Home Television Drama Facelift

Facelift

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.

Zax
Martin Shaw
Bruce (voice)
John Le Mesurier
Bob Jangles
Clarke Peters
F-9895
Eleanor David
Ina
Sue Jones-Davies
M-4327
Steven Mann
F-3425
Shelagh Stephenson

Director
Tony Bicât