as an entertaining - if overlong - piece of nostalgic hokum, it is just good fun.

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