We made life a misery for School Friend for years. Once I’d rediscovered the Man From U.N.C.L.E. after far too many years without, we needed to have as many episodes to watch as we possibly could. And with British television not showing any, it was down to a dependence on Swedish television again. For some reason they broadcast the series throughout the year and not just when we were there and could record on video. Most thoughtless of them.
So SF ended up recording more episodes than she could ever have dreamed was possible. But we were still a long way off complete. Episodes appeared on tapes in any old order. And there were the subtitles, of course. Offspring used to waste their sunny summer days in front of the box, saying to each other ‘just one more?’ and watching one more. Or two.
But I was glad we could share this. When I discovered it was on, late at night, one holiday, I stayed up to renew my close friendship with Ilya Kuryakin. (Napoleon Solo can just amble off into the sunset, or something.) Daughter, ever the insomniac, joined me, and fell in love with Ilya as fast as her witch-mother had done decades ago. We’ve got good taste in men.
It was another week, before Son worked out what we got up to in the middle of the night, but then he was hooked too. So we had years when Sweden and summer meant the Man From U.N.C.L.E. and we couldn’t go to bed on a Wednesday night.
But we felt it would be awfully convenient to have U.N.C.L.E. on DVD, and the complete works would be better still. About four years ago Son discovered a nice box-set of all 100+ episodes and all sorts of extras, presented in a cute little silver suitcase. Price was OK as well. The only fly in the ointment was that someone seemed not to understand about flogging stuff worldwide and maximising their profits. It was limited, and available to addresses in the US only. Or North America, maybe.
When he gets going, Son can be tenacious, so he beavered away at a solution until box-sets were unearthed on eBay or similar, at a very good price. Shipping to anywhere. So we bought, and decided not to worry about from which particular lorry they had fallen off.
Now I see they are more easily available, so someone’s commercial instincts must have woken up. It might be more exclusive to allow only nice Americans to watch the DVDs, but more money from worldwide customers can’t be entirely wrong.
And we are forever grateful to School Friend’s video efforts.