131. Even More Lesbians

Tapehead no 131

We are all used to corny, melodramatic, TV dramas where ruthless bosses pitch an undercover heroine into danger in order to root out drug dealers, spies, or terrorists in our midst.

The Investigator though is on to something seemingly far more threatening to national security than any of those: lesbians in the military.

Starring brilliant, sex-maniac, Helen Baxendale as Army Special Investigation bureau officer Caroline Meather, the Investigator claims to be based on a true story, proudly boasting (unusually): “This film was made without the co-operation of the MOD.” 

Mind you, the same could surely be said of Masterchef, Ren & Stimpy, and virtually everything else on TV.

Fortunately, the makers haven’t let the small matter of physical appearance stand in their way. Bazendale is meant to have 12 years in the service, even though she looks about 21, and every dreaded lesbian character in it is (like Baxendale) a gorgeous, putting super-babe.

The first half is unmissable: camper than Millets and about as subtle as French and Saunders with Baxendale marching round in fatigues and jauntily-tilted beret showing us her character is: bossy but fair (“I want you to take it easy, guys. I want you back in one piece”), one of the lads and very possibly a lez to boot.

The hilariously over-excitable soundtrack adds to the impression The Investigator is almost as good as Call Red.

Baxendale’s instructions are, Tapehead swears to God, “to penetrate a ring of lesbians operating in Wilton. Go down there and sniff around.”

Gradually, she comes to consider the campaign as persecution. 

“We meant to sack Daniels,” she complains. “All we did was get two harmless, pathetic, privates.”

Said privates are on full view during any number of 

soft-focus lesbian sex scenes which are as prurient as her Neanderthal male colleagues, all of who are complete stereotypes. (This apparently is okay.)

“You’re a dyke,” shouts one male interrogator. “You grope women.”

By the second half, there is barely a word about the initial courses for the investigation – “the women we’re here to protect” from issues like sexual favoritism, bullying and rape.

The major flaw of course, is that most of the lesbians she’s investigating would love nothing better than to be interrogated and pistol-whipped by Helen Baxendale for a while, and who could blame them ? 

In real life, everyone would be coming out – even the ones who were not lesbians. Even the men…

With This Ring is the 200th episode of Beverly Hills 90210, an event that ranks right up there on the Well I Never-ometer alongside the recent 100th episode of Hollyoaks. It is directed by Jason Priestly, his Pasolini influences clearly evident.

Priestly’s character Brandon has made “a dynamic move” from college newspaper to college TV station and in one scene collects an award for CUTV’s 100th broadcast. 

Post-modern or what ?!

The good news is what with dialogue like “David was with Chloe when I was taken hostage” it’s pretty easy to catch up.

Donna (Tori Spelling) has to choose between longtime lover David and a hunky fireman, while Valerie (Tiffani-Amber Unpronounceable) I having nightmare flashbacks from Twin Peaks. Kelly is recovering from drug addiction and looking very good on it too. She is “ready to find herself again”, writing deep semi-suicide notes in her journal.

Brandon has, bizarrely, chosen Traci rather than Kelly – the title of his episode refers to Traci’s discovery that Brandon is still keeping their engagement ring.

“You couldn’t return ze ring before because you still loved ze girl,” declares the mystic German jeweller who sold it to them. “Are you now ready to exchange your past for your future ?”

“I think I’m ready now,” Jason frowns with a gravity not even Sarah from EastEnders could muster.

It is deeply moving, with the twist and turns of their love triangle meriting the word labyrinthine, and worthy of Thomas hardy.

“Why do you only get a certain number of chances for fate to take its course?” sighs one character. (Because it’s fate ?)

Tapehead is still reeling from the news that even though David is described as her “longtime lover”, Tori Spelling’s character Donna is a virgin. After 200 episodes ! 

Maybe Helen Baxendale should investigate her.


The Investigator: Tues, 9pm, C4

Beverly Hills 90210: Weds, 8pm, Sky 1