Saturday, 30 November 2019

The Goodies: Playgirl Club

There is a youngness and freshness about the humour of the sixties and seventies , before the cynicism of Thatcher's Britain put paid to it. You have to be young to produce certain sorts of humour - age has its own humour - and perhaps in releases of the last few years we see this best in The Goodies and in Do Not Adjust Your Set and Not the 1948 Show, both of which have been released this year by BFI. I recently fell for the complete Goodies and am enjoying the episodes I haven't seen before.
I had forgotten that the celebs queued up to guest on this show and the wonderful Molly Sugden features in this one. The best thing is that the character she plays is so close to Mrs Slocombe that it just misses her talking about her pussy. Incidentally I also love that she is a minister being blackmailed for going to the Playgirl Club - a topical reference in the age of the Playboy Club. This episode of course reverses the Playboy Club theme by having topless male staff, and the episode reverses it again by having Tim go to the club in drag because it is women only.
Three weeks later he is still there surrounded by the young women! And that is what I like best about this episode, the sexiness of it. The Goodies poke fun at the culture of the time in many ways, such as by their parodies of advertising, and elsewhere poke fun at the culture's approach to sex by reference to Mary Whitehouse. Here the norms of the time prevail, because we see nude girls at the club, and there is a lot made of the Goodies' attraction to the girls. I particularly love the inflatable dolly secretary.
However this episode doesn't get good reviews on the Internet - possibly because it hasn't been seen much. A fair criticism is that it is a vehicle for ogling nude girls and thus rather lacks depth in other areas! Another one is that it only survives in monochrome  and the illustration of Tim first entering the club gives a good idea of its quality after restoration.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Armchair Cinema or possibly ITV Playhouse: Suspect

Perhaps I had better start by explaining my title. If you want to see this on YouTube the thing to search for is Armchair Cinema. I think it may be on one of the Network box sets of that name but I'm not certain. If you want to read about this show on IMDB, it is under the title of ITV Playhouse here.
Wonderful TV this, proper quality. And you all know how difficult it is to get unalloyed praise from me. Settings, visuals, plot, characterisation, acting, all superb.
It may, however, be rather wrongly named, because this is much more of a psychological thriller than a Whodunnit. It gradually and effectively builds up the tension, mostly revolving around Mrs Segal, some of whose actions are rather bizarre and she backs herself effectively into a corner. There is also a feeling of claustrophobia about this because so much of it revolves around a single house and a single village.
The house is absolutely gorgeous, but don't please run away with the idea that we are talking about one of our ancient landed families: being in trade, the Segals are distinctly nouveau.
What strikes me is how old fashioned it is, but then it is fifty years old. I doubt any village functions that insularly now, but then since the country terrifies me I would always have hated it. I love the way everyone lights a fag at the end of a meal. And Mrs Segal's car is a mark 3 Ford Cortina, and my dad had one of those!
Superb television. And superb acting by some Big Names who show their quality by not overpowering their roles.