Lipstick On Your Collar – Horizon – tape 1448

First on this tape, episode 3 of Dennis Potter’s Lipstick on your Collar. Can we expect lip-syncing to old songs, deeply buried trauma and an old man obsessing over a beautiful young woman?

The credits reveal this was the first screen appearance of Ewan McGregor.

Ewan McGregor

There’s also some distinctly disturbing imagery on show.

Here’s a platinum blonde, Louise Germane (also in Potter’s Midnight Movie)

Louise Germane

And here’s Peter Jeffries lip-syncing to Blue Suede Shoes.

Blue Suede Shoes

This is all within the first two minutes of the show. I’m not saying Dennis Potter is predictable, but sometimes it really does seem like he’s just doing the same old schtick every time. They even manage to get a naked woman into this dance sequence set in the house of commons.

Douglas Henshall plays McGregor’s horrible superior officer.

Douglas Henshall

It takes a full fifteen minutes for one of the characters to speak of his childhood memory of his father, and use it as a motivation to use force in the Suez crisis. Our Potter Bingo is going well.

And mere seconds after this, Roy Hudd is poised outside Louise Germane’s house, acting for all the world like someone obsessed…

Roy Hudd

That’s a full house. Oh, and Shane Rimmer is in this too.

Shane Rimmer

The next episode is basically more of the same. Tiresome.

After this episode, it’s over the BBC2 and Horizon with Whatever Happened to Star Wars, a look at Ronald Reagan’s ‘peace shield’ that was supposed to develop a set of technologies to protect the US from nuclear attack.

It’s quite interesting hearing the scientists and politicians all basically saying “Nobody knew how to achieve any of this”. They even discussed anti-matter weapons – which seems a little silly, since all the effort was to negate the power of nuclear weapons, why would you try to create an even bigger bomb? Here one of them with a cool model of a X-Ray laser.

X Ray Laser

Edward Teller seems like a fine fellow, grossly exaggerating the effectiveness of the X-Ray Laser.

Edward Teller

The end titles are a small piece of genius, though, playing to the Thunderbirds theme.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 15th March 1993 – 20:00

After this, recording stops and underneath there’s a bit of The Krays before the tape stops.

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3 comments

  1. A bit of useless trivia for you – in the second illustration, we see Ewan McGregor reading the a copy of the Daily Mirror that has the headline ” WE USE FORCE IF NASSER SAYS ‘NO’ ” on the back page.

    I have just had look on the UK Press Online website and just typed in ” WE USE FORCE “, and I can tell you that the copy of the Daily Mirror that McGregor was holding was the Friday 3rd May 1956 issue of the newspaper. Lipstick on Your Collar was indeed set in 1956, so top marks to the researchers who found what looks like a reprint of that newspaper from the same year.

    According to Wikipedia, it was shown on Channel 4, but I am almost certain that it was made by Carlton (indeed) for ITV as part of their original line up during the first few months of 1993. Might have been confusing it with Head Over Heels however.

  2. I hope that you didn’t have the VCR going for his tedious final bow “Karaoke”/” Cold Lazarus” or that you did and taped over them with something people can stay awake during, like “Deputy Dawg” or Turner The Worm from Channel 4 Teletext…

  3. If you go and see Paul McCartney you want him to play the hits, and that’s what Potter did with Lipstick, the third in his lipsyncing trilogy (or whatever they’re called). I thought it was great when I first saw it, and on revisiting it found it a very fine nostalgia piece that played as if he’d written it in the 70s and dusted it off, it felt like the work of a younger Potter than he’d been recently with self-obsessed stuff like Blackeyes.

    I sort of wish it had been his last work for television, Karaoke was tolerable, but Cold Lazarus was embarrassingly banal. Science fiction isn’t as easy as it looks, and it’s a pity he had nobody to tell him that.

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