Colchester Musicircus

Colchester is to host a unique music event that will be the first of its kind in Essex. The Musicircus celebration is set to be first large-scale public event in the newly appointed City of Colchester.

As the first large public event since the city status announcement, Colchester is set to host a unique symphony of music performances in a dramatic live event on Sunday 12th June from 1pm to 3pm in the city centre. Hundreds of musicians from across the county will come together to be a part of Musicircus, a free event that will immerse Colchester in sound.

From local professionals within the music industry to young schoolchildren taking part, musical artists will take to the streets to perform in locations across Colchester, sharing their music from different locations, all at the same time.

Creating a crescendo of sound from Lion Walk to Culver Square, Musicircus will enable visitors to the newly named city to be able to simply sit back and let moments of musical inspiration wash over them or pick out the performer that piques their interest and zone in on what they love most.

The first event of its kind in the county of Essex, the Musicircus concept has its origins in the United States, giving a platform for artists of all kinds to perform in unison whilst allowing audiences to discover new sounds, as well as enjoy old favourites.

Carla Hales, the event’s founder said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to have access to lots of different musical instruments and performances they might not necessarily have been exposed to before. We’re excited to get the local music community involved.”

Colchester’s Musicircus will be working alongside partners including Colchester Lion Walk, Essex Music Service and In Colchester.

To find out more, please visit:


Sitting Down With Evil

If you love a good thriller then Sitting Down With Evil by Colchester’s newest author could well be the perfect holiday read for you.


West Belfast, 1972. The government has lost control. The streets of Northern Ireland are on fire, with violence escalating on both sides. Lance Corporal Owen Twill is snatched up by the IRA and held captive for ten days. On his release he leaves the army and returns to England, a broken and bitter man, obsessed with visiting revenge on the Provo commander responsible for his injuries.

It’s 2016, and one by one, members of Owen Twill’s old unit are dying in suspicious circumstances. When he learns the dark secret behind his betrayal, a chain of events is set in motion, the aftermath of which is felt from Belfast to New York City.

As he tracks down former colleagues, he uncovers a powerful cabal with tentacles that reach to the corridors of Westminster. A conspiracy that pitches friend against friend in a battle to be the last man standing.

About the Author

Charlie Palmer

Charlie Palmer is a 52 year old voluntary worker. Born in Brixham, Devon he has lived and worked in Kent, London and the United States before making North Essex his home 23 years ago.

Charlie started a career in the City young, foregoing university for real life experience. At one point the youngest Director in the city, his motivation waned after nearly three decades and he took a step back to spend more time with his family. This freedom allowed him to indulge his love of travel, following F1 around the world and visiting family in Portugal and Singapore.

Married to Emma, his two sons are finishing their studies at university.

Although Sitting Down With Evil is his first novel, he had a short story published in 2017.

Sitting Down With Evil is available in hardback, paperback and Kindle from WH Smith, Browns Book and Amazon and other good bookstores.

The Women’s Tour

At 11am on Monday 6th June morning the 2022 Women’s Tour, the biggest all-female cycle race in the world, began at the Colchester Sports Park at Northern Gateway.

The Women’s Tour attracts Olympic and world champions, as well as the most elite British riders and stars of the future, so it was an honour for Colchester to be chosen to play host to the Grand Depart opening stage taking place between here when over 100 of the world’s best riders set off on the 88 mile ride to Bury St Edmunds.

Women's Tour Colchester
Women’s Tour Colchester

The route brought the riders into our historic town centre, taking in landmarks including the Jumbo water tower, the Town Hall and the Natural History Museum before heading out to Layer-de-la-Haye and Abberton, before heading back through Old Heath and Greenstead then heading north towards Manningtree and over the River Stour.

Once over the boarder into Suffolk the route goes under the Orwell Bridge before passing through Bildeston twice as part of an anti-clockwise loop through Mid-Suffolk, then onwards to the finish line on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds via Lavenham.

Subsequent days see the riders racing through Gloucester before two stages in Wales. The latter including an elevation gain of 2065 metres of any stage in this year’s race owing to the summit finish at the top of Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons.

Simon Crow

A Never to be Forgotten Night with the Colchester United Boys of ’92

On Saturday 10th May 1992 Colchester United beat Witton Albion in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium in front of a crowd of 32,254 containing an estimated 20,000 Colchester United fans. Simon Crow writes about the 30th anniversary of Colchester United’s Boys of ’92 reunion.

The U’s 3-1 victory, on their first ever visit to Wembley in the club’s history, came at the end of a season which saw them clinch promotion back to the Football League from the GM Vauxhall Conference on the final day of a campaign the like of which the town had never seen before.

30 years to the day later, the Conference and Cup winning team were back together in the Town Hall’s Moot Hall for The Boys of ’92 anniversary reunion dinner for a night of memories, and one or two tears of joy.

FA Trophy Final 1992
FA Trophy Final 1992

The reunion was the brainchild of lifelong U’s supporter Steve Green who wasn’t willing to let this landmark anniversary go by uncelebrated.

I’ll let Steve tell you how it all came about:

“I was approached by Roy McDonough in January asking me if I knew of a restaurant or bar in Colchester where the 1992 non-league double winning squad could meet up for an informal reunion. I suggested a couple of places but it got me thinking that something more deserving of their achievements would be a better idea. I reached out to Ray Hollingsworth who was a major sponsor of Colchester United during the late 80’s and early 90’s, for support, who in turn reached out to super fan Sir Bob Russell, and the three of us met at the The Old Siege House to discuss how a proper celebration might work. Francis Ponder was the Colchester Gazette’s sports editor during the years we were looking to celebrate and he got wind of the meeting and joined us, so we had our own Gang of Four. Jeff Dewing, who owns Cloudfm, made a significant financial donation which enabled us to aim higher in terms of venue hire, quality of catering, audio visual support and giveaways etc. It was quite stressful and time consuming but I think what transpired was befitting of the incredible journey we were taken on back in 1992.”

Ray Holligsworth, Steve Green, Sir Bob Russell and Francis Ponder Ra
Ray Hollingsworth, Steve Green, Francis Ponder and Sir Bob Russell

Together they booked the Moot Hall, organised audio-visual equipment and lighting with the help of Steve’s son Ben, catering from The Old Siege House Restaurant which included, unusually for the Town Hall, draught lager. Well you can’t hold a football event without the lager flowing freely!

The Moot Hall, Colchester
The Moot Hall bedecked in blue and white to celebrate The Boys of ’92
Scott Barrett Tony English Nicky Smith

Scott Barrett, Tony English and Nicky Smith

In the culmination of a remarkable feat to track down and contact all the Colchester United Boys of ’92, on the night almost all the squad attended. Player Manager ‘Big Roy’ McDonough, American striker Mike ‘The Big Yank’ Masters and World Cup hero Mark Kinsella jetted in from Spain, New York and Dublin respectively. They were joined by Nicky Smith, Jason Cook, Steve Restarick, Paul Abrahams, Tony English, Scott Barrett, Paul Roberts, Dave Martin, James Goodwin, and Steve McGavin. Only Eamon Collins, Gary Bennett, Martin Grainger, Ian Stewart and Julian Dart (Hazel) were missing.

Open Top Tour of the Town
Open Top Victory Parade
The Boys of '92 in '92
The Boys of ’92 in ’92

After gathering in the Mayor’s Parlour they took it in turns to enter the Moot Hall’s one by one to take the stage where they were introduced by Peter Sleigh, the club’s matchday announcer. They were met with cheers and applause from the delighted fans before eventually taking their seats at the top table.

Roy McDonough
Big Roy Tells All

Steve and the team had kindly seated Paul Dundas and myself as outgoing Leader of the Council and outgoing Council Cabinet member respectively, with Mayor of Colchester Cllr Robert Davidson and James Bowbridge, the club’s chairman back in 1992. I introduced myself to James saying that even though we’d spoken a few times 30 years ago I didn’t expect him to remember me. He replied “Wasn’t it you that went to prison?” Err, no. Not guilty guv.

In pride of place on our table was the match ball from that historic Wembley final. Across the room from us sat the town’s ex MP Sir Bob Russell, and at a nearby table was former Chief Executive Marie Partner, just a couple of the many familiar faces that night, some of whom I hadn’t seen in many years.

FA Trophy 1992 Matchball
FA Trophy 1992 Matchball

Throughout the evening a big screen treated us to a video of every goal the U’s scored during that never to be forgotten second, and final, season in the Conference, including one of the most iconic moments in Colchester United’s history when goalkeeper Scott Barrett scored a goal that established him in U’s folklore.

In a crunch top-of-the table clash at Adams Park, Barrett’s long punt bounced, sailed over the head of Wycombe keeper Paul Hyde into the net to give the U’s a last gasp 2-1 victory over promotion rivals Wycombe Wanderers.

Other entertainment included a lively and fun Q&A session with players and fans, and an auction of U’s memorabilia followed by a £1000 donation to the Red Cross Ukrainian Appeal.

Q&As With Roy McDonough and Paul Roberts
Q&As with Roy McDonough and Paul Roberts

The lager continued to flow for the rest of the night but sadly it was all over far too quickly. But it was truly a night to remember as we relived such happy memories created by The Boys of ’92 team three decades ago. It seems like they only happened yestererday.

Simon Crow and Roy McDonough
Simon Crow and Roy McDonough at the Boys of ’92

I’ll let Big Roy have the last word:

“The whole night was emotional and also magnificent, great seeing how well my old teammates looked, also watching the true supporters mixing side by side with the players they watched and idolised, that’s what the game is all about, Steve Green, Jeff Dewing, Ben Green, Peter Sleigh, Sir Bob Russell and Ray Hollingsworth all take a bow.

Simon Crow

Simon Crow at Wembley May 1992
Simon Crow at Wembley May 1992

Tollgate Village Takes a Step Closer

Plans have been submitted to Colchester Borough Council for the first phase of the long-awaited Tollgate Village retail and leisure park at Stanway.

An artist’s impression by Corstorphine + Wright Architects

Tollgate Partnership Limited, the Stanway-based family company behind the £70m scheme, have applied for full planning permission to make a series of improvements to Tollgate Retail Park, which will form the first phase of Tollgate Village. These would include external changes to shops, the creation of an additional retail unit between PC World and Office Outlet, the construction of a service road off London Road, alterations to the car park and road improvements.

Daniel Watts and Jayne Gee, Directors of Tollgate Partnership Limited, said: “We are very excited to have reached this milestone for Tollgate Village and be able to submit plans for the first of three phases.

“We are proud to be bringing economic benefits, jobs and sustainable facilities to the Borough of Colchester and we are grateful for the overwhelming public support for Tollgate Village. We will create an exciting place where people can work, shop, meet and relax.”

As part of its full planning application for phase one, Tollgate Partnership Limited has proposed carrying out highways improvements including road widening and the installation of a much-needed toucan crossing at Tollgate West and upgrades to the Tollgate West/Western Bypass roundabout.

Outline planning permission for Tollgate Village was granted by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on August 4 2017.

The next phase of Tollgate Village will be the “leisure hub” to be built on vacant land opposite Tollgate Retail Park. It is expected the third phase will see the development of the former Sainsbury’s site off Tollgate West/Tollgate Road.

Posted by Simon Crow

Vote for The Warm and Toasty Club to Win £50,000

The Warm and Toasty Club have made it to the final of The People Projects for the Anglia East region and we have the chance to win £50,000 of National Lottery funding for our project Memory Afternoons – and we need your VOTE to help us win.

Memory Afternoons are charming befriending and conversation events for older people with delightful live entertainment. These unique events are all about making older folk feel cherished and valued whilst providing development opportunities for young aspiring artists.

With your help, we can invite up to 100 older people every week for a year, to a local community hall to share positive memories of their lives, be entertained by singers and dancers and take part in a range of activities that will help them feel less lonely and isolated.

Memory Afternoons have proved to be extremely successful over the past 4 years with The Warm and Toasty Club having held these afternoon events at retirement establishments in Colchester and Essex.

Our team put their heart and soul into making these events special and we would love to be able to take these events out into the community – your vote can help us deliver a year’s worth of these delightful afternoons at a set local venue with community transport to help bring our less mobile guests in.

Memory Afternoons will support, develop and showcase young emerging artists and provide opportunities for community arts professionals to work directly with the older participants.

Young songwriters will be supported in writing and performing songs about the shared memories, artists will draw and make memento cards and singers, dancers and entertainers will perform as collectively we chat, we laugh, we share and we get happy.

We want to get people away from the TV to act as the catalyst for change by getting them chatting, laughing and making friends, as positive face to face engagement is so good for your physical and mental well-being.

Memory Afternoons also capture people centered positive stories of days gone by for future generations to access on the archives of Essex Sound and Video Archive and Colchester Recalled and via our online podcasts. But this isn’t a dry offering, oh no, this is face to face engagement that is full of fun, laughter, singing and dancing.

By sharing memories of lives well lived we turn the mirror back on participants to celebrate the rich and varied lives they have lived – our events have shown to really work in helping participants feel good about their lives and open up, they feel cherished and appreciated and we have seen that by doing so their loneliness is lessened, their social activities and circle of friends improved, their long term memory and their cognitive skills improve, they get out of the house and their self-worth and confidence greatly improves.

We’ve seen the real difference Memory Afternoons make – giving a new-found joy and confidence so that older folk blossom again.

Feedback from participants:

“Memory Afternoons are a tonic for the soul” 

“You’ve given me my sparkle again” 

“You delivered happiness” 

“We love it, it lifts our spirits high”

“This work wakes us up, makes us think and makes us appreciate what we have today”

“It eliminates loneliness doesn’t it”

“When I walk out of here I feel warm and I feel contented”

We will also hold public entertainment events at Colchester Arts Centre to showcase the worth of our older generation to the wider public.

Winning this money would make such a big difference to the lives of older people in our area and allow us to set up a central local hub which they can attend weekly to chat, laugh and have fun and which they don’t have now. Many older Colchester residents (both living in care homes and independently in the community) face a lack of engagement or activities available and/or relevant to them, particularly when faced with issues of health, mobility and finance, this project will greatly help with that.

This funding will pay for the venue, staff, community transport, food and drink, equipment, singers, dancers and songwriters and give so much back to our community with our people centred approach.

If we win we’ve got big plans to make a big difference to older people’s lives with these lovely afternoon events but we can only do it with your help-please vote for Memory Afternoons 

#MemoryAfternoons Where older folk come to top up their happiness batteries


Telephone: 07986837056

To vote click HERE

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Podcasts | YouTube

Jumbo’s Restaurant in the Sky Takes a Big Step Closer

After decades of speculation and dashed hopes, plans to renovate Jumbo, Colchester’s unique Victorian water tower, have taken a huge step forward after the submission of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant application which will pave the way for residents and visitors to enjoy the spectacular views across Colchester and beyond that await at the top of the tower.

Photo: Darius Laws

Colchester and North East Essex Building Preservation Trust is working with partners, including the building’s owner Paul Flatman, on the multi-million pound project to conserve and renovate the Victorian Grade ll* listed landmark. The Trust’s plans will see the 34-metre Balkerne Water Tower, affectionately known as Jumbo, preserved and put back to use after 30 years of being vacant.

Trust Chairman, Simon Hall MBE, said: “Everything about the project is big and our Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) application is a step on what will be a long journey to save this magnificent piece of Victorian industrial heritage for Colchester and the nation.

“Jumbo is recognised as the most important municipal water tower in the country and is testament to the skills of the Victorian engineers who built it in 1883. Since it ceased to be used as a water tower in 1987, it has sadly been standing idle and in 1993 it was put on the national Buildings at Risk register.

CNEEBPT/Mike Cameron Photography

“We have received excellent support from across our communities, Colchester Borough Council and heritage experts as we start the process of seeking funds for our plans. Clearly, Jumbo has a big place in the hearts of many people. This first grant would allow us to develop the plans fully before we source additional funds for the conservation and restoration. A second HLF application could then be made next year to allow work to start. If the second application is successful, the owner will grant the Trust a long lease and we will have saved Jumbo.”

Darius Laws (Con) Councillor for Castle Ward, in which Jumbo sits, added: “I know that every single Colchester Councillor, regardless of political colour, is committed to promoting and enhancing our unique heritage, and Jumbo preserved with a restaurant, bar and hire space in the sky represents a massive opportunity for Colchester.

This also an exciting opportunity to work with the Mercury Theatre, the Church Street Tavern, the Arts Centre and other nearby businesses to deliver a brand new public square at the base of Jumbo – just by the original Roman City entrance to Colchester.”

CNEEBPT/Mike Cameron Photography

If everything goes to plan, it will be at least two years before building work can start to give Jumbo its new lease of life. The present proposals include a split level restaurant. The stunning former water tank, with its unrivalled views, will be used as an intimate hire space for dining and arts, as well as a heritage interpretation area. A new floor will be inserted above the top level of brick arches to house a reception area and small gift shop. Above this, the impressive space of the former engineers’ room will become a bar.

The Trust has pledged to work closely with many community groups, including schools and colleges, to ensure everyone has access to Jumbo and can be inspired by this unique piece of industrial heritage.

So hopefully, within the next few years, the dream for many Colchester residents of at last being able to take in the view from the top of this unique building will become a reality, and Jumbo will live on, restored to its former glory and with a new purpose for the generations of Colcestrians to come.

Simon Crow


Turtle Bay Colchester – Review


I make no secret of my love of the Caribbean and its cuisine, nor of my delight at the opening of Turtle Bay on Colchester’s High Street just before Christmas. Several trips to Jamaica have given me a taste for such local delights as jerk chicken, curry goat and beef patties washed down with Red Stripe beer and rum based cocktails.

So the chance to along to what has fast become one of Colchester’s favourite restaurants to enjoy some of Turtle Bay’s delicious food and let you know what I thought about it was not one I was going to pass by!

We booked for Friday night, traditionally one of the busiest nights of the week, and when we arrived the restaurant was already busy and the standalone ‘island hut’ bar was buzzing with the Friday night crowd enjoying classic cocktails with a Turtle Bay twist made from a choice of a staggering 40+ hand-picked rums from across the Caribbean, as well as a magnificent mix of their signature cocktails too.

The Caribbean laid back vibe is all around you in this beach shack themed restaurant, the design of which is unique to Colchester and includes an open ‘street kitchen’ and a raised veranda seating area at the back of the main dining area, along with reclaimed wood and chequer-plate, lights hanging from beer crates and giant paintings on brick walls to complete the look. And, of course, reggae music playing in the background!

We decided to skip the bar and went straight to our table where we ordered drinks from our waitress. I ordered a Red Stripe to recapture the feeling of that first beer at the hotel pool bar after a long tiring day of travelling to Jamaica, and my partner decided to try a Reggae Rum Punch which apparently “hit the spot.” Nuff said!

After changing our minds several times about our starters thanks to the mouth-watering choices which included my favourite, Beef Patties, as well as such delights as Duck Rolls and the very tempting Jerk Glazed Pit Ribs, which will of course mean further trips back to sample them, we decided to share a Seafood Platter. It did not disappoint and there was ample food for us both, which included curried fish roti flatbread, chilli squid, crispy panko whitebait, sweet corn fritters, mango mole with herb mayo and a green salad. This turned out to be the perfect starter, or ‘cutter’ as they call it down Turtle Bay way.

After a short interval to let our starters go down our main courses were brought by our cheerful waitress. It is so noticeable at Turtle Bay how enthusiastic the staff are, and how knowledgeable they are about the menu, and tonight was to be no different as they took exceptional care of us as usual. I had decided to try the Guyanese Curry Duck. As a big fan of any Caribbean curries, and duck, I thought this might be the perfect marriage. And it proved to be so with the slow braised duck leg perfectly complemented by the citrus fruit flavours of the curry and served with coconut rice ‘n’ peas and dumplings as good as any you will find in the Caribbean.

My partner had no complaints either about her Jerk Chicken with was also served with coconut rice ‘n’ peas with a sour orange chutney, coconut shavings & Caribbean slaw. She said it was amongst the best she has ever eaten. Praise indeed.

Desserts were up next, though with our appetites now well and truly satisfied these were an indulgence rather than a necessity. Caymanas Upside Down Rum cake for me, with just enough of the rum taste coming through to excite the taste buds but without overwhelming the other flavours, and Spiced Rum and Chocolate Pot for my partner which also did not fail to deliver.

So, as ever, a fabulous dining experience at Colchester’s Turtle Bay, one in which you can lose yourself in the tastes, smells and sounds of the Caribbean for an hour or two.

Simon Crow

The Shape of Water


BBFC 15 2hrs 3mins

I was lucky enough to have seen Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water at last year’s London Film Festival (it was the hot ticket screening) and I have been thinking about it ever since. It’s a movie that can be enjoyed purely at surface level – a romantic fairy tale about a mute cleaning lady at a top-secret Government research facility who falls in love with a fish man – but it contains multitudes and the more thought I put into it the more pleasure I get from it.

Elisa (Sally Hawkins) lives a lonely, routine life in a shabby apartment above a movie theatre in Baltimore, 1962. Her best friends are Giles (Richard Jenkins), her closeted gay neighbour, and Zelda (Octavia Spencer), her chatty, brassy co-worker with whom she shares her secrets and scrapes gum from the floors of jet-engine laboratories. When a new “asset” arrives at the facility, along with its handler Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon), Elisa’s natural curiosity and compassion leads to an unlikely, inter-species relationship. The asset (Doug Jones), you see, is a humanoid, amphibian creature captured from deep within the Amazon by Strickland and brought to the lab’s in the hope that unlocking its secrets will give the US the edge in the Cold War in general and in the “Space Race” specifically. When it transpires that those secrets can only be revealed via the asset’s death and dissection it is up to Elisa and her friends to help it escape the facility and release it to freedom.

Whilst The Shape of Water can be enjoyed at its most basic fairy-tale level, a quirky riff on The Little Mermaid or The Creature From the Black Lagoon, a throwaway genre romance, it is when you start to unpack its many layers and storytelling choices that it reveals its true glory. Key amongst these choices is understanding the viewpoint from which the movie is told: The movie is bookended by Giles’ lyrical narration, how you react to the much of the film (and especially the ending) relies upon whether, or not, you believe him to be a reliable narrator. A subplot involving sympathetic scientist Dr. Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Soviet spies which, on first viewing, appears to be ridden with clichés and rather silly makes a lot more sense when you understand that it is coming from Giles, whom it is established is a dyed-in-the-wool romantic fantasist. Just grasping this one simple device, I think, will give you a much more enjoyable and nuanced viewing experience.

Director Guillermo Del Toro (known, not only, for his audience pleasing genre crowd pleasers like Blade II, Pacific Rim and two Hellboy movies but his more arthouse fantasies Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone) has absolutely stuffed the film with references, textures, metaphors and salutes. The Shape of Water is Del Toro’s love letter to Hollywood and, in particular, the movies that have influenced him. It is not difficult to see the spot nods to silent cinema (after all the two main protagonists, Elisa and the asset, are both mute, both silent); there’s a wonderful fantasy pastiche of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” sequence from Follow The Fleet; there’s quiet tributes to Powell & Pressburger, Vincente Minelli and Douglas Sirk and, most obviously, Del Toro’s love of classic monster movies. This is about as close to Del Toro’s Cinema Paradiso as we’re ever likely to get to or hope for, occasionally pausing to take in moments of real Hollywood gold (such as Shirley Temple dancing with Mr. Bojangles, Bill Robinson). Everything is imbued with meaning from individual props, the choice of colours, the choice of language, even Alexandre Desplat’s beautiful score harkens back to Hollywood romanticism. And all these things are not there to be clever or smart, they are there to move the story forward and provide texture and background.

In any other year you would nail on Sally Hawkins performance to win the Best Actress Oscar (such is the quality of her fellow nominees, especially Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). There is never a single moment when you don’t know what she is thinking or feeling (emotionally), it’s a (largely) wordless performance and yet through her face and body language she says more than virtually any other actor on screen. Richard Jenkins is wonderfully sweet and affecting as the gay artist with one foot firmly in the dreams of Hollywood musicals and romantic yearnings for the guy who runs the pie shop. Octavia Spencer, always wonderful, provides the majority of the film’s humour as the sassy, vociferous and loyal Zelda. My only gripe with the film’s casting is that Michael Shannon is too perfectly cast as Strickland, we’ve seen him play similar roles too often for it ever raise a question in our minds as to who is the real monster of the piece? He’s great as a vile, entitled, toxic male who could sadly exist in 1962 or 2018, but as a subversion of the B-movie, lantern-jawed hero he’s just a wee bit too familiar.

Not forgetting Doug Jones who, with a dancer’s physique, poise and grace brings The Asset to beautiful and vibrant life.

It may seem a little strange to give The Shape of Water a Valentines Day release, but it is, ultimately, a film about love and as Guillermo Del Toro so poignantly explained, “…love is like water, it has no shape. It can take the shape of whatever you pour it into. You can fall in love with someone that is twice your age, the same gender, completely opposite religion, the completely wrong political persuasion – it just happens. And it is, like water, the most powerful and malleable element in the universe. And it goes through everything.”

Andy Oliver