There are feats of courage and endurance which don’t necessarily translate well to the big screen, and swimming the English Channel is one of them. This biopic of Victorian swimmer Captain Matthew Webb tries to deal with the visual tedium of a 19-hour crossing by threading through his backstory.
But even with added paternal friction and a boo-iss American rival, the story resolutely fails to come to life. Warren Brown is a sturdy, dependable Webb, and there’s a potent score from British Sea Power. Stealing the show however, is ‘Sightseers’ star Steve Oram playing Webb’s trainer, self-styled ‘Professor’ Beckwith – a tireless promoter of swim-themed entertainments, and an eccentric wit so captivating you’ll really wish they’d made the movie about him instead.