We must admit, all our efforts are currently focused on preparing for our epic 35th anniversary spectacular, details of which will be revealed when the Coral Canvass closes on 1st February. (Have you voted yet? Go and vote!) So it’s time to dust off an old favourite strand in order to ensure there’s at least one update in January. What do you mean it’s been nearly a year since the last G&TV? Can’t be, it says here it’s a regular look at Red Dwarf related archival treats. Ahem.

Anyway, this “month’s” curiosity is a programme that I’ve only recently become aware of, but would no doubt have been one of my all time favourites had it aired ten or fifteen years earlier. Running for just thirteen episodes in 2007, Chute! was a CBBC show set in a rubbish tip at Television Centre, in which presenter Ross Lee is trapped with only thousands of discarded video tapes for company. Although despite Ross being apparently unable to escape, he’s frequently joined by other characters and personalities from the CBBC stable, including on one occasion Lenny Bicknall from MI High, as played by one Daniel Jonathan-Julians.

So – set in BBC Television Centre, packed to the rafters with interesting clips from the archives, and featuring fourth-wall-bending cameos from characters from other shows? Yeah, I would have bloody loved this show when I was a kid; it seems precision engineered to appeal to and encourage any fledgling telly nerds who are starting to think more about how television is made and becoming interested in its history as a medium.

Of course, the presenter might not be exactly to the tastes of a present day fully grown telly nerd, combining as he does the aesthetic and mannerisms of contemporary Russell Brand with the voice of Jimmy Savile. On a semi-related side-note, it’s a retrospectively unfortunate choice in the opening titles to have the “star” appearing in front of a load of kids wearing only a dressing gown be a white-haired, bearded, bespectacled painter.

Still, Danny is very good in this, clearly in his element as a veteran of kids’ shows Maid Marian and The Storymakers, as well as MI High. The conceit is that he’s come to the dump to recover a tape containing top secret evil plans for world domination, but is hindered by both the stupidity of Ross and the machinations of a third character, which seems to be either the camera person or the viewer themselves. The fourth wall has been well and truly knocked through into an open plan shared living space.

The meat of the show is in the archive clips, which range from classic comedy moments (the YouTube uploader notes that clips from Little Britain and The Goodies had to be removed due to Content ID), to out-takes/things going wrong on live telly, to repurposed footage with new voiceovers, to spoof news items. It clearly shares at least some DNA with the legendary Christmas Tapes of old; extremely naughty compilations put together by broadcasters’ in-house VT teams to be played at Christmas parties, and most definitely not intended for public consumption.

Chute! is an exercise in taking that same anarchic spirit and filtering it until it’s suitable for kids’ TV. And that’s not a criticism – it still taps in to the sense that there’s something excitingly naughty about peeking behind the curtain of how television is made, which is very appealing to those of a certain mindset. I very much hope that it captured the imagination of its impressionable viewers of 15-odd years ago, and that many of them are now among the new generation of television obsessives like me.

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