Up the Creek (1958 film)

Up the Creek is a 1958 British comedy film written and directed by Val Guest and starring David Tomlinson, Peter Sellers, Wilfrid Hyde-White, David Lodge and Lionel Jeffries.

Up the Creek
Directed byVal Guest
Produced byHenry Halstead
Written byVal Guest
Len Heath
John Warren
StarringDavid Tomlinson
Peter Sellers
Wilfrid Hyde-White
Music byTony Fones
Tony Lowry
CinematographyArthur Grant
Moray Grant
Edited byHelen Wiggins
Byron Film Production
Distributed byWarner Bros
Release date
  • 13 May 1958 (1958-05-13)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


Lieutenant Humphrey Fairweather, a well-meaning but accident-prone naval officer with a passion for rockets, is posted where he can (so the navy hopes) cause no further damage. He is given command of a mothballed Royal Navy vessel, HMS Berkeley, which has had no commanding officer for several years. She is moored at a wharf on the Suffolk coast near the (fictional) village of Meadows End.

He discovers that the ship is woefully under strength and is forced to contend with the schemes of his bosun, Chief Petty Officer Dogerty (Sellers). He and the crew are running several profitable businesses, including a same-day laundry, selling naval rum and cigarettes to the local pub, the Pig and Whistle, and making pies and pastries for sale to the villagers. They also keep pigs and hens.

After the naive Fairweather is innocently drawn into the enterprises, he is politely blackmailed into covering for them. But when an admiral makes a surprise inspection, the story eventually comes out. Whilst angrily haranguing them, Admiral Foley accidentally launches Fairweather's experimental rocket, and the ship is sunk.

Because of Fairweather's impeccable connections at the Admiralty, and because the Berkeley was Admiral Foley's first command, Fairwather is not court-martialed. Instead, he is promoted to lieutenant-commander and posted to Woomera to continue his rocketry research, accompanied by Susanne, the attractive French girl he met at the pub. The ship's crew are posted to another ship, HMS Incorruptible.



Much of the film was shot at Thomas Ward Ship Breakers, Grays, Essex.[1] The Ship was ex Castle-class corvette, HMS Berkeley Castle.[2]

According to an interview with Val Guest (included on the DVD issue of the film), Up the Creek was the first starring film role for Sellers, at the time known only for radio and short television sketches. Guest was only able to obtain his services by also including established comedy film star David Tomlinson.

A sequel Further Up the Creek was released later in the same year, with Frankie Howerd replacing Peter Sellers.

Critical reception

  • The New York Times called the film, "an amiable jest that is diverting and spasmodically amusing, if not precisely unuproarious."[3]
  • TV Guide said, "it is a surprise that UP THE CREEK is as fresh and amusing as it is... Sellers, in one of his earliest roles, steals the show."[4]


  1. https://www.reelstreets.com/films/up-the-creek/
  2. http://www.harwichanddovercourt.co.uk/warships/corvettes/
  3. A. H. Weiler. (11 November 1958). "Movie Review - Up the Creek - Up the Creek' at 55th". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  4. "Up The Creek Review". Movies.tvguide.com. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
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