HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wandering Earth, The
Good Fairy, The
Killer Party
Holmes & Watson
Monster in the Closet
Sand, The
Glass
My Brilliant Career
Knife for the Ladies, A
Man in the Attic
Destroyer
Fillmore
Bumblebee
No Kidding
Honkytonk Man
Woman in the Window, The
Shed of the Dead
Dead Easy
Tucked
Widows
Last Movie Star, The
Death Game
Juliet, Naked
November
Arcadia
Sugar Hill
House with the Clock in Its Walls, The
Devil Thumbs a Ride, The
Suspiria
Secret People
Spy Who Dumped Me, The
Beautiful Stranger
House That Jack Built, The
Undercover
White Chamber
R.P.M.
Summer of 84
On Secret Service
Survive!
My Sister Eileen
   
 
Newest Articles
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
   
 
  Dick Spanner, P.I. Another Dumb MoveBuy this film here.
Year: 1987
Director: Terry Adlam
Stars: Shane Rimmer
Genre: Comedy, Animated, Science Fiction, TV Series
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A long time ago in a parallel universe, robotic private detective Dick Spanner (voiced by Shane Rimmer) worked in the city known across the world as The Big Pear, a place rife with the criminal cases that were his bread and butter. Tonight he returned to his office in this high rise to find someone waiting for him, a client who wished to hire him to find her missing boyfriend, and he thought that was something he could very easily do so took what would be known for ever after as the case of the human cannonball. First he needed to secure a lead, but it would seem there were forces at work who did not want him to progress very far, and soon Spanner was up to his metal nuts in trouble...

The best-known creation Gerry Anderson produced in the nineteen-eighties was Terrahawks, a highly enjoyable variation on his science fiction, puppet-based Thunderbirds shows using sophisticated hand puppets as his cast. You may be forgiven for thinking he and his new company partner Christopher Burr did not make anything else, that was unless you happened to tune in to the groundbreaking Sunday morning magazine programme Network 7 on Channel 4, which counted among its sections an inclusion of animation. The other examples that filled the slot are largely forgotten, but Dick Spanner, the other major Anderson/Burr effort of this decade, contrived to be rather easier to recall.

Assuming you had a memory for the quirkier material of the past, and aptly this series, which was broadcast in five-minute chunks although there was a later compilation version of four half hour slot episodes, traded in a form of nostalgia. Obviously, as a private eye spoof in the Raymond Chandler style it was going to appeal to those who recalled watching old Humphrey Bogart movies on late night television, or more likely Tex Avery cartoons used as filler on those same TV channels (there was one blatant reference to that legendary director used as an in-joke here). But there were plenty of spoofs and call backs to classic Hollywood movies, some obscure (there's a Sonny Tufts joke!) and some easier to twig.

The series was effectively split into two cases, the human cannonball mystery and The Case of the Maltese Parrot, which ran into each other and shared some of the same characters, including actress Mae East and criminal kingpin Sydney Sidestreet, along with a rogue's gallery who would crop up a few times, presumably to save a little on the budget. The animation was stop motion and though it was extensively detailed, did not look as if a lavish amount of money had been splashed out on it, but its handmade appearance was a large part of the charm, indeed simply spotting the plethora of visual gags dotted around the sets was as enjoyable as listening to Rimmer's narration, drawling away in his best Bogart manner. That it took the clich├ęs and made an absolute mockery of them was why it raised so many laughs.

There was supposed to be a follow-up series in 1988, but as it transpired there was only one six-minute instalment created before production was cancelled, though that was restored in 2014, with a Rimmer soundalike narrating. It was to have been a spoof of Agatha Christie rather than Chandler, with ten famed detectives assembled in Paris and bumped off one by one, reminiscent of the Neil Simon parody Murder by Death it would seem, and it would have been nice to see it return because the inspiration had not run out. Spanner fell quiet until 2017 when a couple of short hand drawn animatics were released, and Rimmer returned to voice those, sounding older but still unmistakably himself: these demonstrated Dick could still make you chuckle. For a character who was essentially ephemera in a form that had been done by every sketch show in the business, Spanner certainly stuck in the memory, probably because it was very well accomplished and had tons of personality. Music by Burr.

[All this is included on Network's DVD which gives you the option to watch the series in five minute or twenty-five minute episodes. There are three galleries as well.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1316 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Rachel Franke
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
   

 

Last Updated: