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Made in Britain
Directed by Alan Clarke
Written by David Leland
Starring Tim Roth
Distributed by Blue Underground
Release date(s) 25 February 1982
Running time 76 minutes
Language English
Budget £1,000 (estimated)

Made in Britain is a 1982 film directed by Alan Clarke, and written by David Leland, about a 16-year-old white power skinhead named Trevor (played by Tim Roth, in his film debut), and his constant confrontations with authority figures. It was originally broadcast on ITV as part of the film series Tales out of School. As with many Alan Clarke films, the director attempts to depict English working-class life, realistically without moralising or complex plots. The film features strong language, violence, racism and an anti-establishment feeling. Cinematographer Chris Menges's use of the Steadicam contributed to the fluid and gritty atmosphere of the film.[1]



The film begins with Trevor being tried in court on charges of throwing a brick through a Pakistani man, Mr. Shahnawaz's window. He has also been charged with shoplifting from Harrods. Trevor shows no sign of repentance for his deeds, and is defiant when questioned by the judge. Trevor's social worker, Harry Parker (Eric Richard), believes Trevor can reform; so he has him sent to Hooper Street Residential Assessment Centre, where his punishment will be determined[1]. The deputy superintendent in the assessment centre, Peter Clive (Bill Stewart), admits Trevor, and he is allocated a room with Errol (Terry Richards). Errol tells him about the contract that centre inmates are made to sign, promising to co-operate.

The next day, Trevor leaves the assessment centre, to visit the job centre and procure a job, as instructed by the magistrate. However, Trevor, accompanied by Errol, breaks into a car, and drives to the job centre. Near the job centre, he buys Evo-Stik for huffing[2][3], and immediately enters the job centre. Trevor breaks the queue, and demands a job from the job centre attendant. When asked to wait, he storms out, and hurls a brick through the job centre window. He makes his escape, and walks with Errol to an abandoned swimming pool where he has hidden some tools, presumably to break into cars. Trevor pockets the tools, and hands Errol a bunch of keys, instructing him to get it into the centre, and hide it[3]. He then breaks into another car, and takes it and drives away[2]. He orders Errol to get out, saying he is visiting some mates.

In the next scene, Trevor is seen eating a sandwich in the car, parked near the assessment centre. Peter Clive arrives riding a motorcycle, and notices Trevor in the car. Trevor chucks the half-eaten sandwich out the window, and walks into the assessment centre. Peter Clive stops him, and tells him to get rid of the car[3]. Trevor refuses to admit that he has stolen the car, but agrees to get rid of it.

Inside the assessment centre, when Peter Clive asks him why he did it, Trevor refuses to co-operate and give a reasonable answer. He then demands lunch, only to be informed that he is too late for it, and that they do not serve lunch at 3 pm. Trevor flies into a rage and tries kicking down the canteen door. The chef (Jim Dunk) rushes out to stop him, only to be kicked in the groin by Trevor, who unleashes a vicious attack on him[3], before being stopped by care-worker Barry Giller (Sean Chapman). A struggling, defiant Trevor is then seen held down by the chef and Barry, as they lock him up in a room[4].

The superintendent (Geoffrey Hutchings) arrives, and proceeds to show Trevor (on a blackboard, no less) an overview of what he has been through and where he is heading – prison – if he refuses to co-operate and continues this way[5]. He explains to Trevor that the assessment centre is his last chance to change, before his life becomes a vicious circle of poverty, crime and prison[3]. Trevor, uncharacteristically, is not aggressive, and is lost for words, listening to the superintendent without attempting to talk him down. The superintendent is extremely articulate and faces little resistance from Trevor, who is silenced by his pithy putdowns. But as soon as the superintendent leaves, Trevor is back to his usual self, and is confronting Barry Giller and Peter Clive in the same room, mouthing obscenities against immigrants, the education system, dishonesty, and mindless conformity[1][6]. Trevor refuses to keep the peace, and eventually Barry and Peter decide to send him to a secure unit. However, while Barry is out making arrangements to send Trevor away, Peter offers to take Trevor banger racing if he promises to behave.[3]. Trevor accepts the offer, on the condition that he be allowed to drive. Peter informs Barry about the change of plans, and warns Trevor that he is doing him a favour by giving him another chance, and if Trevor lets him down, he will team up with the chef, and some of the biggest lads in the centre, and kill Trevor.

They go to the races as planned, and Trevor is given a chance to drive, as promised. Trevor seems to be enjoying the experience, but his car breaks down after a few laps, and he is unable to complete the race. This annoys him further, and he gets out of the car, sulking and angry.

On the drive back to the assessment centre, Peter informs Trevor that he was up against professional racers, and he did a good job. He also tells him that he could join a racing team if he wished, and need not go around stealing cars any longer. Trevor makes no reply, and blankly stares out the window.

They reach the assessment centre late, and have to be let in by the janitor, since Peter cannot find his keys. After everybody has retired to bed, Trevor wakes up his roommate, Errol, and shows him a bunch of keys - they are Peter Clive's keys, which Trevor claims to have picked up after he dropped them[3]. Trevor and Errol make their way into the office, where Trevor rummages through the documents until he finds their respective files. Trevor reads through Errol's reports and contract, and chances upon a report titled 'The Future', which reads "It seems unlikely for this child to return home, his mother having rejected him for her own lifestyle. Bearing this in mind, future care seems to be the alternative. We would recommend a care order be made, in order to be able to continue our assessment of his needs." He then proclaims to Errol "You're in here for life, mate!". Errol looks confused and dejected and asks "What'll I do?!". Trevor is enraged. He dumps the files on the side, and orders Errol to "piss on it, fuckin' shit on it!". Errol defecates on his files, and Trevor urinates on his[3][7].

Trevor and Errol get out of the assessment centre, and drive away in the centre's transit van. They reach Mr. Shahnawaz's neighbourhood, and hurl stones through the windows, smashing them, and scream racial slurs. They get into the van and drive away. Trevor drives down to a police station, and smashes the van into a car. Errol is asleep and unaware of this. Trevor jumps out of the van and runs away, leaving Errol to be apprehended by the police[1].

He then begins walking all the way to Harry Parker's apartment. On his way, Trevor looks into a shop window displaying a television, clothes, mannequins, and other items. He stares at them and their accompanying price tags, intently[4]. He begins running into a tunnel, and screams "BOLLOCKS!!!" as he jumps into it. Inside the tunnel, he discards his t-shirt, and screams at a passing vehicle, after trying to kick it[8]. Trevor walks past a school, presumably his, pausing to gaze through the iron gates, before continuing on his way.

It is early morning by the time Trevor reaches Harry Parker's home. Harry is busy packing, and is preparing to leave on a vacation with his family. He is displeased to see Trevor in this state. He tells him to go back to the assessment centre before it is too late. Trevor gives Harry the low-down on his misadventures, and tells him that he is turning himself in. Harry makes the necessary calls to the police[3].

Trevor is seen in a jail cell, pressing the buzzer in the room. The police officer orders him to keep his hands off the buzzer. Trevor walks away for a while, but then returns and proceeds to press the buzzer with his head. This time, another officer, P.C. Anson (Christopher Fulford) enters, with a truncheon. He orders Trevor to stay quiet, but Trevor continues to provoke him, saying that he is a juvenile offender, and that he must be taken care of and sent back to the assessment centre. Anson orders him to shut up and sit down. He tells Trevor that he would be taken to court in a few days, and since he has blown all his chances, this time he will have to end up in a detention centre or a borstal, not an assessment centre. He threatens to have his fingerprints taken as soon as he leaves the borstal, and use them to convict him of every unsolved taking and driving away in the district, dating back months. Trevor is still unfazed and with a characteristic snarl, yells "Sounds great!". Anson is livid, and brings the truncheon down, hitting Trevor on the kneecap[4]. P.C. Anson smiles and says, 'You think you're fucking hard.' Trevor, for the first time, looks defeated. He slumps in agony and shock, his face reddening. The warder tells Trevor that he is all talk, and decries his little protests, saying that he has no choice whatsoever but to respect authority and obey the rules, like everybody else.

The film ends with Trevor recovering from the pain and grinning, as the warders shut the door of his cell[4].



  • The music in the opening scene, is the song "UK82" by Scottish punk rock band The Exploited.
  • Dialogue from the film was heavily sampled on Skinnyman's 2004 album Council Estate of Mind[9].
  • Tim Roth got the lead part by coincidence. He stopped off in a theatre where he had done previous work, to look for a bike pump, and was told auditions were going to take place. He went up to meet the director, got hold of a script, and came back to audition.[10]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "DVD Outsider: Made In Britain Synopsis and Review". Retrieved on 25 June 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Channel 4: Made In Britain Review". Retrieved on 25 June 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "BFI Screenonline: Made In Britain Synopsis". Retrieved on 27 June 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d Grunert, Andrea. "Emotion and Cognition: About Some Key-Figures in Films by Alan Clarke". Artbrain. Retrieved on 25 June 2008.
  5. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Made In Britain Review". Retrieved on 25 June 2008.
  6. ^ Nightingale, Chris. "A Taste of the British: Made In Britain Review". Retrieved on 25 June 2008.
  7. ^ "DVD Verdict: Made In Britain Review". Retrieved on 25 June 2008.
  8. ^ "Trevor says Bollocks to Sainsbury's", retrieved 1 July 2008.
  9. ^ "Sinacola, Dom. "Cokemachineglow: Council Estate of Mind Review". Retrieved on 26 June 2008.
  10. ^ "Tim Roth on Alan Clarke". Retrieved on 25 June 2008.

External links



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