Captain Webb **
Dir: Justin Hardy. With: Warren Brown, Steve Oram, Hannah Tointon, Georgia Maguire. 87 mins. Cert: 12A
This attempt to elevate the reputation of Captain Matthew Webb, first man to swim the Channel, suffers from a visibly stretched budget and a careworn structuring device, flashing back mid-crossing to detail how Webb got his toes wet. Among those dropping by the heritage locations to do director Justin Hardy a favour, Steve Oram’s eccentric coach provides flickers of cheer, but Warren Brown’s oafish central performance ensures a less than winning protagonist, and the supporting cast is awash with stick-on sideburns and phoney yokel accents. Sporadic hand-held photography, intended to lend this Victoriana a sexy modern edge, instead points up how unconvincing it all looks.
Captain Webb is now playing in selected cinemas.