101. Betrayal

Tapehead no 101 

Four stories of spectacularly low moral subterfuge, Inside Story’s Betrayal starts with a quote about “the naturalness of lying…the almost non-existence of an idea of right and wrong” – and this is a bishop talking.

Documentaries about betrayal always feature couples relating horror stories about how their marriage went wrong, but not many have instances where the adultery took place during the wedding.

Nigel and Marie’s wedding was the happiest day of Marie’s life. She felt loved, “loved and sick-ewer”. Husband Nigel was less certain but, even so, when he saw Marie at the altar, he felt “a lump in me throat.”

And not just his throat as it turned out. 

During the reception, Nigel got gravy on his sleeve and nipped home to clean it – taking the best man’s wife, Debbie, with him. The best man, who was responsible for the wedding video, actually filmed them leaving together (the chump). 

By the time they came back, Debbie was practically doing handstands.

The honeymoon sighs poor, betrayed, Marie was “brilliant.”

“We were together. It was just me and Nigel,” she says with awestruck amazement as if (perhaps understandably) she couldn’t quite believe it. Five weeks later Nigel and Debbie were at it again.

The other three tales of betrayal are all, in their different ways, even worse. In fact, the whole progamme is a masterpiece of understatement. (“There was a bit of an atmosphere.”)

The editing is exemplary: “She was fine about it”/”I was destroyed.”

“Carol enjoyed it – up to a point”/”I did nothing but cry.”

The moral in the end is obvious: neighbours, best friends, sons and sisters: never trust anyone.

There are horror stories of different kind in Dark Secret, another video nasty from the BBC which looks at three treatments for impotence available at The Royal Hallamshire in Sheffield.

Three couples in their Sixties are desperate for sex and Sister Patricia Allen is there to help them.

Cyril and Nellie haven’t had sex for eight years. 

“You forget about it,” Nellie sighs. “Keep yourself busy.”

(She doesn’t say how.)

Sister Allen’s first remedy is the battery-operated vacuum pump.

“So what you do,” she, um, gushes with enthusiasm – as if she’s preparing a recipe on The Generation Game – “is you stand up, put your jelly on your penis, push well down, and then switch on.”

But the pump has its drawbacks. It lacks spontaneity, the penis can become a little cooler than normal. It can look “a little mottled.”

Not a good look. 

Cyril inwardly shivers. He doesn’t think the pump is right.

“Or…” the good sister says with perfect timing. “There’s the injection.”

Cyril watches a video of a man injecting a large needle into his penis when he wants to have sex. 

“Er… I’ll take the pump,” Cyril says virtually snatching it from her.

Tapehead could be wrong but Nellie looks so frustrated she wants Cyril to try the pump and the injection together if possible (or necessary). 

After a few weeks with Cyril and his pump, she can hardly walk.

The next patient watches the injection video with his mouth agape, going grey with terror. He goes for the metal rod implant which, Sister Allen explains (also quite enthusiastically) give a chap a permanent erection. 

“You bend it up when you want to do it and bend it down when you don’t want to do it. It’s like a bendy toy.”

After the operation we see Rod (genuinely his name), covered by a sheet and being wheeled away with an enormous ridge where his groin is, like a volunteer in a magic act, with what looks like a huge smile on his face but could be grimace.

Philip goes for the injection which, the nurse assures him, is painless. We watch as the large needle goes slowly into his penis. 

“Well? Was it painless?” asks the nurse brightly.

“Well…” he gasps, with tears in his eyes.

His tears were nothing compared to Tapehead’s who was by this point openly sobbing, screaming, pleading for it to stop. Praying to never have to face that choice – between a rock and a hard place.


Inside Story, Wed 10pm, BBC1

Dark Secret, Thu, 9.30pm, BBC2