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  • 1991movierewind

Episode #141: Bernard and the Genie

Listen to Episode 141 of the Podcast here while you enjoy the show notes.

SUMMARY - In Bernard and the Genie, Bernard Bottle (played by Alan Cumming) is hitting rock bottom. He’s been fired from his job thanks to a greedy boss and his fiancee moves out to live with Bernard’s best friend. Virtually the only thing left in the house is a dirty lamp he found. After giving it a rub, out comes Josephus the genie (played by Lenny Henry) who has been trapped for 2000 years and grants unlimited wishes.

Screenplay by Richard Curtis; Directed by Paul Weiland; and premiered on the BBC on December 23,1991.


The movie starts off with some subtitles and potentially racist characters to show the Genie getting placed in the lamp.

But shortly after we're treated to the charm of the film. A bouncy, original tune to accompany our happy-go-lucky turned sad-sack lead

The genie is quite angry at the start but it's not long before we learn the rules of the wishes

There are some off-handed remarks which lead to celebrity cameos that would be a bit more impactful to British viewers at the time.

There are some over-the-top jokes and then there's some understated ones like having Bernard carry the flying carpet everywhere.

Lenny Henry has a field day with this role and makes the most of it

There are a few side characters too, but the best is the elevator/door man.

The movie also has a decent amount of heart mixed in with its goofy charm

and it also has a ninja turtle. Or is that hero turtle?

Awards Talk: British Comedy Award win for Best TV Comedy Newcomer Alan Cumming. CableACE nominated for Best International Movie or Miniseries


This week we don't have any true crime segment to talk about so we jump right into British TV.

Here's what was on the BBC on December 23, 1991

Neither of us had heard of popular interviewer Terry Wogan, but he interviewed Madonna and its online.

Wogan meets Madonna

Moving to music, here are the Top 5 songs in the UK as of Dec 23 1991

George Michael & Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Diana Ross - When You Tell Me That You Love Me

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody / These Are The Days Of Our Lives

The KLF featuring Tammy Wynette - Justified And Ancient

Michael Jackson - Black Or White


Nikki 1-5 star scale - 3 out of 5

Jon 0-4 star scale - 3 out of 4

Would you watch it again? - If choosing between this and the recent remake "Genie" starring Melissa McCarthy, we would both choose this. This TV movie had a decent amount of laughs, Lenny and Alan were clearly enjoying themselves and the side characters were fun and quirky. It's not going to be a yearly Christmas classic, but we'd stop flipping channels if we saw it playing somewhere.

If you want to watch Bernard and the Genie, as of this recording in November 2023, it’s available on Tubi, Freevee, Hoopla, VHS, DVD. Check your local listings.


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