The Armstrongs – The Movie, BBC2

by | Dec 30, 2006 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

The King and Queen of Mixed Metaphors and Half-arsed Analogies are back (sort of) compressing the last series into a feature length episode. John and Ann Armstrong, directors of Coventry’s third largest double-glazing firm U-Fit, show us how not to run a business and how to successfully demotivate your workforce. Amusing in half-hour chunks, 90 minutes in the company of the jumped-up glaziers was a pain (or pane! geddit??)

What was good about it?

• Ann revealed some of the books they keep in their bedroom: a tome on positive mental attitude; the Bible; and ‘some book about Napoleon.’ That little insight pretty much sums the pair of them up.

• How their workforce keep a straight face when the Armstrongs’ little aphorisms are trotted out is either a tribute to their ability to stay deadpan, or an indictment of their stupidity. Some favourites: “Today is the end of whatever’s happened before!”; “What was, was, and now what is, is and is tomorrow a new day? Yes it is.” (We could only sympathise with the management consultant’s response: “That doesn’t make any sense to me.”); “We’re like the Roman Empire, we haven’t got into the rest of Italy yet”; “Let’s stoke that bonfire up and get all four gas rings going!”; “I’m going to have to put my foot down with a firm hand!”

• Michael Handle, U-Fit’s new ‘Super Salesman’, revealing that he was an international champion of the board game Othello, and asking for time off to compete in the various championships around the world. John’s response? “I’m not giving him time off for some f*cking Shakespeare tournament!”

• Bearing in mind that he runs a double-glazing firm, John’s frankness (“If I had to buy windows for my house I’d have sacking instead! I wouldn’t have a double-glazing salesman in my house – most of them are c*nts!”) might end up backfiring on him…

• The subtitles for the Armstrong’s French sales pitch were hilarious. Under the mistaken impression that conservatoires (music academies) was a direct translation of conservatories, the pitch started badly, tailed off in the middle (John explaining in English with a cod-French accent), and the less said about the end the better…(“70 sausages”, when he meant 70 centimetres)

What was bad about it?

• Michael needed to spend some of his sales commission on a trip to the dentist for a scale and polish. He had the teeth of a 60 year old heavy smoker. Just as well he didn’t have to make any sales calls in person.

• Zimbabwean motivational guru Basil Mienie really gelled with the Armstrongs, which only served to emphasize what a berk he was.

• Deciding that they want to sell into the French market, John and Ann write their sales pitch, and to save money use an internet instant translation service to translate it. Unsurprisingly, the sales pitch make little or no sense.

• We met Michael’s wife, Judy. They’d met through an Othello website. And without wishing to be unkind, she had a face that looked good on the radio.

• The horrifying news that the Armstrongs are branching out into the beauty industry with the launch of a salon that goes by the catchy name of ‘You-nique’

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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