On Your Marks, Get Set, Blow
‘The Year of the Sex Olympics’ was written by Nigel Kneale a screenwriter who did more than most to push science-fiction and horror to the fore in Britain with his Quartermass series and TV dramas such as ‘The Stone Tape’. ‘The Year of the Sex Olympics’ is set in the near future and sees him paddling in distinctly Orwellian visions. The gist? Not too many years from now, society is split into two strata. The low-drives make up the zombie-like majority and are anaesthetized by an incessant diet of television, which largely consists of pornography. Television, and by extension the masses, is controlled by the high-drives, an educated class who remain servile through their perpetual quest for better ratings and audience subjugation. When the low-drives start to become increasingly uninterested in the programming on offer, co-ordinator Ugo Priest (played by the always great Leonard Rossiter) ends up accidentally happen - ing upon a new entertainment concept: reality television. Did Kneale actually forecast the rise of Big Brother (the TV show) and Love Island? I rather think that he did, you know.
The Year of the Sex Olympics is released by the BFI on 20 April.