Film buff rescues more than 20,000 VHS tapes set for dump

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Media caption,

Andy Johnson drove more than 300 miles to pick up the VHS tapes

A movie buff has rescued more than 20,000 VHS tapes from landfill after travelling 300 miles to collect them.

Andy Johnson, who runs what is said to be the UK's last video shop, drove from Liverpool to Dundee to pick up the mammoth haul.

The vast collection, which filled three lock-up garages, was amassed by George McInnes over decades from car boot sales.

Mr Johnson, who owns VideOdyssey, said: "I've never seen anything this big."

Image caption,
The vast collection of VHS tapes filled three lock-ups

The 42-year-old fulfilled his dream of opening a video shop in the Toxteth TV venue in 2018 and described the response since then as "phenomenal".

He even had to expand the store after being inundated with tapes from well-wishers across the country.

Earlier this year, the shop featured on a movie lovers' bucket list, compiled by Time Out Magazine, alongside Hobbiton in New Zealand and the Ghostbusters firehouse in New York.

But the Dundee donation will more than double his existing 15,000-strong collection and he is applying for funding to create a national archive.

Image caption,
The vast collection includes everything from action movies to romantic comedies
Image caption,
Mr Johnson made a 600-mile round trip from Liverpool to Dundee to collect the tapes

Mr Johnson told BBC Scotland: "I was just absolutely amazed when I got the phone call.

"The guy who got these lock-ups told me it could be more than 20,000 so we are quite excited."

If he had been unable to take the tapes, they would have been destined for landfill as VHS tapes cannot be recycled.

Mr Johnson believes young people brought up in the age of live streaming are keen to experience movies on tape.

He said: "VHS is starting to have a similar comeback seen with vinyl. People want that physical connection to their favourite films, rather than the cold experience of playing something from the cloud."

Having worked as a clerk in a video shop as a teenager, Mr Johnson now finds himself travelling across the country on his days off to gather people's collections of old gems and save films, which never came out on a digital format, from oblivion.

Image source, Andy Johnson
Image caption,
Mr Johnson's store in Toxteth, Liverpool, will more than double its collection of 15,000 VHS tapes

During the Covid lockdowns, he even offered customers a special nostalgia pack with a player and 10 tapes.

Mr Johnson added: "It's taken over my life in a short space of time. Thankfully, I have a very understanding wife.

"As we have a three-year-old boy, and they've both travelled with me to pick up VHS hauls. But nothing like the size of this collection in Dundee.

"A lot of amazing movies were never brought out digitally and they're in danger of being lost forever."

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