This BBC telemovie is a surprising adaptation of Martin Amis's 1984 novel. The production has captured the look and feel of the 1980s with such verisimilitude that I had to check the production date. The novel portrayed a nasty, venal, Hogarthian (should that be Amisian?) view of a horrible man in his horrible, nasty little england. The supporting characters were all nightmarish creations of a febrile imagination. This production is far kinder, both to the central character, John Self, and to the view of little england (and only a slightly larger america). One suspects that, in the best traditions of the filmmaking-as-production line idea, the producers thought the Amisian view was far too bleak and needed toning down. John Self is still a hapless dupe, but is likeable and sympathetic. This version even has a happy ending, which is surprisingly satisfying. The novel's detailed portrayal of the feature film industry as a bunch of gormless chancers, jerry-rigging a hopeless deal that only very rarely comes off, is extremely diluted in this version. I would guess that is one mirror that most filmmakers really don't want to look into. When you consider the filmed-travesties that have represented other Amis novels (Dead Babies and The Rachel Papers to name two), Amis has got off lightly. This version is a decent representation of the novel but a representation missing the scarifying wit and pin-point sociological observation that you will find in the novel.