1 9 9 6 (UK)
4 x 60 minute episodes
Cold Lazarus advances the story of Karaoke to the year 2368 when the cryogenically frozen head of television scriptwriter Daniel Feeld (Albert Finney) is thawed by unscrupulous entertainment moguls who plunder his memories of 20th-century life, an irony intended by writer Dennis Potter who wrote the two shows simultaneously while dying of pancreatic cancer in 1994.
Set in a dystopian future, a world without governments is run by a couple of comic, foul-mouthed monsters. Martina (Diane Ladd), renewed by youth pills and a string of young studs, makes the happy pills – and Dave Siltz (Henry Goodman), a multi-media mogul with a worldwide audience of 800 million, makes the pappy programmes.
Feeld is essentially Potter himself. His frozen eyelids move. He is dreaming.
Professor Emma Porlock (Frances de la Tour), Fyodor Glazunov (Ciarán Hinds) and the other research hers are amazed at what they see as they tap into Daniel’s brain.
Potter’s dying request was that the BBC and Channel 4 co-finance both Karaoke and Cold Lazarus and transmit them simultaneously. Almost two years to the day of his death – after an unprecedented collaboration – the two broadcasters honoured Potter’s dying wish, with the Beeb screening Karaoke first and Channel 4 repeating it the next night, with the pattern reversed for Cold Lazarus.
Professor Emma Porlock
Frances de la Tour
Richard E. Grant