The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer

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The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer
Directed by Kevin Billington
Produced by Tommy Thompson
Written by Peter Cook,
John Cleese,
Graham Chapman
Kevin Billington
Starring Peter Cook
Vanessa Howard
John Cleese
Harold Pinter
Arthur Lowe
Cinematography Alex Thomson
Distributed by Warner-Pathé (UK)
Release dates 12 November 1970 (UK)
Running time 100 Mins
Language English

The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer is a British 1970 satirical film written by and starring Peter Cook and John Cleese, and directed and co-written by Kevin Billington.


The mysterious Michael Rimmer (Cook) appears at a small and ailing British advertising agency, where the employees assume he is working on a time and motion study. However, he quickly begins to assert a de facto authority over the firm’s mostly ineffectual staff and soon acquires control of the business from the incompetent boss Ferret (Arthur Lowe). Rimmer then succeeds in establishing the newly invigorated firm as the country’s leading polling agency, and begins to make regular TV appearances as a polling expert. He subsequently moves into politics, acting as an adviser to the leader of the Tory opposition, and then becomes an MP himself, for the constituency of Budleigh Moor (a reference to Cook's frequent collaborator, Dudley Moore), along the way acquiring a trophy wife (Howard). Relying on a combination of charisma and deception—and murder—he then rapidly works his way up the political ladder to become prime minister (after throwing his predecessor off an oil rig), and finally, by public demand, a near-dictatorial president. Ferret attempts an assassination from a window when Rimmer and his wife's opened topped car is in a passing motorcade - but fails.

The film satirised the growing influence of PR, spin and opinion polls in British politics,[1] as well as parodying political figures of the time such as Harold Wilson and Enoch Powell. Peter Cook admitted later that he had partly based his portrayal of the Rimmer character on David Frost, who had provided funding for the film,[2] and took an executive producer credit.



  1. ^ Cook, William (30 June 2007). "Unfunny, peculiar". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Harry (1997). Peter Cook: A Biography. Sceptre. pp. 259–262. ISBN 0-340-64969-0. 

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