Thursday, 10 December 2015

Christmas 2015 telly and radio highlights

Watching the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings films is a Christmas tradition chez Robot, as is watching Muppets Christmas Carol (the complete version, with Belle's song 'The Love Has Gone', but I've probably ranted about that before so shall spare you a repeat). Anyway, here's my brief roundup of what looks interesting over Christmas. I've left off showings of classic films as there are so many.

Back in Time for Christmas
Back in Time for Christmas (BBC 2, 14 and 15 December, 9pm)
I loved Back in Time for Dinner when it was on (writeups here and here) so as you can imagine, I'm jolly excited about this. I'm not sure how much traditional British Christmas food has changed over the years, but the team behind the show rely on the menus real people recorded for each decade, so this should show us what changes have come about – perhaps different ways of doing turkey, or more bought ready-made items, or different chocolates over the years. And, more importantly still, will Rochelle have mastered the use of the tin opener? The first show covers the 1940s-1960s, and the second the 1970s-90s.

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (Alibi, 20 December, ALL DAY)
Back-to-back episodes from series three. All Phryne, all day.

From Any Pandy to Zebedee: The Golden Age of Children's TV (BBC4, 21 December, 9pm)
Documentary on classic kids' TV. I hope there's some Mr Benn in there!

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (Radio 4, 25 December, 8:30am and 12:15pm)
First broadcast on radio 78 years ago, TS Eliot's cat poems return on Christmas day, reads by Jeremy Irons.

Junior Choice (Radio 2, 25 December, 10am)
For years now we've listened to Stewpot playing novelty and children's songs from the past ('Captain Beaky', 'Right Said Fred', 'My Bruvva' etc) on Christmas morning. It's ace, even if Stewpot never does play 'I Want A Hippopotamus' for Christmas any more, the rotter, and keeps playing the appalling 'Sparky'. It's wonderful for a burst of nostalgia while opening your presents.

And Then There Were None (BBC, 26 December, 9pm, 27 December 9pm, 28 December, 9:05pm)
Agatha Christie! Aidan Turner! Two of my favourite things squashed into one three-part programme. While Christie's books have been made and remade endlessly for the big and small screens, this one has never been made for telly before. I'm quite excited about it. In it, guests arrive at an island off the coast of Devon (in the book it was inspired by beautiful Burgh Island, though the stills I've seen don't look like the hotel there) and get bumped off, one by one. Who, then, is the killer? You'll be surprised, assuming you've never read the book. The cast is stellar; Turner's getting lots of attention but there's Charles Dance, Miranda Richardson, Sam Neill and many other famous faces too.

Murder in the Mews (Radio 4 Extra, 27 December, 4pm)
1955 adaptation of Agatha Christie's 1937 short story, with Hercule Poirot doing the investigating.
If that's not enough Christie for you, Radio 4 Extra will be broadcasting 'Agatha Christie: Speaking Her Own Words' from the author's dictaphone tapes. It's scattered throught the holiday schedule rather than being one programme, so I won't list all the times and dates here.

Jekyll and Hyde (ITV, 27 December, 6:30pm)
From dreadful beginnings this 1930s-set show has got really good. It's finishing with a double bill and I'm very much looking forward to it. Jekyll/Hyde has developed into an interesting character, and the supporting cast are interesting, rounded characters too, with a good mix of genders, ages and skin tones. I hope Jekyll and his chums don't defeat the Tenebrae too thoroughly, though, as I'd like another series. And more Hils. And a new dress for Lily because that blue ones is getting boring.
Harry Price, Ghost Hunter
Harry Price, Ghost Hunter (ITV, 27 December 8:30pm)
It's not Christmas without a good ghost story, so here's hoping this is a good ghost story. It's set in the 1920s and inspired by a real-life investigator of that time. Annoyingly it clashes with the second part of And Then There Were None, so I'll be Tivoing it.

Murder on the Orient Express (Radio 4 Extra, 28 December-1 January, 10:30am each day)
It's an Aggie-packed Christmas on 4 Extra, with this five-part serialisation of a classic story.

I am not so interested in Call the Midwife (BBC1, 25 December, 7:30pm). Ditto Downton Abbey (ITV1, 25 December, 8:45pm). Babies and relationship dramas aren't really my bag, though I realise I'm in the minority there. ITV is broadcasting a tribute to Cilla Black; the lady was a British 60s icon, but I doubt I'll be watching that either. Are you looking forward to watching or listening anything in particular?

17 comments :

  1. Thanks for this roundup Mim! I shall definitely be watching Back In Time For Christmas, I enjoyed the series very much. I'm getting Season 3 of Miss Fisher for Christmas! X

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    1. I might well treat myself to a Miss Fisher marathon that day. It feels like it's been ages since I've seen it.

      It feels as though there's not as much vintage in the Christmas schedules as there has been some years. Still, there are some decent things in the mix, and I did leave off all the old classic repeats (eg Miss Marple on Alibi).

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  2. Ooohhh, Back in Time for Christmas looks neat! I've never even heard of that, but probably because I'm American.

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    1. Back in Time For Dinner was a show where a family lived through a decade each week, eating real menus from the time (the British government kept a food survey, so the menus were genuine). They went from rationing in the early 1950s, though people getting fridges in the 1960s and freezers in the 1970s, through 80s convenience foods and so on. It was fascinating - and each week their kitchen was made over to look like one from the appropriate decade. I *loved* their 60s kitchen, it was beautiful.

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  3. Noooo! TOTP in the 1980s was the last time I watched any Xmas telly. I'll be down the pub/curry house with the rest of the Dead Relatives Society, our little gang of orphans with no family to call our own...sob! xxx

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    1. Well, there's quite a lot of old TOTP on BBC4 this Christmas ;-)

      I'm quite a square-eyes anyhow, and greatly look forward to spending days in my 30s beach pyjamas doing sod-all.

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  4. How splendidly fun! A lot of these are new to me on this side of the pond, but a small number are favourites here, too, such as Miss Fisher (in our family, my mom is the biggest fan of this charming series, but of course I enjoy it as well - how could any vintage not?).

    Big hugs & happy weekend wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Yes, a lot of those are new for this winter, plus I doubt the radio programmes go very far outside Britain. I don't know if many other countries have the sort of public radio we have.

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    2. Jessica, I believe you can listen to most of the big BBC radio stations anywhere in the world via the BBC Radio Player - http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio. x

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  5. Call The Midwife, yes. Downton Abbey, no. Back In Time For Dinner, yes. There are a few other bits you've mentioned that interest me too but I have a short attention span so mystery type things confuse me! I get too distracted by things in the background when it's a period piece!

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    1. I found myself looking at the backgrounds in Jekyll and Hyde. Was very impressed that the villains' lair was shot at Eltham Palace!

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    2. I bailed out on J&H after episode two when I spent the whole second half online trying to find out what the silver car was and quite literally lost the plot! Andy did show me Eltham Palace though :)

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  6. Thanks for this Mim, I'm yet to delve into what's on this Christmas but that will be resolved today when I purchase the Radio Times. And yes, I still circle everything I want to watch with a red pen!

    I have about 3 episodes of Miss Fisher S3 on my Sky box just waiting to be watched. I'm finding it hard to fit an episode in these days due to them being an hour and a half each. It's fab to have more Miss Fisher for our money, but it just doesn't fit in with my schedule! Hopefully I'll catch up with them all over the holidays.

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    1. Holidays are made for relaxing and doing nothing!

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  7. Blimey, you're better than the radio times. Saved me ferking through. Thanks Mim, I like the sound of the dinner one xxx

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    1. It should be a good programme - though the trailer shows them having an ox heart, which as they seem incapable of cooking anything will probably turn out to be completely inedible.

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  8. Ha, you're going to be in front of the telly box a fair bit then! I never know what's on really, so I didn't realise any of this was coming up! We're planning a bit of a film fest with the kids this Christmas - we each get to pick one and no one else can complain about it! Claudia and I will do Downton, but I will be avoiding Junior Choice like the plague - hated all those novelty records as a kid, and hate them still! xxx

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