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2018 - Blog

Eddie Mair
I've lost the plot
Brain fade is sending me back in time

Can You Remember what I wrote about in this column last week? No, really. I'm asking because I can't remember either. Sometimes people will inquire, "What did you do on your show yesterday?" and they may as well have asked, ""Who is the mayor of Pompeii?" The answers, by the way, are Nando Uliano. That's the name of the mayor of Pompeii and of a new Italian dish at a well-known chicken restaurant we discussed on the programme.

The inability to recall recent events is at its most maddening with box sets. We're fortunate to live in an era when it s possible to cancel all engagements and binge-watch entire television series in a weekend. It s a miracle. Try telling the kids of today that we used to have to wait an entire week between programmes and they won't believe you. Actually they won't hear you. They're glued to their phones, watching the latest three-second-long webisode of their favourite YouTube spin-off Snapisode Instafranchise that will soon be a Hollywood blockbuster/action figure/chocolate bar and could one day become a book. Whatever that is.

'I go back to the last episode so that new ones make sense'

The new and final season of House of Cards is ready for me to watch on Netflix, according to the 12,000 reminders and recommendations the company has kindly put in front of my eyeballs. Perhaps you've already watched the whole thing and are completely over it, and never missed that guy who was at the heart of the series but now suddenly isn't.

Me? I haven't seen a moment of the new series and I'll tell you why: I have no idea what happened in the last season.

Because I binge-watched the whole thing, it sped by me like the end of Kevin Spacey's career. If you demanded I tell you the plot of the last episode or you would pull out my fingernails, I'm afraid it would be off to the manicurist for me to see what they could salvage.

When season three of The Man in the High Castle became available on Amazon recently, I rushed to savour the first new episode. Sadly, I spent most of it saying out loud things that I associate in my mind with 104-year-old cinema-goers. "Who's that?" "Didn't she" die?" "I thought they were enemies, but they're friends?" In my defence, the subplot of this particular series is about alternative timelines and parallel realities. To be honest, though, I had the same problem when the latest BoJack Horseman arrived.

Those "Previously on..." montages are no use either. They whizz by so quickly.

My constant state of confusion means I've instigated a new rule in life. I will not start a new series without watching the last episode of the previous one. I'm not proud. It feels like failure: one more concession to ageing, like turning up the volume, wearing an extra layer, or preferring to sit downstairs on the bus, near the door.

So I say to Robin Wright - bring it on. I can't wait to see how you deal with that thing that really made you feel some emotion or other and which left you on the brink of something important or not. I'm going back to the last episode to make the new series make sense.

What worries me deep in my soul is that the day will come when the last episode doesn't do the trick and I need to watch the last but one. And so on. Like the day you realise the TV volume control is already as high as it can go.

RadioTimes 24-30 November 2018