It's Friday night and a group of young Londoners are headed into the weekend with a couple of evenings of dancing. One such congregation is at Simpkins Youth Club where an unknown singer called Nicky (Cliff Richard) is regaling the audience with his tunes. It's all going terribly well until one of their friends, Ernest (Richard O'Sullivan), barges in waving the latest newspaper. He calls a halt to the dancing and informs everyone of grave news: the youth club is to be closed down so that millionaire businessman Hamilton Black (Robert Morley) can build a skyscraper on the site. So what now?
There's only one answer to that if you're in a Cliff Richard movie: let's put on a show! Hailing from a more innocent era, and a big hit in its day, The Young Ones was a family musical that took Cliff out of moody supporting roles and into sunny stardom as an eternally optimistic hero of a cycle of bright and colourful fluff. Scripted by Ronald Cass and Peter Myers, it was in the thrall of Hollywood song and dance movies but with the British accents it seemed forced and quaint, a strange combination. Utterly out of date nowadays, it's a period piece that serves as nostalgia for some and still has the power to entertain.
Nicky has a secret, and that is that he is the son of Hamilton, but he's not going to tell that to the gang for fear of being kicked out, although he might have made life easier for them if he had laid his cards on the table in the first place. He didn't though, and the storyline bizarrely descends into legal wrangles with Nicky trying to outsmart "Pop" by finding a loophole in his new lease, something he does by getting Hamilton to blab his plans for he doesn't know Nicky is out to foil him. It's in these early scenes we discover that Cliff could do a great Robert Morley impression, why, it's almost as if he's been dubbed over with Morley's voice.
Anyway, after Hamilton finds out about this subterfuge, he's proud of his boy's business acumen but is still confident he will succeed. This is where the show bit comes in, as Nicky and his pals have to drum up support, and more importantly cash, to buy their share of a five year lease on the property. As this is a musical, and we have already been treated (or subjected) to a few numbers, the obvious idea is to hire a local theatre for the night and sell tickets to the public for a revue. For some reason a French star, Dorinda (Sonya Cordeau, proof Britain was still reeling from the Brigitte Bardot effect), is persuaded by her manager to join them, too.
This is chiefly because a spot of romantic tension was needed and Nicky's girlfriend Toni (Carole Gray) has to be brave through the tears when her place alongside Cliff is usurped by the star. Not to worry, it all sorts itself out and Nicky makes a name for himself as "The Mystery Singer" when the gang take over the airwaves for publicity through the method of piracy. This means not only the "You're never alone with a Strand" man of TV commercial fame is hijacked, but so is newsreader Richard Baker on the BBC! It's youth gone wild! Never mind, The Young Ones is relentlessly goodnatured and although it was rarely a good idea to let Cliff dance he acquits himself pretty well thanks to future director Herbert Ross's choreography. Yes, it's all of its time and not as good as Summer Holiday, but it is fun, and innocuously eager to please.