BERNARD & THE GENIE Wednesday 16 November, 2011

Allan Cumming’s best role. Alongside Lenny Henry before he was shit. In an often overlooked and mainly forgotten christmas classic from auntie Beeb.

This Richard Curtis written 70 minute one off Christmas film from The BBC is now twenty years old. This means that almost nobody will have heard of it. When it was first aired I recorded it on a VHS which became a treasured possession over the following years until I had to give it away. I’m not sure if it has ever been broadcast again which is sad. I’m in no way a fan of Richard Curtis but if there is a time for his particular brand of syrupy sentimentality then it’s christmas.

The main premise of the story is that successful antique dealer Bernard Bottle (Allan Cumming) finds himself on hard times and then discovers a genie (Lenny Henry) in a lamp. It’s full of ‘California Man’ getting-used-to-the-future ┬ástyle laughs. Rowan Atkinson is on fine form as Bernard’s slimy boss and all of the pieces come together to create a cosy slanket of a christmas film.

I found it generally funny and touching as a kid and it still has the power to warm the heart. Unfortunately it’s unlikely that it will be broadcast again and it’s not widely available to buy. I had to buy it on eBay and what I received is a disc that looks like it was made by using a DVD recorder to copy a VHS. Really poor quality (see the picture above) but good enough to enjoy it.

If you can get your hands on a copy it will probably make a silly ┬ábut welcome addition to your roster of films to watch every christmas. It’s been a welcome part of my list for twenty years now and it was sorely missed when I didn’t have a copy.

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One Comment

  • Miss Finn says:

    This film is my visual mulled wine; I would never dream of it at any other time of year but for some reason, on that festive day it never fails to make me smile!


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