This is the story of Walter Perryman and the things he is prepared to do for Joyce, his first and only fan.
Walter Perryman is a radio announcer of the old school. His on-air persona is a model of BBC perfection; he cares about his listeners, plays soothing music, and always wears a bow tie on air. But this is the 1960s and times are changing in the radio world. Television has has arrived and broadcasters like Walter are being replaced by younger ‘dee-jays’ in an effort to modernise the medium. Walter, despite his unfailing dedication is about to become a victim of fashion.
Signing Off is a film about changing values in a fast-changing world. The manager represents the self-serving values of today while Walter Perryman represents the values of the past – values that include valour, selflessness and dedication. Walter is a gentleman – quite possibly the last true gentleman, and precisely because of this, he is prepared to do anything to remain true to his world.
At its most basic level, this is a simple tale about one of those days when everything seems to go wrong. We’ve all had a day like that, and many people have experienced first-hand some of the frustrating situations in this film (I certainly have, although I wouldn’t wish the more extreme situations on anybody!). As a filmmaker, I enjoy taking simple situations to their extreme and subjecting innocent characters to that extreme to see how they respond under pressure.
Whatever its issues and whether people relate to the situations or not, I made this film primarily for people to enjoy. With this in mind, I’ll freely admit now that I personally take all responsibility for everything that happens to Walter in the film (yes, you can call me heartless) and I don’t have a granddad (at least, not anymore).