V is for Victory
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The Premise: A fleet of giant flying saucers descend upon the capitals of the world (and this was over ten years before Independence Day). On board the ships are the alien Visitors – a race of intelligent reptiles with a penchant for devouring live guinea pigs (the snack you can eat in between meals). Masquerading as Humans, the Visitors initially hoodwink humanity into thinking they are friendly types but they are in fact nicking the Earth’s water and harvesting live humans for dinner. Discovering the invaders' true intentions, a small band of resistance fighters wage an underground war in an attempt to save the world...Lydia and Diana from V

Background: Initially a two part mini-series, V was a thinly disguised allegory of life in an occupied country under the Nazis. A second mini-series – The Final Battle – followed which concluded the story. V the series followed and miraculously transformed the original dark premise into an hilarious high-camp Dynasty-in-space.

First Run: The original mini-series was shown in the US on 1st and 2nd May 1983 and The Final Battle aired the following year on 6th to 8th May. Memorably, both mini-series were aired on five consecutive nights on ITV in the UK as an alternative to the BBC’s coverage of the 1984 Olympic Games. V the series, first aired from October 84 to March 85.

Number of Episodes: 24 altogether, including the five two hour episodes of the mini-series.

The Resistance:: News cameraman Donovan (Marc Singer) and scientist Julie (Faye Grant) lead the way with a band of willing followers who included friendly alien Willie (Robert Englund – later to be the not so friendly Freddy Kruger in Nightmare on Elm Street); Robin (Blair Tefking) mother of the rapidly maturing Visitor/human hybrid baby Elizabeth (Jenny Beck/Jennifer Cooke) and the roguish Ham (Michael Ironside.

The Visitors:: Initially not top-dog Visitor, Diana (Jane Badler) rapidly rose through the ranks to become the single most memorable character in V. As the series progressed her hair got bigger and her lines got cattier. Other Visitor bitches included Pamela (Sarah Douglas of Superman II fame) and Lydia (June Chadwick).

And Isn’t That... Lane Smith, now better known as Perry White in Lois and Clark, was Visitor collaborator Nathan Bates. Cult scream queen Sybil Danning also gets to eat rodents as Mary Kruger in the episode Visitor’s Choice.

Overdone Clichés: Faced with flagging ratings, the show’s producers cottoned on to the fact that viewers liked seeing Visitors eating animals. Consequently, in later episodes, Diana and Lydia never seem to miss an opportunity to munch on a mouse or lick a locust.

Fashion Statements: Red was definitely the ‘in’ colour for Eighties invasions..

Photo © TBC
V for Victory
V (the original mini-series)
(the original mini-series) This really is quite good with some genuinely disturbing sequences that effectively echo the horror of the Holocaust.

Liberation Day
The opening episode to the series which quite neatly ties up the loose ends of the second mini-series and paves the way for the return of the Visitors.
V for Vile
To be honest, following a revamp of the show’s cast and format, all of the last seven episodes of the series are a bit so-so. If it wasn’t for the camp banter between Diana and Lydia there really would be nothing to recommend them at all.
John Ainsworth

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