lucecannon is stirring from the pit of mince pies and chestnut-flavoured flatus in which she has lain since last posting, to wish you all a very Happy New Year. Recession aside, I can’t help but feel 2009 could actually be better than the outgoing year has been. Forget the even years; they’re for plodding. The odd years are where it’s at. See, I’m an optimist at heart.
Before segueing hangover-free into the New Year, it remains simply to review a few bits of Christmas telly. I do this with a child sliding around the sitting room in plastic, high-heeled shoes singing Abba songs. Forgive any misspellings or inattention to detail.
Wallace & Gromit was the top-rating programme of Christmas day, with an astounding 14.3m viewers. Its scheduling at 8.30pm helped but I can’t help but feel it got a lot of hype for a 30-minute programme, even a painstakingly clever animated one. Feature films last longer, cost more time and money to make but don’t do so well on TV. The Beeb and Aardman Animation must be rubbing their hands with glee. What with re-runs of Nick Park’s other specials The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave, the BBC has made a Wallace and Gromit mountain out of not very much new material. One-off specials plus a load of interstitials, some of which were presumably helped by the Pyrex and Kingsmill deal, are clearly the way forward.
As for The Royle Family’s Christmas special, I have distinctly mixed feelings. Maybe it’s the recession, maybe it’s the advent of things like Gavin & Stacey and Outnumbered in the two years since the Royle Family was last on air but I found its brand of ‘poor but happy’ family comedy distinctly depressing this year. The hot water on the cuppa soup for Denise and Dave’s starter was just that, hot water. The turkey still frozen and sitting in the airing cupboard perhaps a bit too close to real-life experiences of finding potatoes still sitting cold and uncooked in their oil and adults asleep at the table, just when you hoped to be sitting down to a meal.
Dr Who was OK. The kids enjoyed it. We knew what to expect, got what we expected and nothing more. Couldn’t quite work out if David Tennant was quizzickly standing aloof from David Morrissey’s over-acting or just being Dr Who. But it doesn’t matter because we all know he’s not the Doctor for much longer anyway. On which note, the BBC 1 schedule felt bereft of new ideas with Wallace and hound, Royle Family, Dr Who and EastEnders dominating Christmas day.
Among the gems were Lead Balloon on BBC 2 with Rick temporarily full of festive goodwill and the Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special where the supporting cast now easily outshine the two central characters and Mick’s battles with Nigella’s instructions to soak a turkey pre-roasting were an inspired yet subtle backgrop to the angst inherent in getting two families together at Christmas.
Finally for lucecannon, Rupert Everett made an unexpectedly good Sherlock Holmes on BBC 1 on Monday night playing the slightly aged roue he probably is. Loved it, let’s have more.
That’s it. The rest of the time was spent eating, drinking, walking and mostly making merry. Adieu, 2008.