Disc Four - Digital Versatile Dreams
DVD Fantasies. Now there’s a term open to misinterpretation. But fear not – I’m not about to shock you with sordid talk of rare movies and television stuffs being released, I’m going to discuss wholesome pornographic material. Or vice versa.
Some things are never going to happen. Sue Perkins is never going to pop round to join me in a hot night of toast and DVDs. George Bush is never going to do anything intelligent, sane, rational or in the interests of anyone but himself and his sinister puppet masters. They’re never going to produce a remake of Paddington Bear which is as good as the original series. And they’re never going to release any of the following DVDs. Which is a shame as I make really good toast and I’m sure Sue and I would enjoy ourselves.
All of the following exist or could exist. There is no point craving a DVD of Evil of the Daleks with a Patrick Troughton commentary and hilarious outtakes because one of those was destroyed by the very people who took our hard earned money to make and preserve the programme, the second would probably be disappointing as he wasn’t terribly fond of interviews before he died and the third is impossible as the cast were so professional that they never made any mistakes ever. So my fantastical dreamings are tempered by considerations of existence. A phrase few people ever try to force into a spurious essay about plastic circles that can be read by lasers.
The Avengers Director’s Cut
It is a fairly well known story that the director of the late Avengers movie created a two hour film that he was pretty happy with only for The Studio to hack it randomly down to eighty something minutes because they felt that the audience didn’t want a film that was any longer than it absolutely had to be. It might just be apologists or fantasists or even escapologists (posting on the wrong websites) claiming the film should’ve been better. Or there might be some justification. I’d like to think the director’s cut of the film would be great. The film had so much promise and looks so good. If only it had a plot to go with it.
The Complete Light Lunch
Now here is a boxed set for anyone who was unemployed, being educated or just otherwise at home during 1997 and early 1998. There were 150 episodes of Light Lunch With Mel and Sue and I’ve only got 143 of them. The first seven were not recorded. Three were never watched as the show appeared to be utter crap water. Then I actually watched it and fell in love, both literally and figuratively, and so an affair was born. Some of my recordings are a bit pish. Possibly a lot of them. The signal in Coventry was never good and I unaccountably used a rubbish video when I was at home. Stick all one hundred and fifty hours on fifty discs and, since this is a work of pure fantasy, get m’girls in to record some commentaries. There are some priceless episodes – the French and Saunders one where everything went wrong in the kitchen and they ended up ordering pizza or the Grange Hill special where the hosts wore school uniform and Michael Sheard came on to make pudding and tried to ad lib with toe curling consequences. With all due respect to Nathan, if Jupiter Moon (with its nicely identical episode count and extremely tiny viewership) can get a DVD release then why not my absolutest favourite telly show ever? I know the answers already. It’s a daytime cookery show, the rights issues would be a nightmare and no one would buy it except me. Grumble.
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
I don’t doubt for a moment that Python will get a release sooner or later. It’s already been slapped out on video a few times and a Best Of compilation boxed set was released on an expectant public not so long ago. But I’m talking a proper release. The Ripping Yarns set that came out this past week is superb. The picture had been painstakingly restored, insanely rare material has been unearthed, Jones and Palin came in to do four commentaries and enjoyed themselves so much that they eventually recorded nine and the whole thing reeks of love and care and attention. I wish they would do the same for Python. A commentary on every episode. It would be absurd to hope for all the surviving Pythons to assemble in the same place on the same day, obviously, but to have at least one of them commentate on each episode isn’t impossible. It would offer perspective on the most famous of sketch shows. They’ve recently written several books about themselves so this wouldn’t be like hearing Sylvester McCoy talk about Doctor Who. "Was I in this one? Oh look – I’m wearing a coat. Yes, I must’ve been in this one…" Python is the closest thing to Star Trek in the comedy world (except the really embarrassing Star Treks where we laugh at them until we feel sick) and the people who own the rights know that people will buy any old crap so they don’t make any effort. I want them to make an effort. Because even though everyone thinks they know Python they don’t – 90% of it remains a mystery to most people and that’s a shame because it’s actually rather good.
Wrestlecrap: The DVD
Another slightly esoteric title but bear with me. Wrestlecrap is a term coined on the internet for absurd and inane things that wrestling promoters have thought we would love to pay to watch. WWE are currently putting out some splendid boxed sets of great matches, classic moments and footage we never thought we’d see. They own practically everything it is possible to own and don’t even have to pay people to use their footage. Trademark lawsuits aside ("WWF" and "Hulk Hogan" being the two they can’t use anymore) they are free to do whatever they want. I want them to assemble a package of the worst stuff ever done. There are many different types of wrestlecrap – from such terrifying characters as the wrestling plumber, the wrestling dustbin man, the wrestling transvestite and the wrestling Lazerquest player. To the truly dumb gimmick matches – like the frozen turkey on a pole match, the bout where the loser would be tattooed, the match where you won by dropping your opponent in dog shit or the match where killer hounds surrounded the ring but seemed more interested in humping each other than attacking anyone. Then there are the moments where things went wrong. The Shockmaster crashing through a wall on his debut and ruining his awesome entrance by falling over his feet and landing face down on the floor while his "voice" boomed over the PA. Or the commentary moment where Triple H was asked if he spoke Spanish and replied "There are a lot of bi- things I am but lingual isn’t one of them… did I just mean to say that?" Or the night WCW ran a pay-per-view preview before the main event of a live TV spectacular and accidentally showed the millions of viewers who would be winning the next match. And there are the insane decisions which literally killed business. Like the night WCW had over thirty thousand people in the Georgia Dome and thought it was a good idea to give them a five second main event. It would be a celebration of a business which gets a lot of things right and an awful lot of things wrong. I’d laugh my ass off.
I hope I haven’t bored you with my ramblings. These are things I would pre-order like a flash (once I’d checked every website and made sure I got the biggest possible discount, obviously). I don’t feel I have anything to add so I’ll leave with a slight mis-quote from "The Savages" – a sit com that was axed before its time. Marcus Brigstocke might almost have been talking about my choices when he said…
"They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry. They might even make you sneeze."