Mindhorn is a high-grade-capoeira detective with the power to SEE the truth with his bionic eye. He's also, sadly, not real, but the on-screen persona of Richard Thorncroft. What's also sad is that Thorncroft hasn't had much work since his 80s hit series and has just lost his agent. If only he could somehow redeem his career in a wildly implausible and hilarious manner? Well, step this way, sir...
Back in the real world, Mindhorn is the new offering from ex-Boosh duo Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby. It's a hilarious romp in the vein of Hot Fuzz and Alpha Papa, gently poking fun at classic British detective dramas, crap TV merchandise and the Isle of Man. It sees Barratt waddle his way from one farce to another in a punchy, well constructed comedy.
On Saturday Barratt and Farnaby came to sunny* Nottingham to accompany a showing and give a Q&A afterwards. They are as amusing in the flesh as on-screen and the audience was consistently reduced to giggles. One of the aspects they touched on was all the retro-clone merchandise that was created to dress the film's sets. In the fictional world, the TV show Mindhorn spawned endless bits of clutter like dolls, stickers, videos and shatter-proof rulers, all of which had to be created by the art department. Some of these items are shown on the great site belonging to the Art Department intern Emma Rosling in her excellent portfolio. These bits of ephemera are spot-on and really help to build the world of Mindhorn.
Chief amongst this glut of merch is the Mindhorn doll. Barratt was asked if he kept one of them. He doesn't. Nor, sadly, are there any plans to mass-produce the item for sale. Barratt is afraid that the film will bomb, the dolls won't sell, and he'll be found hanging in a room surrounded by tiny facsimiles of his fictional self. Yikes!
*Nottingham is rarely sunny. It is, at best, overcast.