"BY Jove, I needed that", as Ken Dodd joked.

I have been on a lazy and lengthy Christmas break that lasted until almost Twelfth Night and seemed to catch many of the bugs that were going around, though not as bad as many of you suffered, I hear.

Still, I saw an awful lot of good TV programmes with DVDs to fill the gaps.

As you can appreciate, it is expensive running The Citadel, the town’s number one venue for music and the arts and cultural activities, so each of the governors, including myself, have volunteered to organise some fundraising events.

I have opted to run monthly DVD screenings on the afternoons of the first Thursday of each month, between 2pm and 4pm.

The odd numbered months, January, March, May and so on will be devoted to local and regional history.

Meanwhile, the even numbered months will be dedicated to slapstick comedy including favourites such as Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd.

Can it really be as far back as 1965 to 1968 when Bob Monkhouse introduced us to those Mad Movies? Admission and refreshments are free at all screenings but we hope you will make a donation to the Citadel’s appeal.

Arts Council England will match pound for pound all monies raised between now and 2019, so I hope to keep going until the end of the decade.

We held the first of our screenings last Thursday (January 5) on local and regional history and screened the Star’s excellent DVD St Helens The Way We Were, which is still available to buy at the Star office on Parade Street.

This took up the first hour, after which we enjoyed a short refreshment break. Then it was Manchester Ship Canal Part 1: Liverpool to Warrington with footage shot between 1955 and 1964.

The Vulcan Locomotive Works delivered an average of a locomotive a week to India for more than 100 years, and many of those and other local exports would use that canal.

I had to call a halt to proceedings at 4pm so the remainder of that DVD will be shown at the next screening (March 2).

There are worse ways of spending the next winter weeks in front of the TV, watching many of the local and regional and slapstick items I have collected over the years.