Marc Almond discusses Soft Cell’s shocking ‘Sex Dwarf’ video, which remains banned after 38 years

Pioneering synth duo are also the subject of a new BBC4 documentary

Soft Cell singer Marc Almond has been discussing the infamous video for the duo’s song ‘Sex Dwarf’, which is still banned from being shown on UK television 38 years after it was filmed in 1981.

Directed by Tim Pope, the video features Soho brothel workers wielding chainsaws, a dwarf wearing a fetish outfit and piles of raw meat as Almond performs the song in a tiny codpiece. It also sees Almond and keyboardist Dave Ball react in horror after Pope unexpectedly threw live maggots at them during shooting. The uncensored video can be seen on YouTube, while a modified PG take can be seen below.

Almond has been discussing the video’s effects, telling Yahoo: “The video for ‘Sex Dwarf’ was ahead of its time, in the way we were using transgender people, or we would use people who were prostitutes that we found around Soho, people that were working in clubs. And then here was the dwarf himself, which really went against what you were supposed to do!”

Almond admits that he likes the fact the video remains banned, saying: “I’ve never wanted to release it publicly, officially, because it became such a legendary thing. We like the fact some people have seen it and created this urban myth about it. We like that it’s bootlegged and slightly seedy.”

In a separate interview, Almond told Classic Pop last year that he was unable to play ‘Sex Dwarf’ live for many years, saying: “I’d gone off ‘Sex Dwarf’ because that song caused Soft Cell such a lot of trouble. The video and everything around it caused us a lot of pain, and singing it live would bring back all the memories of that time.”

However, the song was performed live when Soft Cell played live at London’s O2 in 2018 when Almond and Ball performed live together for the first time since 2004 in a show billed as their farewell performance.

Almond’s discussion of ‘Sex Dwarf’ came as it was revealed that BBC4 will show an hour-long Soft Cell documentary next week. Say Hello, Wave Goodbye will be shown at 9pm on Friday March 1. Featuring interviews with the duo as well as celebrity fans and collaborators, it will tell how the band enjoyed hits including ‘Tainted Love’, ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ and ‘Torch’ before splitting in 1984.