Robert Hampton

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17th December 2009

Xmas the Spot
Posted by at 11.16pm | Television | 1 response

The weather’s getting colder, the nights are getting longer and Ryan Giggs has won the X Factor (or something). It can only mean one thing: Christmas approaches, and as usual the broadcasters clear their schedules for some festive hijinks.

Here is my pick of the Christmas TV schedules. I actually thought I’d done this last year, but in fact it was all the way back in 2006 when I hand-picked some top Christmas telly, so it’s high time I did it again. There’s a lot of dross this year, and a big thumbs down to BBC Two who fill an hour of precious peaktime on Christmas Day with a repeat of the previous week’s Top Gear! Still, there’s some proverbial wheat to be found among the chaff. Here’s my choice.

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27th January 2008

Thank God for that
Posted by at 5.06pm | Television | No responses

I’ve been reacquainting myself with Whose Line is it Anyway? Not the hacked-to-ribbons versions that are being shown on Dave, mind, but the unexpurgated versions available free (albeit DRM-crippled) from 4oD.

I’m currently making my way through series 3. This is something of a re-evaluation for me. When Paramount Comedy repeated the complete run of the show a few years back, my impression was that these early episodes were “not very good”. Despite the presence of great improvisers such as Mike McShane, Sandi Toksvig, Paul Merton and Tony Slattery on the panel, yours truly had started watching the show in the mid-90s, during the dominance of the Colin Mochrie/Ryan Stiles/Greg Proops triumverate, and couldn’t imagine a show without them.

Now, ten years later (has it really been that long?) I’m able to appreciate these early episodes more. While perhaps not as consistently funny, they have a genuine unpredictability and edginess which is somewhat lacking in the later episodes, and missing almost entirely in the American version.

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4th November 2007

This Web Site is a Mochrie!
Posted by at 11.03pm | It's My Life | No responses

The thought occurred to me today that I have a blog, and I really should post something in it. So here, in no particular order, are things what have happened to me recently.

  • My missing items ordered from various internet retailers finally made their way through the 1970s (aka Royal Mail Copperas Hill) and reached my doormat. Hurrah!

  • I’m really enjoying Whose Line is it Anyway? repeats on the craply-named Dave channel, despite the ham-fisted editing which sees games cut off midway to go to a commercial break and anything even slightly rude cut out (so when Tony Slattery is on, it’s doomed from the get go).

  • I upgraded the WordPress software for this site from 2.3 to 2.3.1 (offering new features, including an extra dot and number!) only to suffer a heartstopping moment when every page on the site started coming up with 404 errors. Oh, you crazy misconfigured .htaccess file!

  • After my earlier negative experience with Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, I am pleased to report that I have got my brain age down to a sprightly 20! This achievement was only possible thanks to many hours of continuous brain training exercises, and certainly not because I used the hidden cheat mode.

  • I have started Christmas shopping. My family are the most impossible people to buy gifts for. I’d buy them all gift vouchers, but that always seems like the lazy option: “Hello, I know you like books, but I couldn’t be bothered finding out which books in particular, so I’m giving you a book token, thereby transferring the responsibility from me to you! Happy Christmas!”

  • Tomorrow is the annual Hampton Family Festival of Standing Around in the Cold, Dark November Night While Robert Desperately Tries To Light The Blue Touch Paper By The Light of a Torch With Almost-Dead Batteries While The Children For Whom This Whole Thing Is Supposedly Intended Are Sitting Inside Watching Lazy Town. The whole family will show up to join in the “fun” (my brother’s married to a Catholic which I like to think adds an extra layer of awkwardness to the situation).

If I don’t blow myself up, I’ll see you all tomorrow!