Donovan’s Brain – Thirtysomething – tape 954

As part of Channel 4’s Future Features, here’s Donovan’s Brain, a title that’s very familiar, taken from a novel by Curt Siodmak, but which I can’t recall if I’ve ever seen.

Scientists who happen to be experimenting on keeping monkey brains alive are asked to help save the life of a millionaire, Donovan, who was in a plane crash. When they fail to save his life, they decide to try keeping the brain alive.

During the ad break, there’s an apology for poor reception in the Anglia region “due to the unusually warm weather conditions we’re enjoying.”

They keep the brain functioning, and want to try to communicate with it. After learning as much as they can about his life, they wonder if telepathy would help.

The brain starts controlling the scientist, and under Donovan’s control he starts visiting banks, and basically being a bit of a corrupt businessman. He’s trying to create a place to keep his brain alive.

Along the way, he gets a reporter to kill himself, and the scientist tries to make plans to destroy the brain, which they eventually do during a thunderstorm.

It’s a bit of a potboiler, if I’m honest.

After this, a random episode of Thirtysomething. It’s a season finale, and Michael and Elliot are plotting to help in a takeover of the advertising agency from under the nose of tyrannical box Miles Drentell (the great David Clennon).

Michael is the worst plotter ever, skulking around the office, trying to look at stuff in Miles’ office. And Elliot (Timothy Busfield) is no better, turning up undercover to scope out a potential ‘white knight’.

While all this is happening, Michael is having his bathroom remodelled by a young woman. It’s a nice piece of casting that pays off later.

Drentell almost starts interviewing his people with a lie detector, but Michael talks him out of it quite cleverly, a rare bit of competence in this cloak and dagger business.

In the end, Miles manages to get control of a controlling share of the company, meaning the takeover can’t happen. And when Michael goes into the office on Monday Morning, he meets someone familiar leaving, who offers ‘no hard feelings’.

Yes, she was a plant, put there by Drentell. Who then surprises Michael by not firing him, and insisting that he needs him to stay at the company. Michael even gets Elliot his job back.

After this, there’s some coverage of the Tour of Britain.

Then, the start of a film, with Nickolas Grace as Federico Garcia Lorca in Lorca Death of a Poet. The tape ends during this film.

A couple of notable adverts here. First, a Schweppes advert with John Cleese, which is the punchline to a series of far less elaborate ads in which Cleese was trying to determine what aspect of Schweppes tonic most appealed to people, arriving at the answer ‘Citric Bite’.

Then, this advert appears.

I thought it was quite funny at the time.

Then, there’s a star studded Nat West advert.

Adverts:

  • McDonalds
  • Clairol Finale
  • Woolworth’s
  • Polo
  • Kaliber – Billy Connolly
  • Sunday Express
  • Wild Orchid in cinemas
  • Our Price – The Summer of Love
  • Metropolitan Police Recruitment
  • Burger King
  • Total Recall in cinemas
  • Copperhead Cider
  • Tower Records – The Wild One
  • Schweppes Tonic Water – John Cleese
  • Carlsberg
  • Levi 501
  • Sunday Express
  • Chessington World of Adventures
  • trail: American Football
  • trail: The Muscle Market
  • Petits Filous
  • Lanson
  • Cadbury’s Boost
  • Sunday Express
  • Asti Spumante
  • Nat West
  • Tampax
  • Schweppes Tonic Water – John Cleese
  • Rice Krispies
  • Red Rock Cider – Leslie Nielsen
  • trail: Hollywood Legends: Cary Grant
  • trail: The Muscle Market
  • Clairol Finale
  • Asti Spumante
  • Diet Pepsi
  • Polo
  • L’Oreal Nouriance
  • Gaymer’s Olde English
  • Sunday Telegraph
  • Total Recall in cinemas
  • trail: Power in the Pacific
  • trail: American Football
  • Nat West
  • Copperhead Cider
  • Total Recall in cinemas
  • Chessington World of Adventures
  • Perrier
  • trail: Equinox
  • Clairol Finale
  • Tennents Extra
  • Days of Thunder in cinemas
  • Nat West – Jennifer Saunders, Harry Enfield, Peter Cook
  • Walker’s Crisps
  • Sunday Telegraph
  • Kit Kat
  • Thorpe Park
  • trail: The Muscle Market
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4 comments

  1. Drentell later turned up in another very good series from the same creators, “Once And Again.” I was annoyed when Sky 1 dropped the show after season 1. Though like “The West Wing,” it stuck out like a sore thumb in their schedules…

  2. You didn’t mention the leading lady in Donovan’s Brain was Nancy Reagan (nee Davis), future First Lady and anti-drugs advocate.

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