Personal Services

Personal Services is a 1987 British comedy film directed by Terry Jones and written by David Leland. It is the story of the rise of a madam of a suburban brothel which caters to older men. The story is inspired by the real experiences of Cynthia Payne, the legendary "House of Cyn" madam.

Personal Services
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTerry Jones
Produced byTim Bevan
Written byDavid Leland
Music byJohn Du Prez
CinematographyRoger Deakins
Edited byGeorge Akers
Distributed byVestron Pictures
Release date
  • 15 May 1987 (1987-05-15) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$1,744,164[1][2]


Christine Painter (Julie Walters) is a sexually naive waitress and single-mother who pays for her teenage son's tuition by renting flats to local call girls. She later becomes a call girl herself – joining her friend Shirley (Shirley Stelfox) and their "maid" Dolly (Danny Schiller) – and specializes in fetish/kink roleplay with older gentlemen. With her new family of friends and admirers, she becomes a huge sensation leading to wealth and infamy in the tabloids. The brothel business also brings out Christine's self-confidence, and leads to repairing a previously strained relationship with her father.



The film was banned in the Republic of Ireland upon theatrical release (although the ban was lifted two months later). At the time, there were four films that were banned in Ireland, and Jones had directed three of them (Personal Services, Monty Python's Life of Brian, and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life).


  1. Personal Services at Box Office Mojo
  2. Olins, Rufus (24 September 1995). "Mr Fixit of the British Screen". The Sunday Times. London, England: The Sunday Times Digital Archive. pp. 9[S]. Retrieved 29 March 2014.

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