Have I Been Here Before?, ITV1

by | May 16, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it?

A chance for celebrities to regress back to their past lives through hypnosis and to suggest the possibility of reincarnation and to give the nation food for thought.

What to say if you didn’t like it?

Z-list celebrities too unknown to get on Celebrity Love Island go on a programme broadcast when most people are at work, which has very dubious claims about so called “past lives”.

What was good about it?

• Silver haired, black suited Phlilip Schofield was, despite looking bored and overemphasizing words like “starting”, was actually a reasonably good host. It was funny to see him interview Neil Fox after his past life regression in the same calm and understanding manner as he does on daytime TV: “How did you feel about the fact you were a murderer and that you did plunge an arrow through that man’s neck”.

• It reminded us a lot of 1990s children’s show It’s A Mystery, with an investigation into a seemingly supernatural event with historical and scientific evidence, while adding some humour and ultimately leaving it up to the audience to make up their own minds.

• The first sight of Andrea Foulkes, the regression therapist. She was a babe! With her long blonde hair, pouting lips and long sexy legs she had no trouble hypnotising Fox.

• The nice production values in the opening title sequence, a beautiful wood with a glowing door in the middle. A lot like the title sequence of Six Feet Under.

• They sensibly understood their limits. They never decided to go one way or another regarding whether they thought past life regression, or reincarnation, had any truth in it, given that nobody knows for sure. “In the end it’s up to you to decide what you believe”.

• The contributions from Chris French, a professor of psychology, who said that even though the emotion that a participant of past life regression is sometimes real, that is not conclusive proof that the memory it is attributed to is real. He later said that Fox’s regression story sounded a lot like Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.

• Psychologist Dr David Lewis had an interesting view “Andrea has given these people permission to act out a fantasy they can be anything they want to be – and they do so to please her”. It was also satisfying to hear him cut through all the treacly stuff by saying it is quite common for someone who is deeply emotionally attached to another person to believe it was always meant to be and their love goes back centuries.

What was bad about it?

• “Today we will be delving into the subconscious mind of DJ and television personality Neil Fox, known for years as The Doctor”. Need we say anymore?

• Andrea Foulke’s “calming voice and relaxation techniques”. Her voice was whiney, grating and nasally, and her relaxation techniques amounted to her patronising her patient as if she’s a dental hygienist.

• Fox’s regression story had every cliché in the book. He was a 15th-century carpenter called Thomas who played the lute. He was in love with Sarah, the beautiful daughter of an evil, unnamed, baron, who had Thomas arrested because he didn’t want him seeing Sarah. Years later, Thomas led a rebellion to kill the baron and “free the area where they lived” . They won the battle, Thomas put an arrow through the baron’s throat, he married Sarah, who didn’t mind that he killed her father, they had three children and he died in her arms.

• Fox’s tears looked false and it wouldn’t surprise us if the whole thing was scripted.

• Ian Lawson, “an author of spiritual philosophy” whatever that means. He said that he believed that past life memories transcend physical bodies because they are carried from one life to the next. Either his explanation of this assertion was cut or he simply didn’t have one.

• “Historian detective” Jules Hudson had his qualifications listed (historian and arecheologist MA, BA HONS) presumably to prove to the viewers he was a real historian. Why weren’t Andrea’s qualifications listed in a similar way, unless she simply doesn’t have any.

• “A lute was a sort of medieval guitar.” Thanks. We thought it was a Japanese-made car.

• Hudson’s attempt to give historical backing to Fox’s regression story fell flat. It was around the same time as the War of the Roses, but that didn’t seem to have any relation to the story at all. Then there was all the stuff that went unchallenged – could a carpenter become a knight? why was the daughter of a wealthy baron preparing food in a kitchen? was there any historical evidence for anything in the story happening or any of those people existing? how convenient it was the two named characters had names which exist now (Thomas and Sarah) and existed in Upstairs Downstairs together?

• The scariest image in the whole programme was the photo of Dr Fox licking Simon Cowell. The stuff of nightmares.

• The sugary, sloppy, sickly talk about soulmates between Fox and Schofield. Apparently he always knew that he’d marry his wife Vicky when he first saw her. Poor Vicky.

• The shots of the heads of tacky reality TV “celebs” such as Joe Pasquale stuck on the bodies of important historical figures such as Elizabeth I. Though it probably illustrates the programme perfectly.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

16/05/2005

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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