Don't Just Lie There, Say Something!

Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! is a 1973 British film based on the popular "Whitehall Farce" written by Michael Pertwee, who also wrote the screenplay.[1]

Don't Just Lie There, Say Something!
Directed byBob Kellett
Produced byAndrew Mitchell
Written byMichael Pertwee
StarringBrian Rix
Leslie Phillips
Joan Sims
Joanna Lumley
Music byPeter Greenwell
CinematographyJack Atcheler
Edited byAl Gell
Comocroft Limited
Distributed byThe Rank Organisation (UK)
Release date
1 April 1973
Running time
97 min.

Plot summary

Sir William Mainwaring-Brown, a British Government Minister, puts forward a bill to battle filth (permissive behaviour) in the UK. However, that doesn't stop him having an affair with Wendy (the wife of a high-up reporter), as well as planning a one night stand with his secretary Miss Parkyn, when he discovers her boyfriend has gone away. Opponents to the bill - mainly some hippies, led by Johnny - decide to kidnap the Minister's best friend and co-sponsor of the bill, Barry Ovis, just as he is on the way to the church to marry his fiancée, Jean.

The intention is to discredit Barry Ovis by making it appear that he was involved in an orgy and therefore, remove any credibility that the Law and Order Bill might have had. Following a tip off by Edith, one of the conspirators, the police raid the hippies' flat. Thankfully (for Barry), he escapes before the police discover him and dashes back to Sir William's flat followed by Edith.

Meanwhile, the Minister is also trying to use the flat to carry on his seduction of Miss Parkyn, only for Wendy to also appear by surprise. The Minister, Barry and Jean try to keep the truth from Inspector Ruff (Who is searching for the missing Ovis), Wilfred Potts (an ancient anti-sleaze MP, who is staying temporarily in the adjoining flat) and Birdie (the Minister's wife). Not only that, but they have to try to deal with the hippies who do their utmost to discredit Mainwaring-Brown and Ovis. Naturally this causes no end of trouble.



Halliwell's Film Guide gave the film a negative review, saying it was a "stupefying from-the-stalls rendering of a successful stage farce; in this form it simply doesn't work".[2] Radio Times was similarly scathing, stating the film "reduces the precise timing of the double entendres, the bedroom entrances and exits and the dropped-trouser misunderstandings to the level of clumsy contrivance, which not even the slickest of players can redeem".[3]


The film was spun off into a sit-com entitled Men of Affairs for ITV in 1973. Leslie Phillips was unavailable to reprise his role as William Mainwaring-Brown, so the part went to Warren Mitchell, who had found lasting fame as Alf Garnett. [4]

See also


  1. "Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! (1973)".
  2. Halliwell's Film Guide, 13th edition - ISBN 0-00-638868-X.
  3. Parkinson, David. "Don't Just Lie There, Say Something!". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  4. "Men of Affairs (ITV 1973-1974, Warren Mitchell, Brian Rix) - Memorable TV". 29 January 2017.
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