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Enter Stimpson

February 23, 1986|William Hall

John Cleese may have put Basil Fawlty to rest, but Cleese addicts in Britain are rejoicing: the British comic actor has resurfaced as Brian Stimpson, punctilious head of a suburban comprehensive school, who lives life by the clock in Thorn-EMI's "Clockwise."

Everyone and everything in Stimpson's life has to be in its place, including his long-suffering wife. He sets off for the day of his life--to be chairman of the prestigious Headmasters' Conference in Norwich--but misses the train. Thumbs a lift with one of his female pupils--only to be chased by the police and his wife, who figure he has naughtiness in mind. Then he falls flat on his face in pig swill. And so on.

"Stimpson is a victim of circumstance," Cleese explained, chuckling. "As the pressures increase, his behavior becomes more and more erratic. Comedy is about things always going wrong, and that's just what happens to him. When you first see him, he's in charge. But as events take over and he can't cope--that's when he falls apart."

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