141. This Life

Tapehead no 141 

Life is over. This Life is over, with Thursday’s aptly named finale Apocalypse Wow. 

All the big questions are answered.

Will Miles get married ? Will Milly confess ? Will Ferdy come out ?

Tapehead’s pledge: you will never guess what happens ! (Although it is true Ferdy finally comes out and admits: yes, my real nickname is Fatty.)

Don’t miss Egg’s Marlon Brando impression, or Milly and Rachel auditioning for Lady Macbeth. Not to mention the brilliant final freeze-frame. 

Tapehead’s only reservations about this series have been about the producer’s fascination with Ferdy (at Egg’s expense) and the famous five’s penchant for pyjamas.

Alan Shearer’s wages could be used to persuade them to stay. If Milly comes back, let’s hope they buy her a new coat. (One that fits.) Oh, and Jo and Kira must get married.

Television doesn’t come much better than This Life, but we still have King Of the Hill, Millennium, and, of course, the cult of cults, Brookside, where the race is on to be The Close’s first serial killer.

Two rhetorical questions posed by Channel 4 from Friday: 

“How will Danny react to Eleanor staying the night ?” (Badly ?) And “will Christian see the funny side of the 

joke ?” (Not fucking likely !).

Better start preparing the patio

House Gang, Channel 4’s new sitcom featuring three actors with learning difficulties, is guaranteed cult viewing.

The opening 15 minutes are so stilted, so badly-acted and awkward, it makes Hollyoaks look like Homicide.

The protagonists can’t act, cant’ speak, and, even worse, are Australian.

Things pick up when their landlord and his daughter Chloe move in and Chloe starts raining insults on the three handicapped co-stars. (“Give. Me. That. You bitch !” etc.) All faintly fascinating. 

Inside Story’s cult viewing looks at the 39 members of the Michael Cimino Appreciation Society who committed suicide in San Diego earlier this year, departing the world, according to their leader, by a spaceship tied to the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet.

Like members of The Church of Tapehead, they were dressed in Nike trainers and grey uniforms, their heads covered by purple shrouds sponsored by Silk Cut. Some were asphyxiated with plastic bags containing alcohol and phenobarbital. (Something that you have to do very carefully, as Tapehead knows all too well.) 

The Heaven’s Gate leader, Marshall Applewhite (who founded the cult in the early Seventies) seems to have renamed himself with that famous Simpsons-style exclamation “Doh !”

Creating a “fusion of Christianity and New Age science-fiction”, Doh!’s church promised disciples entry in to the Kingdom of Heaven without the tedious minor detail of having to die first.

“I’m from Kingdom Level Above Human,” he says in one of his eerie recruitment videos. His big ears and clown eyebrows, the shaved silver hair and Play School manner of addressing people all support our impression of him as a genuine simpleton.

We meet several ex-Heaven’s Gate members, all of whom have Doh!’s scary tranquillity and alien shaved head – like extras from Third Rock From The Sun.

One of them, Richard Ford, had been reborn as Rio D’Angelo which is definitely an improvement.

“The Virgin Mary,” he tells us, “was impregnated by being taken up on a spaceship.”

“It sounds, like, unbelievable right ?” he admits, sounding like a Bret Easton Ellis character who can’t end a sentence without a question mark ? But points out that this version’s better than the Virgin Birth theory because: “It’s, like, technical ?”

The parents of the deceased members maintain that Doh!  brain-washed them, and former members confirm that their behaviour was monitored so closely they could only shave using downward strokes of the razor (which, spookily enough, is also the recommended method in those How To Shave guides you get in Arena every month).

Sex was considered “too human” and enemas were used to “cleanse the vehicle” – not your Renault 5 but the vehicle of your soul.

These “special purges” used “the master cleanser” – a mixture of lemonade, cayenne, pepper, and maple syrup. (Do not try this at home.) 

The Church of Tapehead is working on perfecting this recipe even as we speak.


House Gang: Sat, 6.35pm, C4

Inside Story: Weds, 10pm, BBC1

This Life: Thurs, 9.25pm, BBC2

Brookside: Fri, 8.30pm, C4