Synopsis: Svengali tells the story of Dixie, a small town guy with a big dream. He leaves a humble Welsh mining town for the bright lights of London, intent on becoming the manager of the best band in the world. Svengali is a feel-good British comedy with a heart of gold and a soundtrack to match.
Genre: Comedy, Music
Director(s): John Hardwick
Production: Root Films
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
93 min


My name is Paul Dean.

But everybody calls me Dixie.

Now, I've come to London

to manage the best new band in the world.

All my life

I've dreamt of walking in the footsteps

of the great Svengalis of rock and roll.

You know,

like Brian Epstein who found the Beatles,

or Malcolm McLaren who had the Pistols,

or the legend that is Alan McGee.

And next there'd be me.

Do you know what? I lie there at night

and I imagine people saying my name.


- Oh, sorry.

Oh, yeah, this is Shell. She's my girl.

- You daydreaming?

- Sorry. Yeah.

Look, London Eye.

And there's Big Ben.

- Can we go on that later?

- I know.

- What? The London Eye?

- Yeah.

No. We've got to go see the band

as soon as we can.

You see what happened was,

a few weeks ago back in Wales,

I was on the Internet looking for bands,

and there they were,

The Premature Congratulations.

Do you know what?

- Shell. Shell. Sit up.

- What?

- Michelle was excited as I was.

- What?

So next morning, first thing,

I'm in my music shed

packing my rarest records

and I'm ready to go.


- Oh, Jesus!

Shell trying to help, like...

Oh, yes.

I've got to go to work.

Then I lassoed her and I said,

"Baby, you're coming to London with me."


The most difficult thing, well,

that was telling my father.

I'd better go. It's my last round today.

It's like the '80s all over again, ain't it?

People are moving away to work.

Don't knock the '80s, Dad.

Some good music come out of the '80s.

Fair play, though,

they put on a cracking leaving do for us.

They had like top DJs.

They even had a bit of a whip round.

Dixie, we had a bit of a whip round.

And this is for you and Shell.

Oh, you shouldn't have done that, Dad.

Hey, hey, hey. You can only spend it

when you get married.

- ALL:


I'll tell you what,

as soon as I get a record deal,

first thing I'm gonna do is

I'm gonna marry Michelle.


You said it now! (LAUGHS)

Right, I'm gonna make a speech.

People love my speeches.

Oh, Dixie.

Later on,

it was onto the overnight Megabus...


...and off to the big city.

London, you got to love it, haven't you?

It's the rock and roll capital of the world.

Anyone who's anyone is here.

And my best mate,

from back home when I was a kid, Horsey,

he's a top record company boss here now.

Tell you what,

when he hears my band,

he'll snap 'em right up.

'Cause if there's one thing I know,

it is music.


Now all I got to do is persuade this band

to let me manage 'em.


Boys, you're the best new band

that I've ever heard.

And believe you me, I've heard them all.

Give me six months

and I promise I'll get you a record deal.

And we'll do it all on a handshake.

So you can walk away

whenever you want, yeah?

Just give us a few seconds, eh?

- All right...

- I understand what he's saying...

- We don't even know where he's from.

- I think he's from...

- Just give them the beers.

No, he's from Wales.

I got beers.

- Sound then, mate. Yeah.

- Yeah. Yeah.

Nice one.

- Cheers, mate.

- Cheers.



Here y'are, man.

- Fantastic.

- Nice one, mate.

- Can I have one?

- Yeah, of course you can. Sorry, love.

Boys, you're gonna change the world.

Honestly, trust me.

- F***ing howay, mate.

- Thank you.

Cheers! Cheers! Cheers!

What's your name again, boss?

How good were they, huh?

Yeah, they were amazing.

Amazing? Amazing.

- And incredible.

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Jonny Owen

Jonathan Tudor "Jonny" Owen (born 4 July 1971 in Merthyr Tydfil, Mid Glamorgan) is a Welsh producer, actor and writer who has appeared TV shows including Shameless, Murphy's Law and My Family. Owen won a Welsh BAFTA in 2007 for the documentary The Aberfan Disaster which he co-produced with Judith Davies.As a teenager he was a Welsh Boys Club Boxing champion. In his later teens he was in the 1990s indie band The Pocket Devils as bass player and lead singer/songwriter. Signed to Sanctuary Records in the UK and Pop Music Records in the US they finally split after Owen landed the part of Richey in the Welsh drama series Nuts and Bolts in 1999. From Nuts and Bolts he landed parts in UK Network series including Murphy's Law with James Nesbitt and Dirty Work with Neil Pearson. His meeting with Irvine Welsh when filming the Gene video "Is it over?" proved pivotal in Owen's career. He has since worked with Welsh (and his writing partner Dean Cavanagh) on several dramas including Dose for the BBC, Wedding Belles for C4 and Good Arrows for ITV (which Owen also produced). His 2006 film Little White Lies won several film festival awards and was featured at the Moscow Film Festival. He played a BNP thug, receiving positive reviews. In 2007 he appeared as Banana Boat in Russell T Davies's Torchwood. Owen has also worked extensively as a writer and producer for ITV Wales, including winning the Gwyn Alf Williams Award at the Welsh BAFTAs for the 40th anniversary documentary of the Aberfan disaster. It was revealed during shooting that Owen's father had been one of the first Welsh miners on the scene in the recovery operation. Owen also did a piece for Cardiff City's appearance in the FA Cup final for Match of the Day in 2008. It received positive reviews in the media (The Guardian said it was the best part of the day's coverage) and from football fans across the country.In 2009 Owen appeared as regular character Ady in Channel 4's Shameless, and continued in the role in 2010. 2009 also saw the release of the independent film A Bit of Tom Jones?, with Owen in the lead role. The film spread from a limited release in Wales to being shown in selected markets throughout the UK by Vue. He is the writer and creator of Svengali, a cult internet series which the Evening Standard and NME called 'the best series on the net'. He plays the manager of an up-and-coming band. It is based on his own experiences in the music industry to the point that he named the character 'Dixie' after the manager of his own band. The female lead is played by Smack the Pony's Sally Phillips. Former Creation Records head Alan McGee plays the Svengali whom 'Dixie' pursues in an effort to get the band he manages signed. In 2013 Svengali was turned into a feature-length film, directed by John Hardwick and written by Jonny Owen. The film stars Owen, Martin Freeman, Vicky McClure, Matt Berry, Michael Socha, Michael Smiley and Natasha O'Keeffe, and is the debut release from Root Films. It was selected to show at the 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival. It was also nominated for the Michael Powell Award, a prize which honours the best British feature film. Owen has written for The Guardian, Telegraph, Metro and Western Mail. He also was the voice for ITV Wales's Soccer Sunday programme from 2002–2008 and did weekly reports from France for ITV during the 2007 Rugby World Cup.In 2014 he played in the new Jack Thornes' series Glue on E4. On 10 March 2018, Owen was appointed as a director at Nottingham Forest to control the club's media output and video production. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Svengali" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 24 Jun 2021. <>.

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