Wednesday, 14 December 2011

TV's dark days & futuristic musings

Now for those of you who might get a little way through this blog and get bored because you think I am just rambling on about old TV shows, I recommend staying with it, as I'm building up to something - and all the funny bits are at the end, but you have to read the whole article to follow the flow!

As you may have heard, two old black and white episodes of Doctor Who have been discovered. This means there are now 106 episodes still missing from the 60's, out of 253 made during that period.

Thankfully these all still exist in audio format. Why? Because geeky fans in the 60s held up tape recorders to their TV sets to record them. Before you say that's sad, well I was not alive in the 60s, but I can imagine it was the sort of thing that I would have done.

Doctor Who is by no means the only programme this affects, only a handful of episodes exist from many other shows of the period e.g. Till Death Us Do Part and Z Cars. It's not just the BBC that's affected, some TV stations such as ATV lost almost all of their archive of sixties shows such as Crossroads. Though many would probably consider that a merciful thing. However - Granada retained every episode of Coronation Street. As an archive TV collector I have many of them, including the first 8 episodes from 1960.

So what happened to these old shows? How can they just disappear? Well back then there were no video recorders, and in the late 60s colour TV was launched. Now back then, the powers that be simply could not envisage the future video and dvd market that would develop. Just as we can't forsee future developments. When colour TV came in it was the equivalent of when DVD's arrived - remember how quickly video tapes became obsolete? Ask any charity shop, they can't get rid of them! Anyway, the view back then was that once colour programmes were made, no-one would want to watch these old shows. And the cost of the videotapes they were made on was very expensive, so they were just wiped and re-used. Much as any of you who used to religiously record Neighbours while you were at work would use the same tape over and over again.

So all these old shows were deleted - which looking back now is nothing short of an act of vandalism, in my eyes, as a collector, it's the equivalent of going into a library or art gallery and burning all the contents. Television is an art form, and all that work from all those actors has gone forever due to the short-sightedness of those in charge at the time.

Thankfully someone realised in the late 70s what was happening and stopped it. In fact the guy who did was a Doctor Who fan who worked at the BBC who literally found the first dalek story taped up with a load of other old video tapes in a skip outside the building and fished it out. It later transpired this was the only copy in existence at which point he went to the bosses and said "This is wrong!". And the vandalism stopped.

Maybe I am too harsh on those in charge at the time, we cannot see how things are going to go in the future. All of this happened 40 years ago, and it got me to thinking, can we possibly envisage what the future of entertainment has in store for us another 40 years down the line.

During my life we've had colour TV, breakfast TV, Channel 4, remote controls, VCR's cable, satellite, freeview, nicam, widescreen, HD, Iplayer, and now 3D to name but a few developments. So what will we have in 40 years time?

I would envisage a fully interactive experience akin to the holodeck on Star Trek the Next Generation. Before you all groan as I've mentioned Doctor Who and Star Trek in the same blog, here's a link so I don't have to give a lengthy explanation

Here also is a picture which gives an idea of how it works.


In summary it enables you to go into a room and have a fully interactive experience so you can actually be on a tropical beach and feel the sun and the sand and the water, or riding a horse through a forest and such like. That is how it was portrayed on the show. Now if such technology existed now, here are some practical uses I think it could be put to:

SKY Sports - on Sunday afternoon, not only can you watch the big match on SKY Sports you can play in it. So rather than shouting "Rooney You Wanker" at the screen you can just go and kick him in the nuts in virtual reality. In fact you can take part in any sport, drive alongside the real drivers in the Grand Prix and so on and so forth.

Go and have a pint in the Queen Vic, chat to the regulars and try not to get beaten up by Phil Mitchell.

A nationwide "Big Brother" house which you can enter from and show the nation what an arsehole you are without every leaving the comfort of your own home.

Huge interactive quiz shows featuring thousands of players.

The possibilities are endless. However, let's face it, there's only one thing most of us would use it for, and the possibilities are endless when you think about it. If you could create a real environment, put anyone in it, and interact with them, then what springs to mind?

You've got it - interactive porn. Do anything, with anyone, create your own private fantasy and away you go. Come on hurry up and invent it while I've still got lead in my pencil!

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Jason x x

1 comment:

  1. My god .... awesome!! I wish I could have used this in my A level media studies exam - I'd have got an A!!! Well done!! Didn't know you were into all that stuff, facinating! The Star trek holodeck will be the next big thing I reckon!!xxx (but only you could lower the tone lol!!!x)