This big budget made-for-TV musical film from Granada Television found Kid Creole & The Coconuts shipwrecked on a tropical island called Zyllha – “The Paradise Republic” – which is governed by racist black dictator President Nignat (Oscar James).
Kid (August Darnell) discovers his old pal Gina Gina (Karen Black) on the island, secretly operating the revolutionary Radio Free Zyllha. She and her friends want Kid to support their cause and speak to the “mulatta” population to inspire them to rise up against the dictator and his supporters.
He also discovers his old flame, Mimi (Pauline Black from The Selecter) on the island. living as a virtual prisoner under President Nignat, who despises Kid Creole and other mixed-race “latto’s”.
When Kid Creole wins a competition at the island’s music festival and becomes popular with the locals, Nignat gets Argyle Kneft (also August Darnell) to impersonate Kid Creole – with The Three Degrees posing as The ‘black’ Coconuts – and spread his message of racial purity.
The two Kid Creoles are indistinguishable, and confusion results until a surprise ending when Gina Gina assassinates Nignat and Mimi becomes First Lady of the new republic – alongside the real Kid Creole, while Argyle Kneft returns to New York posing as Kid, with the Coconuts and Coati Mundi.
The story – produced like an old Hollywood musical but with a surprisingly serious and poignant script – was written by August Darnell and playwright Mustapha Matura and broadcast on ITV at 10.00 pm on Saturday 22 December 1984.
Kid Creole/Argyle Kneft
The Jim Jam Trio/Black Coconuts
The Three Degrees