7 February 2009 | afelthouse
A neglected Diamond
Few people of the last century can have been responsible for introducing so many everyday words into the English language as Stephen Potter. Gamesmanship, Oneupmanship, Lifemanship, Ploy... all in everyday use. The books by the author remain readily and cheaply available everywhere, but alas, out of print now. The film "School for Scoundrels" very cleverly adapts the books to the screen, in a film which I believe to be both Ian Carmichael and Terry-Thomas's finest work. Alastair Sim is priceless too, as good as in "The Green Man",where T-T features too. I remember the BBC series "Oneupmanship" with great nostalgia, and still hum the theme tune to this day. With the advent of such circulars as The Idler, I wonder that Potter's work isn't as well known as it ought to be. Well-written comedy at its best. In this cut-throat world, Potter's ploys provides the perfect foil for the enthusiastic amateur Lifeman to wend his merry way, non-plussing the self-appointed experts, stopping the flow of the overweening boor, ready to take on the trumped-up aficionados of rhubarb with a well-stocked arsenal of counters, ploys and devices. Never tricks, mind, never tricks. Will some kind angel at the BBC hear my prayer and see if the "Oneupmanship" programmes could be put onto DVD? Pretty please?