Quantum Leap – Tribute to Dennis Potter – tape 1788

The first episode on this tape is Revenge of the Evil Leaper, from the final season of Quantum Leap. This is at the end of a short arc, and I really don’t remember the details of the previous episodes. It’s not helped by missing the prologue and the titles, starting a few minutes into the episode.

Sam has leaped with another leaper (Alia), and they’re worried about being pursued by (I think) her version of Al, so Sam hypnotises her to think she’s only the person she leaped into.

They’ve leaped into a women’s prison. They probably need to prevent one of them being hanged for the murder of another prisoner.

To complicate things, another leaper leaps into the body of the prison governor. I presume this is the evil leaper, since her shiny special effect is red, rather than blue.

Evil Leaper

Her version of Al is about as annoying as Al. And he’s new.

Alternate Al

She’s Zoey, who used to be Alia’s hologram guide. Alia is/was the titular evil leaper from previous episodes. Zoey is played by Carolyn Seymour, who we’ve seen as Abby Grant in the first season of Survivors.

Carolyn Seymour

Another unusual aspect of this episode is that we get to see Al in the waiting room, with the actual people who have been replaced by Sam and Alia.

Waiting Room

This is undoubtedly the most meta Quantum Leap got, with three leapers, two holograms, frequently in the same place, with different characters sometimes able to see each other, sometimes not. It could get deeply confusing.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 17th May 1994 – 21:00

After the episode, a trailer for Goal TV, and a trailer for Saturday Night television, featuring Jools Holland and Chrissie Hynde.

Then recording switches, and we have the end of an episode of Home Front. Trailers for Later with Jools Holland, and a trailer for Goal TV and a whole evening of football related programmes.

Then, more leaping, with The Beast Within in which Sam appears to leap into the body of a furry.

Furry Sam Beckett

The titles are intact, and my god, the re-orchestrated title theme is absolutely horrible. I know the original was a bit cheesy, but this new arrangement is beyond awful. It sounds like something Paul Hardcastle would reject as being a bit rubbish.

In this episode, Sam has to help a Vietnam Vet with his seizures. There’s also a young boy who thinks he’s seen Bigfoot, but who probably mistook Sam.

Except at the end, where they glimpse a rather unconvincing actual bigfoot.

The Actual Bigfoot

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 24th May 1994 – 21:00

Before the next episode, there’s a Gary Rhodes cookery show just ending, including a guest appearance by the Nolans.

There’s a trailer for the Simon Mayo morning show. Then a trailer for Fine Cut about the trial of Judas Priest. Plus a trailer for Safe.

Then another Quantum Leap episode, The Leap Between the States, when Sam breaks one of the cardinal rules of the show, when he leaps way beyond his own lifespan, to 1862 and the Civil War.

He’s jumped into the body of an ancestor, a soldier in the Union army. He has to protect a local Virginian woman, her black slave, and the escaped slave family he’s keeping hidden.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 31st May 1994 – 21:00

After this, we have a Late Show special, Dennis Potter: A Life in Television. I wish I liked Dennis Potter more as a writer. I really feel like I must be missing something, but all I can see in the ones I’ve watched is an old man obsessed with younger women, and traumatised by an early sexual experience. Again and again.

Amongst the luminaries interviewed were then controller of BBC 1 Alan Yentob

Alan Yentob

Writer Alan Plater

Alan Plater

And even some people who aren’t called Alan.

This programme went out in place of Quantum Leap, hence it being on this particular tape. So the Genome entry is actually this: BBC Two – 7th June 1994 – 21:00

There was a revised schedule for Tuesday.

Revised Schedule for Tuesday

There’s a trailer for Michael Frayn’s A Landing on the Sun.

Then, the start of One Foot in the Past with Kirsty Wark. Shortly into this, recording stops, and underneath it’s Kirsty Wark yet again, in Newsnight, discussing youth training, and, of course, Britain’s role in Europe.

The tape ends after fifteen minutes of this programme.

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5 comments

  1. You can see the writers bending themselves in knots to justify Sam leaping into his ancestor.

    I personally had trouble with the one where he jumped into Dr. Ruth – chimps? Fine. Vampires? Fine. Elvis Presley? Fine. But annoying pintsized sex therapists? I draw the line.

  2. “Or is it C: Gary Rhodes?”

    Er, anyway, I completely agree about the revamped QL theme tune, the original had a nice laid back vibe but the rerecording spoiled it. See also what they did with the Man from UNCLE theme back in the 60s (RIP Robert Vaughn).

    1. I think I must have had a brain fart over that Gary Rhodes sentence. It should say ‘guest appearance from The Nolans’.

      Lots of theme tunes seem to get a revamp,often to make it a bit more funky. Like Blake’s 7 and Deep Space Nine, both of which had additional rhythm tracks to try to make the theme a bit more toe tapping. QL was just the extreme end of this.

    2. On the bright side they brought back the original version for the final episode – whereas “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” got Gerald Fried to an arrangement for the final season that was extremely unusual (and unused).

  3. That was the first time in my life I experienced fan outrage. QL was mine! I owned it! Who were these monumental tosspots getting rid of the classic theme? But I swallowed my bile, and was really glad when the original theme was reinstated for the final episode. The final season was, by and large, the strongest of the lot, the wretched Dr Ruth episode and one or two others aside. The difference in quality between, say, season 1 and season 4 or 5 is staggeringly large. Definitely a case of a sci-fi show improving over time.

    Al, memories of 1994. So much good TV – The Day Today, Alan Partridge, Deep Space Nine… and I think the Beeb repeated The World At War that year too (I’d never seen it before). And perhaps a week or two from the transmission of QL’s final episode in the UK (July 1994?), my life changed forever. BBC2 started repeating Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Teenage mind blown. Blown to pieces. Still picking them up today, in fact.

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