Joe North (Barry Evans) is one of that sainted breed of men, the London cabbies, those gentlemen who never have a bad word to say for anyone, are courteous on the highway, and command nothing but respect among their fellow motorists and their passengers. Well, that's the idea, anyway, and Joe does his best to sustain that image even though he aspires to better things in life. At least he has a job, he tells himself, which is more than can be said of his light-fingered brother Peter (Marc Harrison), but living at home is such a drag, especially with a domineering mother (Diana Dors)...
You thought Robert De Niro took some strange career decisions in the nineties, well, what about this one, an actual seventies British sex comedy, who would have believed - hold on, that was a different Taxi Driver that Bob appeared in, this was the similarly-titled effort released at the same time and, much to its producer and director Stanley A. Long's pride, made it into the top ten box office smashes in the United Kingdom for that year, far above the Martin Scorsese picture's takings. There was no more proof needed that this type of entertainment was what the British wanted to see back then, and they certainly had an ample portion of it during that decade.
This was, of course, an attempt to cash in on the Robin Askwith-starring Confessions movies, and so began the series of Adventures efforts which took in those professions which were left uncovered by his Timmy Lea character, beginning with the taxi business. That Barry Evans took the lead, an actor with a passable cheeky chappie charm, though not of Askwith's calibre, was ironic because later in life, before his tragic death in mysterious circumstances, he was indeed plying his trade as a taxi driver as the acting job offers had long ago dried up. He refused to stick with this series as a sitcom was being made the next year which he had the lead in.
That was Mind Your Language, a "let's laugh at the funny foreigners" affair which secured Evans as a household name for a few years, something that might not have occured had he continued the Joe North role, but he may well have foreseen that these movies were not going to be popular forever. Or it could have been that he was discomfited by the fact that Suzanne Mercer's script called for him to appear in the streets naked, leaving nothing to the imagination of either the audience or, one assumes, the passersby. Just one of the bizarre sights to greet you should you delve into this woebegone genre, which may have been massive at the time, but few like to talk about now.
As ever, there were quite a few famous faces showing up for an easy paycheque, some for one short scene, as Stephen Lewis did his Blakey turn as a strip club doorman, or Liz Fraser doing herself no favours as an ageing prostitute who bites the manhood of a client when Joe brakes too hard. As for the women in his life, Adrienne Posta, as Joe's overbearing girlfriend, and Judy Geeson, as his best friend's girl, kept their clothes on even though Geeson was playing a stripper, so taking care of the nudity were Jane Hayden (lookalike sister of Linda Hayden), former Bond Girl Angela Scoular, and famed director Ingmar Bergman's daughter Anna Bergman, as a stripper who does actually disrobe. In spite of being written by a woman, the females range from shrewish to demented, none of them especially likeable, and suggestive of the main character's low regard of the fairer sex - he even takes advantage of a potential suicide. Did Robert Lindsay keep this on his C.V. for long, you may well wonder? It's far too harsh to be funny or titillating.
Long got his start taking nude photos, branched out into short films, then embarked on a series of features which lasted a good three decades before he moved into a post-production capacity on many titles up until just before his death. It was those sexploitation flicks which made him a millionaire, capturing the public's interest in increasingly racy subject matter, making his career a textbook example of loosening censorship, from nudist colony movies (Take Off Your Clothes and Live) to mondo documentaries (West End Jungle, Primitive London, London in the Raw), to full on softcore such as Groupie Girl, The Wife Swappers, Naughty, On the Game, his highly lucrative Confessions of rip-offs The Adventures of... series, and his finest film Eskimo Nell, rightly cited as the best, or at least the funniest, of the whole genre. He also penned a revealing autobiography.