5. Video Nasties

Jim Shelley relishes the prospect of a tapeful of broadcast video nasties

Tapehead no 5

Pornography. Greed. Adultery. Perversion. They’re all around us proclaims the pastor in this week’s dark and nasty Screen One. TapeHead knows how he feels. In reply, he feels obliged to add, “and Amen to that”. Yessir.

This week’s tape is the latest addition to an already exhaustive, exhausting, collection of video nasties. Drugs and murder, adultery and gambling, gratuitous sex and violence: my tape overfloweth. Thou shalt not want.

Tonight’s Video Diaries is not particularly nasty, rather tragic in fact, though it does show an excellent photograph of a junkie, already an arm and a leg short from junk, jacking up into his other, soon-to-be-amputated, leg. It ends with close-up footage of a merry man in the park taking a heavy hit on his crack pipe. Nice and slow.

Because the video follows a young Sussex girl to the Bronx, to visit her friend James (in jail for crack dealing) and secure a divorce from her crack addict husband to enable her to marry her new love, it’s titled ‘Love is the Drug’. But love is not the drug. Crack is the drug.

Seeing people take drugs on television always has the same effect on Tapehead: it makes him want some. The only programme not to do this is Casualty, a terrifying, highly addictive, television nasty in 23 episodes. Nine seconds into Saturday’s “Cas” and you will see a staggering piece of product placement: an orange delivery bag emblazoned with the words THE GUARDIAN, from which a paperboy promptly delivers a happy suburban couple their eagerly-awaited edition of the new Tapehead column.

Every week Tapehead and his love play Guess The Accident and Spot The Victim. This week: The Fairground. Oh No ! What’s gong to happen to the whirlygig with the loose screws.

“I didn’t want this,” says the person responsible for it all (you’ll never guess who). “legs, hanging off kids.” No, but it made TapeHead’s day.

More hospital scenes and savage violence in Screen One’s Tender Loving Care, including a piece of sudden, real brutality as powerful and harrowing as anything since the sledgehammer scene in Misery.

It comes after 52 minutes of Dawn French killing lots of old people. Marvellous work. Worth watching to see Dawn French trying not to look as if she’s doing a parody sketch.
A barrel of laughs, whichever way you look at it.

Excellent adultery this week, like many weeks, from Thursday’s absurdly-scheduled, Donahue: My Husband Slept With Our Babysitter. Donahue is a strangely neutral figure compared to Tapehead’s personal God, Geraldo, the Jason King of American talk shows like Donahue and Oprah.

On the other hand, Donahue’s audience can hiss a man like no other: “Why didn’t you just say ‘no’, dammit !”
Channel 4s early morning Saturday show, The Morning Line is too early, or too late, to watch, so taping is not only preferable but probably profitable. Racing tipsters Oaksey, Francome and the excellently-named Brough Scott are the best sports trio since Lineker, Lynam and Hansen.

John McCrirrick is the team’s wild card and, presumably, Channel 4’s answer to Taz (on Carlton at the same time).
TapeHead’s racing tip is: Win Heavily. Follow Francombe.

Dial Midnight will never recover from the loss of serious sex symbols/air heads, Anastasia Cooke and Samantha Norman. Their control of the live phone-ins and wistful pronunciation of Gerard Depardieu’s surname (“Ger-ard De-par-dee-doo”) made them legendary figures in Tapehead’s household.

This week’s live phone-in, in which drunken yobs ring up and abuse Mandy Smith, should at least go some way towards living up to those halcyon days.

Finally, and trust me, 10 minutes with Cynthia Payne (above) and you’ll learn a thing or two, particularly as you examine her Celebrity Mantlepiece. Her “mantelshelf” brings back memories of onetime slave, Rodney, who liked nothing better than to be tied to it and thrashed. Well we’ve all been there.

It brings back memories for Cynthia too. A photo of “the Welsh girls”, who would hitch up to Payne’s parties for the fun of it, she says. Tape yourself into a frenzy.

Collector’s Tape 5
• Greed: The Morning Line Sat 2, C4 9.15am-9.45am all 30 minutes
Gratuitous dismemberment: Casualty Sat 2, BBC 1, 8-8.50pm all 50 mins
• Drugs: Video Diaries Sat 2, BBC 2, 10.35pm-11.35pm, last 10 mins
Fine violence: Screen One Sun 3, BBC1, 9.05pm-10.35pm first 60 mins
• Sex Celebrity Mantlepiece. Wed 6, BBC2, 8.50pm-9pm all 10 minutes
• Adultery: Donahue Thur 17, ITV 1.10am-2.00pm first 10 minutes
• Sin: Dial Midnight Fri 8, ITV 12.05am 10 minutes
• Evil Film of the week: Baby Face, Sat 2, C4, 12.25am