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Whataday9,780 posts since 13 Sep 2001
HTV Wales Wales Today
Looking forward to seeing this - shame it's only half an hour though.

Quote:
December 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the BBC VT Christmas tapes, a series of risque and hilarious bloopers compiled by the BBC’s VT department. These festive mash-ups of outtakes, blunders and specially filmed comedy sketches were never meant for public viewing and were shown to staff at Christmas parties. Their story has not been told before - until now! This is the latest documentary from comedian Rhys Thomas, creator of Brian Pern and director of the Emmy Award-winning Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender.

The Christmas Tapes featured some of the BBC’s biggest stars. In those days of formal presentation, viewers were used to watching polished television programmes featuring respected professional broadcasters. It would have been unthinkable in 1978 to transmit footage of these personalities turning the air blue in moments of tension.

The Video Tape department was situated underneath the BBC’s famous doughnut courtyard. Editors would cut all the mistakes out of recordings to hone perfect programmes. In 1978 a young VT engineer called Grant Watkins had the idea of saving all the funniest outtakes and cutting them together to amuse fellow staff.

The first Christmas tape is infamous for a saucily re-edited interview with Princess Anne, where she appears to confess to Grandstand host David Coleman that she has experienced sex several times! Editing her answers out of context led to gales of laughter at the Christmas party, but news was leaked to a journalist and the Princess Anne story made the front page of The Sunday People. BBC producer John Lloyd believes that the Princess Anne edit was inspirational on the kind of comic editing later seen in Not The Nine O’Clock News, which began in 1979 and featured footage of politicians and royalty intercut with comedians.

Despite the tabloid headlines, the BBC VT team pushed on with a new tape the following Christmas. It is packed with bloopers from the BBC’s best-loved series, but it was clear to everyone who saw the tape that Grant Watkins was spending too much time on his pet project. He was asked to leave the BBC in 1980, and so he passed on the baton of gathering outtakes to his colleague Dave Rixon. It was a role he was to continue for another seventeen years.

The rise of the Christmas Tapes coincided with the boom in domestic video recorders and the Christmas Tapes were soon being pirated. Bill Cotton, the BBC’s Managing Director of Television, was forced to ban the tapes in 1983, after his daughter bought one in Shepherds Bush Market.

With the Christmas Tapes outlawed, what would become of the clips that had been gathered during 1983? Step forward Noel Edmonds, host of the Saturday night TV series The Late Late Breakfast Show. He rewarded BBC presenters and actors with Golden Egg Awards in exchange for showing their bloopers to delighted primetime audiences, and in later years the Christmas Tape archive would be mined regularly for Terry Wogan’s outtake series Auntie’s Bloomers.

The Christmas tapes returned, but by the 1990s, the humour shifted away from subversive sketches and movie spoofs towards a critique of the business strategy of new BBC Director General, John Birt. BBC management were keen to get involved in making the tapes but Rixon feared their subversive edge would be lost. He decided to bow out of producing them for good and the last tape was made in 1998, while the VT department finally shut down in 2013 when BBC Television Centre was sold off and redeveloped.

This programme includes interviews with the original Christmas Tape editors Dave Rixon and Chris Wadsworth, alongside stars who featured in the tapes: Angela Rippon, Bill Oddie, Sarah Greene, Phillip Schofield and Play School presenter Carol Chell, whose bent-over performance as a table dripping with sticky goo won her many admirers in the BBC canteen after it was spliced into the 1979 Christmas Tape. Original master copies of the Christmas Tapes have been sourced to present the archive clips in high quality, with many clips being broadcast uncensored for the first time.

This is the latest documentary from comedian Rhys Thomas, creator of Brian Pern and director of the Emmy Award-winning Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender. His own mash-up programme 2018: A Year in the Life of a Year, also influenced by the legacy of the Christmas Tapes, is on BBC 2 on December 27th.
10
ChipperBird63 posts since 20 Jun 2017
Anglia (East) Look East
I love the tapes that have leaked to the internet in the past so would watch this, but half an hour seems really short to cover these. I guess it's something at least - what a shame it's shoved onto BBC 4 like the really good animation evening a few nights back was too. Glad the channel is getting some nice content - but it's kind of a bummer it's not getting some advertising at all on BBC 1 or 2 really!
FanOfTV99338 posts since 6 Nov 2017
Granada North West Today
Just found a Wikipedia Article about Christmas Tapes

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_tape


It says here:

The name originates from the 1950s, when the material was filmed at the staff's Christmas parties where impromptu sketches were carried out. As time progressed, other types of material (such as outtakes and deliberate misbehaviour) were included on the videos.
The Tuesday 6-9 Show With Michael

Every Tuesday

(Hopefully) on Burnley College Radio.
Neil Jones5,137 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
On the commercial side we know Thames had their own Christmas Tapes or some form of something similar, indeed it was where the infamous "Twangers episode" of Rainbow came from and where the likes of Alright On The Night sourced a lot of their material from. The only real difference is they seem to have lasted longer from the ITV companies, the 'Bullseye adapted for Channel 4' skit dates from 1983 and the 1987 Central Christmas Tape contained an outtake with Rik Mayall from Hardwicke House, in particular from one of the episodes that was never aired.
JasonB4,997 posts since 20 Sep 2003
London London
The only real difference is they seem to have lasted longer from the ITV companies, the 'Bullseye adapted for Channel 4' skit dates from 1983


Was that Bullseye skit recorded like that? I've seen comments saying it was longer. The clip that keeps popping up on YouTube looks like it has been cut down.
"623058 The whole thing has been a dump squirt."
bilky asko5,392 posts since 9 Sep 2006
Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
The only real difference is they seem to have lasted longer from the ITV companies, the 'Bullseye adapted for Channel 4' skit dates from 1983


Was that Bullseye skit recorded like that? I've seen comments saying it was longer. The clip that keeps popping up on YouTube looks like it has been cut down.

It was presented that way in the original video (hence the end of part caption, which references its position in the tape).