DVD cover of Blackball
|Directed by||Mel Smith|
|Produced by||James Gay-Rees|
|Written by||Tim Firth|
|Distributed by||Icon Entertainment International|
|Box office||$48,000 (USA)|
Cliff Starkey (played by Paul Kaye), is a rebellious young bowls player. He dreams of playing for his country but always preferring to play by his own rules, was always disapproved by the local bowls club. After winning the local competition, he is subsequently banned from competing in the sport for fifteen years by Ray Speight (James Cromwell), the head of the local lawn bowls association, for writing an expletive on an opponent's scorecard. Picked up by sports agent Rick Schwartz (Vince Vaughn), Starkey is rebranded as the "bad boy of bowls", turning the normally sedate sport into a glitzy, in your face competition. He and Speight take on Australia's unbeaten Doohan brothers in "The Ashes", a one off tournament in a custom made bowls arena in Torquay. They make a comeback thanks to Speight's experience and Starkey's extravagance, while Cliff also bends the rules to the maximum to force the game into extra time, much to the disbelief of Carl and Mark Doohan.
Starkey's confidence, due to Speight's concentration and the power of the black balls, leads the film to an exciting finale with the Doohan brothers.
In addition to the main charactering being modelled after Griff Sanders, the film also spoofs Bjørge Lillelien's infamous commentary from Norway's 2-1 defeat of England at football in 1981.[clarification needed] The first movie based on this theme was David Baddiel and Frank Skinner's Fantasy Football League, and the other commentator for the match was Angus Loughran, who played 'Statto' on Fantasy Football.
Crackerjack an Australian bowls based film that pre-dates Blackball has been described in some circles as the true inspiration for the English version.
- Paul Kaye as Cliff
- Johnny Vegas as Trevor
- Vince Vaughn as Rick
- Alice Evans as Kerry
- Kenneth Cranham as Chairman Collins
- Bernard Cribbins as Mutley
- James Cromwell as Ray
- Imelda Staunton as Bridget
- James Fleet as Alan The Pipe
- Pierce, Nev (4 October 2003). "BBC Blackball Review". BBC.com. Archived from the original on 11 October 2003. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "The Tim Firth Blackball Home Page". Timfirth.com. Retrieved 2014-04-15.
- Colley, Ed (16 September 2003). "Blackball Future Movies Review". futuremovies.co.uk. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
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