Sunday, October 11, 2009
DoomWatch Watch: Flight Into Yesterday
Every now and then an episode of DoomWatch comes along which reminds you why this is a great series, and not just a show about chain-smoking men in turtlenecks and the dolly birds they prey on.
Welcome to Flight Into Yesterday, a creepy, nervy story about jetlag as a tool of industrial sabotage.
It's a very simple idea. Quist nearly loses his job after getting off a flight fro New York clearly hammered. He protests his innocence, but the Minister takes his place on the next flight. And sitting in the seat next to him is a suave PR guy who wonders if he can have a word? And perhaps the Minister would like a glass of brandy?
What transpires is that Suave PR Guy has been flying the world using jetlag for brainwashing, plying his victims with booze and food and not letting them sleep with his constant small talk.
We watch as the Minister drinks and chainsmokes his way across timezones, becoming more and more incoherent and fragile while his tormentor becomes more and more smooth. Perhaps another drink, Minister?
It reaches its shocking conclusion when the plane touches down and the Minister drops from a heart attack. "You overdid it that time," says John Ridge smagly, and goes off to deliver the Minister's speech.
This is both plausible and dated - but in a proper way. This is a world that exploits the businessman's cliche of "work hard and play hard", fertile ground that was reworked in an advert from my chidlhood of a businessman flying to New York into the jaws of the corporate sharks waiting for him. "He's on the Red Eye" they gloat. But, thanks to BA, he arrives fresh as a daisy.