Rather terrifyingly, it is now more than 20 years since the BBC screened Full Throttle, a film that many people have fondly remembered as an excellent biopic of the celebrated Bentley Boy and Brooklands ace, Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin.
Birkin was played with some panache by Rowan Atkinson: a (relatively) straight role for a lifelong fan of all things on four wheels… who was doubtless drawn to the part like a moth to a flame. There is also the a strong presence for Michael Burn, Birkin’s ghostwriter. But for two decades this little gem has been a mystery to all but those with a grainy VHS recording stashed away somewhere because Full Throttle simply vanished.
Now it is back.
It is an enormous pleasure to report that, for its time, Full Throttle, has aged very well… the lavish lighting makes it look like modern digital quality in a lot of places and in general few corners were cut, save travelling to Le Mans of course.
Somewhat nervously, we put it on the S&G laptop half expecting it to be nowhere near as good as we remembered. Fortunately it was, if anything, even better. The newspapers at the time called it ‘Blackadder goes racing’ but that does the film – and themselves – an enormous disservice.