George Formby: Screenplay
George Formby—a consummate artist and a complex man constantly picked on by a domineering wife and pestered by leeches such as his dreadful mother and an irresponsible mistress—a man who only discovers the true meaning of love when it is too late.
The story opens with George’s funeral, and shifts to his mother, Eliza, and his sister being interviewed in their filthy home by a tabloid journalist and reflecting on the life they have helped make miserable. Next we see Eliza putting him through his paces as he makes his stage debut, and George’s meeting with Beryl which leads to him sweet-talking her into marrying him, and the drama which ensues from his disapproving family because of Beryl’s atheism. George cuts his first record and makes his first film, which brings her tyranny to the fore and leads to her being feared and hated by everyone he is ever involved with. On set drama with Monty Banks and Florence Desmond, who George has sex with in the dressing-room, while Beryl hires Harry Scott as George’s valet and becomes his mistress, and George sleeps with his leading ladies. War is declared, and the Formbys entertain troops in France and North Africa. In London they are hauled before the DMPS and cleared of performing enemy-friendly songs. The war ends, George suffers a breakdown when the popularity of his films slumps and Beryl sends him to a sanatorium, from which he is released when offered a singing tour of Scandinavia, then South Africa. Here, they encounter Apartheid, oppose Daniel Malan by performing solely to black audiences, and are thrown out of the country. George opens in London in Zip Goes A Million, but has to drop out as his health starts to fail. Appearing in pantomime, and despite being warned that extraneous activity could kill him, he has a passionate affair with the singer, Yana, while Beryl lies dying at home. News of her death comes after he had given his farewell performance on the television. Fading fast, he announces his engagement to Pat Howson. Days before his wedding should have taken place, he dies, and interspersed with footage of his funeral are flashbacks to various episodes in his life.