Featuring a legendary comedy line-up, Joey Boy charts the wartime misadventures of a gang of London spivs who decide that a tour of duty with the Army is preferable to another stint at His Majesty’s pleasure.
While posters urge austerity and vigilance in wartime Britain, ‘Joey Boy’ Thompson (Harry H. Corbett) has never had it better. In a cellar beneath his East London fish shop, a gambling club thrives – and austerity provides a nice black-market sideline.
But the dolce vita crumbles when police arrive in a lightning raid and offer Joey and his fellow reprobates a stark choice: sign up for active service or face another stint inside.
Thus the Billingsgate lads – Joey, Benny the Kid (Stanley Baxter) and Rabbit Malone (Reg Varney) – find themselves heading off to Italy, determined to make the best of it.
While they learn the military facts of life from gravel-mouthed Sergeant Dobbs (Bill Fraser), they realise that a battalion of soldiers still represents hundreds of punters.
Enlisting the aid of Clarence Doubleday (Lance Percival), an upper-crust mathematical genius, they resolutely set out to establish a home away from home in the army.
Their first venture – a gambling club – flourishes for a week, but their attempts to establish a new deal with the petrol supplies never gets off the ground.
Instead, the luckless recruits find themselves in charge of a pack of unfriendly mules and “Ugly” – Joey Boy’s charge – almost breaks his cockney spirit.
With the coming of peace – and to keep his men occupied – the Colonel allows Joey Boy to restart his gambling club, which he does with the aid of a few local girls. The club’s success is such that a parliamentary delegation is sent to study its methods!
Directed and co-written by Frank Launder and co-produced by his long-term St Trinians collaborators Sidney and Leslie Gilliat.
Joey Boy Thompson
Harry H. Corbett
‘Benny the Kid’ Lindowski
‘Mad George’ Long
Sir John Averycorn