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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 25 July 2007
I was beginning to think I had dreamt it. P,Tang Yang Kipperbang first appeared on Channel Four in 1982 as part of the "First Loves" season .Written by Jack Rosenthal of "Londons Burning " fame it was shown that November then disappeared ,though it was released on video and may have popped up on Film Four .Now its out on DVD and I have final irrefutable proof to all those people I have mentioned it to down the years , who have looked at me like I have sprouted a Boris Johnson haircut , that it wasn't some figment of my cricket mad -sex obsessed imagination.
Cricket and sex are pertinent to P,Tang Yang Kipperbang,, unlikely team mates I'll concede but there you go. Schoolboy Alan Duckworth(John Albasiny) in the England of the late 1940,s dreams of hitting the wining runs in an Ashes series .He also dreams of kissing his beautiful classmate Ann (Abigail Cruttneden) who is going out with the years smarmy pin up Geoffrey (Maurice Dee) who share a toe curling ritual every time they part . His frustrations , ennui , desires are mirrored with a cricket commentary going on in his head , voiced by the late great John Arlott. So frustration and failure are met with a duck in his imaginary game, and as he suffers many disappointments and failures gives him the nickname "Quack Quack Duckworth ", though its also an obvious play on his name.
Duckworth has a confidant in the schools groundkeeper Tommy(Garry Cooper) who injects some working class realism into the script( It's a very middle class tale) with his assertion that girls like sex as well . Tommy has something going on with acerbic teacher Miss Land (Alison Steadman) and their relationship provides a more pragmatic element that counteracts Duckworth's blue sky reverie about love and girls. His chance to get closer to Anne comes via the school play where his role requires him to kiss Ann's character at the end. But as he lies in bed at night , masturbating hand clad in a enormous boxing glove , he wonders whether he can go through with it while at the same playing out the scene in golden soft focus over and over.
P,Tang Yang KipperBang is a skilfully handled tale of an adolescents rites of passage. Some will view it's conclusion that dreams lead to disillusionment as depressing rather than poignant but it's told with such humour and delicacy it achieves a touching timbre and its very well acted by all especially Steadman and Albasiny who perfectly conveys the sweating awkwardness of adolescence. It may seem a little innocent and gauche to today's audience but has undeniable charm . Best of all it's filled with moments of tremendous humour . Duckworth's, friends Shaz(Christopher Karaliss) and Abbo,s( Mark Brailsford) reactions to Alan having to kiss Ann -"Spewosity up-throw" or "Puke Vomitude-inosty" show the sort of verbal dexterity that has become the signature of writers like Armando Ianucci or Chris Morris. The two workmen observing Duckworth's playing out of his fantasy cricket career as he comes to and from school give a priceless down-to-earth window into the drama as they shake their heads in bafflement at his cavorting
Then there is that title . A reference to the greeting the boys give each other , accompanied by a slow motion raised hand and an "Uuuuhhh" .It's completely stupid, infantile and elitist yet I have never forgotten it. Despite this being set in a place and time I have never experienced it sticks in the head like ....well a first kiss. It's one of the best things Channel Four has ever put it's name to which makes it even more of a pity the channel has descended into the tawdry disarray it's in now.
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on 29 October 2007
This film is a delight on so many levels, it has something for everyone at whatever age. I watched it when it appeared on channel 4 now years later I rediscovered it and it has lost none of it's charm.
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on 30 September 2003
This film recalls the story of a young schoolboy. Its charm lies in the fact that he has met this girl and he fantasises about kissing her. It highlights the struggles and emotional conflicts of a young boy coping with life, parents and a continuing lust for this girl. It is nice to see a film that portrays the innocence of youth unlike todays society that is so caught up in casual relationships and life for the party.
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Before Adrian Mole there was Alan "Quack Quack" Duckworth; a teenage boy who intelligently discusses the state of the world after the war, enjoys intimate moments with a boxing glove, and who longs for his first kiss with (even praying for a spot of divine help).

Seemingly always in trouble - Duckworth isn't mis-behaved, he's simply easily distracted because he's so full of the wonders of life. His English teacher Miss. Land elbows him into the role of a philanderer in the school play, a role which gives him on a plate the chance to kiss the object of his affections, the lovely Ann Lawton.

As the pupils at the school agonise over the opposite sex, the adult staff have not too dissimilar preoccupations. Especially Miss. Lawton who prepares to face the shame of a pregnancy outside of marriage as she batters away the interest of the head master and plays hard to get with Tommy the caretaker. Though sex is a central theme to the film, it never seems like a big issue, it's done very subtly and it's understated in a quaint 1950's kind of way.

The relationship between the English teacher and the caretaker promises more than you get on screen, but the awkward exchanges between them and the steely facade of Miss. Lane say enough for you to get the idea. In the end, the whole point of Tommy being in the film seems to represent the teenage realisation that the world is flawed and the ideals you have can be shattered when the charade is unveiled - but again, this is all background to Alan's desire to kiss the girl of his dreams.

He uses his imagination to play a running cricket commentary in his head, he is the star player and his actions on his imaginary field reflect his actions in his real life. He psychs himself up by imagining himself scoring a superb over, and berrates himself when he fails in what he wants to achieve by hearing the commentators blasting his performance. These commentaries are provided by real life commentator John Arlott - which is why they sound so authentic!

Sometimes this does seem a bit over acted, but for the most part it looks natural even if the language is not. And I don't mean the made up lingo of the kids ("P'Tang Yang Kipperbang, uuurh!"), but rather the flowery prose which doesn't seem too natural during dialogue between children. But this gives the film an almost period charm and when you hear it, it prods your ears to pay attention.

In a nutshell: Issues such as the discovery of the opposite gender, sex, and masturbation are a big deal to teenagers and they are covered in this film with a sort of child-like innocence. They aren't exploited for cheap laughs or a crude way - they are mentioned without being obvious, but maybe it was a more innocent time back then. Not all children will identify with the middle class feel of the film, but most will relate to the insecurities felt by the hapless Alan Duckworth. His quest for a first kiss seems to be over when the goal was in sight - but that doesn't necessarily mean that the quest is over... ...and by the end of the film you know that Alan's life has changed, and that he'll be reassessing those post-war world opinions which he shared with the caretaker.
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on 27 September 2014
This is a rather curious film set in post-war middle England. The star of the film is John Arlott, or at least his voice, whatever the credits may say. Having heard David Putnam and Jon Agnew discuss the film at length on the Test Match Special lunchtime "A View from the Boundary" slot I admit that I ordered it immediately and was not disappointed. The Director gets the character if his adolescent star absolutely spot on and those of the girls in his class - torn between increasing interest in the opposite sex and revulsion for the interest - to a T. John Arlott's commentary on the way that the boy's intimate thoughts play out in his mind about what he is doing and the world around him is just brilliant.

In the end the question is: does the boy get the girl? Of course he does, just not the way that he expects to and the ending is all the better for being unexpected.
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on 17 April 2012
I watched this in my teens when first broadcast and I bought a copy out of nostalgic curiosity, with some vague memory that I'd enjoyed it. Sat down for a family Saturday evening with my teen girls and we all loved it. The historical content is educational, there is humour, true love and a loosly accurate portrayal of school life. It's nice to see a boy-meets-girl film that proves that the viewer can clearly understand what is happenening without the use of explicit language or nudity (for younger viewers). Of course for (older) cricket fans the film is enhanced by John Arlott's commentry which could have spoilt the story but it works well. One word of warning, your kids may return to school starting a new round of 'P'Tang Yang Kipperbangs' or 'Mananas"!
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on 19 July 2010
What an evocative film! I lived through the subject period and really identified with the values of the age such as the sense of fair play associated with the recordings of John Arlott cricket commentaries, the shame of a pregnancy outside wedlock, the fall from grace of the 'war hero' and the deep angst of adolescent first love. The dialogue is well-written, the characters well-observed and the acting, especially the performance by Alison Steadman, of a high standard.

This film works at several levels; dramatically, historically and comedically.
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on 14 September 2008
P'Tang Yang Kipperbang is one of those movies you see by chance that stay with you for a long time, at least it was for me.
The story is based around Alan Duckworth (sometimes referred to by his nickname 'quack quack'). Alan has a crush on a female classmates, some events occur that result in his teacher punishing him by assigning him as one of the leads in the school play, in this role he must kiss his crush.
It is essentially a comiing-of-age story, first love & the frustration of it.
The main aspect of the movie is learning the difference between dreams & reality & that fulfilling those dreams doesn't always equal happiness (e.g the grass is always greener mentality).
Alan is likable as the anti-hero, by the end of the film he has grown & matured as a person, whether you agree or disagree with Jack's decisions in the film shouldn't dictate whether you like the film or not.
All in all I would reccommend this film to pretty much anyone, its innocent, sometimes funny & you'll probably relate to Alan's universal predicament.
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on 7 August 2004
echo all of cathelsmere's words - wonderful film - let's see it on DVD!
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on 6 September 2015
A little gem from 1982. Alan "quack quack" Duckworth is a dreamer who is in love with a girl from his class in school. The film follows alan and his friends and is a classic in my opinion. Great to find it on dvd at amazon.
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