Will Slater: 'At such moments I puff with impotent rage'

HAVE YOU remembered to delete the old editions of Hollyoaks?" I call to a retreating back clad in a new Jack Wills hoodie (Santa was very kind this year).

"Yes," is the short and incisive reply as our elder daughter disappears into her room.

So with a confident flourish I flick through the screens of our hard drive recorder - surely the greatest invention of the 21st century - to record a couple of programmes I have my eye on. This machine can store 100 hours of programmes, more than enough, I thought, when we bought it. How wrong I was.

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I have series record for perhaps three things at any one time and try and delete programmes as we watch them. The same can't be said of our children. They have a record first, maybe watch it later mentality.

So when our youngest discovered BBC3 was re-running several series of Doctor Who, he recorded the lot. Then CBBC had the bright idea of doing a whole season of Sarah Jane Adventures over one weekend; that went on too.

Our daughters, meanwhile, when called away from the television, will often record the end of an episode of Friends - and every other one in the series. Add in the repeats on E4+1 and soon the 100 hours is woefully inadequate. Ugly Betty, iCarly, Glee, Later With Jools Holland (actually that's me), so many programmes go on, many not even watched.

So it is not exactly a surprise when I find my fascinating documentary about the Lancaster bomber widget makers, without whom the Second World War would have been lost, has only been part recorded.

That comes second to losing the last half of the last episode of Any Human Heart, but irritating all the same. At such moments I puff with impotent rage and almost launch into a diatribe about how there were only three channels when I was young, there weren't even video recorders, we didn't have DS consoles, only Kerplunk; and Arctic Roll was as exotic as ice-cream got.

Then I stop, because I recall something similar from my parents in the 1970s. Only in their version there were no televisions at all, or antibiotics, and food and clothing was rationed which meant you had about an ounce of butter a month and tinned peaches on your birthday. So I stay quiet and exact a father's revenge: "accidentally" deleting the entire hard drive.

This article was first published in Scotland On Sunday, 9 January, 2011