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Oddities found on video tapes

Given some of the utter tosh that I've watched over the years, I suppose it shouldn't surprise me to discover that I've also taped a lot of utter tosh. Mind you, even knowing that, it's weird what colonises the ends of video tapes, lurking in forgotten nooks and crannies, from back in the days when I used to use the things regularly. Some things are reasonable enough, if long forgotten. Others are just downright bizarre.

  • An episode of Neighbours. I mentioned this back when I first started going through the video collection, but a hunt on the IMDb tells me that it was probably from 1990, or thereabouts. I've had it for twenty-two years?! At least that explains why I don't remember why I taped it. Why I kept it is a different question entirely.

  • The last five minutes of the last episode of Me, You & Him, a 1992 sitcom starring Steve Punt, Hugh Dennis and Nick Hancock. I'm actually rather glad about this, as nobody but me watched it or remembers it. Finally I have proof that I didn't just hallucinate the bloody thing.

  • A news programme in which it is reported that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is quite adamant that the business in the Gulf won't have any effect on the British economy, and the Shadow Chancellor basically just giggles at him. The fact that the Chancellor of the Exchequer in question is John Major, and the Shadow Chancellor John Smith, says a hell of a lot about the direction of British foreign affairs - and the economy - for a large chunk of my lifetime. (I had to check, but Wikipedia says that they played opposite each other in those roles from 1989-90).

  • Mike Smith and Sarah Greene being interviewed by Terry Wogan in 1988, shortly after their helicopter crash. They're all wrapped up in bandages and plaster, and bedecked with crutches, and it's a weird thing to find. And Smithy looks so young. Took me right back to how incredibly important certain radio DJs can be in your life when you're a kid; or they can when you're really into the radio. I guess maybe it's not like that for everybody.

  • Howard Stableford on an episode of Tomorrow's World from 1993, explaining how magic eye pictures work, and demonstrating the only moving one known. Still the only moving one I've ever seen. It's pretty awesome actually, if slightly baffling as something to keep on a video tape for nineteen years.

  • An episode of Baywatch, apparently taped during the show's original airing. Anybody who read my run through of season one on DVD a while back will be able to guess which episode it was. I haven't kept it, as obviously I have it now on DVD, but I did keep the opening credits, because they switched them for different ones on the DVDs. The original theme song is admittedly rubbish, but not as rubbish as the one that they replaced it with; and finally I can prove to my brain that it's not going mad thinking that there ought to be a different opening.

  • An insane amount of bits of episodes of I Love Lucy. I haven't kept them either, as I've got them on DVD now too, but I did keep Bob Hope singing Thanks For The Memory with Desi and Lucy. Because it's Bob Hope singing Thanks For The Memory with Desi and Lucy. And I now have it on my computer. Complete with gratuitous Spanish, Desi giggling, and Bob Hope singing a joke that's lampshaded from about three verses away. But I don't care, because it's Bob Hope.

  • A remarkable amount of bits of episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, all of which seem to involve Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie. Not that I mind, as over the years I came to like them best, but there was definitely a time when neither one of them was in the show. I know there was. I refuse to believe that I'm hallucinating about that either. And I have one episode where the panel is Ryan and Colin plus Mike McShane and Tony Slattery, which I think wins me Whose Line? slash bingo.

  • Tony Blair insisting that the British economy isn't in any danger. He didn't sound nearly as convinced about that as John Major had more than ten years previously. I suppose I should be impressed that somebody was still trying to make us believe it, though.

  • Most of an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess pretending to be The Poseidon Adventure. I presume I kept it because it had Bruce Campbell in it, or taped it because he was in it, or something. I mean, Xena: Warrior Princess?!

  • An episode of Dangerfield starring Nigel Havers. For anybody who doesn't remember, which I suspect is 99% of any given population, Dangerfield was a drama series about a police surgeon, and starred Nigel le Vaillant as Dangerfield. Who was, you probably won't be surprised to learn, a police surgeon. Every week he'd do things that police surgeons do - as well as a hell of a lot of things that police surgeons should never do, ever - and probably in the process saved the Home Counties from a deadly influx of surgery-based criminals. The IMDb tells me that Nigel le Vaillant turned into Nigel Havers in 1997. I watched N le V's first series, but didn't bother with the rest, so I can only assume that I taped it for my mother. Or at least that's the only excuse I can come up with.

  • Half an episode of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, in which an insane senior detective throws Lynley off a boat, and then gets shot by his sergeant with a harpoon gun. They weren't even trying to be a sensible cop show anymore, were they. I don't watch that show, either. Some day I'm really going to have to teach my mother how to record her own programmes. Sadly my father switching from VHS to one of those hard drive things doesn't seem to have helped her any. At least she knew where the VHS 'on' button was.

  • An episode of That's Showbusiness, from 1995. This was a quiz show about, er, showbusiness, fronted by Mike Smith. In this episode, one of the panellists is Sarah Greene, which suggests either a marked flavour to his TV work, or a peculiar bias on the part of my video recorder. She does a remarkably good Janet Street Porter impression. He has very bad hair.

  • A fraction of an episode of Tibs & Fibs, a Channel 5 medical comedy quiz show from back when they first started up, in 1997. Presumably medicine was the only thing left that nobody had made a comedy quiz about yet? It's another one that I seem to have been alone in watching (and remembering), which is a shame, as the tape was dead, so I haven't bothered keeping it. Consquently I can no longer prove that I wasn't hallucinating that one as well. Tibs & Fibs was presented by Tony Slattery, and the team captains were Tony Gardner and Phil Hammond. I have no idea what they were talking about, as there was no sound, and the picture wasn't brilliant either, but I do remember it as being quite a good show.

  • Half an episode of The High Chaparral, featuring a camel. The High Chaparral isn't a surprise, as I used to watch it all the time. The camel was unexpected. You'd think I'd remember an episode of a Western series with a camel in it, but I don't. It also had the Riddler in it, riding the camel, which really should have made it very memorable indeed. I can only conclude that the Montoyas weren't in it very much.

  • A chunk of the 1999 Soap Awards. Now I do vaguely remember wanting to see if Claire King was going to win Best Exit, for braining Chris Tate with a paperweight and then legging it in a helicopter, but videoing the bloody thing is a bit unfathomable. So's keeping it for the next thirteen years. She did win, incidentally. Of course she did. She'd probably have brained the judges as well if she hadn't.

  • Quite a lot of episodes of Emmerdale, also from 1999, and now all rendered unwatchable because they were taped in LP. Through persistent screen-rolling, it looks like Chris locked in a cellar, Chris arguing with people, Chris fighting with people, and Chris shouting rather a lot. There were probably some other things happening as well, to other people, but they're less important.

  • John Barrowman reading a bedtime story on CBeebies. Don't ask.

  • The last half of the first episode of Any Dream Will Do. Everybody is wondering who will be Joseph. Although quite why they're wondering is anybody's guess, as it was bloody obvious within about two minutes of the series starting. I was quite impressed at how they managed to spend another twelve weeks trying to make us guess, though.

  • Buffy! I've had that on DVD since forever, but it was still nice to find a bunch of episodes, presumably from their first airing. There was a brief fragment from the end of "Never Kill A Boy On The First Date", and what looked like about four seconds of "I Robot, You Jane".

  • A chunk of an episode of Scavengers, an ITV game show from around 1994, where contestants pretended to be trapped on a disintegrating spaceship with John Leslie, and had to swing from ropes in order to get out. If they didn't get out, John Leslie had to do Acting, and abandon them to suffocation in the depths of space*. John Leslie had to do this whilst dressed in black rubber. I suspect I may have been the only person who watched this show as well.

    * I assume he was acting. I don't think they ever actually did kill any of their contestants, but admittedly I don't know that for sure.

  • A startling number of little bits of The Big Story, the current affairs show that Dermot Murnaghan did in the nineties. Sadly all the little bits that I have seem to feature DM and his blue shirt interviewing women about stuff. I do not have him being thrown out of Harrods' by Muhammad al-Fayed, or escaping from police custody in Greece, or trying to avoid being thrown down some stairs by an irate Italian doctor. Life is cruel.

  • A gazillion episodes of The Tribe. And bits of episodes of it. Everywhere. They're like a virus, fittingly enough.

    Oh, Channel 5. I did actually used to watch you quite a lot. What fun you were, when you were still shiny and new. Then you grew up. TV channels really shouldn't be allowed to do that.

  • I just looked on YouTube, and some other people must have seen Scavengers too, as it's up there. John Leslie, rubber costume and all. I am not going to urge you to watch it, as I am cruel, but I am not that cruel. No Tibs & Fibs, but while I was looking for it I did find an episode of S&M, the improv show that Tony Slattery and Mike McShane did in 1991. I was beginning to think that I was the only person who remembered that as well.


    Apr. 21st, 2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
    I kept all of Lee's songs, and a few of the group numbers. And yes, I know what you mean. There was a time when I was quite concerned that Lewis or Keith might win. ALW seemed quite obsessed with the idea of a very young Joseph. Then he swore at the end of it that he'd learned his lesson about starting out with a preconceived notion, and promptly made the same mistake all over again with "I'd Do Anything"!

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