Robert Hampton

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24th December 2011

Selection Box
Posted by at 7.04pm | No responses | Television

You can tell Christmas is here, because the Liverpool branch of Wilkinson had Creme Eggs and chocolate bunnies out on the shelves today. Until now I’d always thought that this sort of thing only happened in the minds of lazy stand-up comedians, but no. Still, I suppose it’s handy for anyone who wants to celebrate Jesus’s birth and death at the same time.

As ever, the TV companies wheel out the big guns at Christmas. I’ve been through the Radio Times, although the traditional circling of programmes with a red biro has been replaced this year by the setting of the digital TV recorder. Here’s what my TVonics box will be recording over the next few days.


Lapland (BBC One, 10pm): An obnoxious Birkenhead family go on a trip to Lapland and along the way learn the true meaning of Christmas. It doesn’t sound incredibly promosing, but the wonderful Sue Johnston is in it, so it won’t be a total waste of time.

Les Dawson Night (BBC Two, 9pm): Well, it’s actually just a profile of the rubber faced Blackpudlian, followed by a compilation of sketches. One of my earliest TV memories is watching Dawson messing around on Blankety Blank, and it’s a shame that he seems to be remembered as a purveyor of cheesy mother-in-law jokes.

Father Ted (Channel 4, 11.55pm): One of those festive repeats that the Daily Mail bleated on about. It’s A Christmassy Ted, which has been on a million times before, of course, but it’s always welcome to see it again.

Christmas Day

The Snowman (Channel 4, 2.30pm): With the news that Channel 4 are revisiting this film next year (either a remake or a sequel, depending on which article you read), it never hurts to see the original, as long as it’s not the ballsed-up “remastered” version they screened a few years ago which was cropped to 16:9 so half the picture was missing.

Matthew Bourne’s Christmas (More4, 9pm): I will be watching this film about the famous choreographer, because I am interested in ballet as an art form, and certainly not because Bourne’s productions have a habit of featuring nubile men in not much clothing.

Victoria Wood with All The Trimmings (BBC Two, 11.30pm): Away from the Doctor Who/Strictly/Downton trifecta, brilliant telly is actually thin on the ground on Christmas Day. This special from 2000 is not vintage Victoria Wood, but worth a look.

Boxing Day

Jim’ll Fix It (BBC One, 5.40pm): This one-off revival/tribute could be great, but Shane Richie is hosting, so it probably won’t be. I’ve been trying to think of someone more appropriate, but let’s be honest, is there anyone quite like Jimmy Savile around these days? More importantly, do we want there to be?

Mrs Brown’s Boys (BBC One, 10pm): The first series of this sitcom polarised opinion, with praise from some quarters and brickbats from elsewhere. Certainly it is loud and lowbrow, but then so is a lot of TV. And it is nice to see that in the post Lily Savage-era, a foul-mouthed, cross-dressing man can still command a huge prime-time audience.

Wonders of the Universe (BBC4, 7pm): I wonder how many of these series Brian Cox will have to make before the press stop referring to him as “former D:Ream guitarist”? He can wax lyrical over a rousing soundtrack forever; he’ll always be the brains behind Things Can Only Get Better as far as I’m concerned. A repeat run starts here, and I will try to watch it without thinking of Adam and Joe’s parody.

So that’s what I’ll be watching. All programmes, of course, subject to change if the stent procedure doesn’t work for the Duke of Edinburgh.

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