I grew up surrounded by loving parents and a sister almost five years younger, Elaine – films were a big part of my upbringing alongside rugby league.

I was first taken to the cinema when I was around three years old – to see ‘Bambi’ – I did not last the film! My mother had to take me out of the cinema after his MOTHER GOT SHOT! seriously…. some kids films are messed up. After Watership Down our rabbit died the day after and our parents had to tell us the rabbit had gone with the ‘black rabbit’! Do not get me started how messed up Elaine was after the toon shoe in Who Framed Roger Rabbit!
I also remember the cinema doing a ‘double bill’ and Dad used to take me (when he wasn’t working or watching Saints!) I can remember watching ‘Benji’ ‘Superman the Movie’ and ‘Candleshoe’ with Jodie Foster on the cinema

Back in 1984 our life changed when we got our first VHS player. We came home from school and Dad had hidden a VHS tape from ‘The Making of Thriller’ in our book shelf. He took us to the local video shop to sign us up and ‘Footloose’ was our first rental. It’s amazing what you remember!

Video shops were my favourite places back then (along with libraries! – I think I’m the only person who remembers reading ‘Bogwoppit’!). Where we grew up, Parr in St Helens we had ‘Silverline’ and ‘Shauns Off Licence’ to rent out VHS tapes from. ‘Silverline’ used to have a weekend offer of 3 videos for £1.00 to take out on a Friday and bring back on Monday. We used to go on a Friday with Dad and rent 3 – one for my parents, one for all the family and one we could pick ourselves to watch, usually on a Saturday evening.

Back then my parents vetted what I wanted to watch – that never happened with the younger one! She was allowed to watch whatever I let her!!!! Oh well being older did have it advantages as I used to sneak down on a Saturday evening and watch whatever horror film was on TV with Mum. This is why I have a love for cheesy 80s horror films and made for TV horror too!

Cinema-going was usually a day out for us as a family when we were younger – seeing such films together as ‘Snow White’ or whatever Disney film was out at the time! ‘ET’, ‘Annie’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ for Elaine’s birthday. Dad took me to see the Superman films until IV when I took Elaine, Mum took us to see ‘Annie’!

When I hit my teens I took Elaine myself to the cinema and together we saw such films as Willow, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Short Circuit 2, A Night on the Town (which later changed it’s name back to the US title of Adventures in Babysitting), Never Ending Story, The Goonies, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

I remember getting refused entry to see ‘Top Gun’ because I was too young! However I still had my posters of ‘Maverick’ on my bedroom wall.

The summer of ‘Dirty Dancing’ we spent dancing to the soundtrack in the garden until Dad managed to get a copy of the VHS for us!

This is just a little introduction into where my passion for films began… I’m sure I’ve missed off a lot I will remember later on so I may re-visit it all again later in the year!

Thanks for reading!


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