Double Bunk

Double Bunk is a British black-and-white comedy film set on a houseboat. It was released in 1961, and stars Ian Carmichael and Sid James.[2]

Double Bunk
"Double Bunk" (1961).jpg
Directed byC.M. Pennington-Richards
Produced byGeorge H. Brown
StarringIan Carmichael
Sid James
Janette Scott
Liz Fraser
Dennis Price
Music byStanley Black
CinematographyStephen Dade
Edited byJohn D. Guthridge
Distributed byBryanston (UK)
Release date
30 March 1961 (London West End)
Running time
92 min
CountryUnited Kingdom

The musical score was composed by Stanley Black, and the title song, sung by Sid James and Liz Fraser, was by Stanley Black, Jack Fishman and Michael Pratt (later better known as the actor Mike Pratt).


Facing eviction from their London flat, newlyweds Jack (Ian Carmichael) and Peggy (Janette Scott) are tricked into buying a rundown houseboat by its current owner Alfred Harper (Reginald Beckwith) and his put-upon wife (Irene Handl). Mr Watson (Dennis Price), who owns Jack and Peggy’s mooring, soon makes their acquaintance by introducing them to his mooring tariffs and associated surcharges.

Jack's used-car-salesman friend Sid (Sid James) helps him rebuild the engine, and the newlyweds take the boat down the River Thames to Ramsgate with Sid and his girlfriend Sandra (Liz Fraser) as passengers. On the way they have trouble with an official from the Thames Conservancy (Naunton Wayne) and a member of the river police (Terry Scott).

After Sandra's transistor radio gets misplaced next to the compass, they end up in Calais. With no fuel or supplies they must resort to desperate actions to get themselves and the houseboat back home. Sandra puts on a striptease for Watson, who also happens to be in Calais, so Jack and Sid can "borrow" some of Watson’s fuel and food. The next morning they follow Watson back across the Channel, as their own compass is broken, and enter into a wager with Watson on who can get back to their mooring first. They win the bet when Watson's boat runs aground.


The houseboat, "Jasmine Cot", was actually "Joan Mary", an Admiralty 48-foot "Personnel Launch, Diesel" conversion. She was based at Newmans Shipyard, 1, Strawberry Vale, Twickenham.


The film opened at the Leicester Square Theatre in London's West End on 30 March 1961 and went on general release in the UK on 8 May 1961.

The film went over budget by £4,500 and the producer had to write off personally £5,000.[3]


Critical receptionEdit

  • The New York Times called it an "extremely anemic little British comedy." [4]
  • The Spinning Image called it "a gently amusing feel-good comedy that chugs along nicely. ... You know you're in for a good time as soon as Double Bunk's opening credits kick in accompanied by a jaunty ditty sung by co-stars Sid James and Liz Fraser" [5]
  • Britmovie wrote, "the supporting cast is a veritable treasure trove of familiar faces, including Sid James, Naunton Wayne, Liz Fraser, Irene Handl, Miles Malleson and Noel Purcell and Dennis Price." [6]


  1. ^ Petrie, Duncan James (2017). "Bryanston Films : An Experiment in Cooperative Independent Production and Distribution" (PDF). Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television: 7. ISSN 1465-3451.
  2. ^ "Double Bunk (1961) | BFI". Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Petrie p 10
  4. ^ Howard Thompson (17 November 1961). "Movie Review - Double Bunk - 'Double Bunk' Shown". Retrieved 25 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Double Bunk Review (1961)". Retrieved 25 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Double Bunk 1961 | Britmovie | Home of British Films". Britmovie. Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit