Left Right and Centre

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Left Right and Centre
Left Right and Centre FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Sidney Gilliat
Written by Val Valentine
Sidney Gilliat
Produced by Frank Launder
Sidney Gilliat
Leslie Gilliat
Starring Ian Carmichael
Alistair Sim
Patricia Bredin
Richard Wattis
Eric Barker
Cinematography Gerald Gibbs
Edited by Gerry Hambling
Music by Humphrey Searle
Distributed by British Lion Film Corporation
Release date
  • 23 June 1959 (1959-06-23)(London)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Left Right and Centre is a 1959 British satirical comedy film directed by Sidney Gilliat and starring Ian Carmichael, Patricia Bredin, Richard Wattis, Eric Barker and Alastair Sim. It was produced by Frank Launder. [1] [2] A political comedy, it follows the events of a by-election in a small English town.



Robert Wilcot, a popular television personality, is selected as the Conservative candidate for the provincial town of Earndale in the upcoming by-election. His selection is mostly due to the influence of his uncle, Lord Wilcot, a powerful local figure. His opponent is to be Stella Stoker, a fishmonger's daughter with a degree from the London School of Economics who has been chosen to stand for the Labour Party.

Travelling up on the train to Earndale, the two candidates meet and while she quickly works out who he is, he remains ignorant of her true identity. To try to show off he begins to tell her about his selection for the seat and how he expects to win. He describes his opponent as a bluestocking. He also inadvertently reveals embarrassing details to her such as the fact that he has scarcely been to Earndale in his life and that his family once controlled the seat as a rotten borough. Once they arrive at Earndale station, he is soon made aware of his mistake. The electoral agents of both candidates are furious to discover they have been fraternising on the train.

Wilcot goes to visit his uncle, and finds him to be an eccentric who has turned his country house into a money-making operation for visiting coach parties of tourists. It appears that he has engineered Robert Wilcot's selection as a candidate in order to spark public interest in the election, boosting his own business. It is also clear that the political contest is added to by the enmity of the two electoral agents the Tory Christopher Harding-Pratt and Labour's Bert Glimmer.

Once on the stump the two candidates keep running into each other around Earndale, at one point during a factory visit leading to a shouting match. Both begin to become entranced by the other, and become convinced they are falling in love. This comes to a head during the hustings at Wilcot Hall where they are caught kissing in the maze by their respective agents. Burying the hatchet, the two agents try to foil the potential romance. Despite repeated attempts to break up the candidates they continue a covert relationship.

Cast and Production

Main cast

Supporting cast

Cameo/Uncredited cast


The factory scene was in fact Shepperton Studios, with many of the studio buildings, including its larger sound stages, forming the factory backdrop.

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  1. "Left Right and Centre | Britmovie | Home of British Films". Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2009.
  2. BFI.org