The film is presented as if it were an edition of the ITV arts program "The South Bank Show", and features Melvyn Bragg, the presenter of the real show, playing himself as the interviewer visiting Sir Norbert at his home, and encouraging him to reminisce about his past career. The humor arises from the fact that although Sir Norbert is acclaimed as one of Britain’s “Knights of the Theatre”, in the mold of a Laurence Olivier or John Gielgud, actually none of his contemporaries has anything particularly good to say about him, and he appears to have had limited success in landing good film roles. Interviewed now in his old age, he is demented, and has confused memories about his past.
The main point of the film, however, is the parodying of various 20th century film genres, through interspersed clips that feature Enfield as Sir Norbert in a variety of film roles.
Norbert Smith, a Life (1989) (TV)
Cast: Harry Enfield, Melvyn Bragg, Renée Asherson, Simon Godley