Confessions From A Holiday Camp (aka Confessions Of A Summer Camp Counsellor)

Dir: Norman Cohen, 1977

3/10

The last in the tetralogy of the Confessions films, Confessions From A Holiday Camp is the weakest of the series….or, at least, it would be if the series had any strong films.

Based on the books by Christopher Wood (writing as alter ego Timothy Lea), the films were Britain’s answer to the hardcore porno features that had started playing in cinemas in the US.

There is no real plot in any of the Confessions films. It’s just the same premise, repeated four times.

Timothy Lea (Robin Askwith) and his brother in law, Sid Noggett (Anthony Booth, future father in law of ex-prime minister, Tony Blair), use the job they are currently employed in to chase birds and have sex. Inbetween the pair’s sexual escapades, saucy slapstick and double entendres are the rule.

The best way to look at it, is Confessions From A Holiday Camp is an amalgamation of Carry On Camping and Hi-De-Hi but with pubic hair. The humour is more low-brow than a Carry On, and not in the least bit subtle.

Where Carry On Camping was saucy with a cheeky character by Sid James, this has childish humour that wouldn’t befit a schoolboy.

Robin Askwith was never a leading man, so what made producers think he was, is a mystery. As Timothy Lea, Askwith always seemed to try too hard for the comedy to work. While the rest of the cast are fairly natural, the long haired yak-lookalike actor is wooden and silly.

Of course, with this being the 1970’s, there is some questionable content that would certainly raise many an eyebrow today. Playing the character as a stereotypical portrayal of a gay man, Lance Percival is Lionel; all limp wristed, carrying an effette voice and calling everyone dear. Not politically correct, I’m sure, but still a humorous character.

All alleged homophobia aside, an offensive joke about black people feels cheap and off balance in contrast to the rest of the film. The campers are placed into four groups, with each group a card suit. On seeing a black girl, Lea tells her that “she’s a spade”, implying that the girl belongs in the group tagged “Spade”.

Confessions From A Holiday Camp is a sex comedy without any statements to make. It isn’t political or trying to voice any social commentary. It isn’t Till Death Is Do Part. 

Looking as beautiful as ever, Linda Hayden returns for her second appearance in the series after Confessions Of A Window Cleaner, three movies earlier. Hayden was a pretty good actress, and it’s no surprise that she is fondly remembered as a star, along with Fiona Richmond and Madeline Smith.

Lacking any real soundtrack, the only memorable tune is the brilliantly catchy, Give Me England by The Wurzels.

This last entry in the films, is a poor imitation of what came before. It really is a good job, that no other true Confessions films were made.

Utterly forgettable, this is one holiday camp you wouldn’t want to re-visit.

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