Due to a clerical error, the wrong Reverend Smallwood (Peter Sellers) – a former prison chaplain with a strong Brummie accent and socialist leanings – is appointed to a parish in the small affluent town of Orbiston Parva, whose main industry is Tranquillax – a pep pill cum laxative.
Reverend Smallwood upsets the conservative locals by appointing a black bin man (Brock Peters) as his new Churchwarden. Then he gives shelter in the vicarage to a pack of scurrilous gypsies led by Harry (Eric Sykes) and Rene Smith (Irene Handl), who proceed to rob him blind.
The last straw for the community comes when he persuades local rich woman Lady Despard (Isabel Jeans) to use her wealth to start a new charity called the ‘Good Neighbour Fellowship’, which involves giving free food to anyone who wants it.
The charity is popular at first but leads to shop closures on a massive scale. When Lady Despard’s son (Mark Eden) puts a stop to the scheme, the angry townspeople round on Smallwood.
Future Small Faces frontman Steve Marriott plays Eric Sykes’s Eldest son.
This Boulting Brothers Production for British Lion was filmed at Shepperton Studios.
Reverend John Smallwood
The Other Smallwood