Two 11-year-old friends – the manipulative Leo (Richard Thomas) and the manipulated Mike (Peter Clark) have a plan to get some police attention. Using a bag of stolen stage blood from the school drama department the two lads will have a ‘mock’ knife fight outside Southend football ground and pretend Leo has been stabbed.
Except, in the heat of the scuffle, Leo really does get accidentally stabbed by Mike – and Mike goes on the run, while Leo gets rushed to hospital for some minor treatment.
Mike is befriended by a local gang of punks led by a nihilistic character called Ken (ex-Auf Wiedersehen Pet man Gary Holton) who takes him around the streets of Southend – including the shopping centre, a bad disco with Mel Smith on the door, and a Chinese restaurant – but eventually, Mike gets tired of running and heads to the hospital to sort things out.
Richard Beckinsale was originally cast to play Detective Ritchie in the film. Tragically, he died during filming and his character was re-cast and the scenes re-shot – although he can still be occasionally glimpsed in long-shot according to director Stephen Frears.
Jan, Ken’s Girlfriend
Susan, Leo’s Sister