22. Chic

Jim Shelley is his own special guest

Tapehead no 22

The first, a dusty-pink velvet chenille cape gracefully covering a charming pink dress in silver lame and chiffon…And finally, layers of aubergine and rose-pink tulle and beadwork gather around a bodice of starburst beading over silk.

Yes, the week is dominated by the end of The House of Eliott.

TapeHead is barely coping, revived (just) by repeated plays of their final collection of dazzling evening wear which is received (rightly) by sighs of “Oooh” and “Aaah” from the audience.

Tapehead’s only consolation is to welcome a bizarre galaxy of special guests to this week’s column.

Debra Winger and Anthony ‘Hannibal’ Hopkins pop up (for some reason/no reason) in Songs of Praise (have mercy), Tim Robbins grumbles and grouches his way through Sesame Street, and Question Of Sport features the enigmatic Ryan’Giggsy’ Giggs, no doubt answering his questions silently, by miming the answers or drawing diagrams.

Tape button at the ready, though, for Robert ‘Napoleon Solo’ Vaughn in Last Salute to The Commodore, a classic episode of Columbo directed by Patrick ‘Not a number’ MacGoohan.

In a week of star attractions, though, the stellar di stellar is the awesomely cool presence of Telly Savalas, after whom Tapehead will surely name his firstborn.

Telly stars as the owner of Reno hotel joint where The Fugitive is working as a lifeguard in a Chandler-esque episode coolly titled Where The Action Is. Telly’s gorgeous gamin daughter (Joanna Frank) makes a play for every lifeguard Telly hires.

Her chat-up line to The Fugitive is to tell him her credentials
(36-24-36) and purr, “Now, will you take your halo off and get some glasses for the Martinis ?” What’s New Pussycat ?

Telly and The Fugitive bond, though, when Telly congratulates The Fugitive for slapping his daughter around. Highlights include Telly’s hairdo (v cool); a sleazy striptease scene (also cool); and Telly’s silk kimono (magnificent). The denouement is profoundly moving.

Our third guest this week, on The Ren and Stimpy Show, is Sven Hoek, Ren’s Swedish cousin, who turns out to be not like Ren at all, but like Stimpy as Sven unpacks.

“It’s my jar of spit. I’ve been saving it since I was a child.”

Sven and Stimpy quickly become lovers: they compare brain-sizes, engage in the unexpected (even by R&S standards) handshake of the Lodge of Stupids, and then, in an orgy of Joy, ruin Ren’s collection o f rare and incurable diseases. Ren’s impression of “Mad” Frankie Fraser as he begins torturing them – “first, I’m gonna tear your lips out” – is seriously disturbed.

It’s a surprise to see Jack Lemmon also making a distinctly disturbed appearance in Wednesday, a late-night jam, cleverly scheduled by Channel 4 on Monday.

A short film set in groovy seventies LA that manages to combine the best elements of The Rockford Files and Talk Radio, Lemmon plays manic hep-cat phone-in-DJ, Jerry Murphy (cool glasses, shirts like pyjamas), who smooth-talks a caller into revealing gall about her affair with her husband’s best friend. The husband is listening on the car radio and turns the heat up on Murphy by phoning in and telling him he’s going to drive home and hill her. Dark. Look out for cult actor, Gene Weed.

Our final guest continues her run in the excellent new series of Roseanne. Not Sandra Bernhard and her performing pouting lips, but the fascinating guest appearance by Roseanne’s scary new chin/neck/eyes/face. Whatever it is, whoever it is, Tapehead is absolutely captivated.

As she tells Sandra Bernhard: “Dan’s gonna come back and hug you so hard, you’re gonna be leaking silicone for days.”
Well, she said it.


The Fugitive: Sun, 12.25-1.15pm, BBC2
The House of Eliot: Sun, 7.30-8.20pm, BBC1
The Ren And Stimpy Show: Mon, 6.25-6.50pm, BBC2
Wednesday: Mon, 1.55-2.15am, C4
Columbo: Tue, 2.15-3.50pm, BBC1
Roseanne: Fri, 10-10.30pm, C4