Tom Courtenay is the undertaker who dreams of escaping to London, but can never quite pluck up the courage. Warning, contains spoilers!
‘This is a London film where no one goes to London, but they aspire to go to London. Is that okay? For me, it’s one of the best coming-of-age movies of all time. It’s about this kid, Billy, played by Tom Courtenay, from a very working-class family, who has this amazing imagination. He wants to write gags for this comedian in London and he fantasises about London – it’s his way of escaping the town he’s in. Some people hate the ending because Billy doesn’t get on the train. I would like to see him go to London, get the train with this attractive woman and have a bloody good time. But at the same time I respect why he doesn’t go. And I like sour endings. I recently did my directorial debut, which has got a similar story to ‘Billy Liar’, so it was a huge inspiration to me. Did I get on the train? Yes, I live in Crouch End. It’s full of actors!’
Craig Roberts is best known for playing cocky teenager Oliver in ‘Submarine’. His directing debut ‘Just Jim’ is out in September.