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G.B.H. is a drama by Alan Bleasdale that was first shown on British TV in 1991. It has elements both of British Conspiracy Thriller and psychological drama, as well as pure comedy and farce. The plot concerns Michael Murray (Robert Lindsay), the charismatic leader of an unnamed Council who, as a show of strength against the then Conservative government, calls a one day strike of all council services, except that a Special Needs school is accidently not informed of this. The headmaster, Jim Nelson (Michael Palin) is then asked to apologise for crossing a picket line. He refuses, causing him to be a target for Michael Murray's thuggish supporters. The rest of the series concerns the conflict between the two men as well as their own psychological battles; Michael Murray, in particular, is haunted by a traumatic incident from his childhood. Gradually, it is revealed that both men are merely pawns in a game designed by the British Establishment to discredit the Left.

Oh, and by the way, the title refers not to Grievous Bodily Harm, but The Great British Holiday (a good proportion of the series takes place at an awful holiday camp).


Contains the following tropes

  • Actor Allusion: Michael Palin gives a speech in which he claims not to believe in Messiahs...as well as claiming not to be a missionary (Palin wrote and starred in a film called The Missionary).
  • Author Filibuster: Jim Nelson's speech in the final episode, which Alan Bleasdale admitted was a statement of his own philosophy.
  • Cowardly Lion: Jim Nelson who is a total hypochondriac as well as having a phobia of bridges. However, when threatened by Murray's thugs, he becomes a total Badass.
  • Freudian Excuse: Michael Murray blames his behaviour on an incident in his childhood when he was tormented by a girl called Eileen Critchley
  • Mood Whiplash: A hilarious scene in which Michael Murray attempts to buy condoms in the middle of a Doctor Who convention is almost immediately followed by the savage beating of a black waiter.
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