Mindhorn | Julian Barratt sends up telly sleuths with the Isle of Man’s not-so dashing answer to Bergerac

MIndhorn

It’s truth time! 

Julian Barratt, co-creator of surreal comedy troupe The Mighty Boosh, has great fun sending up 1970s and 80s telly detectives with this engaging spoof.

He plays washed-up star Richard Thorncroft, once famous as dashing TV sleuth Mindhorn, the Isle of Man’s answer to Jersey’s Bergerac, with a dash of the Six Million Dollar Man courtesy of his bionic eye. Now, however, he lives in a Walthamstow bedsit and the only work he can get is advertising male corsets and orthopaedic socks.

Then he gets a call from the Manx police force to help them deal with a suspected killer who calls himself ‘The Kestrel’ (Russell Tovey) and will only deal with the fictional Mindhorn. Barratt’s Thorncroft, still a vain, pompous windbag despite his fall from stardom, thinning hair and swelling paunch, sees the occasion as the opportunity to re-launch his career…

Barratt and co-writer Simon Farnaby take delight in their self-obsessed hero’s irredeemable naffness, and the rest of the cast enter into the spirit of things, too. Essie Davis plays Thorncroft’s ex-girlfriend and on-screen totty, now married to his former stunt double (Farnaby). Steve Coogan is the Mindhorn supporting actor who has gallingly become incredibly successful. And Andrea Riseborough plays a local Manx cop, who quickly finds herself subject to Thorncroft’s unreconstructed chauvinism. Kenneth Branagh and Simon Callow gamely play themselves.

True, the mystery plot is fairly ramshackle, but there is a steady stream of chuckles and the film’s silliness is infectious.

Certificate 15. Runtime 89 mins. Director Sean Foley

Mindhorn available on Digital Download, and on Blu-ray & DVD from Monday 4 September.

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