The Full Monty

Wendy Holden


The Full Monty is a brilliant and original comedy about six men driven to face their fears of inadequacy and loss in hard times. Broke, out of work, and on the verge of losing their wives and children, they come up with a desperate, brilliant plan: to imitate the renowned Chippendales male dancers and strip for cash.


This is the story of a last ditch attempt by a group of working class men to redeem themselves as reliable in the eyes of their community. In scenes as hysterical as they are tender, they discover that the ‘full monty’ requires more than dexterity, a fit body, and the right moves; and that the confidence they need can only come from stripping bare the deeper issues that trouble their individual lives. The result is a humane, triumphant comedy that has won the hearts of millions around the world.


In her novel based on the critically acclaimed box office hit written by Simon Beaufoy, Wendy Holden revisits our favourite moments – both hilarious and heartwarming, and gives them new depth. Sold in more than ten countries and translated into numerous languages, The Full Monty became one of the best-selling novelisations of all time.


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Read an Extract


The familiar opening chords of Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff blared out across the room as the social security staff, trapped in a 70’s time- warp turned the radio up – anything to take their minds off the thankless task they called work. Gaz closed his eyes and listened to the beat with the familiarity of one who had danced to it over and over again in his waking hours and in his dreams.


Glancing across at the adjacent queue once more, he blinked and wondered what was different about the men he had just been watching. Their backs straightening as they waited, oblivious to him and to each other, Gaz was amazed to detect the faintest stirrings in them as the music built.


As the lyrics boomed, Gaz watched Gerald and Guy smile privately to themselves in their places in the queue, remembering their routines. Gradually, slowly, almost imperceptibly, they began moving to the music. It began with a shoulder twitch from Guy and a hand gesture from Lomper – barely noticeable rhythmic spasms – as they stood reading a newspaper over the shoulder of the man in front. The stranger, a middle-aged former steel hand with a greying ponytail, frowned back at the two men, only to look forward and see Horse and Dave in front of him doing exactly the same.


Dave, who was yawning heavily while he queued, didn’t even realise his buttocks were squeezing involuntarily – first one, then the other – in perfect time to the beat. Only the trained eye would have noticed. The morose men queuing between the would-be dancers certainly didn’t, preoccupied as they were with their own thoughts. But Gaz watched, fascinated, grinning to himself. It was like trying not to giggle in church. The urge to dance was bubbling in them all, and as the song progressed and got under their skins, their movements synchronised irrepressibly. Still only the smallest of gestures, they were cooking with suppressed energy – energy that dancing together had given them – and a new purpose to their otherwise miserable existences.


As the song reached its climactic chorus, each of them found himself involuntarily performing a tamed-down version of the pumping action, thrusting his hips backwards and forwards, fists clenched at the wrist and pulling back. Not surprisingly, this did catch the attention of two of the men in the line up, those directly in front of the ‘pumpers’ and they each stepped a pace forward, uncomfortably peering behind them with a look that was far from cordial.


Gerald, his mind transported to another place, the music coursing through his veins, suddenly found himself at the front of the roped-off queue, ready to approach the cashier’s window and collect his dole money. Oblivious to anyone else in the room as the music rose to its crescendo, his inhibitions snapping, he started dancing, actually dancing in the middle of the dole office while Gaz watched open-mouthed. Behind him, the entire gang, their right feet moving backwards and forwards in perfect time on the grubby carpet looked up admiringly as their troupe leader broke into a double shimmy and a full 360-degree twirl before slapping his UB40 on the counter with an exhilarated grin.


What the Critics Say


“A delightful comedy of out of work, out of shape men, who decide to become strippers. Irrestibly hilarious, devilishly funny.” The New York Times


“A comic delight! An engrossing study of the male ego stripped bare.” USA Today


“The world’s first full-frontal fairytale!” Entertainment Weekly


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