Month: July 2017

The New Adventures of Superman – Chicago Hope – tape 2023

This tape opens with the end of Pets Win Prizes. This looks like a parody.

There’s a trailer for Eureka, a science programme presented by Matthew Kelly, which I don’t remember ever seeing.

There’s also a trailer for Steve Wright’s People Show.

Then, The New Adventures of Superman, and an episode called Tempus Fugitive. Lois and Clark are visited by HG Wells, who has travelled back from the future in his time machine, with a visitor from the future.

The visitor is Tempus, and he’s not a very nice man as the first thing he does is mug a man who’s just been mugged.

He wants to go back to when Superman was a baby and kill him. They’ve made an effort with the Time machine, which has echoes of the one from George Pal’s movie.

Lois and Clark of course have to go back to stop them, which first takes them to the old west, and, Back to the Future style, they meet Clark’s great grandparents.

Tempus tells Lois that Clark is Superman, and she’s therefore very upset. I wonder if she’ll still remember by the end of the episode.

Tempus and Wells go forward to 1966, where they find the infant’s Kal-El’s spaceship, and the baby inside.

Naturally, they foil Tempus’ stupid plan, and just as naturally, Lois ends the show with no memory of Clark’s identity. This really isn’t a very good show, is it?

BBC Genome: BBC One – 24th June 1995 – 18:30

There’s a trailer for Due South which looks like it features a young Mark Ruffalo.

There’s also a trailer for Summer Holiday.

Then the start of Steve Wright’s People Show. First guest is Richard Wilson.

There’s not much of this interview before recording switches to later in the evening, and the end of the news. Top story is the Conservative leadership contest.

There’s a trailer for Out of the Blue. And one for The Vet. All these mid-budget dramas, and I wonder who remembers them? I’m sure they have their fans.

Then, Chicago Hope. It’s an episode called Great White Hope. Nothing like using references to notorious racist history.

A fifteen year old boxer dies of a heart attack from use of steroids. Adam Arkin finds out his secretary has been misusing funds to buy the janitors health insurance, and Peter MacNicol ends up holding the baby.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 24th June 1995 – 21:05

Recording switches, and there’s the end of Pets Win Prizes again.

There’s a trailer for Paul Daniels’ quiz show Wipeout. And for Junior Masterchef.

Then, more from Lois and Clark. In Whine, Whine, Whine, there’s a Daily Planet garden fete or something, and Perry White is telling fortunes.

Superman saves guitarist Jason Carter (off of Babylon 5) from being crushed by a falling speaker stack, but hurts his hand in the process. And because he’s a whiny manbaby he decides to sue Superman.

Lois is seeing therapist Barbara Bosson.

For reasons that are eluding me, everyone in this episode is watching Martin Mull on TV talking about wildlife and insects.

There’s quite a few famous faces here, including Kay Lenz as the only honest lawyer in Metropolis.

Adam West plays a Jerry Springer type – but we only see him on a crappy handheld TV. Seems like a waste.

Bruce Campbell makes a brief appearance as the head of Intergang.

The Riddler himself, Frank Gorshin, is another sleazy lawyer.

Ben Stein is another one.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 15th July 1995 – 18:30

After this, there’s a trailer for Bob Monkhouse On The Spot. And a trailer for Auntie’s Sporting Bloomers.

Then, recording just continues for the rest of the tape, so we’re treated to a whole episode of Steve Wright’s People Show.

Now, I used to enjoy listening to Steve Wright in the Afternoon, when I was younger and he was on Radio 1. So in theory I might enjoy this.

The first thing I’d say is the sound is terrible. The opening theme sounds really thin and tinny, like it’s been played down a phone. And the voiceover that accompanies it (on this episode at least) sounds like it’s been recorded from the audience mics, not taken from his actual microphone. It just sounds bad.

But, it looks like there’s some interesting guests on, so let’s see.

First guest is Kermit the Frog. He does a joke about Hugh Grant getting arrested. Nice wholesome Saturday Night family entertainment.

Next it’s the ‘two tough guys from Newcastle’ PJ and Duncan, aka Ant and Dec.

I think they did the right thing letting their music career go in favour of presenting.

There’s a comedy bit, where Steve tells someone what to do by remote control. I always hate this stuff.

Another guest is Rory Underwood.

There’s a quiz, which also involves the contestant running through the corridors of TVC up to the programme’s gallery, which is always exciting.

Kylie Minogue is the final guest.

Voiceover man does a joke. “Just last night I was up Gary Glitter’s. Who’s your most famous friend?” And most of Steve’s questions are about her posing naked for magazines.

At least she does a song.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 15th July 1995 – 19:20

There’s a trailer for programmes on Sunday.

Then a trailer for the forthcoming episode of Casualty.

Then, the National Lottery live draw, presented by Anthea Turner.

She’s joined by Terry Wogan.

The machine selection was by Clare Buckfield of 2point4 Children.

There’s a bit where Anthea is doing another introduction as the camera moves round, and you can see Terry in the background hesitate as he realises he’ll be on camera if he crosses between the two set pieces, then figures ‘blow it’ and walks across anyway.

There’s a strange running gag where Terry is trying to find Alan Dedicoat, the ‘voice of the balls’ for reasons associated with his radio show which are never adequately explained.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 15th July 1995 – 20:00

There’s a trailer for Preston Front. And for HMS Brilliant.

Then, there’s the start of Casualty, during which the tape ends.

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Star Trek – Voyager – Earth 2 – The Simpsons – Space 1999 – tape 2006

First on this tape, Star Trek Voyager and an episode called Faces. It has one fo the shortest pre-titles sequence I’ve seen. Just B’Elanna Torres tied to some kind of machine, and a voice telling her to wake up. She looks a little different, too.

She’s being experimented upon by the Vidians, and they’ve genetically altered her to be completely Klingon. It’s part of their search for a cure for the phage that’s killing them.

Things get freakier, though, when a totally human Torres turns up in the cell with Tom Paris.

So somehow the vidians can create a completely Klingon clone and completely human clone (or is one of them not a clone?) but they can’t cure a single disease.

It’s not a bad episode, though. Torres gets lots to do.

After this, recording continues briefly with the start of, probably, an episode of Highlander. It’s blokes with swords, anyway.

Then recording switches to the end of an episode of MASH.

There’s a bizarre advert for Lemsip, in which Michael Fenton Stevens (Martin Brown from Radioactive) feeds Lemsip to a Sumo wrestler.

Then, an episode of Earth 2. Clancy Brown (Danziger) is lost. He’s stumbling about the generic landscape, trying to contact the colony, and he’s in a bit of distress.

But fear not, as he collapses, he’s rescued by a mysterious hooded figure, who takes him to a mysterious underground hideout peopled with characters we’ve never seen before, and his rescuer is none other than Roy Dotrice.

I mean, really? You’re ripping off the whole Beauty and the Beast subterranean civilisation, and you have so little imagination you just have to cast the same actor as their leader?

There’s someone else who’s more in charge, though. We know that because he’s got an eyepatch, and someone calls him The Governor. The way he’s revealed it’s possible we might be supposed to recognise him, and he does look familiar, but I haven’t paid a huge amount of attention to this show while watching it so I’ve no idea if he’s been seen before.

Somehow. the people back at the colony get a message, psychically, telling them that Devon has to come to find Danziger, and has to come alone. She finds the new community, and an ill Danziger. Danziger’s daughter has also stowed away.

The governor has been telepathically communicating with Devon, via the aliens who live on the planet. That’s why he asked her to come alone. She knows him as Shepherd.

But Danziger’s daughter learns that Shepherd is a murderer who had been sent to the planet when it was a penal colony. Devon is conflicted, because they’ve got a connection.

Then, more details of Shepherd’s life arise, as he tells Devon that it was his sister who was the evil one. When they arrived on the planet, her sleep pod opened long before the others, so she’s now an old woman, and threatens him if he tries to leave. It’s always the woman’s fault.

Devon, and the Danzigers, are going to leave when she has second thoughts, and goes to persuade Shepherd to come with her, and the old sister goes full psycho, forcing Danziger to kill her.

But Shepherd was killed in the fight (by the sister) and so Devon is sad.

I wish I was more engaged by this show, but I’m afraid it just bores me.

After this, there’s the start of an episode of Picket Fences, then recording switches and we catch the end of Star Trek The Next Generation, before an episode of The Simpsons. This is Bart the General. It’s a very early episode, so Homer’s voice is still a bit strange.

It’s all about Nelson the bully, and Bart’s attempts to face up to him. Grandpa decides they need help from the Nazi Memorabilia guy. Remember when he was just a funny character?

After this, recording switches again, to a programme that wasn’t marked on the tape, nor was it in my tapes database. It’s Space 1999 and part one of The Bringers of Wonder.

When Martin Landau died recently (nine days ago as I write this) it had been a few weeks since I’d last seen the show, so I felt my blog curse wasn’t responsible. But then this tape turned up. The fact that the episode was unmarked somehow makes it seem more significant, like my collection is trying to trick me. If I weren’t a rationalist, all these coincidences might actually worry me.

But at least it gives me a chance to voice a small appreciation of Martin Landau. He didn’t quite have the warmth and swagger of William Shatner’s Captain Kirk (the most obvious comparison for his Commander Koenig) but you can’t fault his ability to take the material absolutely seriously, even when it was frequently a load of old tosh.

The only problem with this episode, being part one of two, is that he’s unconscious as the episode starts (this recording misses the opening few minutes) so he doesn’t have a lot to do initially.

A Superswift spacecraft, is travelling towards Alpha, faster than light.

The first face they see from the ship is Guido, Tony’s brother.

When the crew of the Superswift arrives, it’s full of people who know the Alphans. Sandra gets a snog from Nicholas Young off of The Tomorrow People.

Much of this episode was recapped in part two, which I looked at a while ago, but I love the blobby aliens so much we need another picture of them.

And this isn’t a bad cliffhanger.

The tape ends after this episode.

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The X Files – UFO – tape 2127

First on this tape, the last episode of season 2 of the X Files, Anasazi, so it’ll probably make no sense to me.

After an opening where a seemingly alien body is discovered on a Navajo reservation, a hacker steals the government’s master file of UFO conspiracy information.

After a meeting with the Lone Gunmen, Mulder meets witht he hacker who stole the file, and gets the tape it’s on. This show clearly predates memory sticks (it might even predate USB) and an optical disc wasn’t used for some reason. 1995 might be too early for that stuff. At least it wasn’t a floppy, although it would be funny if the hacker had to hand over a bog box of floppies.

Mulder hasn’t been sleeping, and he gets annoyed when he finds out the file is gibberish.

Or is it? Scully recognises it as Navajo, used by the code talkers in World War 2.

Mulder loses his temper with Skinner and punches him. Scully is grilled by a lot of senior agents about Mulder’s state of mind. One of those agents is played by series creator Chris Carter.

Mulder’s dad gets a visit from the Cigarette Smoking Man, and learns that the file is missing. He calls Mulder to his house, and tells him, cryptically, that he’s mentioned in the files. Then, in a presumably shocking twist, he’s bumped off by rogue agent Krycek.

There’s lots of emoting and heartbreak for Mulder in this episode, as it looks like everyone’s against him. So It’s not surprising that he co-wrote the story with Chris Carter. It definitely smacks of vanity, giving Mulder all the exciting stuff, and leaving Scully to do the boring detective work.

They end up with the Navajo from the opening, who show Mulder the buried refrigeration car where they found the alien body. But then the Cigarette Smoking Man turns up, Mulder somehow vanishes from inside the boxcar, and CSM orders the boxcar burned. Cue cliffhanger.

And I must apologize, because I don’t have the next episode to hand. Sorry. I hope Mulder survived.

Next, it’s an episode of UFO. This is called The Square Triangle. Patrick Mower and Adrienne Corri guest star as two people behaving very oddly. They’re clearly having some kind of assignation, and there’s a gun involved. Meanwhile, a UFO has made it through the Earth’s defences, and Shado are searching for it.

A man walking his dog comes across the UFO and is attacked by the alien pilot, so his dog comes to his aid.

We get to see an alien without his helmet

Mower and Corri are secret lovers, and are planning to kill her husband. He’s coming home, and the plan is for her to shoot him as he enters the house, and claim that she was roused from sleep and thought he was an intruder.

It’s all going swimmingly until he arrives earlier than expected. She shoots him dead, but it’s not him, it’s the alien.

Shado arrives, takes them to HQ to have their mind wiped, but then meet the returning husband, and Foster and Freeman put the plan together. They realise that the two had intended to shoot her husband, but with their minds wiped, and no body available for authorities, they can’t do anything except release them.

And, in another of UFO’s famously bleak endings, here’s the final shot.

Dark as Pitch.

Next, more X files, but we’re way into season 4, with Paper Hearts. Or ‘Paper Harts’ as Amazon Fire TV Stick calls it. They own iMDb for heaven’s sake, surely this is an automated process? Or does somebody sit there and type in episode names from, I don’t know, VHS covers?

Anyway, this episode is written by Vince Gilligan, now the behemoth behind Breaking Bad.

It opens rather charmingly, as Mulder wakes up, and sees a laser beam telling him to follow it.

It takes him out of doors, to a park, then, in a less charming way, leads him to a dead young girl.

Who then sinks into the ground.

Then Mulder wakes up, but the dream has led him to find a long dead body. And it points to a serial killer who Mulder put away many years ago, who killed 13 girls, and cut out heart shapes from their dresses.

The killer is played by Tom Noonan, a dab hand at serial killers, after his turn as the Tooth Fairy in Manhunter. And as the programme goes on, Mulder keeps having more dreams, one of which tells him that his sister, Samantha, might have been one of his victims.

So there’s a bit of a cat and mouse element here, which goes a bit awry when Mulder takes Noonan out of prison to get the truth about his sister. Then, because Mulder’s the worst FBI agent in the world, Noonan escapes his custody, menaces another little girl, and Mulder has to shoot him to save the girl, thus never learning the real truth about his sister.

I think I’ve made that sound worse than it is. It’s actually a rather fine episode, with good performances, especially from the reliable Noonan.

After this, the recording stops, and underneath, there’s a bit of an episode of The Persuaders featuring Denholm Elliot in a cardigan. The tape ends during this.

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ER – tape 2129

After we last left ER at the end of the first season, here’s the first episode of the second season, Welcome Back Carter. It looks like they’ve hired Stomp for the opening, judging by the rhythm track.

Talking of Stomp, did you know Stomp have groupies? I was once in a shop which faced the stage door of the theatre where Stomp’s west end show was playing, and the door was thronging with (mostly) young girls looking for autographs. For some reason, I didn’t really think it was the kind of show where you even knew the names of the people involved.

The opening shows a drive by shooting, and once the victim has reached ER, Benton is looking for Carter, who is stuck in traffic on his way back from holiday. Carter is an idiot. Who schedules their holiday so that they fly back on the same day as they’re expected back at work?

He appears to be even more of an idiot when he can’t answer any of the basic anatomy questions that Benton and the other surgeons throw at him.

It’s the first appearance of Dr Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes).

The next episode is Summer Run. Nurse Hathaway goes on a run with some paramedics.

This episode is directed by Eric Laneuville, who was an actor in St Elsewhere.

William H Macy is back as the chief of surgery. I wonder if his absence from the second half of the first season was because he had a film project?

The next episode jumps forward quite a bit in the season to It’s Not Easy Being Greene. Dr Greene is upset when he’s told the hospital is settling the malpractice quit from Bradley Whitford whose wife died after a traumatic delivery. Plus Dr Benton suspects another doctor is fudging a medical study by excluding patients who might badly affect the results.

After this, there’s a few strange recording changes. This recording continues until an episode of Friends starts, then it switches to Newsnight for about ten seconds, then another ten seconds or so of a trailer for This Life, then it finally switches to a recording of The Learning Zone and the start of The Physics of Ball Games.

The tape ends during this programme.

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The X Files – tape 2021

This tape marks another small milestone – I’ve moved onto my fourth hard drive of digitised tapes. So I’ve already looked at 12 TB of video for this project.

The total stats so far are:

  • Number of tapes blogged: about 1450
  • Number of tapes digitised so far: 2709
  • Number of tapes I’ve yet to digitise: 275

So I’m actually close to halfway through the collection. But at the current rate of one tape per day, it’ll still be 2021 before I’m finished.

For this tape, it’s back to Sky One now with some second season episode of The X Files. In continuity terms, these are around the other episodes we’ve seen recently, near the end of season 2.

First it’s Fearful Symmetry. An invisible elephant goes rampaging through a town. Luckily it becomes visible just before a truck hits it.

This episode is written by Steve De Jarnatt, of Miracle Mile fame.

Oh look, it’s Lance Guest off of The Last Starfighter. He’s playing an animal rights activist.

There’s an appearance from the Lone Gunmen, Mulder’s tame conspiracy theorists.

At one point, Scully has to help autopsy an elephant – most of this scene is missing here – I’m watching the show on Amazon Prime so I occasionally notice these excisions.

After a few more animal disappearances, Mulder reaches the only logical conclusion. The animals are being abducted by aliens, impregnated, then abducted later to harvest their organs, and some ‘astrological variation’ is causing them to be put back in the wrong place. Another episode where the ending just shrugs and says ‘I dunno, maybe it was aliens.’

Skipping the previously reviewed Dod Kalm, the next episode here is Humbug. There’s a good opening, where two boys are playing in a hot tub, and are suddenly surprised by a very scarred man – who turns out to be their father, ‘The Alligator Man’ and harmless. But then he’s attacked himself by something else. It’s a nice fake-out opening.

Oh look, it’s Michael Anderson, from Twin Peaks, talking forwards for once.

Vincent Schiavelli plays another ex-carnival performer. Isn’t it always great to see Vincent Schiavelli.

There’s some really funny dialogue here. When one of the performers bangs a nail into his nose (a standard carnival trick) he tells Mulder “Did you know you can train your testicles to draw up into your abdomen?” “I’m doing that as we speak” replies Mulder.

I guess it should be no surprise that this episode is written by Darin Morgan, who only wrote a handful of episodes, but they were all rather quirky and funny.

The mysterious killer turns out to be Schiavelli’s deformed, conjoined twin, who can detach himself from Schiavelli then go looking for a new twin – unfortunately the victims die as a result. There’s a climax in a hall of mirrors, of course.

The next episode is The Calusari. A little boy is run over by a miniature train, seemingly because of his creepy older brother.

But things are even weirder at home, with the wife’s mother being convinced that the father is the devil. So when the father is accidentally hanged by his garage door opening mechanism, maybe it’s the mother in law.

There’s another missing scene here, when the mother in law and some of her friends enact some kind of ritual with a chicken. We don ‘t get to see any of it on this recording, despite there being important narrative information there. There’s even more missing when the son holds up a couple of chickens then throws them at the mother in law, who’s then pecked to death. You wouldn’t be able to make head or tail of this story based on what’s presented in this recording. There’s an exorcism scene near the end which also has huge chunks cut out.

By a rough calculation, I’d say this episode is missing over three minutes of footage. Seems odd, given that Sky were probably showing this after the 9pm watershed.

The final episode on this tape is F Emasculata, which I’ve already looked at when it showed on BBC2.

After that, there’s the start of Models Inc before the tape ends.

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Star Trek – Deep Space Nine – A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies – A Very Peculiar Practice – tape 2004

First on this tape, Deep Space Nine. Jake is seeing a Dabo girl. He’s worried when she tells him that his father has invited her to a family dinner.

Quark is persuaded to buy some wreckage, and is rather surprised to find an alien baby there.

Sisko finds himself surprisingly broody, remembering when Jake was a baby.

He doesn’t get too much chance to be broody, though, as the alien grows as an incredible rate.

Pretty soon, the mystery of what kind of alien he is is solved – he’s a Jem Hadar, one of the race who are the military wing of the founders.

Odo thinks he can overcome the violence programmed into him, but is ultimately disappointed. Meanwhile, Sisko finds that Jake’s girlfriend is thoughtful and cares about him. I’d say the fact she’s 20 and he’s 16 remains a big issue.

After this, there’s the start of Entertainment Tonight with a piece on two ‘documentary style films’ about modelling.

Shortly into this, recording switches, and we have A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies. This is part 2, The Director as Illusionist.

Lots of early discussion of DW Griffiths, and Cecil B DeMille.

King Vidor talks about the problems that arose when sound arrived.

Howard Hawks talks about his shooting style.

There’s an interesting segment where Scorsese asks if technology in film implies lesser art. George Lucas, Francis Coppola and Brian De Palma have opinions.

Fritz Lang talk about violence.

Billy Wilder talks about categorizing his pictures. “If they laugh it’s a comedy.”

After this, recording switches to UK Gold, and the end of an episode of Edge of Darkness. Even this short piece is brilliant. I could watch it endlessly. “Well if it gets out of hand, shoot him. Remember he’s American, so not basically on our side.”

Then, the first episode of A Very Peculiar Practice. It’s all change, but it’s nice that the programme shelled out the money for Amanda Hillwood to make an appearance so we know why she’s not in this series.

There’s a new medical centre, and Rose Marie has staked out her office as a ‘women only sanctuary.’ Dr Daker (Peter Davison) does, indeed, drop the “What about men, don’t they need a sanctuary?” line.

And Dr Daker makes a terrible first impression on Joanna Kanska, but to be fair so does she to him.

After this episode, there’s the start of an episode of Warship. The tape ends shortly into this.

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Empire of the Censors – Doing Rude Things – The Devils – tape 2007

There’s a certain amount of deja vu with this tape, as the first part of it was also on the previous tape from BBC2’s Forbidden weekend – it’s actor Saskia Reeves talking about her first X film, Don’t Look Now.

There’s a trailer for Doing Rude Things, coming later.

Then, part two of the documentary series Empire of the Censors presented by Richard E Grant.

Naturally, it’s going to have some shocking things, but I didn’t expect the first thing to be a particularly nasty horse fall.

Gosh, Bernardo Bertolucci looks young here, I presume this was contemporaneous with the release of Last Tango in Paris. He doesn’t look like a rape enabler, does he?

I know I should be interested in the serious debate about censorship, but WOW LOOK AT THE EMPIRE LEICESTER SQUARE IN 1979!

Here’s film critic Philip French

This programme goes from the 70s, covers the Video Nasties era. Naturally, Mary Whitehouse appears.

Alexander Walker talks about how outgoing censor John Trevelyan was leaving a poisoned chalice, with the new crop of violent films, like Straw Dogs, Bonnie and Clyde, etc. “He could see that the morality code of Hollywood had broken down.” Walker was terribly moralistic on one hand, but could be ferociously outspoken in defence of artistic freedom on the other.

Tom Dewe Mathews talks about A Clockwork Orange. He points out that the laserdisc version of the film he’s showing would be illegal to buy in the UK. In fact, the film was unavailable on video or DVD until Kubrick died, since it was his decision to remove it from sale or presentation in the UK.

Last Tango in Paris was another controversial film. In Italy, director Bertolucci, and Marlon Brando, were sentenced to a suspended prison sentence, and demanded the film be burnt. Which seems harsh, even though it is one of the most boring film I’ve seen.

Remember when the Swiss Centre had a cinema?

A young Alexander Walker was called as a defence witness when a private prosecution was brought against the film in the UK.

Here’s the Warner West End, for The Exorcist.

The programme gives a list of local councils who banned the film, including Colwyn District Council (but only on Sundays).

The censor of the time, Stephen Murphy, resigned, and was replaced by possibly the most famous censor of all time, James Ferman.

One interesting fact to learn is that, prior to 1977, films didn’t fall under the obscene publications act, and it was Ferman who pushed for that to be changed.

Rosemary Stark, who worked as a BBFC examiner at the time, was very worried with the idea of men deciding what should or shouldn’t be censored, from a feminist point of view. James Ferman once said to her “You don’t understand, I’m a better feminist than the women.”

Look at the state of this, as Grant talks about the advent of the VCR and its disruptive effect on cinema. Such photorealistic special effects…

Stephen Woolley of Palace Pictures talks about the early days of the home video market.

Graham Bright was the MP who tabled a private member’s bill to bring home video under government control. I didn’t like him very much.

Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw says, in an election interview, that he believes violent videos are “an incentive to crime.” After the election, the tories brought in the Video Recordings Act, and the BBFC had to massively increase its staff to cope with the need for video censorship.

The board’s weird fixation with martial arts weapons, particularly nunchucks, seems odder and odder as time goes by.

The Hungerford Massacre was around this time, and the press were convinced that the killer must have been influenced by video. One eyewitness says he saw him with a headband, so he must have been acting out Rambo. “There’s no evidence that he had a VCR let alone that he saw any Rambo movies” says Rosemary Stark.

The subject of ‘sex education videos’ comes up. Here’s the director of some of them. Either he’s still a bit embarrassed by his past, or he thinks he looks really cool like this.

There’s one of the experts who presented ‘The Lover’s Guide’, Andrew Stanway. He’s probably the most fast-forwarded man in history.

The James Bulger case is discussed, because there were stories in the press that the two murderers were re-enacting scenes from Child’s Play 3. Not even the best Child’s Play movie. This story was mentioned in Children of the Videoseen recently. But Child’s Play 3 doesn’t feature any scenes of boys torturing or murdering a toddler, and there was no evidence at all that the boys had even seen the film.

Idiot MP David Alton even talks about “the ultraviolent videos, the Child’s Play 3 videos” proving he’s never seen a real horror film in his life.

Discussing Natural Born Killers, Oliver Stone leads with “Your tabloid press in England is probably the worst in the world.” It’s hard to disagree. He was cross about the BBFC withdrawing a previously agreed certificate for the film when there were stories about the film inspiring several murders in the US – stories without any foundation we now know.

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 29th May 1995 – 20:30 (for the whole evening)

After this, there’s another Talking Xs, this time featuring Helen Chadwick talking about Zorba the Greek.

There’s a trailer for The Devils.

Then, Doing Rude Things, a history of the British Sex Film, presented by Angus Deayton, here outside the Prince Charles Cinema (at last a cinema that still looks more or less the same).

Some of the big names in British sex films are interviewed. George Harrison Marks is somehow perfect as a man who used to make nudie films.

Edward Craven Walker made nudist films as propaganda, since he also owned a nudist camp.

Pamela Green was the star of many of the early films.

John Trevelyan was the chief censor at the time.

David McGillivray wrote the book on which this programme is mostly based.

Francoise Pascal (centre) will be familiar with anyone who used to watch Mind Your Language in the 70s.

Robin Askwith inevitably turns up.

After this, another Talking Xs featuring John Peel talking about House of Wax.

Then a trailer for The Outer Limits.

Then, Alex Cox introduces Ken Russell’s The Devils. Also including a lengthy contribution from head of the BBFC James Ferman.

The version that’s shown here is the original UK cut, which had about 90 seconds of cuts according to Ferman. So this is a more complete version that the version that was then currently available on video, and it might still be the case, as I know fans of the film have been trying to get Warner Bros to release an uncut version for many years.

Talking of Warner Bros, here’s their particularly horrible 1970s logo.

I have a soft spot for Ken Russell. I’ve actually met him a couple of times, when he came to shoot films at Gaddesden Place, when I was working there for Computer Concepts. But I don’t always get on with his films.

The Devils looks amazing. The designer was Derek Jarman, and he’s created a very stark, bright look for the city at the start, with white buildings and large architecture.

Oliver Reed is a priest, Father Grandier.

Vanessa Redgrave is a hunchbacked nun who seems to have something of an obsession with him.

Gemma Jones pops upas the woman Grandier marries secretly.

Grandier seems to run the town of Loudon, and doesn’t bother with all that celibacy nonsense. But his creepy world is threatened when the King’s messenger, Dudley Sutton, arrives with orders to tear down the city’s fortifications, and root out Hugenot spies. It’s nice to see Dudley Sutton in a full on dramatic role, since he’s most familiar to me as the affable teacher Mr Carter in The Beiderbecke Affair.

The King is being advised to take over the government of all the cities and towns, which is why the fortifications are being torn down. It’s Cardinal Richelieu who’s doing all the plotting and scheming, so naturally, he doesn’t like Grandier.

For some reason, Richelieu is ferried around on a trolley. I wonder if they borrowed this in The Silence of the Lambs?

There’s a lot of familiar faces dotted among the cast. Here (on the right) is Brian Murphy, Mr Roper from Man About the House and George and Mildred.

As I said earlier, I don’t always get on with Russell’s films, and this is no exception. It’s beautifully shot, the design is wonderful, and the performances are all fine, but I only have a small tolerance for tales of religious hysteria and hypocrisy, so once the witch hunting starts, I start to zone out, and no amount of bald, naked, shrieking nuns can hold my attention.

Sorry, Ken.

By the way, when I was watching him on set, filming Gothic, one of the technicians told me his nickname on set was Jabba the Hutt.