Friday, February 06, 2015

Honourable Mention: the Young Ones – Nasty

The Young Ones was must watch TV when it first aired in the UK and really brought the idea of alternative comedy home. This episode was from season 2 and first aired in 1984, it was directed by Paul Jackson.

It followed the antics of four undergraduate students in their rented accommodation; wide boy Mike (Christopher Ryan), Punk Vivian (Adrian Edmondson), pseudo-anarchist Rick (Rik Mayall) and depressed hippy Neil (Nigel Planer). The show was classed as variety, due to the inclusion of bands playing music (or a lion tamer in one episode), in order to gain a bigger budget but was a sitcom at heart.

in the cemetery
This particular episode sees the flatmates carrying a coffin into an early morning cemetery, having had to dig the grave themselves. After meeting the drunken vicar (Terry Jones) and the actual gravediggers (comedy duo Hale and Pace) the episode cuts back to the night before to see how they got there. The Young Ones used a great deal of unrelated tangent scenes within its plots and so the important part of the actual plot (from our point of view) is that Mike and Vivian had got their hands on a video recorder (on a one night loan, to be returned to the shop in the morning or they owed £500) and intended to watch video nasties.

special delivery
During the anarchy they receive a special delivery of a man-shaped package from the Transvaal. The package contains a South African vampire (Alexei Sayle) (or, as exclaimed – It’s a vampire… in a parcel… in the kitchen… Hate mail!). As the band the Damned play the track Nasty (written for the episode) the vampire is trapped in a bathroom. We see him shave, with no reflection cast in the mirror, and he tries to pass himself off as a driving instructor. Having searched for a stake (and had Vivian drive a car through the front wall of the house) they realise that vampire’s only drink virgin blood – adding to their panic.

Alexie Sayle as the vampire
The vampire is caught out as he hasn’t changed his watch from South African time and is caught out by the rising sun. He falls to the sofa, which is an unconstructed coffin. The lads capture him in it. By the time they have told the story they realise it is 9:30 – the time they needed to get the video recorder back to Harry the Bastard. The vampire is then revealed to be the very same Harry the Bastard, who has distracted them and conned them into owing him £500.

no reflection
Of course the lack of reflection doesn’t add up but logic was almost irrelevant in the Young Ones. They also had a habit of breaking the fourth wall – notably in this when Sayle breaks character as the vampire to state how rubbish the show is, complain that, as a Marxist comedian, his appearances on the programme are ruining his reputation and then tries to sell the audience Pot Noodles. It gives me great pleasure to be able to feature the programme on the blog, however, as it was such an integral part of the TV of my youth. The imdb page is here.

No comments: