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Inspector Morse – The Prisoner – tape 1494

On this tape, from the London Franchise that used to be Thames, Inspector Morse and Twilight of the Gods. Announced as the final episode, it turns out not to be that – there’s several one-off episodes after this one.

Robert Hardy seems to be playing Sir Terence ‘Twiggy’ Rathbone.

Sheila Gish plays a mezzo-soprano, singing some Wagner in the opening.

John Gielgud plays a Lord.

Jean Anderson plays his wife.

No, I got it wrong – Robert Hardy is playing Denholm Reynholm.

Here’s Doug Bradley, Pinhead without the makeup, playing a vicar who ransacks someone’s rooms.

The singer is shot by a sniper during a very posh procession in a college.

It was Rachel Weisz’s room that Doug Bradley was pulling apart.

John Bluthal plays a professor from Lithuania.

Bluthal was the one who shot the singer, but he was aiming for Robert Hardy, who, far from being an inmate in a concentration camp, collaborated with the nazis and tortured fellow prisoners. And Pinhead was the one who killed a journalist, on the orders of Hardy.

Dating note: The News at Ten trail in this programme covers Bill Clinton’s inauguration, which would date this to 20th January 1993. That matches iMDb.

After this, recording switches to an episode of The Prisoner. This one starts with a recap of the episode where Leo McKern and Number 6 were locked in a room together, at the end of which, Number Six asks to see Number One.

The Hotel Portmeirion gets its own credits in the titles.

This is Fall Out, the infamous final episode of the series. They spared no expense – getting All You Need Is Love by the Beatles couldn’t have been cheap.

Of course there’s another bloody Judge.

Alexis Kanner returns, apparently playing the representation of youth.

Leo McKern has got better, and had a wash and scrub up.

The infamous moment when he meets Number One and pulls off his mask. Utter tosh.

Those blokes who are spinning around on what looks like a camera jib in Number Two’s room – it turns out they’re machine gunners, and this episode shows how bad an idea that jib is, because they really have to contort to fire in the right direction. They didn’t think this out.

It kind of feels like it has an ending, without remotely providing one. It is the oddest thing. Just a bit too sixties for me, man.

After this, recording stops.

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Delicatessen – Hollywood Shuffle – tape 1487

First on this tape, from Channel 4, Delicatessen. It’s a French film, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (who got the directing gig for Alien Resurrection based mostly on the success of this film) and Marc Caro

It’s a comedy, but being French, that doesn’t necessarily mean much. It is, however, visually interesting, even if the extreme brown colour grading gets a bit wearing. But there are plenty of moments of beauty (or at least surreality) as when the film’s hero does some bubble magic for the children in the apartment block.

The film is set in some kind of dystopian world. Food is hard to come by, so the butcher, who also owns the apartment block, exerts a lot of power.

I get the feeling this film owes a large debt to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. There’s some kind of revolutionary force hiding underground who remind me a lot of Robert DeNiro’s Harry Tuttle.

I don’t think this film is really for me. There’s only so much dark whimsy I can take, unless I really love the characters, and nobody really popped for me here.

And it’s just a bit too brown for me.

After this, a rather different film, Robert Townsend’s Hollywood Shuffle, one of those films that’s almost more famous for how it wa financed than what’s in it. Townsend basically financed the whole film by maxing out a string of credit cards.

Townsend plays an actor, who only gets to audition for stereotyped black roles.

The film has a lot of vignettes looking at the problems of black actors. Here he imagines a Black Acting School, complete with white instructors.

Attack of the Street Pimps

“They want an Eddie Murphy Type”

Co-writer Keenan Ivory Wayans plays Townsend’s co-worker at Winky Dinky Dog.

After he walks off his first starring role because the film is appallingly stereotyped, he dreams about the kinds of roles he could do if the business weren’t so stereotyped, including a superhero role. He’d achieve that goal in his later movie, The Meteor Man, although like this movie, he had to write and direct it himself to get the role.

After this movie, recording continues, with Private View at the Tate Gallery – The Turner Prize 1994. Three critics look at entrants in the Turner Prize, and talk a lot.

This is followed by the start of a film, La Gente de la Universal. The tape ends shortly into this film.

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Without Walls – Tales Of The City – tape 1638

First on this tape, an episode of Without Walls. Timothy West plays Lord Reith, founder of the BBC, returned to life to look at the state of the BBC.

He talks to John Drummond, who ran the Proms concerts.

In the second half, Tony Parsons looks at A Clockwork Orange. Yeah, Tony Parsons seems like the kind of person who would want to cosplay as Alex.

He hears from Bill Buford

Alexander Walker

Wilf Stevenson, director of the BFI.

Miriam Karlin appeared in the film.

Steven Berkoff has opinions on violence

Spotted in the credits – Voice of Alex (in a reading from the unfilmed final chapter of the book) was Peter Serafinowicz.

Then, the final episode of Tales of the City. I think, judging by the ‘previously’ clips, this follows straight on from yesterday’s tape.

There’s an appearance from Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci, who I only know from It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.

The show does a Vertigo reference.

Norman, the weaselly man who lives on the roof, is blackmailing Donald Moffatt over Anna Madrigal’s secret. But he has a secret of his own – he’s a child pornographer, exploiting a young girl we met in an earlier episode. Well that escalated quickly.

It gets even more dramatic as she confronts him on a windswept cliff, and he ends up falling to his death. I never liked him.

Mrs Madrigal’s ‘dark secret’ is that she is a trans woman. A shocking revelation in the 70s, probably still shocking in the 90s, today, if I’m honest, it seems less of a big deal. I think that’s a good thing.

I don’t think this is really my thing, though. Relationship stories that are all about who’s with who, and people who can’t control their libidos is not really my kind of thing, but I definitely warmed to it, particularly in this episode where all the stories were resolving.

After this, recording continues for a while with the start of a programme called Pirates & Emperors: Who’s the Terrorist? It features lots of Noam Chomsky.

The recording ends during this programme.

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Tales Of The City – tape 1635

Here’s another episode of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City about a group of people living in San Francisco and their various romantic lives.

Laura Linney’s night shift working at the suicide prevention hotline doesn’t start well, when her boss is found hanging in the stairwell. He hanged himself with macrame. “At least he went organically.”

Laura Linney meets an older man in her building who looks like David Paymer but is actually Stanley DeSantis. She’s friendly, but I get the feeling she’s being polite.

In the next episode, Rod Steiger turns up as the owner of a bookshop.

Ian McKellen makes an appearance.

As does Janeane Garofalo

There’s a very loose plot here, about Olympia Dukakis’ character, Anna Madrigal, and a possibly shady past, but it barely registers amongst all the cruising of bars and bathhouses. Stanley De Santis is investigating, and thinks her name is an anagram.

After this episode, there’s most of an episode of Being with you is Taboo, looking at the difficulties of being black and gay. The recording stops during this episode.

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The Simpsons – tape 1489

First on this tape, The Simpsons and the episode Black Widower. There’s a swipe at the Henson show Dinosaurs at the start. As Bart says, “It’s like they saw our lives and put it right up on screen”

The family meet Aunt Selma’s new boyfriend, and it’s Sideshow Bob.

He recounts his past – he won an Emmy while in jail.

The next episode is Marge in Chains.

Marge is arrested for shoplifting and has to hire Lionel Hutz

The last full episode here is Krusty gets Kancelled. There’s a viral advertising campaign going on for something.

Turns out it just a ventriloquist act,

Krusty’s attempt to compete doesn’t work out well

Krusty loses Itchy and Scratchy, so he has to run an Eastern Euorpean cartoon called Worker and Parasite. I remember those kinds of things from Summer Holiday TV

Lisa and Bart find people to do Krusty’s comeback special, like Bette Midler.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Sideshow Luke Perry

After this, recording switches, to an episode either recorded a long time after – the Sky One logo has changed – or this was the point at which the new logo showed up.

But there’s only a few minutes of this episode, and underneath there’s another Simpsons episode, and yet another that stops halfway through. But even that recording stops, and underneath that, part of an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. I spotted Sean Pertwee

Jason Flemyng

And (on the right) James Nesbit

When this programme finishes, there’s the start of a TV movie called The Last Frontier. After a few minutes of this, the channel switches to a movie channel, and a short biut of The Fisher King.

But that recording also stops soon, and underneath that, part of an Australian mini series. All The Rivers Run. It sticks with this until the tape ends.

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Doctor Who – tape 1639

Doctor Who – tape 1639

Over to UK Gold, and it’s the first appearance of Lalla Ward’s Romana in Destiny of the Daleks. Not the first appearance of Lalla Ward, of course, who appeared in a previous story as Princess Astra.

This is a controversial regeneration scene, as Romana tries out various bodies, before going back to Princess Astra’s. This made a lot of people very angry, and was widely regarded as a bad move.

Romana even Cosplays as The Doctor.

The Tardis lands on a random planet, as it so often did, and it looks a lot like a quarry, as thay so often did. Some locals bury a dead body, and a spaceship arrives.

The Doctor and Romana run past some explosions.

The Doctor gets trapped under a falling beam, so he takes the opportunity to catch up with his reading. “He’s got it wrong from the first line.”

Note the author, Oolon Colluphid. That should be a clue that this episode is the first in the season where Douglas Adams was the Doctor Who script editor. He’d written for the show before, but this season he was given the full time job of Script Editor, so the casual humour of the show can be attributed in large part to him.

Romana goes to find and fix K9, while the Doctor has some visitors.

And Romana returns to where the Doctor was to find him missing. She’s being followed by a man with a rope.

Rather than ask him why he’s following her, she runs, and falls down a shaft.

Meanwhile, the Doctor has been taken to a spaceship. As Arthur Dent might say, “Now this is what I call a spaceship.”

His benefactors tell him the name of the planet they are on. Skaro. But their mission is secret. That’s Suzanne Danielle there in the middle, who I recently got confused with both Suzanne Dando and Jill Dando.

Then all that’s left at the end of this first episode is the shock reveal of the Daleks, something every single Terry Nation Dalek story manages to do.

The next episode sees Romana interrogated by the Daleks as to what she knows, and the Doctor and the alien, the Movellans, learn that the Daleks are digging down into the old Kaled city looking for something. She also meets some of the slave workers digging for the Daleks, including David Yip.

There’s another controversial scene, where the Doctor climbs up a shaft, then taunts the Dalek with “If you’re supposed to be the superior race of the Universe, why don’t you try climbing after us?” This was another line that was very disliked by fans of the time, lampshading the unspoken limitations of the Daleks.

The Doctor knows about a hidden shaft down to the lowest levels, so they can get there before the Daleks have drilled down, and they discover what the Daleks are after. Davros. With a very underwhelming introduction.

Before the next episode, UK Gold have wheeled out a Christmas ident.

These Daleks seem to like rhyming. We’ve had “Seek Locate Exterminate” and “Seek Locate Do Not Deviate”

The Movellans change their objective, from Davros to the Doctor, because he knows more about the history of the daleks. This is because the Movellans are androids themselves. So they lure the Doctor into the open by putting Romana in a tube with a Nova device which will incinerate her.

Before the next episode there’s a bit of old Top of the Pops, with The Jam and Rod Stewart singing First Cut is the Deepest.

Then, in part four, the Doctor realises why the Movellans and the Daleks were both after Davros. Because their two logical armies were unable to reach a point of advantage. He demonstrates with the example of Scissors Paper Stone, although I don’t think that particular game really demonstrates the difficulty of being too logical.

The Movellans intend to leave with The Doctor, who can make them less logical, and detonate the Nova device to destroy the Daleks, Davros and everyone else on the planet.

Meanwhile, Davros is sending a squad of suicide Daleks to destroy the Movellans.

The Doctor goes to find Davros and stop his plan, but Davros is protected.

One of the Movellans, who hasn’t been incapacitated by the human workers in their rebellion, is trying to detonate the Nova device, and Romana bundles on to try to stop him.

The Doctor overpowers the dalek by throwing his hat over its eyestalk.

Then he gets Davros to explode the explosives being carried by the Daleks. Lots of exploding daleks, including one shot that’s a bit of a cheat. We see a row of five daleks.

But just before they explode there’s a cut and we only have two daleks

Followed one frame later by the explosions. Two exploding daleks, and three explosions in the ground where the three daleks were originally.

I guess they couldn’t afford to blow up five daleks.

Davros is put in a cryogenic freeze, to stand trial for his crimes.

And the Doctor and Romana clear out a few styrofoam rocks from in front of the Tardis so they can go on their way.,

After this, another story, but from earlier in Tom Baker’s era, The Horror of Fang Rock. I’ve already looked at this when it was on another tape, so I won’t repeat myself here.

After this, the recording stops, and underneath there’s a bit of a film, Crazy from the Heart. Then that recording stops, and underneath that, there’s some encrypted German satellite channelm showing Wayne’s World. The tape ends here.

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Star Trek – Deep Space Nine – tape 1637

Over to Sky One for some episodes of Deep Space Nine. In Progress, Bajor is going to tap the geothermal energy of one of its moons, and on a final check, Kira discovers a colony on the moon who haven’t been evacuated. As always, they’re not happy to leave their homes.

Nog and Jake try to offload a batch of Cardassian sauce to make some money. They end up making a few swaps, ending up with some land that suddenl;y becomes in demand, so Nog gets his latanum.

Brian Keith is the settler who doesn’t want to leave. He’s there with two other Bajorans who had escaped the Cardassian occupation years ago.

Kira has to try to persuade him to leave, but she likes him, and sees a mirror of herself under the Cardassians in him. When Sisko comes to try to sort things out, there’s a lovely scene where he gets right to the heart of it. “But you have to realise something, Major. You’re on the other side now. Pretty uncomfortable, isn’t it?” “It’s awful.”

No happy ending here, though, as Kira has to relocate Keith against his will, but she promises to look after him.

The next episode is If Wishes Were Horses. Chief O’Brien reads the story of Rumplestiltskin to his daughter Molly. Then Rumplestiltskin appears in Molly’s room.

Jake is followed home by a baseball player.

Bashir tells Jadzia that’s he’s in love with her, over dinner. She politely bats him away, but then later, there she is in his quarters, being a lot friendlier than he expected.

But when they go to the bridge, he discovers that it’s not Dax he’s with at all.

These people have been conjured out of their imaginations. Odo makes an announcement. “I’m going to have to ask you all to please refrain from using your imaginations.”

There’s a subspace rupture that’s growing, which might destroy the whole Bajoran system. And the three imaginary people seem to have an agenda.

They try to close the rupture, but fail. So Rumpelstiltskin offers to fix it for them, but his price is O’Brien’s daughter Molly.

Luckily, the rupture is also a figment of their imagination.

In the next episode, The Forsaken, there’s a guest appearance from Lwaxana Troi as one of a group of ambassadors.

She and Odo get stuck in a turbolift as the station’s computers start malfunctioning. Chief O’Brien thinks there’s something sentient in the computer system. And if Odo can’t return to his liquid form in 16 hours he’ll die.

As he approaches the time, he’s embarrassed, telling her it’s a private matter, than nobody has seen him like this. So she hands him her wig. “Nobody’s seen me like this, either” she says. Lwaxana gets a lot of hate among Trek fans, but I really like this episode.

Next, in “Dramatis Personae”, a Klingon ship emerges from the wormhole, and immediately explodes. The sole survivor beams onto the station, and his dying word is “victory”.

Odo is trying to find out what the Klingon mission was. Quark tells him they were looking for “something that would make the enemies of the Klingon Empire tremble.” But almost immediately after he learns this, Odo has some kind of attack.

There’s something strange happening to the characters in this episode. They often start having very pointed conversations, that seem a bit out of character. Something is probably manipulating them. Odo is unaffected, and works out that a telepathic matrix is controlling them all, and creating a power struggle between Sisko and Kira. With Bashir’s help, he manages to drive out the matrix into space.

The final episode here is Duet. Harris Yulin plays Marritza, whom Kira believes to have worked at a brutal Cardassian labour camp.

He claims first he was never at the camp, then that he was merely a filing clerk. Then the only existing picture of Cardassians at the camp is found, and reveals that he’s actually the commander of the labour camp, Gul Darheel.

Or is he? He knows things about Major Kira that the head of a labour camp shouldn’t know. And Gul Dukat swears that Gul Darheel died, that he attended his funeral. So who is the man in the cell? Odo digs around, and believes that the man wanted to get caught, specifically at Deep Space Nine.

And when Kira brings the evidence to him, Marritza breaks down, remembering his inability to do anything but clock out the screams of the suffering. He hoped that, going on trial as Darheel, it might bring about changes on Cardassia.

It’s a really good episode, Harris Yulin is great as the dissembling Marritza, turning into the unrepentant Darheel, then into the guilt-wracked Marritza again. It’s the kind of story it took The Next Generation a couple of seasons to do well, but DS9 managed this in its first season. Quite excellent.

After this, half a trailer for tomorrow’s programmes before the tape ends. I was very efficient at excising ad breaks at this time.

P.S. Sorry for the late posting of this entry. I’ve been on holiday this week, camping, and the previous week my wife was in hospital, so I didn’t have time to build up a backlog of entries to post while I was away, so the last couple of them have been written in the middle of a field with no internet connection. But I’m back home now and everyone is well, so normal service should resume soon.