Having proved himself a war hero in The Square Peg
(1958), Norman Pitkin, Norman Wisdom's most famous incarnation of his riotous buffoon character, is here demobbed and, as usual for a Wisdom movie, dreaming of something better. Norman wants to follow in his father's footsteps and become a policeman, but being decidedly on the short side, has to settle for washing police cars. Of course it's not long before Norman is impersonating an officer of the law. As in The Square Peg
, Wisdom also plays his nemesis here, the German General Schreiber, as well as the chief suspect in a series of jewel robberies which only Pitkin's chaotic antics can solve. In fact, as if emphasising that On the Beat
really is The Square Peg
with different uniforms, Terence Alexander, who later found fame as Charlie Hungerford in the long running BBC series Bergerac
, also returns, albeit playing a different character. Wisdom film-regular David Lodge, previously seen co-starring in The Bulldog Breed
(1960) is also on hand, though otherwise the supporting cast is less stellar than before. Solid if very predictable feel-good entertainment, Wisdom's particular brand of charming anarchy proves again his box-office formula could withstand endless variations. --Gary S Dalkin
Norman Wisdom stars as a bumbling Scotland Yard car park attendant who gets his chance to be a real policeman after he accidentally catches some crooks. His advantage lies in the fact that he physically resembles one of the ringleaders.