Whoops Apocalypse is a six-part 1982 British television sitcom by Andrew Marshall and David Renwick, made by London Weekend Television for ITV. Marshall and Renwick later reworked the concept as a 1986 film of the same name from ITC Entertainment, with almost completely different characters and plot (although one or two of the original actors returned in different roles).
Our main characters are:
- Johnny Cyclops - A naive and highly unpopular former actor turned U.S. President played by Barry Morse
- Dubienkin - The extremely old Soviet Premier who's actually a series of clones played by Richard Griffiths
- The Devil/Lacrobat - International Arms struggler and Master of Disguise played by John Cleese in the show and Michael Richards in the film
- Kevin Pork - The left-wing Prime Minister
Tropes used in the show include:
- Alliterative Name: Played with in the film; when Rik Mayall and his inept SAS team storm London Wax Museum, every member of the squad's name begins with D.
- Badass Bystander: A major sub-plot in the early episodes has the Soviets brutally interrogating a sweet, harmless elderly husband and wife whom they believe to be undercover agents for the West. The audience laughs merrily along at this, until suddenly...they beat the crap out of their interrogators, produce various spy-tech gadgets, and stage a jail break.
- Bait-and-Switch: In the film, Lacrobat has hidden Princess Wendy in London Wax Museum, where (disguised as an attendant) he keeps visitors away from her "so life-like" effigy. As the SAS team find out, it really is an exhibit and she is the drugged Sleeping Beauty.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- The French and some of the Soviet scenes are in unsubtitled French and Russian, respectively. With the Politburo arguing over who gets to play Andrei Sakharov in a game of "Dissident", for example.
- One of the newspaper gags in the opening sequence:BRITAIN JOINS WARSAW PACTPork: 'This will in no way affect ПОСЛЕДНИЕ ИЗВЕСТИЯ ПО ПРЕССЕ'
- Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: The British PM thinks he's Superman. By the time the nukes start flying, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary join him in the delusion, as the Green Lantern and Hawkman respectively.
- Coffin Contraband: This is one of the ways Lacrobat smuggles the Quark bomb to the Middle East (with the bodies of two circus dwarfs and himself in a ringmaster's outfit to complete the disguise). Unfortunately, he loses track of the coffin, and it ends up being taken to a crematorium. Kaboom.
- Dirty Communists: The Soviet and British Governments.
- Extended Greetings: The Shah's servant cannot address the Shah without tacking on an honorific title (e.g. "oh, Lion of the Gulf") - apparently making them up as he goes.Abdab: Take one of your travel sickness pills, oh Moon of the Desert."
Shah: "Where are they?"
Abdab: "In the big suitcase, oh Last of the Mohicans."
Shah: "Well, what am I supposed to... 'Last of the Mohicans'? That was an old 1940s western!"
- Fictional Board Game: "Dissident - a game for four or more members of the Politburo aged 101 and over"
- Fun with Acronyms: In the film, the SAS team travel in Saunders And Simpkins trucks.
- Hello, Sailor!: General E.F. "Gizzard" Pemberley of the US Marine Corps apparently only visits ships to pick up men. When he is assassinated by a bomb under his bed, the Newsreader notes that "two 18-year-old marines were also killed".
- Ignorant About Fire: This show has a scene where the deposed Shah of Iran is aboard a space shuttle (yeah...) and a fire breaks out. His idiot sidekick hands him what he thinks is a fire extinguisher, but is actually an oxygen cylinder. (This was foreshadowed in reverse in a previous episode.)
- Incredibly Obvious Bug: The tea lady brings in a trolley with two tray of buns, which start rotating, revealing that they're hiding reel-to-reel tape.
- Insistent Terminology: Johnny Cyclops objects to an incredibly destructive bomb being named after him and recommends "the Quark Bomb" instead. The Newsreader still describes it as "the Quark Bomb, formerly known as the Johnny Cyclops Bomb after the president of the same name" every time he mentions it.
- Militaries Are Useless:
- The US Air Force pilots panic at anything that might sound like an alarm bell, such as the words "swing wing", and are threatened with having their boots physically screwed to the floor by their commanding officer - who himself turns out to be screwed to the floor.
- An SAS raid against two unarmed men - one blindfolded - in a ferry bathroom ends up with them destroying the bathroom and shooting one of their own men before leaving empty-handed.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed:
- Cyclops is a (rather kind) parody of Reagan.
- In the film, the previous president, a former circus clown is also a parody of Ronald Reagan
- Pork is a mix of (at the time) Labour Party leader Michael Foot and Peter Shore.
- The foreign secretary was inspired by David Owen
- The Jailed President in the Film is based of Richard Nixon
- The Deacon is Alexander Haig(Haig was actually known as The Vicar in the White House but the writers didn't known at the time)
- Princess Wendy is a parody of Princess Diana
- Democratic Senator Jimmy Hennessy is a parody of Senator Teddy Kennedy).
- Cyclops is a (rather kind) parody of Reagan.
- Our Presidents Are Different:
- Cyclops is a bit of a focus group and personable, Kevin Pork is a PM lunatic.
- For the movie, President Barbara Adams is a President Minority and President Focus Group. British PM Sir Mortimer Chris is a Prime Minister Lunatic (his policies include creating new jobs by pushing employed people off cliffs).
- Police Are Useless: No matter the crime or situation, the British police's reaction is to raid a café in Brixton.
- Running Gag: The Soviet premier having a heart attack and being surreptitiously replaced with an identical clone.
- Shout-Out: In the film, Lacrobat smuggles Princess Wendy across the Atlantic by disguising himself as a priest and her as a green-puking teenager (complete with the strains of "Tubular Bells" in the background).
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: A Running Gag during the news segments.Jay Garrick: "We've just heard of yet another false nuclear alert among NATO forces in the Middle East. For a full three and a half seconds yesterday morning it was belived the world was at war. Releasing details of the incident, the Pentagon spokesman said the alarm was triggered by a numerical overload of a Space Invaders machine in the pilots' mess room. However, there was no danger. Repeat: however, there was no danger of any escalation and the alert never got beyond computer stage. And certainly no nuclear bombers whatsoever got halfway to Russia and then had to turn back again."
- This Just In!: A Running Gag during the news segments, where the Newsreader is handed an "emergency paper" with breaking news, with increasingly dramatic commentary on them.** Jay Garrick: "But what's this? I'm being thrust a piece of emergency paper now containing an up-to-the-minute newsflash."
** Jay Garrick: "But hold your horses, I am being thrust another piece of emergency paper that threatens to rock the world on its axis."
** Jay Garrick: "But what's this? Another piece of emergency paper still hot with horror is being thrust into my hands."