Lipstick on Your Collar (TV series)

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For the 1959 hit song by Connie Francis, see Lipstick on Your Collar (song).
Lipstick on Your Collar
Created by Dennis Potter
Written by Dennis Potter
Directed by Renny Rye
Opening theme "Lipstick on Your Collar"
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 6
Production
Executive producer(s) Kenith Trodd
Producer(s) Dennis Potter
Editor(s) Clare Douglas
Cinematography Sean Van Hales
Running time 60 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel Channel 4
Original run 21 February  –
28 March 1993
Chronology
Related shows Pennies From Heaven (1978)
The Singing Detective (1986)

Lipstick on Your Collar is a 1993 British television serial written by Dennis Potter. It was first broadcast on Channel 4 in February and March 1993. Expanded from Potter's earlier television play Lay Down Your Arms (1970), it features Ewan McGregor in his first major role.

Plot[edit]

The main story is set in a British Military Intelligence Office in Whitehall during 1956, where a small group of foreign affairs analysts find their quiet existence disrupted by the Suez Crisis. Mick Hopper (Ewan McGregor) is completing his national service as an interpreter of Russian documents. Bored with his job, Hopper spends his days creating fantasy daydreams that involve his work colleagues breaking into contemporary hit songs. Sylvia Berry (Louise Germaine) is married to the violent Corporal Pete Berry (Douglas Henshall). Sylvia is an object of desire for Mick's fellow clerk Private Francis Francis (Giles Thomas) and a middle-aged pipe-organist named Harold Atterbow (Roy Hudd). In contrast to the street-wise Hopper, Francis is a clumsy Welsh intellectual whose academic career has been interrupted by his army call up. The appearance of the bookish niece of a seconded American officer enables the two conscripts to pair off with suitable partners, after initial mismatching.

The main theme of the series is conflict between the old order, as represented by the middle-aged officers in Whitehall plus Francis' prudish Uncle Fred and Aunt Vickie, and the new 'rock n roll' generation represented by Hopper and Sylvia. Though chronologically the series is set in the late summer and autumn of 1956 culminating in the invasion of Suez, many of the songs used including the title song were not released until later in the 1950s.

Some of the side themes include the influence of American rock and roll on British society, the gulf between the senior analysts, who are regular army officers, and the conscripted other ranks, the work of Russian playwright Chekhov, and an appreciation of opulent theatre pipe organs. The unusual context – a military culture transplanted into a civil service style office environment – reflects Potter's own national service during the 1950s.

Cast[edit]

Additional information[edit]

Lipstick is an expansion of the earlier play Lay Down Your Arms (1970).[1] Some critics view it as being the final entry in the musical trilogy Potter began with Pennies From Heaven (1978) and The Singing Detective (1986). This was the final serial produced during Dennis Potter's lifetime and was nominated in 1994 for two BAFTA-awards, in the categories "Best Makeup" and "Best Music".

Music[edit]

The series contained among others the following music:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lay Down Your Arms, Official Dennis Potter website, York St John University

External links[edit]