With the world’s economic climate currently in a state worse than the British summer, what better timing is there than for Fabulous Films to release a two-disc set of an ‘80s drama that’s centred around a bankrupt?
In Bust, former popstar Paul Nicholas plays Neil Walsh, a handsome company director armed to the teeth with wit as sharp as his dress sense and an infinite mile of charm. But his world soon crashes down on him when a business deal goes bad, sounding the death knell for Neil’s company and his cash flow. After being made bankrupt in court and forced to pay a substantial figure back to his creditors, Walsh plummets from luxury apartment to flea-ridden flat, and must rebuild his life from pennies to pounds.
Co-created by Phillip Hinchcliffe, writer of The Charmer and Private Schultz, Bust is a truly sensational and funny drama, all as bit as charming as Neil Walsh himself. With twists and turns around every corner, Nicholas’ character faces doom and gloom, but never fails to show the world a brave face. Set and shot on location in London in the mid ‘80s, the series boasts wonderfully written script after wonderfully written script. The dialogue is straight and concise, especially with Neil’s lines; Paul Nicholas gives a fantastic performance, for which he nabbed a Best Actor award, and I cannot think of anybody else who would fit into that role quite like he did. Following his character’s cheeky wheeling and dealing as he tries to reconstruct his life is humorously fascinating, it’s impossible to dislike him, and each of the six 60-minute episodes never failed to entertain me with their excellent combination of drama and comedy.
The series has a great supporting cast with Geraldine Alexander, Ron Emslie, and of course Phyllis Logan as Neil’s wife. Sadly she did not reprise her role for the second series, for reasons I do not know. Sure, the programme looks dated, the ‘80s is one of the most identifiable decades, but that’s part of the fun with Bust, especially with its cheery synthesised soundtrack, the closing credits theme of which is sung by Paul Nicholas himself. Dated or not, the series is unquestionably relevant to today’s recession, and I’m sure many people can relate to the story of Neil Walsh.
I tried to look up the series online, but couldn’t seem to find much information or other opinions on it, so it appears that this show has been forgotten, which is a real shame as I cannot say enough good things about it, and I hope this DVD release spawns a new fan base. I close this review greatly anticipating the second, final series.
EXTRAS ** An audio commentary by Paul Nicholas on the first episode, stills gallery, cast biographies, and a 20-minute documentary