I've just finished watching the last episode of ER. I can't think of many series that I've followed from the very first to last show, particularly over a period of some fifteen years. ER has always held a special place in my heart, not least because I saw the characters grow through the years, leave the hospital, in some cases even die off - but I knew that come January, my Monday/Tuesday/ Wednesday/Thursday (delete the appropriate night because Channel 4 kept on changing its mind) would be taken henceforth until the summer rays lit up firstly my parental home, then our first abode and finally the home in which I sit writing this up.
Back in 1994, whenever the new medical drama called ER was first televised throughout the British Isles, I had recently completed my undergraduate degree. My MA hadn't been started and I really didn't have a clue about what I was going to end up doing or indeed, being.
Life as a single man was interesting to say the least. Not many of my friends had married and we were still enjoying our salad days as though they could never end. Throughout the years, as my life progressed, I watched the programme on numerous TVs, in numerous locations at numerous times. The babies came and grew and ER returned, like a faithful friend in January.
My life took its usual twists and turns, jobs came and went, dreams were born and shattered and then re-configured, but ER rolled on.
Tomorrow, I will be going back to school after a week off. I'm very aware that this is my final term in the current job and before I blink, the summer holidays will be upon us, not too long before another school term beckons.
I wonder how I'll feel when Xmas is over and January re-appears. Will the fifteen years I spent settling down to enjoy my weekly rush of phantasmagorical blood be remembered or cast aside for a new televisual experience?
It may only be a TV programme, but sometimes, there is so much more that attaches itself to the sixty minute memory one has of a weekly show. Times pass, times change, but maybe that rare visual feast affects us more than we care to admit.