Whoops Apocalypse! on DVD

Sunday, 11 April 2010 13:03

This is a very difficult format to explain to those who have not seen it. From the combined pens of iconic TV scripters Andrew Marshall and David Renwick, the former most famous for 2.4 Children, the latter for One Foot In The Grave, took a look at world affairs, and came up with something that is both completely hilariously surreal and remarkably timeless.

If you were to say Monty Python’s Flying Circus meets “Doctor Strangelove” you would be in the ball park inhabited by Whoops Apocalypse! The idea was initially a six-part Sunday night ITV series, and then a trans-Atlantic movie. The series has a cast list which is monumental and remarkable, while the feature film stars the likes of Peter Cook, Loretta Swit, Richard Wilson and Graeme Garden.  If you’ve not seen this show, you are missing a real treat.

Whoops Apocalypse TV Show and MovieTHE SERIES

It is election year on both sides of the Atlantic, and with the heavy weight of nuclear threat hangs oppressively over the world. In America, the naïve president Johnny Cyclops (think Reagan meets Baby Bush) gets his advice from an insane, right-wing fundamentalist, The Deacon, who has a direct hotline to God.

Things are no more stable in the Eastern Hemisphere - with the Soviet Premier Dubienkin putting in rather inconsistent appearances and an amnesic performance. In the most unpredictable of times, the deluded British Prime Minister Kevin Pork gets into the mix when he finds himself as the new ally of the Soviets. Amongst all the political intrigues, nuclear bomb threats, and supernatural flights of fancy, the global situation escalates and leads to chaotic hilarity and the brink of World War Three.

It has to be said that the picture quality on this disc is not all it could be ... the years have not been kind to the show, despite it only being made in 1981/1982. However, you cannot get away from the sheer quality of scripting and performance here present…



This 1986 movie from ITC Entertainment was directed by virtual unknown Tom Bussman. It has an almost entirely different plot, but the chaotic nature of a world spinning comically and heedlessly out of control is in keeping with the spirit of the original series. Written again by Marshall and Renwick, and produced by Brian Eastman, the film suffers from playing too much to the perceived sensibilities of an American audience.  Had it stuck to being a predominantly British view of the world, the result would have had more impact. As it is the surreal nature of the situation is tempered a little too much  by a tone of reality, effectively falling between two stools.  Still, it is a great film in its own right, but pales in comparison to the TV serial.

The film features Loretta Swit (Hot Lips in M*A*S*H*) as the first female President of the United States. She was only sworn into office when the previous president, an ex-circus clown, died after asking a journalist to hit him in the stomach with a crowbar as a test of physical strength. Peter Cook stars as Sir Mortimer Chris, an insane conservative British Prime Minister, who ends up with a hook for a hand after a failed assassination attempt. Herbert Lom gets in as dictator General Mosquera, while a young Daniel Benzali turns up US Defence Secretary William Kubert.

Also on hand are Shane Rimmer as US Secretary of State Marvin Gelber, Richard Wilson as British Foreign Secretary Nigel Lipman, and Ian Richardson as Rear Admiral Bendish. Watch out for Page 3 hotties of the time including goddess Maria Whittaker, Karen Kelly, Suzanne Mizzi (Mitzi) and Christine Peake (Peak) – not that you can miss them, and there’s a few of Benny’s Hill’s Angels on hand, too!

Making the switch from the TV series to the movie are Alexei Sayle, this time as the manager of a seemingly deserted island hotel, Ed Bishop as TV interviewer Wink Persiman (who was the newscaster in the TV series), and Rik Mayall who trades up from Presidential Adviser to leader of an SAS assault group.

Special features on this DVD set include:

  • Image galleries for both TV series and film;
  • Script PDFs for both TV series and film; and
  • Original film press release pack PDF.

Whoops Apocalypse – The Complete Apocalypse has a ‘15’ certificate and a running time of 240 minutes approx. It has a RRP of £19.99, or buy it for less at www.culttvstore.com



Directed by John Reardon

Written by Andrew Marshall & David Renwick

Produced by Humphrey Barclay

Music by Nigel Hess

A London Weekend Television Production



Barry Morse as President Johnny Cyclops

John Barron as Deacon

Ed Bishop as Newscaster Jay Garrick

Peter Jones as Prime Minister Kevin Pork

Geoffrey Palmer as The Foreign Secretary

Richard Davies as The Chancellor of the Exchequer

Bruce Montague as Shah Mashiq Rassim    

David Kelly as Abdab

Richard Griffiths as Premier Dubienkin

Alexei Sayle as Commissar Solzhenitsyn    

John Cleese as Lacrobat “The Devil”

Rik Mayall as Biff

Ron Cook as Beggar

Ed Devereaux as General E F “Gizzard” Pemberley

Stuart Milligan as US Drilling Officer

Lou Hirsch as Jeb Grodd

Nicky Henson as The Tourist

Matt Zimmermann as Game Show Host Dean

John Barrard as Jonathon Hopper

Nellie Hanham as Martha Hopper

Murray Kash as Donovan

Jack Klaff as Dwight

Iain Ormsby-Knox as Lt Popigay

Bob Sherman as Buzz

Tim Stern as Tailor

Tim Wylton as Ferry Official

Raymond Brody as Soldier at roadblock

Maria Charles ... Jewish Woman      83,290

Geoffrey Freshwater as Major Ephraim Kleiner

Bogdan Kominowski as Arch Mullah Operator

Roderic Leigh as Soldier at roadblock

Frederick Schiller as Sol W Hann

Bob Sessions as US Defence Secretary

Roger Phillips as Lt Botko

Sarah Whitlock as Dubienkin’s Secretary

Roger Phillips as Lt Botko

Frank Duncan as Dripfeed    

Gabor Vernon as Wheelchair

George Claydon as Admiral Blinsky

John Sterland as Chaplain   

Olivier Pierre as Dr Weinigger

Phillip Bird as Lt Nipkin

Danny Brainin as Nathan Klugman

Chuck Julian as USAF Colonel

Charles Kay as French Foreign Minister 

Christopher Muncke as Oswald Leinsdorf

Michael Chesdon as Greek Official

Stefan Gryff as Greek Official

Janene Possell as Nurse

Michael Melia as SAS Commander

Marc Boyle as SAS Officer

John Blundell as SAS Gunman

Kirstie Pooley as British Newsreader

Carmen Silvera as Shopper


01. The Road to Jerusalem

It is election year on both sides of the Atlantic and with the world in a state of nuclear jumpiness, US President Johnny Cyclops is currently as popular as rabies. His chances of re-election are threatened by two major crises. In Russia, ruled by the ageing Premier Dubienkin, two American tourists have been taken hostage by the KGB, and in the Middle East a revolutionary junta has decided to move against vital US interests. Guided by his fanatical security advisor The Deacon - a man with a personal hotline to God - Cyclops realises there is only one option if he is to save the economic stability of Western civilisation and, more importantly, his job.

Original ITV Transmission: 14 March 1982


02. Autumn Cannibalism

In a wild and secret bid to restore US influence in the Middle East, President Cyclops has laid plans to help the late Shah's brother regain the throne of Iran. But as he is leaving France for Britain, the new Shah's launch explodes. Meanwhile election fever grips both Britain and the US. President Cyclops is involved in extravagant publicity campaigns, and in London a new prime minster is about to take power in more ways than even his colleagues could have suspected.

Original ITV Transmission: 21 March 1982


03. How to Get Rid of It

The aged members of the Russian Politburo meet in the Kremlin and decide that as all-American defence arrangements for Britain have been curtailed, Britain can conveniently be annexed into the Soviet bloc. The Premier, Dubienkin, explains that there will be no armed resistance because the British leader, Kevin Pork, believes that he is Superman and has entrusted the defence of his country to his own magic powers...

Original ITV Transmission: 28 March 1982


04. Lucifer and the Lord

The attempt to contact CIA agent Grodd to rescue the Hoppers has failed and he is now a prisoner of the KGB. He withstands KGB torture and gives nothing away. The KGB commissar turns his attention to the Shah's pet parrot, which has also been captured and is in the cell with Grodd. The Shah himself is still trapped on a British cross channel ferry, but manages to set up a special CIA secret radio link to Grodd. The KGB commissar is astonished to hear the Shah's voice coming through to a secret radio receiver concealed in Grodd's chest...

Original ITV Transmission: 4 April 1982


05. The Violet Hour

President Cyclops of America is still in hospital recovering from minor wounds. The Deacon tells him that he might need brain surgery. The President is depressed about the Russian invasion of Iran and hears that The Deacon has sent American troops to Israel, in preparation for a war in the Middle East. The Russians now have a firm grip on power in Iran, although under the pretence of co-operating with the Arch-Mullah, and the Home Secretary, Dave, is tempted to try to kill the Prime Minister, Kevin Pork, whose claim that he is secretly Superman is infuriating his colleagues...

Original ITV Transmission: 11 April 1982


06. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun

By a monstrous mistake, the Quark Bomb, destined to help the US restore the Shah of Iran to power, has blown up Israel. Unable to admit that they had anything to do with it, the Americans must throw suspicion on Russia and issue threats of counter-action. The threats contain an element of bluff and the Russians, whose agent managed to supervise President Cyclops' recent operation, know just how much...

Original ITV Transmission: 18 April 1982

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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