Remember the game I invented, ooh, a couple of hundred years ago? You know, the Much More Elaborate, Purposeful And Fulfilling Number Plate Spotting Than That Other Not Clever Or Anything Rubbish Version (i.e. Spotting Car Number Plates By Starting At One). Well, here's one you can play without moving off your settee, as long as you have Sky TV and access to its electronical programme guide.
I spotted the fun potential quite a long time ago but, although almost my entire family are very familiar with (and unsurprisingly quite exasperated by) the concept, I think there are exciting possibilities, as you will soon see.
I'll give you some examples and you will imagine the hilarity that ensues when a group of people visualise what's missing from the title of the programme and call out their suggestions – it's a bit like the missing words round on Have I Got News For You. When you bring up the Programme Guide on the TV screen, sometimes the names of the programmes are too long to appear in full and only the first part is displayed followed by a few dots. All you have to do is surmise the name of the programme armed with just a segment of it. Over the course of the last few weeks, I've been scanning the listings for suitable candidates for treatment.
Christmas Day with Ale… A perfectly reasonable idea, you might think, and there's really no need to suggest that there may be anything missing from such an admirable statement until you realise with horror when selecting the programme that it's Christmas Day with Aled Jones. *shudder*
The Librarian – The C… This surely had the makings of a particularly boring documentary about the …Chap who collects and issues your library books; an admirable calling, of course, but hardly a topic for peak time seasonal viewing. To my relief, it was another of those Indiana Jones type thrillers: The Librarian – The Curse of the Judas Chalice. It’s got Noah Wyle off ER and everything.
The Sheriffs are C… I would dearly love to elaborate upon the possibilities here but children are watching; they always used to be Cowboys, of course. Damn! They're Coming, apparently.
Sun, Sex and Suspicious Pa… Given the content of this show, it really ought to be Pant-stains but, somewhat disappointingly and, I suppose, inevitably, it's Parents.
Nursing th… I did think this might have been another one of those cringeworthy documentaries about young Brits in Ibiza acting like idiots, casting off their inhibitions and, frequently, their underwear, being very unkind to their livers and very kind to the bank balances of the owners of bars and clubs, nursing th…e Mother of all Hangovers practically every day. Instead of which, it’s a much more delightful televisual offering looking at the work of district nurses, called Nursing the Nation. Hurrah, for a change!
The Treasures of Ancient R… Apparently there are no treasures of any appreciable interest from ancient Reading, Rotherham, or even Ragged Appleshaw, Hampshire (N51.23 W01.55, SU3148). Of course, you knew it was R…ome, didn’t you?
Get the idea? Now, the rules are simple. As you’re likely to be the sole participant (I usually am), you’ll earn points for all your suggestions, unless some disgruntled member of your family turns off the television and goes to bed. You won’t even be able to carry on playing by yourself as they will have taken the remote control with them. And, just to make sure, they’ll switch off the electricity supply*. Some folk are real spoilsports.
*I’m not sure how they do it but they turn 3G off as well.