Ebony, Ivory & Jade

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“Plus Teak and Porcelain…but not forgetting Milo.”

As well as its questionable use of the apostrophe, the cover kinda implies that three girls are involved here, which is only true for a small fraction of the running time. It starts off with five female athletes, including rich heiress Ginger, being kidnapped in the Philli…er, “Hong Kong”, and held for ransom. Their subsequent frequent attempts to escape are hampered by a difficulty in grasping the idea that, when you knock someone out, it’s okay to take their gun. But not everything is as it seems with regard to their “kidnapping”.

Oddly, there’s some primitive attempts at social commentary here, not least the conflict between black and white within the athletes, and the fact that one of their escape attempts is aided by a Communist rebel. We were also amused by the extremely crude product placement for “Milo”, which I presume is some kind of beverage popular in the Philippines – if not, perhaps, Hong Kong.

However, despite all this, and funky 70’s music which often seemed in danger of toppling over into either Bond or The Avengers theme, it gets tedious fast. This is not least because the electricity for the production must have been cut off half-way through, leaving the viewer to peer into murky gloom for the remainder. The doubling for the women’s stunts is often painfully obvious, and I bring to your attention the PG-rating this received in 1976, so don’t expect gratuitous nudity. Over at badmovieplanet.com, they have the sleeve blurb from when it was known as Foxforce. Truly hysterical, in both senses, save your time and money: read that, rather than watching the film.

Dir: Cirio H. Santiago
Star: Rosanne Katon, Colleen Camp, Sylvia Anderson

Bad Girls: season three

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“Too much soap and not enough opera, but still entertaining.”

The third series hit the ground running, Michelle Dockley taking evil warder Jim Fenner hostage, after stabbing him in the stomach with a broken bottle (to loud cheers here), and Nikki Wade breaking into jail, having gone to see Helen Stewart. However, in the middle, Michelle and Denny headed to Spain, with Fenner’s help. After a really grim episode, in which they took Sylvia Hollanby and her husband hostage (it felt like Last House on the Left 2), the show seemed to lose impetus, and spent the second half spiralling round a series of love triangles: Nikki/Helen/Thomas, Di/Josh/Crystal, Di/Gina/Mark. Chuck in two “surprise pregnancies” and, while soap-opera has always been part of the show, this was overkill.

The loss of Michelle was particularly apparent. An attempt to introduce a new “evil slut” prisoner was a failure; Maxi, leader of the Peckham Boot Gang, simply came across as a pale imitation. However, there was still plenty to enjoy, and the series finished strongly, with the arrival and departure of Victoria O’Kane (a great guest spot for 70’s icon Kate O’Mara), Nikki’s appeal, plus Michelle and Denny’s Butch & Sundance moment in Spain. The end of this series saw a couple of major departures, and the show will have to work hard to fill the gaps in the roster – we look forward to seeing whether the makers are up to the challenge.

Stars: Mandana Jones, Simone Lahbib, Linda Henry, Jack Ellis