Quadrophenia (1979) – thoughts of a UK Script Consultant and Script Doctor

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock (1601978a) Quadrophenia, Sting, Mark Wingett, Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash Film and Television

Quadrophenia (1979) is nearly 40 years old. Mods, Rockers, Brighton, The Who – an album first- then a film. Then a cult – still alive and still being discovered all these years later – young people still asking – Is it me? For a moment?

I’ve been a fan of the ‘orrible Who since I was a kid (I think I first got into them when I was 11 or 12). One of my favourite things to do (and it has been for years) is to play the song ‘Magic Bus’ from The Who ‘Live at Leeds’ album to younger people, who’ve never heard it before. I like to play this as loud as possible (even, accidently to people with Tinnitus – sorry Rory I didn’t realise…)

This is one of the great coming of age movies, especially British ones. It’s about belonging, and whether you need to, it’s about fashion, love, sex and mental health. Is it well written? Well I once met actor Daniel Peacock who is really good in the film and went onto have a successful career as a script writer – he told me he thought Quadrophenia was a terrible script and a missed opportunity.

He might have a point. Is a lot of it cliché? Probably, but the whole thing has gone into British culture now. It’s a way of life…

Is it still as exhilarating to young people today as it was to me, when I first saw it? It’s hard to tell, but the music still stands, and the music is still as exciting to young people – I’ve seen it firsthand.

Other British bands from the 60s like The Beatles and The Stones were nothing compared to The Who – The Who invented heavy rock, and they hated everyone – so much so that by the time punk came along in the late 70s, the only band from old guard that punks respected were The Who. The Sex Pistol’s covered The Who’s ‘Substitute’ because they got that The Who came from the same place, they were angry. Fucked off. A great youthful feeling…

I love the opening, mainly because of the music now, Entwistle’s bass and of course, Moon’s drumming. Play it loud, when I was 12, this is what I thought being an older teenager would be like. I wasn’t far wrong…

Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on matcoop23@yahoo.co.uk or hire him on Peopleperhour