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Old 21st September 2022, 04:37 PM
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The Year of the Sex Olympics (1968)

Nigel Kneale's television production lasting over 100 mins about the effects of television on society, counterculture and fears of overpopulation is really quite remarkable.

Seen here via the BFI dvd, it's a play that's pretty much come true. Although science fiction when broadcast the idea of the elite controlling the media as a bored general population laps up the listless game shows and pornography thrust upon them has definitely hit home.

Then midway through the tv producers, you can tell it's sci-fi as they are all decked out in silver garbs, realise they can all but guarantee to entertain the subservient populace by leaving people on a remote unpopulated island and having them fend for themselves whilst the rest of humanity watches their every move on tv.

Basically Nigel Kneale predicted the power of the media and the ridiculous craze that is reality tv in particular Big Brother and Love Island. Not only that, the 'Artsex' and 'foodshow' programs showcased during the first half of the film vividly reflect crazy Japanese game shows that also air nowadays.

The cast is led by Leonard Rossiter, Suzanne Neve, Tony Vogel, Brian Cox and Martin Potter and all are extremely believable. (The ever reliable Cox does a commentary on the BFI disc) Whilst the drama itself really picks up during the second half as the focus moves to what's happening on the island.

It's a play that clearly begins as smart satire but gradually descends into outright horror with a very disturbing climax which really isn't the sort of thing you'd expect to see on sixties BBC tv.

Last night it was my second watch of Year of the Sex Olympics and also the second time i've come away from it feeling like i've been gut punched.
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