A Xmas (on the) box

BBC1 made a late, and ultimately telling, bid to snatch the ‘Censorship of the Year’ award away from BBC2 (for their scissoring of ‘Repo Man’) by cutting seven sorts of celluloid out of ‘Crocodile Dundee 2’. Not only was the dialogue doctored but whole scenes were removed: when Croc’s at a party, he goes to the toilet and sees a guy snorting coke, which leads to some highly amusing confusion. Not in this version – that whole scene never existed. And the only reason this was done, since I can’t believe they’d have bothered otherwise, was so they could show the film earlier and get better ratings for it. Meanwhile, on ITV things are getting weirder. Just before Xmas, they showed Kubrick’s “The Shining”, totally uncut. Since New Year, they’ve been showing Bond films, and the knives have been out, with cuts, clips and clumsy commercials breaks inserted in an effort to prevent PG-rated movies from corrupting the audience. Can I suggest they sack Timothy Dalton and replace him with Jack Nicholson, since it seems that neither side dares tamper with HIS films!

Unexpected little gem was one of the Channel 4 short films, entitled “The Zip”, about a man who wakes up to find said zip running down his chest. Only ten minutes long, it had some impressive special effects and lot of good, dark atmosphere. Lowlight was “The Woman in Black”, ITV’s ghost story; they seemed to be trying to do a BBC style costume drama, but the period feel was so forced, and they had forgotten about the need for a decent script. I spotted the ending half-way through. Finally, it was galling to discover on Hogmanay that BBC Scotland (I was home at the time) weren’t showing “Hazard of Hearts” with Helena Bonham-Carter, but instead had “The Ipcress File” with Michael Caine. Not QUITE the disappointment of 1989 (that was thinking “Arsenal will never win by two goals at Anfield, I’ll go and watch ‘The Blob’ instead”), but a few kicks were aimed at the cat that day‚Ķ

Contrived namedropping, #1: Your editor (right) with Manfred Jelinski (left), the producer of ‘Nekromantik’, a film unlikely to appear on TV next, or any, Xmas.