How to Get Ahead in Advertising

Date: 1989
Director: Bruce Robinson
Production Company: HandMade Films

Stars: Richard E. Grant, Rachel Ward, Richard Wilson
Location(s): London, Oxfordshire

Region(s): ,


A brilliant but unstable advertising executive suffers a nervous breakdown whilst trying to come up with a slogan for a revolutionary new cream.

Additional Information:

Screen captures by Phil Wilkinson

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From the offices of Sullivan Bristol, advertising executive Dennis Bagley looks out of his window towards the Houses of Parliament. The view from Westminster Tower at the junction of Albert Embankment and Lambeth Road in SE1 with Lambeth Bridge in the foreground. The location also appears in 'George and Mildred', The Cracksman', 'A Dandy in Aspic', 'The Naked Truth', 'Midnight Lace' and 'The Vault of Horror'.

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From in front of the Westminster Tower. SJ

Turning from the view, Dennis Dimbleby Bagley (Richard E. Grant) tries again to come up with a brilliant advertisement for a very dull pimple cream. To the right, Lambeth Palace can be seen through the window.

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From outside the Westminster Tower. SJ

After lunch, Bagley’s wife Julia drives him back to the office. Looking north along Albert Embankment with Lambeth Bridge and the Houses of Parliament to the left.

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From ground level. SJ

Julia turns into the forecourt of the since demolished Hampton House on Albert Embankment. Vauxhall Bridge crosses the River Thames in the background.

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Now. SJ

The Range Rover is parked in front of the office block. Albert Embankment in Lambeth.

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Is that some sort of puzzle or game marked on the road? SJ

Bagley gets out of the passenger seat and walks round to the driver’s side of the car. Across the river to the right stands the Tate Gallery on Millbank. The gallery was renamed Tate Britain in 2000.

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The trees are taking over Millbank. SJ

Bagley kisses his wife Julia (Rachel Ward. In the background stands Peninsular House which features in ‘The Playbirds’, ‘The File of the Golden Goose’ and ‘The Internecine Project’.

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And to the left we can see the work, which replaces Consort House seen in "Hot Enough for June" and "A Pair of Briefs", coming to an end . SJ

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On the train home, Bagley rants at his fellow first class passengers about adverising and the press. Through the window, Didcot Parkway station comes into view.

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After alighting from the train at ‘Datchet’ a Priest (Gordon Gostelow) is shocked by Bagley as he continues his tirade whilst leaning through the carriage window. Platform 5 at Didcot Parkway station in Oxfordshire.

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The Priest and other Passengers (John Levitt and Donald Hoath) stand watching Bagley as the train departs. Looking west from platform 5 at Didcot Parkway.

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The train carries the pontificating executive away. Didcot Parkway station identified by Robert Shrives.

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At the Bagley’s luxury home in the country, Julia wakes to find her husband slowly going out of his mind.

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Dr. Gatty (Roddy Maude-Roxby) and Julia chase Bagley through the grounds of the house.

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After his wife leaves him, Bagley’s new cruel persona completely takes over.

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As he rides across the hills, Denis Dimbleby Bagley vows to give the buying public what they want.