Secrets (1973 play)

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Secrets is a 1973 BBC Television play by Michael Palin and Terry Jones of one-hour duration, starring Warren Mitchell as the owner of a chocolate factory. The play was part of a series called Black and Blue, which featured black and blue (saucy) comedy.


Three men fall into a mixing vat in the factory, and before anyone can shut down the production line they have already been melted down, blended with the chocolate, boxed up as Secrets Chocolates and shipped off to Worthing. Despite a desperate chase the boxes containing the men's remains are sold and eaten.

To everybody's surprise, market research shows that the chocolate-eating public enjoyed the Worthing batch's unusual "full-bodied" taste. When the factory responds by blending beef with its chocolate recipe the results are disastrous. There is only one possible conclusion: the public enjoys the taste of human flesh.

Faced with bankruptcy there is only one thing the factory can do: admit what has happened, and then start "recycling" corpses as chocolate ingredients. This proves to be an astonishingly popular move, and Britain's economy flourishes thanks to cannibalism.

Soylent Green, which took an altogether more serious view of a similar subject, was released in the same year. A feature film remake of Secrets, Consuming Passions, was released in 1988.

Preservation and DVD release[edit]

The original videotape of the play was wiped by the BBC following a large number of complaints after the first broadcast. The only known surviving version is a VHS copy of a half-inch reel-to-reel domestic videotape recording made by producer Mark Shivas from the mastertape at the BBC and transferred onto VHS in the 1980s. In 2004 this version was included as an extra on the Region 2 DVD of Palin and Jones's series Ripping Yarns. The recording is fuzzy and grainy, and frequently flickers and rolls.

External links[edit]