Star Trek – Deep Space Nine – The Simpsons – A Very Peculiar Practice – ER – tape 2031

First on this tape, Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Defiant.

Kira is getting overworked, so Dr Bashir tells her she’s off duty. He prescribes some fun in Quark’s. Which she might get, as she has an unexpected visitor.

It’s a crossover episode. Riker is visiting on leave, popping in on DS9 on his way to the sex tourism planet Risa.

Kira takes him on a tour of the Defiant, and there’s a weird moment when he meets Chief O’Brien. “I’ve nothing to say to you O’Brien. I think you know why.”

Soon after this, when Kira has released the security lockout, Riker stuns her with a phaser, then fakes a core breach so that the station will release docking clamps. He beams two strangers on board, then peels off his fake beard,so that he conforms to the ‘evil twin’ protocol of having a goatee.

Regular ST viewers will have twigged, but Odo lays it out for us. It’s Thomas Riker, Commander Riker’s transporter duplicate from an earlier TNG episode, and he’s apparently joined the Maquis, the anti-cardassian group.

The Cardassians are naturally upset that the Maquis now has the most powerful warship in the fleet. To avoid a diplomatic incident, Sisko has to work with the Cardassians in hunting down the Defiant. We get a nice Matte painting for Cardassia Prime.

Riker is going after a secret Cardassian base where a Cardassian sect is covertly building up a military force. Kira is sceptical as to whether Riker is genuinely a terrorist, as the Maquis are generally seen.

Meanwhile on Cardassia, the Obsidian order, Cardassia’s creepy secret police, orders Gul Dukat not to send ships to where Riker is heading, so they’re the ones building up the secret fleet.

Kira thinks Riker doesn’t care about the Maquis, or the Cardassians, she thinks he’s just trying ti prove a point that he’s just as good as the other Riker.

In the end, Dukat makes a deal, that he’ll get the Defiant’s sensor logs, showing the military buildup by the Obsidian order, and in return Riker’s crew will get safe passage. Riker will have to be tried and imprisoned on Cardassia, but he won’t get the death penalty.

Kira promises that they’ll try to break him out, and they share a moment before the end.

After this, recording continues for a bit with the start of Entertainment Tonight, and a look at the merchandising of the summer blockbusters, in this case PocahontasCasper, and Batman Forever.

Shortly, though, recording switches, and The Simpsons starts. In Homer The Vigilante there’s a burglar working Springfield. He even steals Lisa’s Sax.

Homer is elected as head of the Neighbourhood Watch. There’s a gratuitous Dr Strangelove reference.

The cat burglar sounds like a lot like he’s voiced by Sam Neill. (It is he.)

Recording continues a bit, with Beverly Hills 90210. Then is switches to UK Gold for the end of an episode of A Sense of Guilt.

There’s a trailer here for the BBC Rabies drama The Mad Death which starts off like a Robin Asquith sex comedy before lurching into pure horror. Just as terrifying as I remember at the time.

Then, another episode of A Very Peculiar Practice. This is still on series 2, and it’s episode four, Bad Vibrations. The nuns in the opening get a rare close-up.

The university acoustics group is running an experiment that may or may not be finding an acoustic weapon. The students taking part in the experiment are reporting a lot of adverse symptoms.

Professor Middling of the Electroacoustics department is David Bamber, in his usual, unctuous persona.

Bob Buzzard is taking the breakdown of his marriage in his stride.

The action culminates at a disco where the acoustic student unleashes his band, and the audience are strangely affected by the frequencies. Except the two nuns, just visible here.

The student is played by a young Paul Higgins, most recently seen as Hilton in Line of Duty.

After this, recording switches again, to an episode of ER on Channel 4. It’s called Men Plan, God Laughs.

I had either never known or totally forgotten that Michael Ironside was on ER. Only in seven episodes though according to iMDb, so not surprising I missed him. I was a sporadic watcher.

Richard Herd guests as a psychologist.

After this, recording continues with the start of an animated film, part of the Secret Passions strand, and introduced by Bob Godfrey.

He first introduces his film United Kingdom.

The main voice for the film is Chris Barrie.

There’s another brief appearance for the late, much missed Roger Moore.

This is followed by an introduction by Jason Stalman talking about ‘the appeal of drag’ for his film The Fairest of the all.

Voices for this film included Lily Savage.

The final film here is Oh Julie, by the team of Frances Lea, Michele Howarth and Jayne Bevitt.

The tape ends just as the film starts.


  • Fastext
  • Rocky
  • Tesco
  • Kays Catalogue
  • Cesar
  • Basil The Great Mouse Detective on video
  • Orangina
  • trail: Spellbound
  • Coca Cola Hit Mix
  • Rocky
  • Clearasil
  • Somerfield/Gateway
  • CMT
  • Fiat Coupe
  • Virgin Cola
  • trail: Addams Family Values
  • trail: Quantum Leap
  • Mars Miniatures
  • Tetley
  • Kodak Fun Camera
  • CMT
  • Virgin Cola
  • Chartbusters
  • Mars Miniatures
  • trail: Speedway
  • trail: Sky Travel
  • trail: Tomorrow on Sky
  • Fruitopia
  • Right Guard
  • TLC
  • Tesco
  • Timex Indiglo
  • Clorets – Julie Walters
  • Nat West
  • trail: My Life
  • trail: Sky Sports
  • Nat West
  • McDonalds
  • Fuji Super G
  • Peperami
  • Right Guard
  • Mars Miniatures
  • trail: A Perfect World
  • Fuji Super G
  • Acuvue
  • PAL
  • Surf
  • Andrex
  • Dance Zone Level 5
  • trail: Beverly Hills 90210/Melrose Place
  • trail: Tomorrow on Sky
  • Milky Way
  • Surf
  • Impulse
  • Clearasil
  • Chartbusters
  • trail: King of the Ring
  • trail: Addams Family Values
  • Bounty
  • Whiskas Kitten
  • American Express Travellers Cheques
  • Playtex
  • Kodak Fun Camera
  • Liptonice
  • Coca Cola Hit Mix
  • trail: The Mad Death
  • trail: The Reluctant Cook
  • trail: Casualty/The Bill
  • Whirlpool
  • Timex Indiglo
  • National Lottery Instants
  • Woolworths
  • CMT
  • The Singles Network
  • Andrex
  • Vaseline Intensive Care
  • Robinson’s
  • Opal Fruits Ice Cream
  • Samsung
  • Le Shuttle
  • Guardian Direct
  • PAL
  • trail: The Simpsons
  • Johnson’s Baby Oil
  • Somerfield/Gateway
  • Uncle Ben’s
  • HP Sauce
  • Galaxy Dove Bar
  • Budweiser
  • IBM Thinkpad
  • CMT
  • Peugeot 106
  • Nationwide
  • Safeway
  • Bounty
  • Peoples Phone
  • Congo in cinemas
  • VW Golf
  • Allders
  • Duty Free
  • Neutralia
  • Lufthansa
  • trail: Frasier
  • trail: The Rainbow
  • Acuvue
  • Fiat Punto Cabrio
  • Synergie
  • Yellow Pages
  • Kenco
  • Andrex
  • Corn Flakes – Katy Carmichael
  • Persil
  • Dalton’s
  • Impulse
  • The Post Office
  • trail: Homicide: Life on the Streets
  • Philips Ladyshave
  • Time Out
  • Kodak Fun Camera
  • Le Shuttle
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Dalton’s
  • Hula Hoops
  • Beyond Rangoon in cinemas
  • trail: Tour de France
  • trail: Frasier

Proms 95 – Film 96 – Omnibus – tape 2043

This tape opens with the end of The Rock and Roll Years.

There’s a trailer for Saturday Night on 2.

Then, the First Night of the Proms. There’s a bit where a young boy shows a picture of the rehearsal for the first Proms concert 100 years ago, and he looks spookily like the young man on The Saturday Night Armistice. But I don’t think it is.

The concert is Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, the ‘Symphony of a Thousand’. It’s very big, with a massive chorus.

In the interval there’s a look at the legend of Faust, which forms the basis of the second part of the piece.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 21st July 1995 – 20:00

There’s quite a jump after this, as we’re into 1996 for an episode of Film 96. I presume I was looking around for tapes which weren’t yet full up to put the odd episode onto because I’d run out of blanks.

This week, in the first episode of the year, Barry Norman reviews the following releases:

In his review of Devil in a Blue Dress Barry has no compunction at using the N-word. Even though I think he’s using it to characterise the racism inherent in the story, and the racism of the police, it does make me terribly uncomfortable. As Ice Cube said to Bill Maher on his show, “That’s our word now. You can’t have it back.”

There’s a look at Pinewood Studios on its 60th birthday, with Kirsty Young.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 8th January 1996 – 22:10

After this, there’s a trailer for Hetty Wainthropp Investigates. And for the queasy sounding Filipina Dreamgirls.

Then, recording continues with Omnibus profiling director Paul Verhoeven. Amusing, given the complete drubbing Barry Norman just gave to Showgirls.

“He has no room for political correctness” opines Joe Eszterhas. If Joe Eszterhas has even a nodding acquaintance with political correctness, then I’m a banana.

Other collaborators include Jeroen Krabbe

There’s Paul Verhoeven’s only surviving painting from when he thought he might be a painter.

Verhoeven’s muse, Rutger Hauer

Verhoeven’s cinematographer, Jan De Bont, went on to make Speed.

Renee Soutendijk, an actress who works mostly in the Netherlands, but whom I remember from the early 90s action movie Eve of Destruction.

On to Verhoeven’s US directing career, here’s Robocop producer Jon Davison.

Co-writer Ed Neumeier

He talks about how Verhoeven liked the subtext of Robocop being an American Jesus, and how, at the end of the film, he even used the location of an old steel mill to show him walking on water, something I’d never noticed.

In a way, it’s a shame that this profile was made to tie in with the release of Showgirls. Perhaps if it had come later, they could have been a bit more honest about what a bad film it (reportedly) was. I still haven’t seen it.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 8th January 1996 – 22:40

There’s a trailer for The X Files moving from BBC2 to BBC1.

Also a trailer for The Gulf War.

Then there’s the start of The Beguiled, the Clint Eastwood movie that was recently remade, before that recording stops.

Underneath there’s the end of an episode of Newsnight. Followed by a trailer for Big Science.

Then, Lisa I’Anson presents The Vibe. I’ve never seen this before, but it looks like a segregated Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Or should that be that it makes Never Mind the Buzzcocks look like it’s segregated. Everyone’s having a whale of a time, though.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 21st July 1995 – 23:15

There’s another trailer for Saturday Night programmes. Some weather from Michael Fish.

Then the tape ends during the start of coverage of the Open golf championship.

UFO – tape 2042

Just before the first episode, there’s a little trail for The Saint featuring Roger Moore, which I thought I’d share since he died recently (only a couple of weeks ago as I wrote this. Sorry, Roger.)

Then, UFO. Poor Mr Croxley has a mental problem. He appears to be able to see the future.

Shado are tracking a UFO that’s taking a very erratic course. Mr Croxley has a premonition his wife will have a visitor.

There’s some top UFO house collision action.

Croxley’s wife is killed in the crash, and he knows Shado is involved. He sends a film script all about Shado to Straker,

There’s a tense meeting, during which Croxley is channeling the aliens, then Foster turns up and shoots him. Nice to see Shado have document security under control.

I really wish the Bravo announcer wouldn’t keep pronouncing it ‘Shador’. It’s very annoying.

Another episode follows. SID is unmanned, so why is its interior lit permanently?

Foster has a dangerous re-entry, and he’s affected by an alien voice telling him to Kill Straker!

“I’m saying we should rename the whole thing ‘Straker’s Alien Defence Organisation'” says an angry Foster. Which would make it SADO.

I like a commander who’s not afraid to lead in his dressing gown.

Wow, I’ve been fast forwarding over all the trails on this tape, so I’ve only just noticed that the two golfers in the Cult TV Weekend trail are Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller.

The final UFO episode here is Sub Smash.

Skydiver is disabled at the bottom of the sea, trapping Straker along with the crew.

It gets very tense and claustrophobic when Nina Barry is trapped in a torpedo tube.

After this, recording continues with an episode of Robin Hood in which Robin enters an archery contest. Such novelty.

Then, the start of an episode of The Persuaders. Jean Marsh is murdered before the credits. What a waste.

The episode is written by Terry Nation. The tape ends before the episode finishes.


  • Hamilton Direct Bank
  • Destination Discovery
  • Family Channel
  • trail: The Critic
  • trail: The Saint
  • trail: Cult TV Weekend
  • Oil of Ulay
  • Blockbuster Video
  • Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
  • Fairy
  • Somerfield/Gateway
  • Swinton
  • Wheat Crunchies
  • trail: Cult TV Weekend
  • Budweiser
  • Batman Forever in cinemas
  • Help The Aged
  • TLC
  • trail: Comic Genius
  • trail: The Critic
  • Orangina
  • Thomas Cook
  • Quavers
  • Mr Kipling
  • Neutralia
  • Cornhill Direct
  • MDM
  • Oxfam Appeal
  • trail: Last Exit to Brooklyn
  • Thomas Cook
  • MDM
  • Help The Aged
  • Wheat Crunchies
  • trail: Cult TV Weekend
  • Thomas Cook
  • Bodyform
  • Cornhill Direct
  • Lenor
  • Summer Dance Party
  • Cornhill Direct
  • Discovery Channel
  • Family Channel
  • trail: The Critic
  • trail: Cult TV Weekend
  • Peperami
  • Sensodyne
  • Corn Flakes
  • Somerfield/Gateway
  • Wall’s Too Good To Be True
  • Cornhill Direct
  • Wheat Crunchies
  • trail: Cult TV Weekend
  • Nintendo Game Boy
  • Impulse
  • Orangina
  • Bacardi Breezer
  • Slim-Fast
  • Bodyform
  • Preferred Direct
  • trail: The Persuaders
  • trail: Cult TV Weekend
  • Thomas Cook
  • Quavers
  • Oil of Ulay
  • Kays Catalogue
  • Summer Dance Party
  • Red Cross Appeal
  • trail: Cult TV Weekend
  • trail: The Persuaders
  • trail: Jason King
  • trail: Cult TV Weekend
  • Wilkinson Sword Protector
  • Vision Express
  • St Ivel Baby & Toddler
  • Now 31
  • Cornhill Direct
  • Teletext
  • Destination Discovery
  • trail: Danger Man
  • Budweiser
  • Impulse
  • Boots
  • Preferred Direct
  • Wheat Crunchies
  • trail: Cult TV Weekend
  • Thomas Cook
  • Quavers

The All New Alexei Sayle Show 2 – tape 2036

This tape opens with the end of Rab C Nesbitt.

There’s trailers for Rock Family Trees and Grace Under Fire.

Then, The All New Alexei Sayle Show 2. We’ve seen a couple of excellent trailers for this series, so here’s some episodes.

“Jim Davidson isn’t a nasty, racist comedian, he’s just ‘differently funnied.'”

I do like the abusive press photographer character. Drawn from life?

Here’s Tessa Peake Jones

I’m trying to get my politically correct brain around the politically correct Tonto sketch with Sayle playing a native American.

I have similar reservations over the old Japanese soldiers still running a prison camp in a suburban house. At least the two other Japanese soldiers who aren’t Sayle look Japanese.

But I already love the Time Tunnel sketch where the heroes are two drunken Englishmen, just from the perfect opening.

Then I see that Peter Capaldi is playing one of the drunks

The titles are perfect.

Absolutely perfect.

Oh God, there’s Alfred Marks as Whit Bissell

And Jenny Agutter as Lee Meriwether, complete with the gratuitous keylight in her eyes.

And Jim Carter as the Emperor Hadrian

Stephen Lewis has a small cameo as Bobby Chariot’s writer.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 7th July 1995 – 21:30

Before the next episode, the end of Rab C Nesbitt.

There’s a trailer for the British Grand Prix.

Then, another episode of The All New Alexei Sayle Show 2. There’s a sketch about audiences thinking comedy shows use canned laughter – these shows are co-written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews, and Linehan is forever having to explain that audience based sitcoms and sketch shows don’t use pre-recorded laugh tracks at all. And here he is, in 1995, already having to explain it.

I like Bobby Chariot’s number plate.

Jim Carter plays Genghis Khan in another Drunk in Time sketch.

“We’re Lesbians!” Arabella Weir there, who doesn’t appear in the credits.

Is that James Dreyfuss in the Waiting for Godot sketch?

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 14th July 1995 – 21:30

There’s another bit of Rad C Nesbitt before the next episode.

A trailer for Shadow Makers, Roland Joffe’s drama about the Manhattan Project which I always think of by its original title Fat Man and Little Boy.

There’s also a trailer for Nagasaki Journey, so the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs is clearly here.

Then, the last in this series of The All New Alexei Sayle Show 2. The show predicted the coming of portrait mode on mobile phones with the new film format, Periscope.

Impressive exploding milk float

Bobby Chariot’s RRRRunabout is brutal.

More Drunk in Time with Jim Carter as Herod this time.

It’s curtains for Bobby Chariot

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 28th July 1995 – 21:30

After this, recording switches to the end of Rock Family Trees. Look, here’s Manfred Mann.

There’s a trailer for The Staggering Stories of Ferdinand de Bargos.

And for Monday night on BBC 2

Then, The Saturday Night Armistice. I really wish they were still doing this.

Armando is joined by a fourteen year old work experience boy.

The news starts with the Conservatives not doing well in an election, specifically a by-election, which is appropriate for the time of writing, still only a few days since the General Election. I still find it freaky how little the news seems to change.

Paddy Ashdown is working on appealing to the under 12s with his new game show.

Mr Tony Blair has a motorcade.

The ‘Let’s Kick Violence in the Face’ campaign gets animated.

The Jack Straw supporters aren’t nearly as good (or funny) as the Jeremy Hanley fan club. But meeting Roy Hattersley was funny.

And Straw himself joins in the fun.

It looks more intimidating than the Jeremy Hanley fan club.

He even shakes hands with Mr Tony Blair

I still love Hunt The Old Woman.

Sally Phillips is part of the Bristol Old Vic lottery machine selection.

And here’s the whole show.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th July 1995 – 21:55

After this, there’s a trailer for Fourteen Days on May. And a trailer for a season of Summer Dance.

Then, Seinfeld and an episode called The Limo. I started watching this episode on Amazon Prime rather than my rubbish VHS copy, and noticed that the establishing shot of the airport featured two Trump jets. Here’s a screengrab from Amazon Prime.

Usually, I take my grabs directly from the VHS rips, as I feel this is all about the authentic VHS experience, and screengrabbing Amazon or Netflix (or DVD for that matter) would be a cheat, so I looked at that scene on my VHS rip, and this is what I found.

You’ll notice that the Trump logos have been removed from the planes. I wonder if this was done by the BBC, or by the US broadcaster for overseas sales.

Jerry is coming back from Chicago, and George’s car has broken down, so they decide to take the limo for someone called O’Brien Jerry knows was bumped from the flight.

Things get awkward when the driver goes to pick up the other two members of their party, a man and a woman. She’s a big fan of O’Brien’s newsletter.

I love the way this episode builds, until they find out the whole truth – that O’Brien is a Neo-Nazi. And, surprise, the other two people in the car look exactly like Trump’s entourage.

George ends up on TV.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th July 1995 – 22:30

There’s a trailer for Timewatch Special. 

Then African Political Broadcast with Kenneth Kaunda, former president of Zambia.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th July 1995 – 22:55

A trailer for The Great Rift follows, then recording continues with African Sanctus Revisited. An updated version of a programme shown 20 years ago.

My wife, who was born in Zambia and grew up in Liberia and Saudi Arabia, was listening to this, and getting crosser and crosser with the composer. She felt that he had no idea what the African music he was using represented for them, nor particularly cared, and just wanted them to fit within his idea of the Latin Mass, and his idea of what he would find in Africa. Particularly disturbing is his co-opting of music from Islamic worship for his Christian mass.

The soloist in the performance of the Sanctus is Wilhelminia Fernandez, also the star of the French Opera Thriller Diva.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th July 1995 – 23:00

After this, another trail for Nagasaki Journey.

Then, the tape runs out during a film, Le Cri du Coeur.

The New Adventures of Superman – Bugs – Chicago Hope – tape 2030

Saturday Nights in the 90s, and Jim Davidson is hosting a game show featuring children. It’s Big Break stars of the Future, in which he insists a young girl give him a kiss. Ugh.

There’s a trailer for International Match of the Day, And for the new series of The Steve Wright People Show.

Then, The New Adventures of Superman, and Bronson Pinchot returns as the Prankster in an episode cryptically titled The Return of the Prankster.

Cliff de Young plays a Secret Service agent.

I don’t believe this is a genuine pressure gauge. Partly because they’ve misspelled ‘gauge’ but mostly because no industrial designer would choose that font for the numbers.

I think I might have dozed off during this one.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 3rd June 1995 – 18:30

Afterwards, there’s a plug for the BBC Radio productions of Superman, by Dirk Maggs, which were a lot more fun than this series often is.

There’s also a look at programmes for Sunday.

And a trailer for Eureka! which seems to be some kind of popular science show, fronted by Matthew Kelly.

Then, the start of The Steve Wright People Show. Still baffling. Nigel Benn is the first guest.

After a few minutes, recording switches to the end of the National Lottery Live show, always a thrill. Su Pollard releases the balls.

Sadly, I seem to have missed her playing a tuba. You read that right.

There’s a specially made Due South trailer announcing its move from Tuesday to Friday Nights.

There’s also a trailer for The Vet.

Then, an episode of Bugs. Ed is teaching a masterclass in Karate. It’s part of some kind of surveillance, and his first opponent almost has the better of him, then collapses suddenly.

Ian McNeice is Peter Hunter, head of sports medicine, and the woman running the sports academy thinks he’s using illegal substances.

Ros is chased by a man in a ponytail, and for some reason heads to the roof. Doesn’t make any sense at all, except to make a dramatic location for her pursuer to have a seizure and fall from a great height.

Sometimes, Bugs photography isn’t half bad.

The illegal drug programme is being run by a maverick ex-army person, who’s planning a military coup. And he’s going to test the latest batch on Ros.

She’s put on a treadmill, given the drug, and has to keep her heartrate about a certain level otherwise the owner of the sports academy would be crushed by a weight machine. At this point, I had rather hoped Ros would be transformed into a superhero, but no such luck.

They even use a ball bearing clock as some kind of countdown mechanism.

There’s a slightly unlikely ending as the head bad guy gets into a lift to make off with the formula, and doesn’t notice there’s a big homemade bomb already in there until it’s just about to explode.

I do have a soft spot for Bugs, but I do sometimes wish it didn’t always look like it’s being shot entirely in a half-completed office complex in Canary Wharf.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 3rd June 1995 – 20:15

There’s a trailer for Chicago Hope before the start of an episode of Birds of a Feather.

Recording switches to the end of this episode, there’s a trailer for Men Behaving Badly.

There’s also a trailer for the John Hannah drama Out of the Blue.

Then, and episode of Chicago Hope. There’s a heart transplant, which doesn’t start well when the heart is dropped on the floor.

There’s a sexual harassment subplot with EG Marshall.

BBC Genome:  BBC One – 3rd June 1995 – 21:35

There’s a trailer for International Match of the Day.

After this, a whole News and Sport bulletin.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 3rd June 1995 – 22:20

Then a trailer for Eurovisions – not a fun singing competition, but a programme about Britain’s view of Europe, to show that Europe has always been a hot button issue.

There’s weather with Suzanne Charlton, a trailer for The Vet, and one for Out of the Blue.

Then, International Match of the Day featuring England v Japan.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 3rd June 1995 – 22:40

After this, a Radio 5 Live trail, and that Due South trailer again.

Then, the tape ends just after the start of Robert Wise’s reincarnation movie, Audrey Rose.

A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies – Alice Doesn’t Live Here Any More – tape 2026

This is part three of Martin Scorsese’s documentary about American film, as part of the centenary of cinema.

Scorsese is the ultimate Movie Brat. He was part of the new wave of American directors who came to prominence in the 70s, a group which also included George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Brian de Palma and Francis Coppola. Scorsese doesn’t have the populist touch of Lucas and Spielberg, but he’s undoubtedly the intellectual of the group.

The Movie Brats were called that because they were really the first generation of filmmakers for whom movies had always been there, and they grew up immersed in movies. Scorsese in particular, and these documentaries really show his breadth of knowledge. For example, the first movie in this episode is a B-Movie Western called Silver Lode, virtually forgotten, which he uses as an example of how movies in the 50s were full of subtext, in this case the McCarthy hearings and the Hollywood blacklist.

A more well known movie is All That Heaven Allows in which Jane Wyman plays a woman who shocks her local community by embarking on a love affair with her gardener.

I once took a film studies course at my local college. It was while I was still at school, I think, and I didn’t bother with the exam, I was mostly taking the course because it meant I would get to see lots of films. At the time we didn’t own a VCR, and our local cinema only showed one movie a week, and was only open Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, so this was a great way to see lots of films I wouldn’t normally get to see.

One of them was All That Heaven Allows, although we only watched clips, not the whole movie, and our lecturer wanted to use it to illustrate a point about ‘mise en scene’, or what’s actually on the screen. He showed scenes where the two main characters were ‘divided’ by string vertical lines in the background to emphasise their different social strata, things like that. Nothing unusual, and it’s the kind of thing people like Robert McKee take about at length in film theory classes.

But our lecturer had one illustration that irked me. In a scene where Jane Wyman is talking to her daughter, he points out the colour palette of the film – very brown, and autumnal. I can accept that. But then he excitedly points out that just as the scene is finishing, the colour of the scene suddenly goes even browner. This, he told us, was the director subliminally telling us that the character is entering the autumn of her life.

Except it wasn’t. I knew exactly why the colour of the scene changed abruptly, and it wasn’t a creative symbol at all. If you watch any film made in the 50s, you’ll see exactly this colour jump a lot. And it always immediately precedes a cross fade between two scenes. It happens because unlike a straight cut, which is done simply by cutting the film up and sticking it together with sellotape, a fade has to be done in something called an optical printer. This is basically a projector attached to a camera, and allows you to take various bits of film and combine them in various ways onto a new piece of film. But because it’s an optical, analogue process, the new film will inevitably contain more film grain, and the colours won’t perfectly match, because the photochemical process isn’t 100% perfect.

So what you’re seeing when the picture suddenly goes darker, and grainier, is the point at which the original negative stops, and the optically printed film starts, which will always have a noticeable change in quality.

And that’s what we were seeing in the clip from All That Heaven Allows, not a subtle, subliminal message from the auteur director.

And that’s the point at which I lost a lot of faith in Film Studies.

Here’s director Douglas Sirk telling you I’m right.

Another great director of the time was Nicholas Ray, who looks like a pirate. Where’s today’s auteur that can pull off an eyepatch?

Sam Fuller talks about the time that Hoover objected to a line “Don’t wave the goddamn flag at me”. It wasn’t the ‘goddamn’ he objected to. I presume this was J Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI.

Inevitably, the programme looks at Orson Welles. I could listen to him talking about his career for hours, and have.

Scorsese favourite Elia Kazan.

Arthur Penn talks about the violence in Bonnie and Clyde.

Indie filmmaker and actor John Cassavetes

I like this personal approach to film. It doesn’t try to prove some great theoretical point, it’s just about the films that mean something to Scorsese.

After this documentary, an early Scorsese movie, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. This is a familiar title to me, despite never having seen it, because it was nominated for lots of Oscars at the 1975 ceremony, which was one of the earliest Oscar shows I can definitely remember watching, mainly because of this film’s title. It’s funny what things stick in your head.

The titles are interesting, clearly meaning to invoke the 50s and 60s both with the music and the title design. The large border around the titles is deliberate, perhaps to invoke the experience of watching old films on TV.

There’s an interesting credit – Production Executive Larry Cohen. Cohen is mainly known for his genre work, like It’s Alive or The Stuff or the classic Q The Winged Serpent. Both he and Scorsese worked with Roger Corman early on, which is where the connection started, I would presume.

The movie’s style is continued into the opening scene, showing Alice as a young girl. The square framing (known as the Academy ratio, 4:3, the same shape as old TVs) the saturated colours and the soundstage backdrops directly invoke the great technicolor epics like Gone with the Wind.

The little girl has a line “I can sing better than Alice Faye, I swear to Christ I can” but her mouth is most definitely not saying “Christ”.

Strangely, “they can blow it out their ass” wasn’t an issue.

After this brief opening, deftly painting Alice’s character, action moves to 27 years later, and Alice has a young son who listens to Mott The Hoople at full volume, and her bowling shirt wearing husband is an angry, abusive boor. It’s not a happy home life.

But Alice is immediately glorious. When the boy loading her groceries asks if all the meat is because she’s got company coming she says “No, my husband hates me, and I’m trying to get him to chase me round the bedroom” leaving the boy nonplussed.

She’s with a friend, fitting a homemade dress, and telling her she’d be just as happy without a man around the house. Then the phone rings and she’s told her husband has died in a road accident.

She and her son Tommy pack up the car, after a yard sale to sell most of their stuff, and leave town, intending eventually to get to Monterey.

They stop first in Phoenix, where Alice gets a job singing in a bar. Harvey Keitel chats her up, and in the background, you can hear Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ – I thought that was a slightly more modern song.

She’s worried about the age difference – she’s 35, and he’s a mere 27. Which is weird because he always looks like a proper grown up to me.

More worrying is when his wife turns up at Alice’s door. And it gets much much worse when Keitel appears at Alice’s door, and he’s going full-on Keitel, threatening his wife with a switchblade and threatening to hit Alice. He leaves, telling her he’ll pick her up when she finishes work that night. So Alice and her son pack up the car and leave town.

The movie has plenty of pop songs on the soundtrack, a Scorsese trademark, but I wonder if it’s at all significant that the main ones used as soundtrack (rather than source music in a scene, like Dolly Parton) are all from the UK? Mott The Hoople, Elton John, now it’s T-Rex.

Their next stop is Tucson. This time, rather than singing, she has to take a job as a waitress. On her first day she’s terrified. This time, there’s Kris Kristofferson chatting her up, asking her for a big smile.

She doesn’t get on with the senior waitress there on her first day.

Her son takes guitar lessons, and meets Jodie Foster.

Kristofferson seems like a nice guy, but I’m waiting for him to turn, like Keitel.

She goes for Sunday lunch with him at his farm. There’s a beautiful little scene where she’s doing a bit of washing up, and she needs a tea towel, so she just instinctively opens a drawer and there they are. She pauses for a moment, looks at another drawer, says “cooking utensils” before she opens it, and she’s right. So is Kristofferson a new man, or is she detecting a woman’s touch?

The truth is that he’s divorced, two years ago. Oh, God, please be a decent man.

Alice even starts bonding with the snippy head waitress over a shared love of profanity.

Inevitably (this is Martin Scorsese, after all) Kristofferson starts behaving like an authoritarian, and it gets to a head when Tommy gets bored with Kristofferson teaching him guitar and puts Jeepster by T-Rex on the stereo. Kristofferson pulls the record off and throws it across the room, then smacks Tommy when he swears at him.

One the way home, she and Tommy start arguing, and she loses her temper with him and tells him he can walk the rest of the way home. Instead, he goes to friend Jodie Foster’s house, and they end up drinking a lot of wine, shoplifting, and ending up at the police station.

Back at the cafe, Alice doesn’t know what she’s going to do, that maybe she can’t live without a man. So I guess it’s lucky that Kristofferson comes in later, ready to make up, and ready to do whatever it is that Alice wants, even move to Monterey.

OK, so I would have preferred Kristofferson to not have acted like a dick at all, but at least he was willing to admit he was wrong. And the film ends with Alice and Tommy deciding it might be OK to stay in Tucson for a while.

I’m not surprised Burstyn won Best Actress for her performance here. She’s the whole film, and she’s brilliant. But I particularly love her relationship with her son, which is so strong and unconditional.

What a great film.

After this, the recording continues with the start of The Public Enemy, a gritty gangster movie which nevertheless opens with the credits including the actors themselves. Is this gritty enough for you?

The tape ends during this film.


  • The Times
  • Debenhams
  • Color Magic
  • Nissan Micra Hollywood
  • trail: Mindfield
  • trail: The Bonfire of the Vanities
  • The Times
  • Prudential
  • Citroen ZX
  • Cheltenham & Gloucester
  • Orange
  • Boddingtons
  • Ford Escort
  • Color Magic
  • Eurostar
  • Caffrey’s
  • American Airlines – Jim Sweeney
  • Gillette Sensor Excel
  • Bird’s Eye Chicken Marinade
  • Ranieri
  • Futuroscope
  • Nationwide – Four Weddings rip-off
  • Mercedes
  • trail: The Last Temptation of Christ
  • Renault Laguna
  • Eurostar
  • Murphy’s
  • Cooperative Bank
  • Otex
  • Ibuleve
  • trail: The Derby
  • trail: Short Stories: All That Glitters
  • The Times
  • Boots Soltan
  • Fiat Punto
  • Wall’s Feastwich
  • Cooperative Bank
  • Eurostar
  • Royal Mail – Science Fiction Stamps
  • Legal & General
  • The Times
  • Lil-lets
  • Rover
  • Sony
  • Vision Express
  • Cheltenham & Gloucester
  • Kodak Fun Camera
  • Bird’s Eye Chunky
  • Delight
  • Nissan Micra Hollywood
  • Stena Sealink
  • Solero
  • Alpen
  • Chambourcy
  • trail: Bonfire of the Vanities
  • Kodak Fun Camera
  • Mars Ice Cream
  • The Times
  • Renault Laguna
  • McVities United
  • Clorets – Julie Walters
  • KFC
  • TSB
  • Direct Line
  • Pepsi Challenge
  • trail: The Last Temptation of Christ
  • Turkey
  • Timex Indiglo
  • Twix
  • Ford Escort
  • Irn Bru
  • Pizza Hut
  • Capital Radio
  • Organics
  • Castlemaine XXXX

The Outer Limits – Boyz n The Hood – tape 2028

Sometimes I worry that I might have messed up with the digitising of a particular tape. This one is a case in point. It ends abruptly, in the middle of the second item listed, Boyz n the Hood, so I don’t know why I have that listed in my database.

I can only assume that the recording was interrupted, or I programmed the wrong time, and I’d never checked it to see if it had recorded.

But there’s still an episode of The Outer Limits to watch. It’s called Sandkings. It’s based on a novella by George R R Martin.

Beau Bridges is some kind of scientists, working with dangerous organisms, creatures he created that can survive on Mars. One gets loose, and he thinks he’s the only person who can stop it, despite all his coworkers trying to stop him. He’s horrified when they incinerate it.

Lloyd Bridges plays his father. He’s always been second best to his father, something which drives him.

When his project is shut down, he takes his samples home with him. Things don’t go well. The ‘Sandkings’ can build structures, and when one of them bites him, they build something rather more sinister.

It all gets a bit Arachnophobia at the end, but doesn’t really have that film’s heart. This is very by the numbers.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 8th May 1995 – 21:00

There’s a trailer for the Friday Night Comedy Zone, and for The Absence of War, a trailer which starts “Years of Tory Government. A surprise general election. John Thaw is the Labour Leader facing his only chance of power.” I looked at this programme a while ago, but this trailer came up today, June 8th as I write, while we’re waiting for the polls to close, and for the inevitable Tory landslide. Edit to add: I guess my pessimism over the state of politics wasn’t entirely warranted, as evidenced by this tweet from Britain Elects, a polling tracker, just after the first exit poll was published.

Enough of the politics, though, and back to 1995.

Then, the start of the aforementioned Boyz n The Hood. The recording ends before the film finishes. It’s a short tape today, I’m afraid.