The Final Cut – tape 2279

This tape starts just as the continuity announcer is saying ‘…scenes of explicit sex.’ Ok, then.

The Final Cut is the last serial in the ‘House of cards’ trilogy, based on the political novels by Michael Dobbs, and adapted by the almost omnipresent Andrew Davies. Ian Richardson is the villainous Francis Urquhart, originally the Chief Whip, elevated to Prime Minister during the run of the three serials. Younger readers might be more familiar with the recent Netflix series with Kevin Spacey, based on the same themes but with the setting transported to Washington, and (therefore) the story being almost entirely new.

This tape does not have episode one, but it does have:

Before episode three, there’s a trail for Ben Elton’s The Thin Blue Line. There’s also a trailer for tomorrow’s Panorama special, featuring (I presume) Martin Bashir’s interview with Princess Diana – given that it’s billed as the Princess speaking for the first time.

After the final episode, the recording runs on. There’s a trailer for Roughnecks, then a trailer for a special Everyman report into a scandal in the church – the rave vicar – in 15 minutes.

Then there’s a BBC News broadcast – top stories are the stalled Northern Ireland Peace Process, Bosnian Serb leaders railing against the suggestion the UN might arrest them, and the priest at the centre of the ‘Nine O’Clock Service’ rave scandal has resigned – of which, there’s much more later on the tape.

There’s also a story about the end of a Scottish postal workers’ strike, with a young Alan Johnson as the head of the communication workers union.

Young Alan Johnson

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 26 November 1995 21.55

Following the news, a new series of Everyman starts with an interview with the controversial priest behind ‘The Nine O’Clock Service’ – a supposedly religious service, augmented by rave music, that turned out to be a way for him to molest lots of women. As the news reported, he resigned from the CofE, presumably because this programme doesn’t paint him in the best light, featuring as it does interviews with women he abused. Because it turns out that the leaders of a charismatic evangelical cult might just be in it for their own benefit.

There’s some excerpts from the organisation’s archive which bear a striking similarity to the brainwashing films from The Parallax View, or A Clockwork Orange.

It’s a fascinating programme, not least because of the massive lack of any accepted culpability either by the priest who led the service, and was a de facto cult leader, or by his Bishop, who practically threw his hands up and said ‘well what am I supposed to do?’ And, of course, even when women (and some men) spoke out about the abuse, they were ignored, sidelined and silenced.

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 26 November 1995 22.10

Following this programme, Joan Bakewell hosts a round-table discussion about the issues raised by the scandal. There’s a nice wide shot of the studio showing how the three-camera setup works, with all the cameras sharing the same tracks.

Heart of the matter studio

The tape finishes before the end of this discussion. BBC One London, 26 November 1995 23.00

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