The X Files – Out of This World – Jumpin’ Jack Flash – tape 2324

First on this tape, from Sky One, The X Files and an episode called Avatar. It starts with Skinner receiving papers he has to sign and he doesn’t want to – it’s his divorce papers.

Then he goes out and picks up a woman, or rather she picks him up, which is never a good sign in this sort of programme.

They canoodle, and he has a strange dream about an old woman’s face, before waking up and finding his partner of the evening dead.

He keeps seeing the old woman, in scenes that are reminiscent of Roeg’s Don’t Look Now.

But it all turns out to be a conspiracy inside the FBI to get Skinner ousted and shut down the X Files (obviously it all has to be about Mulder – Duchovny has a story credit on this) and it ends with Skinner still in place, and his marriage possibly on slightly better footing.

After this, recording switches to BBC1 for the end of the news.

There’s a trailer for Inside Story. Then Newsroom South-East. Weather news from Peter Cockcroft.

Trailers for Parkinson: The Interviews featuring Shirley Maclaine and Lauren Bacall. And also one for the Stephen King mini-series The Stand.

Then, a lovely treat, which wasn’t marked in my database. It’s another episode of Carol Vorderman’s slightly credulous paranormal show Out of This World.

They start with a piece about big cats loose in the countryside. There’s compelling footage of a big cat on the horizon.

The young Sloggett brothers, Matthew and Jonathan, breathlessly describe their encounter with one of the wild animals.

Their father is a reverend so you know the boys can’t be lying.

The programme tries to replicate the video of the big cat by seeing what it looks like if they let a regular cat run across the horizon and video it. It does look very similar.

But Peter Bircher, curator of Marwell Zoo, examines the original footage and says, on balance, he thinks it’s a fox.

Next there’s a piece investigating the claims made by Carol Everett, who claims she can diagnose medical problems through psychic means.

Heartthrob psychologist Dr Richard Wiseman tests the claims, with five test subjects who have to be diagnosed, then judge the accuracy of the diagnoses. In this simple test she only got one out of five, which is well within chance.

Next, there’s the story about Edith Pretty, and the discovery on her property of the Sutton Hoo Anglo Saxon treasure. It’s claimed she saw visions of soldiers in the area of the dig, and that’s why they excavated the burial mounds.

There’s the results of the series’ test into luck. They asked people to answer a questionnaire about how lucky they considered themselves, and also if they were playing the National Lottery at the weekend. It then saw whether lucky people won more that unlucky people. The answer was, not significantly.

The last story is quite batty, but interesting. It’s about a strange group who have a box containing the prophecies of Joanna Southcott, and they claim that the box needs to be opened in the presence of 24 bishops, to avoid the end of the world. “It was opened three times in her lifetime, and the prophecies were found to be accurate.” This sounds exactly like “The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch” from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens.

Here’s the whole show.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 13th August 1996 – 21:30

After this, there’s a trailer for a week of classic Star Trek episodes. Then a trailer for Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy.

Then, recording continues, with Whoopi Goldberg’s highly entertaining Jumpin’ Jack Flash. I’ve already looked at this on a previous tape (and it’s the closest I’ve got to an actual review – I do tend to stick to recaps) so here’s a bit more of a recap about the stuff I like.

It’s directed by Penny Marshall, off of Laverne and Shirley. And produced by Joel Silver, the uber producer of the time.

Whoopi Goldberg was always great, and here she’s given a lot of scope to be cool and funny. She likes to wrap up warm, that’s for sure.

Carol Kane plays one of her coworkers.

So does Jon Lovitz

And Phil Hartman

There’s a certain amount of inconsistency with Whoopi’s monitor. It starts off as a monochrome one (with yellow phosphor)

Then when she cracks the key to Jack’s secret chatroom (or whatever, the film is unclear on how all this communication is happening) it becomes colour.

John Wood (off of Wargames, of course) plays a member of the British Consular service.

Stephen Collins plays a new guy in the office, replacing a woman on Maternity leave.

Jim Belushi turns up, while Whoopi is staying late talking to Jack on her terminal, as a Sperry repairman. This is an excellent scene, because Whoopi follows excellent security protocols, as she phones Sperry herself to confirm that he is legit. Which he isn’t. Frankly, this makes up for any niggles about colour video monitors I may have.

You can tell this is a Joel Silver production, as when Whoopi escapes from a taxi driven by evil Jim Belushi by clonking him on the head with a frying pan, the slow moving taxi contrives to turn over. Impressive.

Jeroen Krabbe plays one of Jack’s spy friends, although he’s a bit scary to start with. It’s a tiny part for such a big actor.

Director Garry Marshall plays a police detective, obviously doing a favour for his sister Penny.

June Chadwick plays a British Embassy worker. I remember her best from This is Spinal Tap and V. There are more Spinal Tap alumni to come.

Michael McKean is another, here with Tracey Ullman as guests at the embassy. He’s also director Penny Marshall’s co-star in Laverne and Shirley.

In the security room at the Embassy, the Brits are literally watching The Benny Hill Show.

Roscoe Lee Browne plays someone important in the CIA.

I love the totally random production design around Whoopi’s flat, like the giant toothbrush.

Yet another Spinal Tap alumnus is Tony Hendra, as a heavy from the British Embassy.

Yet another gratuitous car accident.

And we finally meet Jack, aka Jonathan Pryce, cast mainly for his smouldering voice rather than his smouldering looks, I fear. There was an audible sound of disappointment in the cinema when I first saw this.

Yes, this is a bit stupid, and the plot is handwavy as hell, but I always enjoy watching it, and that’s mostly down to Whoopi Goldberg.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 13th August 1996 – 22:15

After this, there’s a trailer for lots of new drama on BBC1, and for Days of Thunder.

Then, the tape plays out with the start of Crossing Delancey, which I’ve also looked at before. Another film featuring Jeroen Krabbe.

The tape ends during the film.

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3 comments

  1. You’re lucky this entry wasn’t published a few days ago or The Curse of The Blog might have come in effect what with Aretha Franklin having sung “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” over the end credits….

    1. Oh dear. Does a song count? I tend to count appearances here even when they come up after someone has died, although that’s probably because those ones are easier to spot. I’m so sorry.

  2. The Reverend Don Sloggett sounds like a Terry Pratchett character. Or maybe a Robert Rankin one.

    Helluva cast in that Whoopi movie.

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