Scripted by Clement and Ian La Frenais, this vastly entertaining - if occasionally bewildering - comedy thriller stars Courtenay as the cowardly Otley, an innocent (though none too honest) Portobello Road layabout caught in a muddle of murder, mayhem and espionage. The plot never stops in its search for new ways to embarrass Otley: in one scene he seeks refuge in a crowd, only to find himself the only white man in a Black Power demonstration. More importantly, Otley's petty but human wheeling-and-dealing (lifting the odd art object for resale to the antique stalls) is consistently counterpoised to the slick inhumanity of his forever changing allies/friends, who only think of him as a tool to be used and then thrown away.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Ian La Frenais, Dick Clement|