1 9 8 4 (UK)
1 x 90 minute episodes
This television musical from Central Productions was set in 2074, where society is now segregated into two groups – “Names” and “Numbers.”
The street-dwelling Names live in squalor and barter for whatever they need, watched over by vicious leather-clad police, while the elite, tech-savvy Numbers are a genetically manipulated breed who live in “the Centre” and spend their time engaged in scientific exploration.
The Centre is run by a computer called Bruce (voiced by John Le Mesurier) – a character included in the movie merely to explain plot developments to the viewers.
When a pair of numbers, F-9895 (Eleanor David) and M-4327 (Steven Mann), travel outside the hermetically sealed Centre to seek entertainment at ‘Zax’s Theatre of Glamour and Magic’, the magician Zax (Martin Shaw) finds himself obsessed with F-9895.
Despite the protests of his lover/assistant, Ina (Sue Jones Davies), Zax creates “Veronica”, a mechanical replica of F-9895.
Veronica is intended merely as a sex toy and magician’s assistant until Bob (Clarke Peters) – a dancer in Zax’s show who moonlights as a janitor at the Centre – discovers that the numbers are attempting to isolate the human soul for scientific study and that F-9895 has volunteered to have her soul extracted from her body.
When Bob tells Zax about the experiment, the magician decides to capture F-9895’s soul for Veronica.
Shot through with terrible songs, barren sets (“the Centre” is literally just actors standing in front of a wash of blue laser light) and stilted performances, Facelift is a sort-of cross between The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Jesus Christ Superstar. Choreography is by Arlene Phillips.
Martin Shaw (The Professionals) looks plain awkward in a role that needed a lot more flamboyance.
John Le Mesurier