Although I really love iPlayer and TV On Demand on cable, and Virgin Plus and all sorts of other ways to watch telly when I want to watch it, it has removed some of the fun from Christmas. And what with the early releases of movies to DVD, I miss something about Christmas in particular.
The Bumper Radio Times.
When it first arrived in the house in days of yore, all smooth and shiny and with promises of wondrous televisual feasts, we would scour through the pages and make little notes against the shows we would watch and the films we would record. And if two great films clashed we’d have to decide which one to watch, and which one to keep on tape for prosperity.
Because ITV were always so lacklustre, we rarely had to record a film with ad breaks, so when they threw a spanner in the works and put on something unmissable it would muck up the tape system. Two films per four hour tape, that was the law.
The very first film we recorded to keep at Christmas was the Temple Of Doom. This tape stayed on the shelf until the day VHS died, it’s label slowly yellowing and drying out, the thick black felt pen writing stoically hanging on, ready to inform prying eyes that this tape contained Indiana Jones.
As kids we would watch these films often, to the point of knowing them word for word – except that this wasn’t true. We knew the words that had only been shown to our delicate ears, the words that had been excised and over-dubbed with clanking inexpertise, not the original unexpurgated expletive included versions.
A part of me always knew that John McClane never actually said “Yipee ki eh, Kimo Sabe”.