Film ID:
NEFA 21342



Visitor Tabs


This amateur comedy follows a small-time crooked bookmaker and his clerk who get their comeuppance (and lose the shirt off their backs) when they try to rig a road race and are rumbled by the locals. Locations include Higham Dykes, Milbourne, in Northumberland. The film was produced by Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA).

Credit: Newcastle & District ACA Presents

Title: It’s a Bet

Credit: Produced & Directed by Joe Knott

Credit: Photography: Beverley Gardiner, Wilma Gardiner & Maurice Holmes

Credit: Edited by George Cummin & Joe Knott

Credit: Titles by Leslie Greaves



Honest Joe Smart – Beverley Gardiner

Alfie Harris – Archie Hancock

Village Idiot – Maurice Holmes

Tramp – Dudley Muir

Barmaid – Gwen Holmes

Extras – Club Members & Friends

The dishonest bookie Honest Joe Smart and his assistant Alfie Harris are advertising their odds on a race at a pitch at a busy racecourse, possibly Hexham. Crowds mill around. Honest Joe is dressed in mismatching checked suit and flowery tie, with bowler and white carnation. He and his assistant do not look like trustworthy characters. Honest Joe shouts out the odds, then checks out the race through his binoculars.

Whilst Honest Joe is watching the race, Alfie spots his Gladstone bag containing the day’s takings. He pinches a bank note from the bag.  Honest Joe comments on the race, and the two quickly pack up their display board and leave.

At the car park, the two climb into their car (Registration No. FXF 412) and drive away.

At a sign for “Northbury” (a fictional place), the car turns off the main road and pulls up at Ye Olde Waggon Inn (actually the coaching inn at Higham Dykes, Milbourne, Northumberland), where the two are lodging.

Title: That Evening

Inside the coaching inn, the two rogues are at the bar. As the barmaid walks by, Honest Joe slaps her behind and turns quickly back to his pint. The barmaid slaps Alfie, believing he was to blame. Two women having a drink in the pub burst out laughing. Honest Joe buys another tankard of beer, just for himself.

Alfie is looking around alertly. Over at some corner tables, four local men are having a drink, one of them reading a newspaper. An article headlined “Northbury runner” catches his eye. The article says: “A local lad has been putting in strenuous training over the last few weeks. Jackie Smith is a young man with a great future in running.”

Title: Jackie will never do the mile in 4.20 minutes.

The men start to talk up a wager on the local athlete. Honest Joe and Alfie are listening in.  As Honest Joe is looking over at the men, Alfie switches the drinks and takes a swig from Honest Joe’s full tankard. Honest Joe turns around and picks up his drink, finding he now has Alfie’s empty tankard.

Over in the corner tables, the men have decided to bet on the local runner they know.

Title: “I’ll arrange a trial for Jackie. If he fails to do the mile from the 14th milestone in 4:20 minutes – you pay him £1 … If he does it – I’ll give him £10. Do you agree?”

Two of the men shake on the bet. Honest Joe has been listening to the men. He sees an opportunity.

Title: “We are on a good thing here.”

The pair walk over to the locals at the corner tables.

Title: Look here chaps – I’ll open a book … Five to one he can’t do it.”

Honest Joe takes their money and Alfie lists the bets.

The Waggon Inn landlady calls time, as the barmaid starts to wipe down the bar. Customers begin to leave the pub. Honest Joe and Alfie say goodbye to the men who placed bets. Alfie shows him the list of bets. But Honest Joe has a plan.

Title: “I’ll attend to the bets. You be down here at half past four in the morning – ready to do a bit of digging!”

Title: “Digging? – Whatever for? – Where? What are we digging for?”

The two men go back to their room at the Waggon Inn.

Title: Next morning

Honest Joe and Alfie are up bright and early the next day. Close-up of a pocket watch showing the time as half past four. They close the door to the Waggon Inn carefully.

Walking up the road, they spot a wheelbarrow and spade just inside a local cemetery. Honest Joe pulls Alfie into the cemetery. He has Alfie take the wheelbarrow. A man stops Alfie at the gate to the cemetery. Alfie points the finger at Honest Joe, who thinks up an excuse.

Title: “It’s quite alright. We are going to bury a pet dog.”

Honest Joe pulls out a bank note and bribes the man, who grabs the money and walks off. Alfie continues to wheel away the barrow with Honest Joe.

Sometime later, the pair are along a country road. They stop at a roadside marker that reads “Lee 14 miles”, a milestone also marking the start of the timed stretch of the road race on which the men have made a book. Honest Joe examines the sign as Alfie rests on the barrow and lights a cigarette. Honest Joe orders him to dig up the sign. Alfie grumbles and can’t see the point. Honest Joe sits on the barrow and takes out a cigar.

Title: “Don’t you see – if we lengthen the mile even PIRIE couldn’t do it.”

Alfie makes a feeble attempt at digging. Honest Joe pushes him over and begins to dig himself. Suddenly, the village idiot appears beside them.

Title: “Hi you! – trying to pinch my buried treasure.”

The man bares his teeth at the two bookies.

Title: “Wasn’t this bloke at the Pub?”

Honest Joe now has to pay off this man too. He walks off with the money, grinning. The pair continue digging up the sign. Alfie pulls and falls backwards with the sign. Alfie wheels the sign up the road with Honest Joe and they replant the sign.

A tramp is dozing under a tree at the spot the two bookies have chosen to relocate the sign. Honest Joe lights up his cigar. The tramp is sleeping, his head resting on a hip flask. Alfie is digging away. The tramp emerges from behind the hedge.

Title: “How can a bloke sleep with you making all that din?”

The three men tussle. Honest Joe now has to pay the tramp to go away. The tramp takes up his spot beneath the tree again, pocketing the pound note. He takes a drink from his hip flask. Alfie and Honest Joe finish putting up the sign at its new location.

Title: That afternoon

Honest Joe and Alfie emerge into the sunlight from the Waggon Inn and ask the landlady about the race.

Title: “Oh! I forgot to ask you – What time is the trial taking place?”

The landlady replies.

Title: “5pm – from the 14th to the 13th milestone.”

Alfie suddenly realises they had moved the milestone closer rather than further away.

Title: “We’ve shifted it the wrong way.”

The two go back into the inn. The gang of local men are back at the bar having a drink. The group include the tramp and village idiot. Honest Joe listens in to their conversation at the inn window.

Title: “Hurry – get our bags.”

Alfie collects the luggage from their room and sneaks out. The barmaid spots him. Honest Joe paces up and down outside the inn, till Alfie emerges with the suitcase.

The two are chased by the gang of men and women who originally placed bets with them at the Waggon Inn. Falling over in their haste to escape, the dishonest bookmakers are attacked by the gang. The mob of disgruntled locals surrounds the pair and beat them up, grabbing some of their clothes in the skirmish.

Honest Joe and Alfie limp up a country lane, their clothes in tatters. Alfie is missing his suit jacket and trousers, and is down to his long johns.

Title: The End

A Newcastle ACA Production