Friday, November 14, 2008


Apparitions is a new high profile BBC drama about an exorcist priest played by Martin Shaw, and it is jaw-droppingly awful and hilarious; mixing the kind of dated Satanic/Catholic horror tosh that went out of fashion with the Omen, with laughably clunky dialogue and every TV cliché you can think of.

Father Martin is, of course, a maverick priest who bucks authority to Do The Right Thing, and plays his character in an identical fashion to every other maverick cop, lawyer, judge, surgeon or consultant on any other TV drama ever. He is supposed to be in charge of filling in application forms for new saints or something, but his old exorcist pal in the Vatican (who you just know is going to die horribly in a couple of episodes time) keeps phoning him up and going “Ooo! Demons, etc!”

Father Martin Shaw also has a nun sidekick whose thankless role is to be the sensible one and make dull, badly written speeches about how he has to stop messing around saving little girls from evil demons and get on with his saint forms. Ten minutes into the show I am thinking of her as Sister Wetblanket. At one point a senior bishop or cardinal or something turns up to tell Fr Martin to stop messing around with his maverick exorcisms, and I half expect him to tell Fr Martin to turn in his badge and his gun cross and his bible.

The plot of the first episode combines LOL’s and Cringes in equal measure. It starts off with Mother Theresa dying (yes, that Mother Theresa!), and there is some talk of her being possessed by demons – wow, way to be really offensive in the first five minutes. At the moment she dies, a little leper boy in her hospital starts spazzing out and having fits – fast forward to the present and he is miraculously cured of his leprosy and has grown up into a hunky doe-eyed trainee priest who hangs around with Fr Martin and Sister Wetblanket. Everyone thinks his cure is a miracle, but HDETP thinks that demons made him hot so he could have lots of sinful gay sex! Occasionally a homeless looking bloke magically appears in his bedroom and talks to him in a growly voice in a foreign language, because as we all know - foreign = SATANIC!!!! The demons tell him that unless he starts getting some hot man2man action, they will repossess his non-leprous complexion. HDETP is thrown out of Priest School for being a gay and sits in a gay bar being tempted to have gay sex, because as we all know TEH GAYS = SATANIC!!!!

Anyway, while all this is going on, an annoyingly precocious little girl appears at the Fr Martin Cave and whines that her dad is possessed by demons. What a bitch, you just know she would have grassed her parents up to the KGB in Soviet Russia for making an unwise quip about grain quotas. FrMartin goes round to the house and finds a copy of Jerry Springer the Opera and a Dawkins book, Gasp!! Because as we all know – atheists = SATANIC!!! There is a failed attempt at an exorcism (with the Vatican bloke on speakerphone LOL – couldn’t he have just txted the prayers to Fr Martin or something) but Evil Atheist Dad starts speaking Satanic Foreign, throws Fr Martin’s stunt double at a wall and then goes off and weeps blood on a bench for a bit.

After a lot of bollocking around, it turns out that Evil Atheist Dad conceived his annoying ingrate brat of a daughter whilst queueing up to pay his respects to dead Princess Diana, to celebrate the fact that he just heard that Mother Theresa had died. Yes, read that again. I’m not making it up. WTF??? What it all boils down to is that the Dad is all Evil and the girl is all Saintly. Whatever. He’s about to kill ingrate child at that very spot in Kensington Gardens, when Fr Martin appears out of nowhere and starts with the exorcising. Foreign Growly Voice Demon Man tells Fr Martin that if he exorcises Evil Atheist Dad, then the “Indian Sodomite” (nice) will cark it. But what is our favourite doe-eyed Indian Sodomite up to? He goes to a gay sauna to get it on – ruh roh. People are always punished for having sex in shitty horror films! He sees some naked bloke in a steam room and thinks he is up for it, but the nekkid man turns out to be Growly Foreign Speakin’ Demon Bloke, who promptly skins Doe Eyed Indian Sodomite alive with a cut throat razor. Ouch! That’s what you get for not wanting to have leprosy! and for not being repressed! and for being a gay character in a shit program!

It is all “to be continued” and next week there are swarms of evil flies (yes, I’ve seen Amityville too, you hacks). I will be watching again, of course, as it is completely hilarious. Meanwhile, the first episode has managed to offend Catholics, gays, atheists, people who liked Mother Theresa, and people who like watching TV shows that aren’t rubbish. Score!!!

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