The Worm That Turned

The fabulous Diana Dors with the Two Ronnies in The Worm that TurnedThe Two Ronnies show featured a short film series within the regular sketch show. One of these was a spoof sci-fi The Worm That Turned, this was 1980 but I’m thinking of it as Seventies. Watch it and you’ll see what I mean. Those leather hotpants are pure Seventies.

A highlight for my fevered prepubescent lesbian imagination was the fabulous Diana Dors as the leader of the all-female secret police. There was something about her which was so amazing, had me on the edge of my seat. It is entirely possible that my love of leather came from this experience. Certainly it was the first time I’d seen it worn like this. The other policewomen were cute too, but it was Diana Dors that I loved because she was so over the top and seemed to relish in the comedy.

The Two Ronnies play two men who are forced to adopt female names and wear dresses, like all men in this bizarre world, but who have set up a resistance against the domination of women. According to Wikipedia, this dystopic future was first postulated as a Doctor Who episode.

The Worm That Turned was a backlash against feminism, but at the same time it could be read as a feminist text because subverting the stereotyped male/female roles in a way highlights the ridiculousness of any gender being the underdog. On the other hand, the uniforms that the police squads wear are an obvious excuse for objectification.

As well as being a good excuse to look at bums and make sexist jokes, there was some great non-sexist comedy. For instance in this clip, watch out for the cow that doesn’t belong to the rest of the herd (at around 3 mins).

I wish I could find more footage. I remember a scene where Diana Dors wore the leather suit usually worn by her subordinates instead of the official general’s uniform, which she’s wearing in the picture above. She was interviewing the leaders of the rebellion and was tapping her hand with a riding crop while walking up and down behind them.

Or maybe that was a dream I had.

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room


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