Days of the Bagnold Summer

Worth seeing: as a warm, witty and well-observed window into the the life of a lonely metal-head teenager from a broken home whose dreams of summer in Florida are dashed by a baby
Director:Simon Bird
Featuring:Earl Cave, Monica Dolan, Alice Lowe, Elliot Speller-Gillott, Grace Hogg-Robinson, Rob Brydon, Tamsin Greig, Tim Key
Length:86 minutes
Released:8th June 2020, on digital platforms


There’s not much light in fifteen year old Daniel Bagnold’s (Earl Cave) life. The pale-skinned metal-head lives with his librarian mother Sue (Monica Dolan) and can’t wait to spend the summer with his father in Florida.

But the impending arrival of a baby prompts his Dad to cancel the visit, leaving the self-pitying Daniel stuck at home with his Mum for the whole summer.

The only other people in his life are his auntie (Alice Lowe), cousin (Grace Hogg-Robinson) and one and only friend, Ky (Elliot Speller-Gillott).

With her cantankerous and supercilious teenager showing no interest in her own life, Sue’s only escape comes when one of Daniel’s teachers (Rob Brydon) expresses an interest in her at the library.

To help him pass his time, Sue sends Daniel out to try to find a holiday job, but all he’s interested in is being the singer in a heavy metal band.


Not much really happens in Days of the Bagnold Summer. We basically spend the right side of an hour and a half following Daniel and Sue around as they do very little – the highlight of their daily existence is sharing the odd slice at local cafes as they shop for shoes for Daniel to wear at a wedding.

But this unassuming slice of life feels genuine – the frustrations of a mother trying to love a teenager who doesn’t want to be loved – not by her, anyway. He has this fantasy idea of the perfect father, driven away by years of marriage to a dull mother, and the lack of child-support payments doesn’t affect him.

Despite his insolent behaviour and false bravado, it’s clear that beneath the surface, Daniel loves his mother and wouldn’t even be able to make a sandwich without her.

The hum-drum everyday life of Daniel and Sue contrasts with some sparky supporting characters, who lift the pace, if not the spirit.

Inbetweeners and Friday Night Dinner star Simon Bird directs with a clean simplicity and finds beauty in the banal, with some surprisingly stunning shots of suburbia.

Both visually and in terms of the script, the beauty is in the detail.

Days of the Bagnold Summer is a warm, touching and authentic ride through the dull days of a lonely small-town teenager from a broken home, and a mother who can’t seem to do anything right, with enough accurate observation and dry-wit to make it far more rewarding for us to watch than it is for them to live.