Game On – Film 95 – Seinfeld – On The Beach – tape 1948

Opening this tape is the end of an episode of Bottom, followed by a trailer for 48 Hours.

Then, there’s an episode of Game On, written by Andrew Davies and Bernadette Davis. It’s Bad Timing, the third episode of the first series, so Ben Chaplin is playing Matthew.

I think I’ve grown too old to appreciate this series any more. The characters now just strike me as tiresome. I’m sure I quite liked it on its first broadcast – I recorded most of it – but how much of that was the appeal of Andrew Davies’ name on the credits? At one point, Matthew uses the word ‘darkie’. I don’t think it was ironic.

Having said that, it amuses me that Matthew has a Betty Blue poster.

BBC Genome: BBC Two England, 13 March 1995 21.30

After this episode, there’s a trailer for the inexplicable Glam Metal Detectives.

There’s a trailer for Russion Wonderland.

Then recording switches, catching the end of Sportsnight.

There’s a trailer for Willy Russell’s Dancin’ Thru the Dark and one for MGM: When the Lion Roars.

Then, an episode of Film 95. Barry Norman reviews the following films:

there’s a location report on the ill-fated Stallone version of Judge Dredd.

BBC Genome: BBC One London, 13 March 1995 23.00

After this the recording switches, and we get the BBC1 announcer introducing Chicago Hope, but recording switches almost immediately so Sky One, and The Nanny just ending.

Then, there’s an episode of Seinfeld. This episode is The Scofflaw.

Then, recording switches to On The Beach, based on the Nevil Shute novel where Australia waits to die as the fallout cloud of nuclear radiation from an atomic war in the North heads slowly towards the southern hemisphere.

The film starts with a black and white version of the modern United Artists logo, which is jarring. I’d prefer them to stick with the original logos and idents.

United Artists

This might be the most melancholy film ever made. The first half features the local population more or less marking time. Two old men complain that there’s far too much port left in the wine cellars, and it’ll be such a waste that they won’t get through it all in the months before the radiation hits them.

Gregory Peck plays the captain of the US submarine which escaped the initial attack, and fled to Australia. He strikes up a friendship with Ava Gardner, but cannot forget the wife and children he left behind.

When a radio signal of some kind is received from San Diego, where there’s not supposed to be any life, Peck and his crew, including Anthony Perkins from the Australian Navy, take their sub to investigate. For reasons that I don’t quite understand, they travel there via the Bering straits, and via San Francisco. I’m no navigator, but I can’t understand how that’s a route from Australia to the west coast of the US. My wife tells me that the signal was from Connecticut in the book, and that would make the Bering straits a reasonable route.

Naturally, when the find the source of the signal, it’s not a sign of life.

There’s a remarkable scene where scientist Fred Astaire decides to race his ferrari in the last Australian Grand Prix – a race in which it’s clear that many of the drivers aren’t intending to finish the race. If it weren’t for the fact that everyone is going to die from radiation, this could almost be a prequel to Mad Max.

Fred Astaire Boy Racer

Soon enough, the radiation comes. People queue to receive their ‘Government Prescription’ – poison pills they can take when the sickess comes, if they want to avoid the slow, painful death that’s expected. And our lead characters all have to face the end in their own ways.

This could be the most depressing film ever made, except that it’s impressive how stoic all the characters are. Nobody really rages against the dying of the light, civilisation doesn’t really break down to any degree. But the end is inevitable.

And I don’t want to hear Waltzing Matilda ever again.

The tape ends just after the film.

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6 comments

  1. Logo plastering is one of my personal bugbears (seeing the remastered “Star Trek: The Next Generation” end with the CBS Television Studios logo instead of the one for Paramount is just… wrong).

  2. You know who loved The Glam Metal Detectives? Mark Goodier. Couldn’t get enough of it, was always plugging it.

    1. That’s the BBC for you – Jo While once said “Robin Hood” was “your new favourite programme.” Maybe yours, but it sure wasn’t mine.

      Victor Lewis-Smith liked “The Glam Metal Detectives,” however. He also seems to have been the only person to have given “Karaoke” a good review…

      1. I think I mentally filed GMD under ‘interesting failure’. It’ll be interesting to see it again when it emerges from the vault.

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