A load of old Cockfosters – or just plain Morden?

Where are the limits of humour? And how to solve the perennially vexed question of good taste versus free speech – the one that caused the creators of Jerry Springer: The Opera such trouble?

These are questions raised after a union representing Tube drivers announced it was planning to picket the premiere of a film that makes a joke of people falling under trains.

The film Three and Out, starring Imelda Staunton, Star Trek’s Colm Meaney and The Office’s Mackenzie Crook, apparently features a driver who tries to find someone who will commit suicide under his train so he can get compensation.

And this has not gone well with the leadership of Aslef who point out that this event is extremely tramautic for any driver who faces it – and they have reportedly called the storyline “insulting”.

Here’s the first stage of the saga, as reported by BBC News on Thursday:

Protest to greet Tube film launch

A spokesman for the British film said: “Difficult issues portrayed in the film have been handled sensitively.

“Although Three And Out was not designed to generate debate about the serious issues it raises, the makers feel that if it makes people think as well as laugh and cry, they have hopefully made a film that audiences have engaged with and enjoyed.”

Mr Norman, whose union represents London Underground drivers, said: “I don’t want Aslef to look like some sort of kill-joy organisation, because we’re not, but there are issues which we shouldn’t ignore – and this is one of them.

“I want the public to be aware of how distressing it can be for a driver to discover a body under the wheels of his or her train.” Read full story here…

Since then the stars of the film have spoken up to defend it:

Stars defend Tube suicide comedy

The Office star Mackenzie Crook has denied his new comedy about deaths on the London Underground is insensitive.

“When I read the premise I thought this might be a touchy subject,” he told BBC News. “But it soon became obvious that wasn’t what the film is about.”


Crook, who said he was “very proud” of the British-made movie, said he was “disappointed” people had been “jumping to conclusions”.

“They’re imagining we’ve made a very distasteful, bad-taste film, which we haven’t,” he said while promoting Three and Out in central London.

“Hopefully those people who have objected will go and see it and realise they have got the wrong end of the stick.”

Colm Meaney, who plays a homeless man Crook’s character pays to perish under his wheels, said the film was more about relationships than suicide.

“It’s about two guys who meet in the most bizarre circumstances, become friends and learn to care about each other.”


“I don’t think anyone involved in the film would argue that suicide is a laughing matter,” he told BBC News. “But this film is not about suicide, and I think anyone who sees the film will see that clearly.”

London Underground granted Three and Out’s producers permission to use their stations, many of which are now carrying posters of the film. Read full story here…

I’m very wary of anyone criticising something they haven’t seen and would be curious to know whether the Aslef representatives have actually managed to catch a preview or not.

I’ve also sat through plenty of inquests in my working life and have seen clearly demonstrated just how badly the tragedy of a death on a railway can affect the people caught up in it.

But it’s fair to say that there’s very little out there that doesn’t offend somebody. And those who go around trying to pre-judge what will and won’t end up in the ridiculous situation Transport for London got itself in with the Cranach the Elder exhibition poster.

Unfortunately if we are going to have a culture that is functional, challenging and in good health, offence will inevitably be given, and often.

We just need to learn to deal with it.