Berlioz – A Romantic Imagination – The New Statesman – Buck Rogers – tape 687

First on this tape, the second episode of A Romantic Imagination, a documentary series on the composer Hector Berlioz. This episode is Episode in the Life of an Artist and looks at the creation of the Fantastic Symphony.

Conductor Simon Rattle talks about the composer.

Simon Rattle

Daniel Massey reads extracts from Berlioz’ memoirs.

Daniel Massey

Modern composer Oliver Knussen talks of his first exposure to it.

Oliver Knussen

Composer and conductor Pierre Boulez.

Pierre Boulez

Here’s composer George Benjamin looking very young indeed.

George Benjamin

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 26th February 1989 – 20:35

After this, recording switches to an episode of The New Statesman entitled Piers of the Realm.

Alan is running a surgery, and he’s visited by an old woman who is very confused about what year it is, and he buys her 7 bedroom house for £500. He tells his wife he’s going to divorce her, having video evidence of her affair with the gardener. And he’s shocked to find that Piers Fletcher Dervish has been appointed as Junior Secretary to the Housing minister, so in revenge he burns Piers’ teddy bear.

In fact, he makes so many enemies in this episode that inevitably, he’s shot.

Who Shot AB

So the show was left on a bit of a cliffhanger.

After this, recording switches again to an episode of Buck Rogers. A passenger on board the Lyran Queen, Miss Cosmos, complains to the captain that “since I’ve been on board your cruiser, the Lyran Queen, I sense that someone has been watching me.”

Someone's watching

As soon as the captain leaves her quarters, she’s menaced by a deadly assassin who can shoot lasers from her fingers and do unconvincing Kung Fu kicks.

A Deadly Assassin

Miss Cosmos is the winner of some kind of beauty pageant. Buck is surprised such things are still around, but Huer and Wilma assure him it’s much better than it used to be in his day, because they’re judged on their genetic makeup. “Genetically speaking, Miss Cosmos is closer than anyone to the perfect example of the female human in this quadrant.” Yikes, that’s not exactly an improvement, and certainly not really how genetics works. But a fundamental misunderstanding of genetics is par for the course in TV SciFi.

The assassin was one of a group of thieves who wanted to steal Miss Cosmos, “a body of staggering genetic value”. Again, it’s hard to understand why they didn’t just steal a few hairs from her hairbrush, or grab some DNA from a drinking glass, but this programme was made a long time before DNA sequencing was a mainstream idea.

The assassin/thief makes another attempt, but is foiled by an energy shield put in place by Buck. Then she transforms into a different person, one of the passengers, Alison Michaels, and appears not to remember anything. One minte she went to sleep, then she found herself wandering around. Somehow she has the ability to transform her appearance, but doesn’t remember when she does.

Twiki even gets some love interest.

Twiki in love

Did I mention that I used to watch this instead of Tom Baker-era Doctor Who? I’m so ashamed.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 8th March 1989 – 18:00

After this, an episode of Rapido starts. The tape ends after 8 minutes of this, which includes an interview with Beach Boy Brian Wilson.

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