You noticed fairly quickly that while Henry's dreams were funny - he 'wakes' to find three tabloid hacks behind the bed - they were also bolted to real concerns. As he stumbles blearily to the lavatory the hacks pursue him, cameras flashing. 'I'm just going to the toilet,' he pleads. 'Where's the wife, Lenny?' asks one trench-coated reporter. 'My wife does not accompany me to the toilet' Henry explains wearily. 'Marriage problems, Len?' snaps one of the team. The hacks are later crushed to death by Henry's grotesquely swollen buttocks, a fitting end as it was down to them that they had become 'distorted out of all proportion'. Shortly before this Barry Norman has pitched up in the bathroom to trash Henry's performance in Bastard, a short film in which Henry flushes the lavatory and washes his hands. He is given a spanking and sent off with a verbal warning - 'Don't make any more rotten British films'.
In a later dream, rushing to make his own wedding, he hears a tap on the car door and looks up to see a policeman. 'This your car, Sir?' He establishes that it is, reeling the number plate off with weary and practised ease, at which point the policeman pauses suspiciously, spirals his index finger grandiosely towards the middle of Henry's face and asks 'This your nose, Sir?'. The law is finally satisfied after Henry has been daubed with a nasal registration number - 1, presumably because it was the only digit that would fit.
You don't have to be Sigmund Freud to work out that being black, being part of a famous media marriage and being on the receiving end of some less than gentle criticism for his big screen excursions might have contributed something to these little fictions. The Lenny on screen may insist that dreaming is just 'television for sleepers' but we know better. Better than Bill Paterson, at least, who plays Henry's analyst - a man who finds himself incapable of uttering a sentence which doesn't end in a question mark.
I lost my way a little bit after that, but I think Paterson turned out to be just a dream himself (an interpretation which would seem to be borne out by the fact that he later turned into a butterfly, thus illustrating Chang Tsu's famous conundrum - 'Am I a man who has dreamed I was a butterfly, or am I butterfly who dreams I am a man?') if not some kind of dream within a dream. This sort of origami with the plot wasn't helpful, but I would have put up with twice as much for the sake of Henry's Queen, weirdly modulated into a West Indian matriarch.
Jack Dee's Christmas Special (C 4) turned out to be the familiar act of street-ranter dressed in a smart suit, making bilious but funny comments about bank-clerks and grumpy farmers. Not so much Christmas spirit as methylated spirit.Reuse content