Whoops Apocalypse: Season 1, Episode 1

Road to Jerusalem (14 Mar. 1982)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
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Title: Road to Jerusalem (14 Mar 1982)

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Episode credited cast:
Barry Morse ...
John Barron ...
The Deacon
Alexei Sayle ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Roy Alexander ...
C.J. Allen ...
French Minister's Assistant
John Barrard ...
Jonathon Hopper
Arab Beggar
Nellie Hanham ...
Martha Hopper
Chuck Julian ...
USAF Colonel
Charles Kay ...
French Foreign Minister
Christopher Muncke ...
Oswald Leinsdorf


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Release Date:

14 March 1982 (UK)  »

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President Johnny Cyclops: And if anything goes wrong?
The Deacon: I wouldn't be surprised, sir.
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User Reviews

The first week
31 December 2011 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

Happy New Year to all I.M.D.B. members ( including the trolls! )

Its easy to forget now what a crazy, scary decade the '80's was. Brezhnev in the Kremlin, Thatcher at 10, Downing Street, Reagan in The White House. With all three endlessly making sabre-rattling speeches of the 'my c##k's bigger than your c##k' variety, nuclear war seemed not only possible but probable ( I was too terrified to tune into the news on some days ). Andrew Marshall and David Renwick first poked fun at the subject matter in 'World War Three Night', an episode of the second season of their satirical sketch show 'End Of Part One'. Produced by Humphrey Barclay, 'Whoops Apocalypse' developed the theme, and the result was one of L.W.T.'s biggest ever comedy successes.

It opens with a flash-forward to the ending - a bleak view of a world ravaged by atomic radiation. Standing in the centre of it is a middle-aged woman, rattling a tin, and dressed like a cinema usherette. In her tray are little plastic mushrooms. A sign reads: Wear Your Mushroom With Pride. Even in the aftermath of Armageddon, someone is trying to make a few quid flogging souvenirs.

The story proper opens at the White House where former B-movie actor turned President Johnny Cyclops ( the marvellous Barry Morse ) is looking in an atlas to see where 'Armaggeddon' is. His chief aide is the bible-thumping Deacon ( John Barron ). An election is due, but Cyclops' poll rating is currently lower than that of Charles Manson. Then two crises occur simultaneously - firstly, an elderly American couple vacationing in Russia ( they were the winners of a vodka competition ) are arrested on suspicion of spying. Secondly, the deposed Shah of Iran ( Bruce Montague ) is thrown out of France - where he has lived in exile - and wants to return to his home country and take up the reins of power with the help of the American government. After being humiliated by a French Foreign Minister ( Charles Kay ) who gives him a cup of tea with a plastic spider with it and says farewell whilst wearing a red nose, the Shah is seemingly killed when his motor boat explodes...

With scenes split between the Americans and Russians ( the British would come into it later ), interspersed with hilarious news bulletins from the quick-talking 'Jay Garrick' ( the late Ed Bishop ), 'Whoops' is nothing if not ambitious. An impressive cast was assembled; as well as those mentioned earlier, we get Alexei Sayle as a bewigged K.G.B. interrogator, Richard Griffiths as Russian Premier 'Dubienkin', and John Cleese - in his first sitcom role since 'Fawlty Towers' - as mercenary 'Lacrobat'. David Kelly - of 'Robin's Nest' - has his arm back, but his eyesight removed for his role as 'Abdab', forbidden by Holy law to look upon the face of his Shah meaning he has to be blindfolded at all times ( even when he is driving ).

The writers get much comic mileage out of the idiocy of world politics at that time. It was the era of 'The Iron Lady' ( will you be going to see that film? No, nor me! ) and 'Rambo Ronnie'. Unsurprisingly, it was criticised in some quarters for its 'tastelessness'. Early on, we see a group of U.S. Air Force men so jumpy and nervous that they panic each time they hear a bell ringing. When Cyclops points out that America's meddling in Middle Eastern politics makes them no better than the Russians, the Deacon cynically responds: "If the Lord had wanted us to be consistent, he would never have given us Milton Friedman!".

Funniest moment - a dirty beggar ( Ron Cook ) goes to the White House to tell the President about the anti-American force currently running Iran. The trouble is - his tongue has been cut out. He offers Cyclops a cigarette, which the President accepts. Instead of a cigarette in the packet, he finds the beggar's tongue!

Second funniest moment - a crucified man is erected on the lawn of the White House. Cyclops asks the Deacon: "Do you think our Easter celebrations are a bit severe?".

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