You could actually do what the OP wants to do but it's not actually using the full power of TiVo to record and watch programs at your convenience.
You would use the guide to choose and Record and Remind each program you wanted to watch. TiVo would turn the channel over for you at the appropriate time. Ignore the fact that TiVo records each program as well. It will manage its storage and delete each program as it needs space.
There is the added benefit that TiVo has recorded if you are not actually in front of the TV in real time.
As I mentioned previously the first post has all the clues but here goes, "Will we ever get a simple programme planner like previous Virginmedia and NTL boxes had?" Previous NTL boxes did not have the capability to record therefore if we ever got back to a "simple programme planner" like NTL boxes had it would plan our viewing not recordings it's all rather self explanatory.