Review: The She-Devil
The Life and Loves of a She-Devil on DVD.
One of the, most requested titles for release by Cult readers (well, if our inbox is anything to go by), The Life and Loves of a She-Devil is now available on DVD.
Based on the Fay Weldon novel, it would be easy to dismiss The Life and Loves of a She-Devil as just another in the 'men are gits' genre. But what raises She-Devil up a notch is the presence of Julie T Wallace.
It's hard to believe that Julie was in her early twenties when She-Devil was filmed. Mind you it's a gift of a role - allowing Julie to go from the mousey wife to the all powerful she-devil, with numerous guises in-between. From 'stuff and nonsense' housekeeper, dominatrix nanny to shoulder-padded business woman, no wonder she had to go through nigh on a year of auditions and screen tests to win the part.
It's not just Julie who puts in a sterling performance She-Devil boasts a top-notch cast. All praise to Patricia Hodge not just for turning in another classy performance as mistress Mary Fisher, but for dressing down to play to play the post-op Ruth.
Dennis Waterman is a surprise for managing to portray Bobbo the cheating husband sympathetically. Add to the mix Liz Smith doing her now familiar dotty OAP routine and Miriam Margolyes as Ruth's rather close right-hand woman and the word classic - oft used, but seldom deserved comes to mind.
Then there is Tom Baker as a randy priest - just the image of TV's Doctor Who getting excited over Julie's ample bosom is enough to make She-Devil essential cult viewing!
But it isn't just the quality of the cast and the performances that make She-Devil great TV. Tabloid obsession with affairs and wronged women and TV's obsession with the body beautiful (Five's Plastic Surgery Live, anyone?), mean The Live and Loves of a She-Devil is just as relevant today.
But whilst the themes are still current, this eighties fashions sadly have dated. It's a bit of a distraction that, as the head of the recruitment agency Vista Rose, Julie looks like Marjorie Dawes from Little Britain. But that is a minor quibble. All in all She-Devil deserves its reputation.
Unfortunately, the extras on the DVD release don't really match the quality of the drama. A commentary would have been nice. All we get is a Fay Weldon reading and some chat show clips, which is a shame. Plus, early copies have the episodes in the wrong order (requiring you to watch disc 2 first).