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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

How the quest got started

I'm not sure just when I actually decided to embark on the Quest. I'm sure it must be well over a decade. It was never really a conscious decision so much as something that just sort of sneaked up on me over time. Certainly I've always been fascinated by sci-fi and fantasy and would eagerly seek out every morsel that there was to be had in the schedules of the 4 channels available to me as a child.

Yes 4. It may be difficult for some of the younger folk to comprehend - in fact I think my demographic was probably the last to live like this - but when I were a lad multi channel subscription set ups like Sky and it's ilk were, though around, very much in their infancy, with nowhere near the number of specialist and niche channels available. They were also considered something of a luxury, with far fewer homes possessing them.

No, all I had was terrestrial telly, and since Five, or Channel 5 as was, was still years away, that meant 4 channels. I suppose I should count myself lucky. Channel 4 launched within my lifetime so I actually lived the first few years of my life with only 3. Luckily I spent most of those years eating, puking, crapping and sleeping so having a wide variety of viewing options wasn't really something I was concerned about.

Channel 4 was probably the pick of the channels as far as my needs went. Sundays on there was sci-fi day. Not in any officially branded way that the channel was pimping but in my head it most definitely was. I would come home from my paper round and there would be a vintage slice of Yankland sci-fi. Be it the Planet of the Apes TV show (an underrated classic) or some Irwin Allen genius in the form of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea or Land of the Giants I knew that they wouldn't let me down. Then at teatime a movie, often decades old and completely obscure but nonetheless, a sci-fi movie to eat your tea to. It was this slot that gave me my first taste of the Dr Who movies. In fact, as I'm typing this I realise that that was probably my first taste of Doctor Who full stop. Little did I know.

Even when BBC2 started showing more modern stuff it was 'modern' in only the loosest terms, being generally about 3 seasons behind. Nevertheless, we got pretty stable scheduling of a number of top shows in their weekday teatime slot, with the various modern Trek shows, Lois and Clark, Due South, Buffy and the sublime Farscape filling the slot for a number of years before it was decided that reruns of the Weakest Link and a bunch of cookery shows were what the audience really wanted. By that time Sky was properly bedded in and they were airing shows months rather than years behind their original transmissions. I suspect the BBC had simply seen the writing on the wall.

Anyway,by then I was starting my first job, meaning disposable income for the first time in my life. MVC didn't know what was about to hit them.

Next : The Tomorrow People

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