ROBIN Askwith tells Andrew White why he can’t wait for film fans to see what could be the worst film ever made...

WHAT’S the worst film ever made? Could it be Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space, the 1959 movie labelled the ‘worst ever’ by The Golden Turkey Awards?

How about Howard The Duck, the 1986 film produced by George Lucas described by one reviewer as a “a hopeless mess”?

Or maybe 2000’s Battlefield Earth, the universally panned movie based on L Ron Hubbard’s novel starring John Travolta?

Critics are divided, but according to actor Robin Askwith none of them quite reach the dizzying lows of Queen Kong.

And he should know – because he’s in it.

The 1976 giant ape ‘role-reversal’ movie is to be screened at Darlington Film Club – in association with The Misty Moon Film Society – next Monday, followed by Askwith’s irreverent one-man show.

It will be the third time he has performed at the club’s home venue – The Forum Music Centre, on the town’s Borough Road – and the first two were sell-outs.

Previous audiences have been treated to screenings of Confessions of a Window Cleaner and Horror Hospital. But this time he has decided to unleash Queen Kong.

Askwith plays Ray Fay who is kidnapped by a film producer to star in a jungle movie, only to be pursued by an amorous giant female gorilla.

“It is most probably the worst film ever made,” he says. “It makes absolutely no sense at all.

“It was sold to me as this great idea and it had this amazing budget – I was extremely well paid.

“It’s the reverse of King Kong – Queen Kong is a 65ft gorilla with enormous t*ts who falls in love with me. It sounded really funny.

“I sort of said yes before reading the script – and then the script came along.”

Askwith prefers to save the details of what followed for the film club audience, but he recalls attending a preview screening of the film with his co-star Rula Lenska, who told him afterwards: “If this film ever gets released, our careers will be over.”

Perhaps fortunately for both of them, it never did make the big screen. It was due to come out at the same time as a big budget remake of King Kong – and producer Dino De Laurentiis obtained an injunction preventing the ‘rival’ film’s release.

Queen Kong subsequently gained a cult following in Japan and Germany, but is rarely seen in this country – perfect material for the film club.

Askwith – probably still best known for his roles in the Confessions Of series of 1970s sex comedies – is also marking 50 years in the business since his role in Lindsay Anderton’s critically acclaimed ‘if...’

His varied carer has also included Carry On films, TV credits in the likes of Coronation Street, Bottle Boys and Benidorm, as well as several stage roles.

Earlier shows in Darlington saw Askwith delivering risque and rude tales from his five decades as an actor, shamelessly name-dropping along the way. And he loves it.

“I know it sounds like bull, but it’s a great venue and I love the set up there.” he says.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what people’s faces look like after they’ve sat through Queen Kong. I honestly can’t wait.”

The club has gained a reputation for showing cult and classic films and has attracted a string of stars to appear in person.

Recent guests have included director Ken Loach, actor and singer Toyah Wilcox and veteran actor Dudley Sutton, as well as Carry On and Hammer Horror stars.

And there are a number of others lined up in the coming months.

Fenella Fielding will be making a return appearance on Thursday, June 28 to answer questions and read from her memoirs, titled Do You Mind If I Smoke?

Monday, July 23 will see a Last of the Summer Wine reunion, with at least three members of the cast appearing on stage.

And the club has secured a major coup in attracting actress Adrienne King, star of of horror classic Friday the 13th. The US actress will be making her only UK appearance of the year in Darlington for a screening of the film and a Q&A in a Halloween special on Wednesday, October 31.

But first it’s Queen Kong – and just maybe the film club patrons will find something to enjoy in the movie that the critics missed?

“No they won’t,” insists Askwith. “It’s pure sh*t.”

Queen Kong, followed by Robin Askwith’s one-man show, will be screened on Monday, May 14 from 7pm. Tickets, priced £10, available from The Forum (Tel 01325-363135), or visit Darlington Film Club’s Facebook page.