Telstar: The Joe Meek Story

Synopsis: In the early 1960s self-taught electronics whizz Joe Meek amazingly produces a string of home made hit singles from his studio in his flat above a leather shop in London. His biggest success is the instrumental 'Telstar' but accusations of plagiarism delay royalties. Joe's mercurial temper causes his artists to forsake him for other labels, in particular his young lover Heinz Burt. Now in debt and after unwisely parting from his chief financier Major Banks, Joe finds himself unable to control his life. Increasingly paranoid, believing he is being bugged by rival record companies and that everybody is out to get him, the last straw comes when landlady Violet tells him she is selling the building in which he lives. Joe had once confiscated a shotgun from Heinz. Now it is dangerously close at hand and about to end the Joe Meek story.
Director(s): Nick Moran
Production: PreviewNetworks
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
119 min

Joe! I need for you to come inside now!


No, now!

Your father's having one of his turns.


- In a minute!


- '..A minute... A minute... A minute...'

'A minute... A minute... A minute... A minute...'


'Next week on Harper's West One, special guest star

'John Leyton, star of Biggles as you've never seen him before.

'That's Thursday, eight o'clock, Harper's West One.'

'..and a very special good morning to the housewife at number 26...'


- Would sir need any assistance?

- I'm... They're recording my song.

Well, then, you'll do. I need to have a word about my ceiling.

- Sorry, I can't...

- I'm the landlady. This is my building.

- ..Help.

- Pardon?

- I can't help. I only just...

- It's none of my business,

but they've had some very odd types up there.

My Albert won't stand for it.

As long as they keep themselves to themselves, but this takes the biscuit!

- What do you make of that? It's all black and treacly.

- Yes.

- Some sort of glue. They've only been here a fortnight.

- Oh, dear.

Had some terrible complaints from the neighbours about the noise.

Grown men playing silly beggars with records.

I only hope it doesn't add up to nothing.

Actually, I've already bought two.

You should see the state of it up there.

I'm never going to be able to let it again now, am I? You're a quiet one, aren't you?

- Sorry. Just a bit...

- Shy? Not much good for a pop star.

- Actually, I'm classically trained. Biggles is doing my song.

- Biggles?

- Off the telly.

- Of course he is, dear. Now, come on. Let's find trouble.

Yes, let's.

How many musicians am I paying for? For God's sake.

Oh, Major, you'll do. I've had a disaster in my stockroom.

Just arrived myself, Violet, dear.

- Joe will be down as soon as he's spotted.

- Thank you.

Must crack on, woman, crack on!

Here, I've had some very nice oxblood belts in,

go lovely with them brogues.

- Ta-ra!

- Anton, isn't it?

- Sorry?

- Anton Hollywood, pianist?

- Yes.

- Well, no.

- Well, I'm afraid Joe's decision is final,

he doesn't feel you've got what it takes.

And if you've come for compensation, you can trot off back to wherever the hell...

No, it's Geoff, not just Geoff. Geoff Goddard.

- Oh! The author! Tunesmith!

- Composer.

- Composer, yes, of course.

The name Anton Hollywood was Joe's idea, it's not real.

It's a stage name. He thought he'd do a Russ Conway with me, didn't work out.

So you're Goddard, are you? Read Goddard, didn't think Hollywood.

- No, well, you wouldn't.

- Don't slouch, young man! Upright! Shoulders back!

Splendid song!

(Thank you.)

In fact, I wanted to thank you for the opportunity, really.

- This is a very good...opportunity. And...

- Very touching.

It's Joe you should thank. He's the one that spotted your talent.

I know Fanny Adams about the tunes. I just pull the purse strings.

- I'm in plastics.

- Really?

- Yes, my son took me to a record shop, selling like hot cakes.

What's his name? Lonnie? Larry? Big nose, curly hair, plays the broom.

- Donegan? Lonnie Donegan?

- That's the chap! Expanding market, see?

Good business opportunity. Met Joe, thought, "That's my boy.

"He knows his Indians." Anyway, it's him you should thank.


That'll be the last time anyone uses that this morning.

Carry on singing, I'll be back in a minute.

Oh, hello, Geoff! I know what you're thinking, why are they singing in the toilet?

Well, once I've worked my magic and added some reverb,

it'll sound more like a cathedral! Do you need to go?

- No. It would be embarrassing in front of everyone singing.

- Speaking of which, backup singers, that is.

- I've had a quick look at the figures. Are you sure you need them?

- Course we need them!

- And an orchestra?

Oh, it's hardly an orchestra. Two violins and Charles on his mum's old cello. You all right, Charles?

- I've been better.

- Harper's West One is getting 10 million viewers.

They're all going to hear Geoff's song, it's our first good chance for a hit, so it can't be shoddy.

Have you...?

(I think we should leave.)

- Have you read the West One script yet?

- No.

- Well, John plays a pop singer called Johnny Sincere. Isn't that a great name?

- Top drawer!

- And he opens a record department with your song.

- Who'd have thought, Biggles?

- He's Ginger.

- Sorry?

Johnny Leyton in Biggles. Plays Ginger. Boy's a big fan.


Geoff, come here. Excuse me, Charles, ladies.

Take the speaker, point it out that window towards the backyard.

All the other windows are soundproofed. And I'll need that.

Drop dead, you silly, old f***er!

- Oh, God!

- All right, you can close the window and put the speaker back, now. There's a love.

Is he coming down?

- Can you talk to her? I'm far too busy right now.

- Yes, it's best you crack on.

Well done, Geoff, I hope we'll be seeing a lot more of you.


- Joe!

He gave you that speech about not slouching, didn't he?

I'm sorry about Anton Hollywood, Geoff. You could have been Reading's own Liberace.

That would have been nice(!)

But the real Liberace don't make those little piggy, grunty noises when he plays, does he?

Really, it's fine.

They're awkward to record around, ugly to watch. Shame. You're a wonderful musician.

- Lovely looking boy.

- Well, I'm sure this one will sound wonderful. I wanted to thank you.

- No need to thank me, Geoff. It's a good tune.

- You did such a wonderful job with Lonnie Donegan.


He's putting on the agony

Putting on the style

That's what all the young folks are doing all the while.


Well, the royalties from those tunes helped set this place up.

- Let's hope you get some royalties from your little tune.

- Well, that would be nice.


I know it's a little impractical, with the stairs and the traffic, but...

It's got a very

Yes! I was going to say that.


- Keep your hair on!

- How would you like a smack in the mouth?


Can I ask? I don't mean to be rude. Something unusual I heard about you.

Go on, I won't bite.

About you and Buddy Holly. About his death. Your prediction.

Yeah. Well, it came to me. A message.

- A warning for Buddy.

- Tragedy. Great loss.

I give him a note backstage. I warned him. I told him the date.

If only he'd listened.

- Do you still try to...communicate?

- When I have time.


- Perhaps you'd like to join me?

- I'd love to.

Here comes the cavalry.

- You selfish, skinny runt.

- Those bastard stairs. I've done me sodding back.

- You can shut your cakehole.

I've got to bring the rest of the kit up, yet.

- It's not the kit, it's having to lug that fat arse.

- Watch your mouth!

- Watch your diet!

- You want to f*** right off!

- Ladies and gentlemen, Flanagan and Allen.

- Oi, Joe, it's pissing down out there.

- Really?

- Has anybody got a towel? I'm drenched.

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Nick Moran

Nick Moran (born 23 December 1968) is an English actor, writer, producer and director, best known for his role as Eddy the card sharp in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. He appeared as Scabior in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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