Dead on Time (1983 film)

Dead on Time is a 1983 British short film directed by Lyndall Hobbs and written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson.


The film is a comedy which tells the story of Bernard Fripp (Rowan Atkinson) a man who, on attending a routine check-up, is diagnosed by his doctor (Nigel Hawthorne) as having a rare disease leaving him only 30 minutes to live.

By the time he leaves the surgery, he only has 24 minutes left, in which he attempts to live life to the full; taking out his life savings, trying to make peace with God (via Vicar (Jim Broadbent), attempting to learn about the significance of the Mona Lisa, reading the back cover of War and Peace to find out what happens in it, listening to Albinioni's Adagio in G minor and looking for true love.


The featurette was shot in early 1982, at the same time Atkinson wrapped up taping Not The Nine O'Clock News and began working on The Black Adder, premiering later that year and getting a wide theatrical release in February 1983. The meek, socially awkward Bernard is a reworking of an earlier Atkinson character, Robert Box, who apperaed on the 1979 special Canned Laughter, which shares a gag regarding the main character tripping over a "Please Help the Blind" sign. Both Fripp and Box have been cited to be prototypes for Mr. Bean.


The film features a large number of cameo parts for actors and actresses, often from the alternative comedy circuit, who would later star in their own comedy series, including Leslie Ash, Adrian Edmondson, Tim McInnerny and Nigel Planer. Richard Curtis makes a brief appearance as an angry cafe customer.


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