Trouble at the Top
Hey Jo

“Witty, and very stylish…. the most enjoyable thing I’ve seen in a long while” Robert Thirkell

Millionaire seeks love and happiness

Chester Dent's film offers a rare insight into the personal life of a self-made millionaire. Hey Jo is ostensibly about the business enterprise of opening a new private member's club in London's Mayfair district, but the film takes an abrupt turn towards the corrupting influence of money upon trust, love and the pursuit of happiness itself.

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Former market trader 'barrow-boy' Dave West decides to open a private member's club in the heart of London's exclusive Mayfair district. He decides to name the club after his girlfriend Jo, nearly forty years his junior, and sets about creating a new image for himself.

Dave feels his new wealth has separated him from his old friends in Essex, and finds it hard to trust the motives of new ones. Hoping to attract similarly weathy people as prospective members for his club, he rents a yacht in Monaco for the Formula One Grand Prix weekend. But tensions start to rise when Jo asks two of the female guests to leave...

Viewing figures

The film was first aired in the UK on Tuesday February 8th at 9.50pm on BBC2. It was seen by an estimated 1.9 million viewers, above average for the series, and despite almost zero publicity. The ratings also showed that the audience for the film increased significantly after 10pm at a time when the total television audience is declining rapidly.

The last ever Trouble

It was the last ever film to be shown in the Trouble at the Top series, in its ninth season, and one of the BBC's best known brands. It was the Trouble to end all Troubles.

"Outstanding must-see TV...
An entertaining portrait of an eccentric optimist"
Nigel Andrews, Mail on Sunday

"Fresh and funny...
This is a passionate tale of one man's quest to find enduring love, and build the most luxurious lavatories in London."
The Times

"Less about business and more about character"
Daily Mail

" reveals how lonely it can be at the top... "
Time Out

"What is it about social disharmony that makes great TV?"
Sunday Express

Pick of the Day: Time Out, The Times, The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday

Director Chester Dent comments:
"I wanted to take a fresh look at wealth, in contrast to so much of the 'envy television' around. Commissioned as a business programme, I was interested in how great wealth affects a person's life. Dave feels he can't trust anyone. Money, trust and love seemed to me to be closely related themes. Afterall money itself depends on trust and a promise to pay.

Unfortunately half-way through the film Dave split up with Jo 'the love of his life', the club wasn't going to finish on time and I was struggling to complete a satisfying film about the opening of the club. The TV makeover cliche: man in corner sawing wood with only two weeks to go wasn't going to work here.

I found myself resorting instinctively to the wider themes that had originally interested me and they are reflected in the finished film. The BBC wanted me to do my own commentary, partly by way of insulating themselves from criticism that they might have chosen to follow a distasteful character. Consequently it turned out to be a more personal film than anybody anticipated.

I regard this as a misanthropic view of life with neither gender coming out well. Just who is expoliting who and to what end?

Unattractive looking as he is, I believe Dave is either a true romantic, or a love junkie. I challenge the audience to find compassion for him despite his looks, his money and his behaviour. I wanted to see if I could get people to surprise themselves by feeling sympathy for him, or failing that by finding a horrid fascination in watching."


Producer/Director CHESTER DENT

Executive Producer BILL GRIST
Series Producer KATE MIDDLETON
Film Editor DAN CROUCH
Camera CHESTER DENT Colin Rogal
Production Manager MARK WALDEN-MILLS
Online Editor TODD DALTON

Duration: 39 mins
Slot: Trouble at the Top