Gadget Man (2012) s01e06 Episode Script

Christmas Special

1 Hello, munchkins, and welcome to my Gadget Man Christmas Special.
This time of year is a very tantalising one for us gadget lovers for not only might we be given something fabulously fiddly by our nearest and dearest, but Christmas itself is awash with ludicrous and marvellous toys and gizmos of all kinds.
Like my little friend here, for example.
I'm dreaming Of a white Christmas Hours of fun.
My favourite Christmas gadget is my moving snowman.
It lights up pink, purple, every single colour and it moves his head.
Sounds really random but it works really well for Christmas.
The Jolly Seven machine gun from the mid-1970s.
An ice skating rink which is about two foot by a foot.
And it's got all these little ice skaters that ding, ding, ding.
Some people call it a toy.
It was no such thing.
It was a machine gun that fired real bullets.
And then you detached a pistol from it for close combat.
I was never allowed one.
'Jolly Seven OMA, a one-man army!' I coveted it more than nearly any thing that has ever been created.
My favourite Christmas gadget is a lovely Christmas donkey and when you waggle its ears, a cigarette comes out of its bum.
Happy Christmas.
Come with me as I escort you through my winter wonderland of glittering gadgets from yesteryear and from this year, quite frankly.
Some were bestsellers, some have a special place in our heart, and some are just plain bizarre.
And along the way, my glamorous assistants will be demonstrating some Christmassy gadgets from this festive season.
Santa Baby Slip a sable under the tree for me Once upon a time, Christmas toys were dull and lifeless.
Stuffed animals and sedate board games were as good as it got.
Brenda's Christmas present is a white fur muff.
And a very merry Christmas to you.
But that all changed when toys became gadgets and started moving.
Christmas Snow's coming down Suddenly, Christmas was magical and exciting.
(CHILDREN) Mouse Trap! This is Evel Knievel.
Buckaroo! BUZZER You've missed that, butter fingers! When I grow up, I want to be a mummy.
Even the most static of Christmas toys, the doll, sprang to life as the development of moulded plastic and soft vinyl meant they acquired moving limbs and made dolls everywhere animated and frighteningly lifelike.
The first big-selling gadget doll was Tiny Tears with her rock-a-bye eyes that closed gracefully when you laid her to sleep.
Take care of Tiny Tears But the gimmick that really caught our imagination was her ability to shed tears when her tummy was pressed, winning her toy of the year in 1966.
Thanks to gadgetry, boys toys were also suddenly fighting fit.
He's looking for an opening, and there it is.
That's the end of round two.
The new push-button spring mechanism and durable plastic helped knock the stuffing out of traditional cloth figures.
'When you press this puncher, he throws a right uppercut.
'Press the other puncher and there's a left jab!' Gadgets toys kept boys amused for days, until the batteries ran out or they broke.
And his block is knocked off! His block is knocked off? When I was a nipper, an Etch A Sketch was my favourite Christmas gadget.
'Simply turning the dials makes lines appear on the screen.
' (ROBOTIC VOICE) It is like magic.
And the wonderful thing was I broke it so quickly that I got one every Christmas for five years in a row.
But there was one big dilemma for every boy at Christmas.
Would you ask for trains or cars? With the you-know-what just a few short weeks away, model railways are an established favourite.
The electric train set was introduced at the tail end of the 19th century as an equivalent to the girls' dolls house.
They took off here in the 1940s with the popularity of Hornby sets which developed a wealth of collectable gadget accessories.
I was just browsing through the new Hornby catalogue.
Fascinating reading.
So far, I've added a station, a couple of signals, and I'm going to have sidings with an engine shed here.
'The new Hornby catalogue.
'30p from any Hornby stockist.
' For years, boys who loved cars only had their Dinkys to push around by hand but things cranked up a gear in 1957 when Fred Francis, a toolmaker from North London, adapted the guide rail technology of model car racing clubs to create an electric car set for boys.
'Scalextric brings you real motor racing excitement.
' Scalextric reached it speak in the early '70s when one in seven boys was estimated to own a set.
But after plummeting sales, it's having a resurgence thanks to the success of British racing drivers, like Lewis Hamilton.
'The next best thing to real motor racing.
' And it's not the only gadgety toy to make a dramatic comeback this Christmas.
Well, the games of Christmas past never really go away.
And this particular little gadget may be familiar to you.
Furby is back.
And more annoying than ever.
Just won't shut up.
(FURBY CHATTERS) Yes, that's right, dear.
But one retro toy that definitely won't be turning up in your Christmas stocking tomorrow is this bestseller from the '70s.
Nowadays, you can't walk down any street without hearing this noise.
And they're Clackers.
A new toy for the trendy technological age.
They're worked by kinetic energy.
Yes, kinetic energy - that's the energy that's created when a force sets something in motion.
And you can do all sorts of crazy things with them.
Or rather Carolyn and Helen can.
Show usshow us a penguin.
And now the monkey climb.
And the pendulum swing.
It wasn't as innocent as it looked.
In fact, it was very dangerous.
'Clackers may look safe but after 20 minutes practice, 'the balls get quite a pounding, 'equal to the bashing they get from this machine.
'None of the balls survived this severe test.
'So, be warned, this could happen to your Clackers.
' The toy proved equally fragile in the face of its ticking off from the Blue Peter investigative unit and was pulled from shelves and crossed off present list in 1981.
By then, another gadget revolution was upon us.
Electro-pop had taken off and computers were about to transform our Christmases.
Over three million of us will get a games console this Christmas but there was once a time when there was just one.
The Magnavox Odyssey in 1972.
Here's a brand-new idea from the United States which can turn your television set into a game that two can play.
The main control unit is a battery-powered transmitter and with the tennis game card in position, on the screen appears the net and two squares, representing the players.
Each player has two main controls.
This one moves his man on the screen vertically, this one horizontally.
This one gives a crafty bit of spin to the ball.
It's labelled 'English.
' And this reset button serves.
Are you ready, Jen? Play.
It was the world's first home console with ten different games.
Tennis proving most popular.
But it wasn't exactly Federer versus Nadal.
- For some interactive computer fun this Christmas, this portable piano might tickle your ivories.
Available for under £70, the keyboard plugs into your iPad, enabling you to learn the piano via a free app.
'Let's learn how to play the song Silent Night.
' Watch the tutorials, press the correct keys as they light up, and soon you'll be providing a note perfect backing track for festive sings songs.
(PLAYS OUT OF TUNE) Or not, as the case may be.
But if games are more your thing, you should try the Harry Potter Wonderbook of Spells.
It's interactive.
It's for all the family.
It uses an amazing wand and it really is rather impressive.
It's a game for PlayStation3 that utilises the move system with its interactive wand and eye camera that reads the digital data on the page to produce a virtual image.
Well, simply what's not to like? Oh, now it's on fire so I have to put out the fire with my hands.
Isn't that good? And I cleaned the book.
How perfect is that? Ah, the primal scene, the centrepiece, the focal point of holiday celebrations - the Christmas tree.
Britain adopted the Christmas tree in 1848 when Queen Victoria was pictured with one at Buckingham Palace.
"But trees are not gadgets!" I hear you cry.
And you'd be right.
But the folding artificial tree certainly is.
Well, how's that for a Christmas tree? It's all right, but why is it plastic? Michael, haven't you heard? You can't get the wood, you know.
The Germans invented it in the late 19th century, originally made out of goose feathers dyed green.
The first foldable PVC tree arrived in the 1960s and the artificial tree now accounts for around 60% of all Christmas tree sales.
Any tree, plastic or otherwise, is going to need decorating.
Rocking around the Christmas tree In decades gone by, you simply hung up a paper chain and watched it dangle lifelessly.
But all that changed in the 1960s when motorised trinkets became popular.
And now no Christmas is complete without a spinning snowman or a musical reindeer.
Say, you'd better watch out You better not cry Better not pout I'm telling you why Santa Claus is coming to town Meet Jean Guy Laquerre.
He has 23,000 Father Christmas ornaments and gadgets in his home in Quebec.
(SPEAKS CANADIAN FRENCH) And what he's keen to tell you most is that he's in the Guinness Book of World Records for owning the most moving Father Christmases.
Perhaps the ultimate Christmas gadget is the fairy light.
The first person to string coloured lights together at Christmas was an American electrician, Edward H Johnson, in 1882.
Soon, department stores caught on and then entire streets, with London's Regent Street the first in the world to be lit up after an article in the Daily Telegraph complained about how drab festive London looked in the 1950s.
'In London, the heart of the city, 'this was Regent Street on that evening, gayer than ever.
' Families started to take festive trips into town to see the elaborate displays and soon the craze spread to the suburbs.
In East Anglia, people are queueing to see the Christmas lights at a couple of ordinary houses.
And now the development of energy-efficient LED bulbs in the late '90s has led to more home-made Christmas lights displays than ever before.
Just look at this house - isn't it fantastic? This is the winner of our Calendar Christmas Lights Competition.
Now, has it been worth spending £15,000 on these lights? Yes it has.
That's a heck of a lot of money, Paul.
And our American cousins can always be relied on to take things one gadget step further.
The soundtrack for this display at Utah was expertly synchronised with software designed to trigger each light in time to the music.
Which the owner broadcasts via car radios.
Genius! If your idea of Christmas lighting doesn't involve threatening the National Grid, then this altogether more subtle indoor gadget is for you.
This cute ten inch high projector uses lasers and holographic optics to turn your ceiling into a virtual planetarium of stars and nebulae throughout the festive season.
Well, stay with us.
After the break, we'll bring you this.
I'm quite warm tucked up here in my centrally heated sleeping bag.
And we'll bring you this.
So, don't move.
No, not Stephen Fry, stupefy.
It's a spell.
Reindeer roasting over an open fire, me in a silly paper hat, and a cracker, almost certain to contain some little trinket or gizmo.
Let's have a look.
Oh, what have we got here? Oh! (LAUGHS) A fish-shaped torch keyring - just what I've always wanted.
Welcome back to my Gadget Man Christmas special, where I'll be skating jauntily through the gadgets of Christmas past and Christmas present.
Oh, the weather outside is frightful You can't guarantee what technological wonder you'll be getting in your cracker or stocking this year, but one thing you can guarantee at Christmas is that it will be freezing cold.
Man, it doesn't show signs of stopping .
which is brilliant news for us gizmo lovers, as the fluffy stuff and gadgets go together like mince pies and cream.
Sledging was invented by British holidaymakers in Switzerland in the late 19th century, who appropriated the local farmers' winter barrows, used for moving hay bales.
Over the years, people have designed all manner of gadgety vehicles to travel across snow and ice at Christmas.
From rocket backpacks And away we go! .
to air sleds that were developed for widespread use by the US mail to the Caterpillar-tracked people carriers of the 1950s.
A snow tractor beats walking a mile in a place where snow blankets the Earth all winter long.
The technological breakthrough came in the 1960s, when engines became lighter and smaller and led to the motorbike-like snowmobile.
Some now reach speeds of 150mph.
In Wisconsin, this has led to the introduction of a snowmobile police force to keep the festive slopes in law and order.
Let's see your driver's licence, please.
Keeping warm at Christmas has also been a gadget challenge through the ages.
So now let's visit the Medical Research Council for a look at some of the equipment used in this year's Antarctic expedition.
This electric copper wire vest, heated by battery pack, was designed for a 1957 Christmas expedition, but was only available to hard-bitten explorers.
Demonstrated here by Dr Pugh, physiologist of the Everest expedition, who will be testing it on himself as well.
By the early '70s, the technology was available to us all.
I'm quite warm, tucked up here in my centrally heated sleeping bag.
A bag made of a new electric cloth that has at last made mass production of centrally heated clothing a reality.
Like Roger's anorak, for instance.
Yes indeed, Marion.
But the real secret of this new nylon material is the Terylene lining, which is coated with synthetic rubber, which is impregnated with carbon to form a heating element.
An electric power source like this would keep me snug for hours.
Marion, whatever are you doing in there? Not surprisingly, these heated jackets weren't a Christmas look that caught on.
This waistcoat, for instance, already worn by police motorcycle patrols in Scotland, has been successfully tested out in an icy Scottish lake.
If you're looking to hit the slopes this Christmas, you might want to consider these state-of-the-art ski goggles.
As you surf the snow, a mini built-in projector displays details of your journey in real time - speed, direction and positional data, plus the very latest weather reports appear in front of your very eyes.
If Christmas is good for one thing, it's a convenient excuse to gorge ourselves on platefuls of luxurious food.
Unfortunately, we can't avoid cooking, and the one thing that we stress over more than anything else is the traditional turkey.
There's a big fat turkey or maybe a ham Thankfully, when it comes to preparing and cooking the Christmas bird, gadgets have been there to help at every stage.
From the factory with automated turkey pluckers to the kitchen.
In the 1950s, housewives favoured the clamp to lock all the flavour into the carcass.
And they had these handheld feather singers, a kind of flame-throwing hairbrush.
1954 saw the launch of the radar oven.
Yes, radar oven.
The precursor of the microwave was invented by an engineer after he accidentally heated up some chocolate in his pocket with radar waves.
It cooked a turkey within minutes with all the heat of an H-bomb, but proved far too expensive for consumers and didn't sell, which was probably a good thing.
On to the carving, and the kitchen's most useful Christmas gadget, the electric carving knife.
It's perfect for both the toughest and tenderest meat.
If required, it'll cut wafer-thin slices.
Invented in 1964 by the same man who brought us the dental drill.
Stainless steel blades with scalloped cutting edges.
They cut turkey clean.
The '70s gave us gadgets like the meat thermometer, which told us when our turkey was cooked all the way through, but for the very latest sizzling leap forward in Christmas dinner gadgetry, we need to visit the Deep South of America, home of the deep-fat turkey fryer.
If you've never had fried turkey, y'all, you must try it.
And here demonstrated by webcam cook Paula Dean.
Hey, y'all, it's holiday time and I am here in the kitchen today with my Aunt Peggy.
Y'all get to meet Aunt Peggy.
This is an inside turkey fryer and it takes all the work and the mess out of frying a turkey.
It uses a third less oil than a normal deep-fat fryer, cooks the turkey in about 30 minutes, and frees up much-needed space in the oven for all the other roasting.
The smell in this kitchen is incredible, y'all.
But what you save in space, you certainly make up for in calories.
If you do want gadgets to help you cheat a little this Christmas, I would suggest you plump for speeding up the pudding.
Instead of steaming it for hours on the stove, wow your guests by cooking it in this, the world's first 360 degree translucent microwave.
With its viewable turntable and LED lights, this is an entertaining way to cut corners in the kitchen this Christmas.
So, there you have it, my Christmas chums.
I'm going to leave you with this extraordinary device.
You'll never have seen anything like it.
I am nuts about it.
And that's what it is, a nutcracker, but one like you've never seen before.
Behold and wonder.
Mmm! Walnutty goodness.
Now let me propose a toast with this nice, warm, spicy Christmassy drink.
And the toast is Merry Gadget Man Christmas to you all.
Goodbye from your gadget snowman.
Red Bee Media Ltd
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