BBC Video World, Volume 1, Issue 20, December 1989 (BBC, 1989). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

This tape was given to me as a cast-off, but apparently you can subscribe to this sampler of BBC programming. I consider this ephemera because of its "sampler" nature, especially since it contains excerpts from sporting events and episodes of serial programs. It's not really all that interesting now, but it will be in 10 or 20 years or so. Here's what it contains: the first episode of "You Rang, M'Lord?", a kind of sitcom version of "Upstairs, Downstairs" featuring some rather disturbing (but supposedly comic) scenes of sexual harassment; the last episode of "Around the World in 80 Days", a documentary in which Michael Palin retraces Phileas Phogg's journey, but not in a funny way, unfortunately, although we do get to see the U.S. through British eyes; an episode of "Blackadder Goes Forth", a mildly amusing sitcom in which Rowan Atkinson plays an incredibly sarcastic World War I army officer; a cutesie-pie cartoon called "Barney's Christmas Surprise", which fortunately does not feature the purple dinosaur, but unfortunately almost stoops to his level; and very polite excerpts from British showjumping and soccer coverage (why non-Brits would be interested in this is open to question). There's also a hostess who probably got an honorable mention in the Princess Di Lookalike Contest, and, since this is the Christmas issue, some scenes of London Christmas lights, which are very much like the scenes of Christmas lights your local newscast runs on Christmas Eve. I plan to let this sit on the shelf and gather dust until about 2030, when I'll have it dubbed onto HDTV video disc and find it as interesting as America Before TV, that great set of audiocassettes of a radio broadcast day from the 1930s.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ** (despite the presence of Michael Palin and the fact that two of the shows are supposed to be comedies). Weirdness: *** (but that's probably only because I'm American). Historical Interest: Now: *. In 2030: ****. Overall Rating: ** (but we'll see if that changes with time).

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