It was Christmas Day 2008, I was at my parents house for Christmas, and we were sat down eating our lunch. We were having the classic roast turkey with all the trimmings, everyone was wearing their paper hat and the booze was flowing. The main course finished and my Dad promptly disappeared. Gone for five minutes, he returned with a grin on his face and no explanation. The meal continued, we had Christmas Pudding, and few more drinks. When we retired to the lounge we found out what my Dad had been up to. The TV was on, the DVD loaded, and the title menu of Mamma Mia was on repeat.

That’s right, my Dad wanted us to watch Mamma Mia. He was very excited, my brother and I, less so. Anyway, we say down and watched 1h44 for pure ABBA magic. Some great musical performances and some downright awful ones, I’m looking at you Pierce Brosnan.

My Dad loved that film, it was one his favourites and he just wanted to share it with us.

Although we didn’t really go to the cinema much together when we were kids, we did spend many weekend afternoons watching family films on the telly. Bedknobs and Broomsticks, One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, Evil Under The Sun, basically anything that was a murder mystery. We’d watch it with my Dad sat in his armchair.

What we did go to cinema to see together was The Lord of the Rings and some of the later Harry Potter films. He loved those films and would happily sit down and watch any of them whenever.

It was my Dad’s videotape recording of A View to a Kill that got me into Bond. We had quite the collection of films recorded from the TV. We dug our old Betamax player once to watch my Dad’s recording of Star Wars. Very poor quality but it didn’t matter.

My Dad had a very varied taste in film and I think it rubbed off on me, but when he didn’t like something, he was really clear about it. I came home one day to find my Dad sat in his armchair and a copy of Chicago on the coffee table. ‘Oh Chicago’ I said ‘I was thinking of watching that.’ My Dad looked up at me ‘I watched 10 minutes,’ he said ‘don’t bother, it’s crap.’ And because of that review, I’ve never seen it.

Chicago (Dad’s review) ⭐️ Star

My Dad fell ill early last year with mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos from when he was in the Navy. On one of my visits last year, his film of choice was Moana. He said it was for my nephew and niece, but I think he really enjoyed it.

Being as it was one of his favourite films, I thought I’d watch Mamma Mia as a bit of a tribute to him today, but couldn’t manage it. I don’t know if it was through sadness, but I decided not to. I know it brought him joy, and that’s what film is about. That Christmas was the last Christmas Day I spent with my Dad, but I’ll always remember it as the one where he made us watch Mamma Mia.

Sadly my Dad passed away just over a month before Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again was released. I’m sure he would have loved it just as much as the original. I might watch it one day. I miss my Dad, but that film will always be a fond memory. We’ll always have Mamma Mia!

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