Spaceshock! Episode 1 Commentary

[posted 8:00 am, 28 October 2014]

Time Girls returns in 1986, much to the annoyance of fans of another series. The violence, studio lighting and big hair are all excessive.

(CONTENT WARNING: This story will deal with sexual violence and mental illness. See Help Links for more information about these issues.)

KATY: Hello, I’m Katy Froade and this is Amanda Cadewell.

MANDY: Hellooo.

KATY: It’s January 1986, and we’re back. Somehow.

MANDY: For well-known reasons, there was a gap in the schedule for a science fiction series.

KATY: Poor old Colin Baker. He’s such a good actor. He never got the chances he deserved.

MANDY: And so they brought back Time Girls.

KATY: Some people weren’t very happy about it.

MANDY: No, they weren’t. The fans of the other series were up in arms.

KATY: There was that awful record, wasn’t there?

MANDY: Yes, lots of singers felt very strongly about it.

KATY: I can understand the people who didn’t like Time Girls. I didn’t like it either.

MANDY: I think you were very brave to come back after everything.

KATY: Well, I was spending lots in those days, so it was nice to have the work. It was nine years on, and mostly different people.

MANDY: Yes, most of the old crew had gone on to bigger and better things.

KATY: And we hadn’t. Actually one of the men who did the lobster thing has been arrested now.

MANDY: Not for that, surely?

KATY: No, no, it was in connection with … you know … (WHISPERING) Jimmy Savile.

MANDY: Those poor girls.

KATY: I know. I had- Oh! You’ve got legs!

MANDY: Yes, they changed it so that I wasn’t a mermaid any more. It made everything so much easier.

KATY: Did the script explain why?

MANDY: Not really. I think a certain section of the fans are still a bit disgruntled.

KATY: They don’t like anything.

MANDY: I must say I don’t like what they did with your hair.

KATY: It was a bit big, but that was the fashion in those days.

MANDY: It makes you look rather like a Page Three girl. It isn’t you.

KATY: Around this time, I used to go dancing at the Hippodrome. I felt very with-it.

MANDY: I don’t think I would have liked it there.

KATY: It was great fun. I loved all the energetic records.

MANDY: Now, this is good corridor acting.

KATY: Are we on Blue Peter?

MANDY: No, Katy, it’s a spaceship.

KATY: It’s overlit.

MANDY: They had to make sure the people at home could see it.

KATY: I’m sure everything was darker in the last series. But some things hadn’t changed much. I’m still in an awful catsuit, but this one was made of rubber. It came from a kinky shop in Old Compton Street.

MANDY: You hadn’t lost your figure at all. I wasn’t quite as lucky. After two children, things had slipped a bit.

KATY: Stop it, Mandy. You’ve always been stunning. And your hair looks lovely here.

MANDY: Thank you. Glynis had the same style first, so Vicky thought it was fabulous. She loved Makepeace.

KATY: There were more women doing that kind of thing in the eighties. A little bit of progress.

MANDY: I like to think that Time Girls helped to get it going.

KATY: It probably didn’t. Oh, captured already.

MANDY: There’s Danny La Rue!

KATY: That dress looks fabulous. And the wig.

MANDY: It was very brave of them to cast a drag queen as the ship’s captain. Of course, Mary Whitehouse didn’t like it.

KATY: As usual. She said we were promoting homosexuality.

MANDY: Dan-

KATY: And I should bloody well hope we were. She was promoting bigotry.

MANDY: And who’s this?

KATY: Oh, he’s gone. All these cuts are making me feel dizzy.

MANDY: I think it makes it more exciting.

KATY: I can’t tell who anyone is. One line and they cut to another scene.

MANDY: Peter was ahead of his time, really.

KATY: He wasn’t an actor’s director.

MANDY: I wouldn’t say that. He worked very hard to develop the characters in rehearsal. And he always directed from the floor. I think that was better than hiding in the gallery.

KATY: He was always shouting at me. He was a complete-

MANDY: Peter Grimwade, of course, sadly no longer with us.

KATY: I suppose I did get some things wrong.

MANDY: Oh dear! That was rather gruesome.

KATY: It’s just like Alien.

MANDY: I could never watch that. I’m too squeamish. Who are they?

KATY: It’s hard to tell. Their hair is even bigger than mine.

MANDY: They do look familiar.

KATY: Gone again. Us again. You’re concentrating very hard.

MANDY: Eww. I don’t think they ought to have shown this.

KATY: It’s not too bad. You can see where they’ve used some effect or other to hide his head.

MANDY: But all the blood. Especially at tea time.

KATY: And cut. Those two in the dungarees are up to no good.

MANDY: Were they schoolchildren in something?

KATY: They do look quite young.

MANDY: I’ll have to ask Vicky. She’ll know.

KATY: We could text her now.

MANDY: I don’t like to. She’s under lots of pressure at work.

KATY: Captured again. That’s what we get for trying to help. Cut.

MANDY: This bit is quite atmospheric.

KATY: If only it wasn’t so brightly lit. If you thought that dead body was bad, here are two more.

MANDY: I can’t look.

KATY: Cut back to us. They think we did it. As if we could have done all that.

MANDY: Danny is wonderful here.

KATY: Who’s the- Oh, he’s gone.

MANDY: I know who you mean. I think he was in a soap later on.

KATY: That narrows it down. Cut to a corridor. Cut to another corridor. Cut, cut, cut.

MANDY: It’s building suspense, you see.

KATY: He’s back again.

MANDY: It wasn’t Coronation Street. Or was it?

KATY: He’s gone again. Look at all the crew sitting at their computers. It reminds me of Blankety Blank.

MANDY: I went on that once. Les Dawson had me in stitches.

KATY: Then the vicar got his blank out.

MANDY: Prayer book.

KATY: That’s not what I was thinking.

MANDY: Now, this is a very tense scene.

KATY: Yes, it’s very well played. It shows that we don’t really need to see a spaceship going through space. Cut. There’s Tip Tipping. Something must be about to happen to him.

MANDY: Ooh, I can sense something wrong.

KATY: (LAUGHING) There goes the suspense.

MANDY: I think it would have been quite frightening for children.

KATY: Tip was so good at falling over. It always looked natural.

MANDY: We’re next.

KATY: What a girlie scream. I’m so sorry.

MANDY: You didn’t usually like screaming, did you?

KATY: I think I got carried away.

MANDY: These end credits are very snazzy.

KATY: They’ve got the thing that makes the picture spin round. Everyone had that.

MANDY: I think it was called a paintbox. Something like that. Well, that was very exciting, if a bit nauseating. We’ll be back soon with the second and final part.

KATY: But now we have to go and be sick.

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