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USA: Strand Releasing
Cast: Phil Cornwell, John Sessions, Ronni Ancona, Harry Enfield
Director: Peter Richardson
Countries: UK / USA
USA Rated: R for language and some drug material
USA Release Date: 22 October 2004 (Limited Release)
Posh and Becks. Guy and Madonna. Liz Hurley and, well, whoever... Over the last few years, celebrity culture has taken the media world by storm. News has taken a back seat to gossip, with such magazines as Heat, Hello! and Now itemizing the daily routines of all kinds of stars, from lowly soap opera bit-part players to the Hollywood A-list. In that time, the boundaries have blurred too; thanks to the success of reality TV shows, anyone can now be a star, as the like of BIG BROTHER and POP IDOL have shown.
Into this mix, STELLA STREET offers the perfect satire for the early 21st century. In the tabloids, we've become used to the minutiae of the celebrity lifestyle. We hear about the champagne parties, the plush homes in Beverly Hills, the cosmetic enhancements and exotic boltholes in far-flung resorts so exclusive they have yet to be designed, let alone built. STELLA STREET, however, is an attempt to debunk this myth. Based on the episodic TV serial first aired on BBC2, celebrities have broken through that next dimension and come crashing back down to earth. Dressed in thrift-store parodies of their career-peak wardrobes, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger run a corner shop; Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino rub shoulders in a leafy lane in suburbia; and David Bowie has his underpants starched and ironed by an uptight cockney charlady named Mrs. Huggett. Megastars come and go, but nothing escapes the watchful eye of their long-suffering neighbor, Michael Caine.
The show, which has so far run for four seasons, remains a masterpiece of understatement. Boasting a cast of pretty much two—actor/impressionists Phil Cornwell and John Sessions, dividing the lead roles between them—STELLA STREET was the brainchild of Peter Richardson, whose hilarious half-hour mini-movies under the COMIC STRIP banner were one of the unique selling points in the early years of Channel 4. Similarly acerbic, filmed in a rough-and-ready style, STELLA STREET predates and perhaps predicted all that, starting life as a barroom conversation and becoming a reality against all expectations.