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Telstar: The Joe Meek Story

7/10

Stars: Con O'Neill, Kevin Spacey, Pam Ferris, J J Feild, James Corden, Ralf Little, Caral Bar‚t, Justin Hawkins, Tom Burke, Sid Mitchell, Matthew Baynton, Mike Sarne, Jimmy Carr, John Leyton, Rita Tushingham, Jess Conrad, Shaun Evans, Matthew Krug, Tom Harper, Callum Dixon, David Hayler

Director: Nick Moran

There is a great deal to enjoy in writer-director Moran¬ís witty and surprisingly moving in places biopic of gay independent British record producer Joe Meek who was responsible for a string of hits in the early Sixties including the eponymous ¬ĎTelstar¬í which made it to Number One in Britain and in the States.

If you missed the 1960s (and a brief clip of Cliff Richard singing and swirling a mere 47 years ago should make you glad you did) or even if you didn’t, there’s much to enjoy watching O’Neill hitting all the right notes as the conflicted crackpot who recorded his discs in a scruffy upstairs flat over a leather shop in North London’s Holloway Road in between fighting over noise and dirt with landlady Ferris.

Casting is largely spot on with excellent contributions from Corden as an adipose drummer, Little, and Feild who does well as Meek’s gay lover and wannabe rock star Heinz, 1960s stars Leyton and Conrad are good value in cameos and Moran, best known as a star of the ludicrously overrated Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, makes his stage play suitably filmic and achieves an engaging period atmosphere on a patently low budget.

There’s one dreadful dud note, unerringly struck by Spacey whose inane upper crust English accent and daft ginger wig and moustache, playing the plastic bath ducks manufacturer who funded Meek, makes him resemble someone trying to send up a Texan trucker trying to send up an English accent. You have been warned!

Alan Frank

UK 2008. UK Distributor: Aspiration Films/Miracle Releasing. Colour.
108 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 21 Jun 2009