Timothy Spall is half as fat but twice as hammy

Dir: Adrian Noble. Cast: Timothy Spall, Vanessa Redgrave, Stephen Lord, David Schaal, Wendy Morgan, Michael Keogh. PG cert, 91 min

The last time Timothy Spall went at it with a paintbrush, it was for Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner in 2014, a figure (and role) who could hardly contrast more with LS Lowry, the now-famous, long-obscure Lancastrian artist he plays in Mrs Lowry & Son. The actor, too, is barely recognisable, having shed maybe as much as four stone in recent years.

If Diet Spall were carried down into his acting choices, it mightn’t be such a bad idea. His twinkly performance as Lowry comes at us with heavy sighs and chirrups and winsome smiles to camera: it’s so eagerly ingratiating you can…

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