Episode 052


She's served you withering stares on screen as well as in the constituency of Hampstead and Highgate. Of course we’re talking about Glenda Jackson MP, who as far as we know is the only British politician whose own boobs were used against her by the opposition.

Glenda's place is in our hearts and in the House of Commons, but also firmly in 1970s cinema history. With two Oscars wins within four years, her career symbolised a potent change in roles for women. Nestled between her two awarded roles is SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY - a bisexual love triangle, a nuanced social commentary and a great study of how rotary telephones used to work. If she deserved a second Oscar, it should have been for this subtle sexual roundelay about liberated libertines who discovers that trying to have it all is not all it’s cracked up to be.


You know when the Academy gets it (horribly) wrong? Well, sorry Ms. Jackson, but this is one of those times. A TOUCH OF CLASS was one of the films that inspired Broad Appeal; we tuned in for a scathing 70’s satire of feminism and sexual mores starring one of our favorite actresses. Only to learn that the film is more like a juvenile TV sitcom that got to play its cancelled series out in one extended episode.

Glenda plays Vicky Alessio, a rag trade divorcée who gets involved with brash American dirty dawg George Segal (and who never seems concerned about her children's whereabouts). A searing sex comedy this is not. A messed up, kinda funny, outdated, ridiculous mess it certainly is. And don't just take out word for it, take a look at the faces of Ellen Burstyn, Joanne Woodward and Marsha Mason when Glenda nabs it.


By 1988, Glenda had made six films with Ken Russell including THE MUSIC LOVERS and WOMEN IN LOVE. But though Ken didn't quite have the clout he once did, Glenda was still loyal and totally game for this high-camp, theatrical, romp complete with loads of boobs, dildo-spears, and some baffling full frontal nudity. Glenda (braying, bilious and bejeweled from head to toe)  is Herodias, second wife of Herod Antipas, who has the hots for his niece/step-daughter Salome, who in turn has the hots for John the Baptist. Now imagine all this being acted out in front of Oscar Wilde himself, by a cast of bootboys and skivvies. MARAT/SADE seems tame by comparison. We discuss Ken Russell, Wilde, our own personal nudity, and the Gospels, of course.