Warminster’s top (only)  film critic reviews Operation Christmas socks.


“The folks of Warminster will be royally entertained”  Andrew Day

Yellow Balloon Films brings yet another Warminster film to the big screen, but this time with a seasonal twist.

We see all sorts of familiar faces this time around, but the audience is introduced to a few new characters and Alfie Crinion delights with his adorable debut in this Christmas caper.

When crisis threatens the Head Girl’s plan to source the Headmaster a very special present this year, one little boy comes up with the goods. Claudia Eeles, Head Girl, is joined in her quest by an eager team (Haines, West and Cope). They all captivate the audience with their snow covered scenes.

This is great entertainment with its all-star cast and unexpected plot twist, when the infamous Mr Bonnell attempts to sabotage plans. One actor that gave this reviewer pause for thought was Anna Mortimer – as The Headmaster’s wife.  Historically always typecast as the girl next door, we watch her blossom on screen, steal the limelight and seek revenge on Bonnell. Accusations in ‘Tinsel Town’ that the Headmaster had strongly  insisted the role of his wife went to Cameron Diaz, his usual leading lady, were refuted as Diaz refused to change her hair colour or work with Bonnell again after their last flop, “Not another bow tie sir!”  bombed at the box office. The final casting decision was a good one, as Mortimer portrayed the “wife role” brilliantly – Diaz would have failed to capture her admired French style and sophistication.

Action packed, it is difficult to take it all in on first viewing. True to Day and Brumby’s style, at just over 6 minutes, this film is shorter than their previous epics. The amusing, edge of your seat Anna Mortimer scenes and dialogue will captivate viewers. The research scenes, mobile phone work and expert note passing was impressive. One gripe about this film is that we didn’t get to see Mr Mortimer try out a Segway. They missed a trick with that one.

Day hired actors that had appeared in the previous Warminster blockbuster. Emma Aspray and Phoebe Bolton, fresh from their coveted Grease  roles were fantastic with Bonnell. The gorgeous Julia Doyle-Davidson sparkled with Christmas spirit, as did her co-star Jonathan Mercer in his group scene. Mercer and Doyle-Davidson were both excellent—and obviously comfortable with Day’s directing style and the film’s heart-warming tone.

Jenni Blair and Geraldine Frankling both excelled in their Reception scene with Haines and Cope. We all have much to learn from these admired darlings of the stage. It has been said on numerous occasions that Stella Aldridge and Fiona Beach-MacGeagh didn’t quite do their roles justice, but they were also juggling stage and television roles during this shoot.

Notwithstanding the antics when the camera stopped rolling and the absurd on set requests (only blue Smarties) from Rick Clarke, Mark Sully and Philip Titley, the trio all lived up to their great acting reputation in the end and gave a stunning performance in the Common Room. Off-screen antics and scrapes, reportedly led by renowned Scottish actor Graeme McQueen, were not, one can safely say as dreadful as was reported locally.  It is also unfair to say that McQueen is unable to act his way out of a paper bag.

Visually this film delights – budgets were certainly blown with the set design. The Boniface Hall extracts are a dream. Using the go-to celebrity florist of the moment and set designer, Cathy Humpherson, and Christmas tree experts Graham Kitley and Debbie Evans. Superb aerial footage by drone specialist Joe Sturdy, will appeal to technical movie buffs. An abundance of extras and a guest appearance by Father Christmas must have certainly sent the finance guys in a spin – worth every penny.

The music is on the way to become the number one download. Despite the Headmaster insisting that Mariah Carey should have been approached, another one of the Director’s decisions has paid off with the selection of Pewsey Vale songstress, Susie Parrack, along with Lily Aldridge, Elena Ramona and Liam Howlett on keyboard. #Christmasnumberone 

This film has the same wit and polish that we have come to expect from a Yellow Balloon Films picture. Operation Christmas Socks  is exciting, creative, and heart-warming. The perfect Christmas cracker to take all the family to watch.  Well worth a few minutes of your time.

#Christmassocks – watch it now!

*Behind the scenes photographs courtesy of Jon Edkins, David Wiltshire