Sunday, 28 December 2008

Christmas TV Lowlights

At the best of times, my television viewing is random – and Christmas is no exception. Even when broadcasters unleash their promotional battering rams of endless trailers, I just simply forget to watch (it’s the same when my wife wants me to tape her something – she often has to physically write the name of the programme on my hand in felt tip, and even then I usually forget, leading to many a recriminatory bloodbath). Spooks? Caught the first one, forgot about the other six. Wallander? Two out of three wasn’t bad, I thought (forgot about the last one). Doctor Who? Clean forgot. Wallace and Gromit? Nope, sorry. Britannia High? No comment (was I hallucinating when I saw the trailer?). Even with the crazy voodoo magic of SkyPlus with its series links, I forget to record stuff all the time.

All this means is that when I do sit down and watch something, I often end up watching stuff that I wouldn’t choose to watch in a million years as all the good stuff has just passed me by. So, here are a few examples of what I’ve ended up watching over Christmas:

Tom Chambers’s expression on Strictly Come Dancing: the definition of Christmas cheese (that said, I’ve seen bits of cheese that can act better than Tom Chambers).

Murder She Wrote – The Celtic Riddle: the very definition of random TV. Guaranteed, when you switch on the TV and you can’t find anything to watch an episode of Murder She Wrote will be on (either that or Diagnosis Murder, which seems to be some sort of job creation scheme for the Van Dyke family). There’s something strangely fascinating/watchable about Angela Lansbury, inasmuch as she doesn’t do subtle. It’s all mugging, pantomime moves and SUDDEN REALISATIONS. The added bonus with The Celtic Riddle is that it’s set in Ireland – which means a whole skip full of comedy Irish accents! Hooray! Nothing cheers me up more. However, when Lansbury (unintentionally) weighs in with the comedy accent, you know you’re in trouble. Time for the adverts:

That Tractor advert: every year at this time, about a thousand ‘part works’ are unleashed upon the unsuspecting British public who had no inkling that what they really need in their lives is a magazine about farming with a model tractor attached. I mean, the countryside is great, but it’s nothing that a bit of concrete and the odd NCP couldn’t sort out (what exactly are you supposed to do with two dozen miniature tractors? Open a miniature farm?).

Finding Neverland: am I the only person in Christendom who finds this film just downright disturbing? In the same way that animated squirrels freak me out, films about Victorian authors with peculiar notions about childhood tend to give me the screaming ab-dabs. That said, it does feature Johnny Depp doing another comedy accent (Scottish this time), so it’s not all bad.

And er, that’s it. Having to deal simultaneously with a crap memory and manically depressed relatives on Boxing Day (something to do with Indy 4, the poor saps) rather put paid to a lot of my viewing this year. However, one series I did manage to record was Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe, which contains a clip featuring Andy Nyman talking about the Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson – along with The Great Rupert, this has to count as the most disturbing (and funniest) TV I’ve seen this year (watch in wonder as Albert Herrmann’s ear falls off and Mr Nyman’s near hysteria about halfway through).

(Sorry, I seem completely incapable of adding this clip, so watch it here - you won't be disappointed).

On reflection, I seem to have spent the whole of Christmas in a permanent state of freak out. To immediately remedy this, I’m off to watch Black Christmas, so pip pip.

4 comments:

Wyndham said...

My favourite ever Murder, She Wrote featured Jessica Fletcher's cousin on stage in the West End - singing to an audience that comprised of a chap in a bowler hat, a beefeater, an old char woman and a couple of mohicaned punks. How I wish I'd watched Celtic Riddle now!

Chip Smith said...

Just when you think Murder She Wrote can't plumb the depths any further, along it comes and pulls anmother one out of the bag. That said, there's something strangely reassuring about the whole thing, but I wouldn't want to watch it on a regular basis - that way madness lies ;-)

DavidM said...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/

Chip Smith said...

Ah, yes, good point - but doesn't stuff only remain up on iplayer for 10 days? By the time I've remembered it's up there, it's usually gone.

The amount of Post-It notes I run through trying to remember 'stuff' is scary...