This was a 1999 film about the creation of Gilbert & Sullivan's opera 'The Mikado'. Written and directed by Mike Leigh, it starred Allan Corduner as Sir Arthur Sullivan and Jim Broadbent as W.S. Gilbert, with appearances by Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville.
It starts in London, 1884 - on the opening night of 'Princess Ida' at the Savoy Theatre, Arthur Sullivan is taken ill with kidney disease and can barely make it to the performance to conduct the orchestra. He is forced to take a long European vacation for his health, during which time box office sales for the new opera slump. Producer Richard D'oyly Carte urges W.S. Gilbert to do something to revive the theatre's fortunes- inspiration is not long in coming when a Japanese arts & crafts exhibition is held in Knightsbridge, giving Gilbert the first ideas for a new comic opera set in Japan. Upon his return from holiday, the now recovered Arthur Sullivan likes the idea and the two get to work creating 'The Mikado'.
The film focuses upon the tensions in the creative partnership that were never very far below the surface, as well as on the pressures of keeping both the management of The Savoy Theatre and the opera's cast happy.