Based on the novel by Tom Sharpe, Wilt charts the problems of Henry Wilt (Griff Rhys Jones), an outwardly placid and ideologically sound teacher of Liberal Studies at the local Mid Anglian Technical College.
The continuous socialising of his domineering wife, Eva (Alison Steadman), brings Wilt into contact with many of her upwardly mobile friends, which eventually has dangerous consequences.
At a party at a grand country house – and after an argument with his wife – the drunken Wilt unwittingly finds himself locked in a passionate embrace with a life-size inflatable doll named Angelique.
Publicly humiliated, Wilt manages to dump the doll in a convenient hole on a building site at his college.
In the meantime, Wilt’s activities with the doll have aroused the suspicions of local CID Inspector Russell Flint (Mel Smith), who believes that this – coupled with the mysterious disappearance of Wilt’s wife – points to a particularly nasty case of homicide.
As expected, the comedy is best when Smith and Jones confront each other in the interrogation scenes and, assisted by an excellently formulated plot, the repercussions of a series of unfortunate coincidences are extremely funny.
Flint – who is more interested in promotion than facts – single-mindedly pursues his suspicions concerning WIlt, determined to get his man.
He continues this until the final climatic scene, where Wilt’s innocence is finally proven, and the notorious Swaffham Strangler is arrested in the Norfolk Broads by a rival Inspector.
Solid performances from Alison Steadman and Diana Quick (as WIlt’s wife and her lesbian friend) and a fine screenplay allow much of Sharpe’s own brand of humour to shine through.
Griff Rhys Jones
Inspector Russell Flint
Roger Lloyd Pack