One of the most fascinating of 'real-life' British musicals, JOHNNY THE PRIEST told the story of a young vicar's attempt to improve the lives of teenagers living in a run-down London dockland. Acknowledged as one of the most innovative and inventive scores of the period, this terrific score with its superb big band arrangements by Gordon Langford emerges refreshened in Alan Bunting's immaculate sound restoration. Antony Hopkins' remarkable score catapulted the British musical into new territory, offering not only the best songs ever about ping-pong and wallpaper, but moments of great beauty.
In Maybury, somewhere in London's dockland, a young priest, the Revd. Richard Highfield (Jeremy Brett), does his best to put the youth of the district on the straight and narrow. The amount of energy he uses in his crusade concerns the church council, but his wife Mary (Stephanie Voss) supports him in his endeavours.
A young delinquent, Johnny (Bunny May), is one of the vicar's successes. Highfield gets Johnny into the Navy, but then the boy steals a telescope. He asks Highfield to give the police a false alibi, but Highfield cannot find it in his conscience to do so, and Johnny is thus put back to an uncertain future.