Cult TV

Cult TV Essentials: No Heroics

No Heroics was a British superhero-comedy television series, which began on 18 September 2008 and aired six episodes. It is set in modern-day Britain, in a world similar to ours but “With one small difference: there are superheroes.” The superheroes of the world (colloquially referred to as “capes”) are primarily modelled after those of the Golden Age of Comic Books, usually clad in brightly coloured outfits consisting of skin-tight materials such as Lycra or spandex.

The presence of superheroes in the world is commonplace, arriving not only to save people or avert disaster but also carrying out everyday tasks such as grocery shopping or taking a smoke break, all while in full costume. Other aspects of society relating to superheroes include:

  • Sidekick taxes – all superheroes have to pay sidekick taxes even if they choose not to have a sidekick, these taxes are to compensate those affected when a sidekick makes a mistake such as blowing up a post office.
  • The SPA – the Super Powers Authority deals with abuse of powers cases, dealing out punishments including community service, such as mentoring an unruly sidekick.
  • Anti-cape leagues – parallel to neo-Nazi groups in the real world, anti-cape groups (such as the Cape Haters of Great Britain) are prejudiced against superheroes and tell “capeist” jokes, and sometimes go around “cape-bashing”.
  • The Fortress – the bar of choice for the protagonists where most of the show takes place, with three fundamental rules: “No Masks, No Powers and No Heroics”.
  • A superhero academy exists where the capes are trained.
  • Cape rape – a term similar to Date rape, referring to superhero rapists.
  • The Stronghold – the supervillain equivalent of The Fortress. A place for the villains to meet and show their battle and torture scars from their run-ins with heroes.


Alex, “The Hotness” –Nicholas Burns:Alex controls heat and is desperate to be famous for saving the world (or at least someone), but somehow Excelsor always manages to save the day before him. His main work comes in winter when he fills in for the heaters at old peoples homes when they are broken.

Sarah, “Electroclash” – Claire Keelan:  Sarah can control machines with her voice. She would rather steal a pack of cigarettes from a machine than help the ‘normal’ world with her power. Seen as the most rock ‘n’ roll of the bunch, Sarah is the daughter of famous superheroes “Rampart” and “Velvet Veil”, described by Sarah as the “Torvill and Dean” or the “Richard and Judy” of the superhero world. She is Alex’s on-off love interest, having broken up with him some time prior to the start of the series. Sarah was a member of the short lived superhero team known as Lady Trouble, alongside Jenny (She-Force).

Don, “Timebomb” –James Lance:Don can see sixty seconds into the future and is an expert in torture. ThegaySpaniard only uses his abilities to his friends’ advantage, due to his retirement only taking on a few jobs to keep the cash rolling. He is also an ex-drug addict and frequently engages in sex with strangers. Don appears to be the only cape with a more modern-style costume, wearing a black leather suit of body armour in stark contrast to the brightly coloured outfits of his peers.

Jenny, “She-Force” – Rebekah Staton: Jenny has super-strength and is the third strongest female in the world, but doesn’t feel comfortable being a superhero. She would much rather spend her days at her desk, waiting for Mr Right to come along. Socially awkward, Jenny revels in having a secret identity as an office worker, a charade her friends find pointless. Jenny was a member of the short lived superhero team known as Lady Trouble, alongside Sarah (Electroclash).

Devlin, “Excelsor” –Patrick Baladi:Devlin is the most successful cape in the United Kingdom; he is a “Rock Star” within the superhero world, with a high public profile and numerous commercial endorsement deals. Due to his immense success Devlin’s attitude is highly egotistical and selfish, and he takes pleasure in reminding Alex and the other “lesser” superheroes of his superiority at every opportunity, often by bullying Alex. Devlin has a wide array of powers, which include but are not limited to: flight, laser eye beams, X-ray vision, super speed, force field creation and manipulation, super sensitive hearing, and mind control abilities.

Simon, “Thundermonkey” -Jim Howick:Simon worked in the Fortress as abouncer, whose job it was to ensure that the regulars played by the rules. The regulars treat him as a bit of a joke, particularly Sarah. He is allowed to use his powers in the fortress as part of his job. His power involved summoning and commanding monkeys; the monkeys do not simply appear, they have to physically travel from wherever they happened to be. Given that they took so long to respond to his calls, they were never seen on screen (although their coffins were present at Simon’s funeral), even after relocating their home reduced their response time from 2 hours to 45 minutes. After Sarah taunted him about being a crap superhero he picked a fight with Slicefist (a known supervillain with razor blade fingers), both he and his monkeys were killed in the resulting fight.

“Norse Dave” -Steve Spiers:The bartender for the Fortress who fought in theFalklands War, alongside Rampart, superhero who sports injuries from the Gulf conflict, his powers are as yet unknown. He is pictured in background art dressed as a stereotypicalViking, armed with an axe.

“Doomball” – Oliver Maltman: This villain’s main feature is a huge black ball-like helmet over his head with a small slit to see out of. He wishes to be taken more seriously as a villain; in this regard he could be considered an evil foil to Alex, though his actual powers are unknown. He was captured and tortured by Don in episode 6, revealing the location of the villains’ stronghold to enable the heroes to avenge the death of Simon.

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