Monday, March 15, 2010

To start with...

The Robin Askwith movie review blog

I first became aware of the British actor Robin Askwith when I was 12, in 1981. Growing up in L.A., my favorite thing to watch on TV at the time was “Elvira’s Movie Macabre” where a vamped-out Cassandra Peterson would play “Elvira”, showing a super bad horror movie each week and making fun of it during before the commercial breaks.

So, one day I was in my bedroom rearranging my posters of whatever rock group I happened to be into at the time and had Elvira on my TV. This week was a movie called “Horror Hospital” from 1973. I glanced over at it as it started….rock band playing….camera panned over to a disgruntled young longhaired man. My mouth dropped open. He was the perfect combination of Brian Jones and Mick Jagger! I was infatuated from then on.

Elvira would show each movie once on Saturday night at 8pm, then repeat it on Sunday at 4pm. So, I got to see it twice before it faded into memory for me. This was the age of no VCRs or DVDs…no internet. I had no way of finding out if Robin was even in anything else. No one I knew had ever heard of him. So…time went by and life goes on and fanship fades.

Fast forward to the early ‘90s. I happen to be browsing the cable TV listings and see that the TNT channel is showing a couple of movies, with….Robin Askwith listed as being in them! Excitedly I tape them. They were hilarious! “Confessions of a Window Cleaner” and “Confessions of a Driving Instructor”. Little did I know at the time was that these were the series (4 movies in all) he was quite famous for in England. The TNT versions were heavily edited, but apparently the original English versions were pretty naughty. Also in ’89 and ’90 I had made it over to England. My obsession at that point was the early ‘70s glam rock band The Sweet so I concentrated my efforts while over there on searching for Sweet stuff. Although I did ask one shopkeeper if he knew who Robin Askwith was. He kind of gave a smirk and a nod. Hmmm. But he did dig up some photo stills of another “Confessions” movie: “Confessions of a Pop Performer”. Which I put up in my bedroom when I came back home. Once I had a fellow Sweet fan over who was visiting California from Kansas. She is THE only person I’ve ever known who took a look at the photos and said, “Oh look, Robin Askwith!” Seriously, no one in the US seems to know who he is.

Down through the years I did stumble across other bit parts he played. An ex boyfriend of mine loved the movie “If…” and I noticed that a teenaged Robin played one of the schoolboys in it.

So, why am I now, at age 40 (2010), a wife and mother to a 6 year old, being silly enough to decide to try to see every movie Robin has ever made and blog about it? Aargh, I guess I love having a pointless hobby. Everyone needs one. And I think Robin is an amazing actor that doesn’t get nearly the appreciation he deserves. And he doesn’t have a big enough presence on the web! I’ll try to watch (or re-watch!) one of his movies a week and write a little something about it. Hopefully someone out there will find this enjoyable!


  1. enjoyable++
    did you see/spot him in U-571 ?
    Freeky - his bday is the same as my grandmothers, and his next movie he co-stars with BaiLing/LingBai who's bday is the same as mine. You can weblogger her next, it should take you around a year to finish Mr.A.

  2. ha! My review of U-571 is coming up soon. The girl you mention must be the Asian chick he makes out with in the backseat of a car in LGL? Funny!

  3. Having been a fan of Robin Askwith since sneaking into the cinema to see "Confessions of a Window Cleaner" and likening his humour to that of Sid James, I began to track down information about his work. Pre-Internet, this involved a lot of writing to the archive sections of many TV companies and numerous theatres, but I was fortunate to meet Robin on two occasions when he appeared at our local theatre - first in "The Further Confessions of a Window Cleaner" and second in "Casanova's Last Stand", at which time he was interested in seeing what I had put together and even sent me some theatre brochures and photographs. I have, over the years, been collecting on DVD (or video where DVD is unavailable) copies of Robin's TV and cinema work and have quite a collection from what is available (which, as you know, not all of it is). Thank you for sharing your own thoughts about his work on this blog. As Robin wrote on one of his autographs to me - "keep it up!"

  4. Thanks for the nice words, Robert! Do you think you'd ever be willing to upload some of the rarer Robin clips to YouTube or anything? Or...would you be willing to sell me DVD copies of anything I might not have? If not, that's okay...just thought I'd ask! My email is Z1880s (at) yahoo (dot) com - Always nice to hear from other fans!!!