This tape opens with one of the ‘Isn’t the BBC Great?’ adverts, with Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones doing a head to head, but then Smith is replaced by a lot of BBC celebrities, using an early example of morphing. Here’s Sharon from Eastenders morphing into Noel Edmonds. You’re welcome for the nightmares.
Then, a new series of Quantum Leap starts with Heart of a Champion, as Sam leaps into a wrestler. He’s part of a tag team of Russian brothers (who aren’t russian) and he’s shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn that the wrestling bouts are heavily scripted.
It’s shaping up to be just like every other QL sports show. There’s a femme fatale married to an important figure who has the hots for Sam, although this time he’s a rival wrestler
Sam’s there because his brother will die in the ring during a title bout, but nobody, least of all his brother, believes him. So Sam has to fight the two other wrestlers for an hour before he finally wins.
Not my favourite episode.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 16th February 1993 – 21:00
In the next episode, Nuclear Family, Sam leaps into a member of a family obsessed with the possibility of nuclear war. He’s a nuclear bunker salesman.
It’s an interesting look at the paranoia of the early 60s, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 23rd February 1993 – 21:00
Before the next episode, there’s the end of Food & Drink, and a trailer for 40 Minutes, which looks like an episode of Ibiza Uncovered.
Then, more Quantum Leap with Shock Theater. Sam is in a mental hospital, with a male nurse trying to give him shock treatment.
He keeps manifesting personalities from the people he’s leapt into in the past, so all the doctors think he’s showing multiple personality disorder.
All in all, this is a bit dull, but the ending is great, as Sam gets shocked once more, then leaps out, but something strange has happened in the leap. Sam’s still in his hospital gown, and Al is in uniform. And Al can’t move through things, but Sam can. A great cliffhanger.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 2nd March 1993 – 21:00
The last episode is The Leap Back. Al is in the body of a soldier returning from being a POW in World War II. It’s quite amusing, as Sam doesn’t have Al’s remote control gizmo, and has started to take on some of Al’s personality.
But the episode gets really interesting when Sam works out how to get the door to the imaging chamber open without the handset – they send a letter to Gushy the programmer with the emergency override code, to let them know Sam’s in the chamber. As soon as they send the letter, the door to the chamber opens, and Sam can go out.
He has an emotional reunion with Donna, his wife, whom he had forgotten through all his leaping, and has to try to get Ziggy the computer to work out what Al needs to do to leap.
I have to say, the design of the interior of the Quantum Leap project is rather disappointing. It looks like a badly lit 1980s Game Show set.
But this was a nice episode, giving us more of a glimpse into the project, and an undeniably emotional punch with his reunion with his wife, and his return to leaping.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 9th March 1993 – 21:00
After this, there’s a trailer for The Late Show on Frank Zappa. Then, the recording stops, and underneath there’s a short bit of a Labour Part Political Broadcast. The tape ends just after the broadcast ends.
Death Watch Note: I feel compelled to note the passing on 23rd July of director Joe Napolitano, who directed two of the episodes on this tape. I’m so very sorry.