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A labour of love

A 2023 book about a 1987 film set in 1969, in which multiple characters mourn the end of an era, told through interviews, memorabilia and testimonials from besotted fans

9 September 2023

9:00 AM

9 September 2023

9:00 AM

Withnail and I: From Cult to Classic Toby Benjamin

Titan Books, pp.160, 39.99

There is an apocryphal story about a woman leaving a performance of Hamlet and complaining that it was nothing but a bunch of quotations strung together. Bruce Robinson’s 1987 movie Withnail & I can also feel like a caravan of famous lines: ‘I’ve only had a few ales’; ‘We’ve gone on holiday by mistake’; ‘We want the finest wines available to humanity!’ In the 1990s, when the men’s magazine Loaded canonised the film in its launch issue and Chris Evans paid £5,000 for Withnail’s tweed coat, its swift elevation from box office failure to cult set text came at the...

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