Working with the cream of British comic talent, Bob Kellett directed a swathe of films that fell somewhere between the Carry On pictures and the Confessions series of sex comedies. After producing a number of short Look at Life features for Rank, his first comedy was Futtocks End (1970), which centred on the decaying country home of the eccentric General Futtock, played by Ronnie Barker.
Three Frankie Howerd movies followed – Up Pompeii (1971), a spin-off from the television comedy set in ancient Rome with Howerd playing a slave; Up the Chastity Belt (also 1971), set in the Middle Ages with Howerd now cast as a peasant; and Up the Front (1972), in which the action moved to the First World War. Here, Howerd played a soldier with a master plan for invading Germany tattooed on his backside.
Kellett made an unusual departure from his traditional style with Girl Stroke Boy (1971), starring Michael Hordern and Joan Greenwood as the straight-laced parents of a boy who becomes romantically linked with a black transvestite.
Cross-dressing and the Second World War provided the material for Our Miss Fred (1972), in which Danny La Rue played a Shakespearean actor who is called up for service in France and who, dressed as a woman for a camp concert, manages to escape from the Nazis.
The following year, Kellett directed Don’t Just Lie There, Say Something, an adaptation of a Whitehall farce, starring Brian Rix, Leslie Phillips and Joanna Lumley. In Spanish Fly in 1975, he cast Terry-Thomas as an ex-pat scheming to sell gallons of cheap wine as something rather better.
He was also responsible for transferring the cast of Are You Being Served? to the big screen, relocating them from Grace Brothers department store to the Costa Plonka. But like many television comedies lengthened for the cinema, it failed to work as a movie.
Kellett, who was born on December 25, 1927, died on November 27, aged 84.
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