The story of the rise of a madame of a suburban brothel catering to older men, inspired by the real experiences of Cynthia Payne. The story follows Christine Painter (Julie Walters) as the down-at-heel waitress who, with the help of prostitute Shirley (Shirley Stelfox) and cross-dressing Wing Commander Morten (Alec McCowen), seeks to up her earnings by turning her suburban home into a brothel. Before long she and her girls are chaining up judges, spanking Generals and attending to the needs of Honourable Members. Christine sees herself as providing a vital service to these harmless pervs and when finally the house is busted and the case comes to court, it’s fair to say that the presiding judge isn’t unfamiliar with her work.
Stephen Frears directs this biographical drama focusing on controversial British playwright Joe Orton, revealed in flashback after his murder by lover Kenneth Halliwell. Born in 1933 in Leicester, in the English Midlands, John ‘Joe’ Orton moves to London in 1951, to study at RADA, and enjoys an openly gay relationship with Halliwell in their famous Islington flat in the 1960s. However, when Orton achieves spectacular success with such plays as ‘What the Butler Saw’ and ‘Loot’, Halliwell begins to feel alienated and the pair’s future looks increasingly uncertain.