Still looking for that special present for Mum? You might like to note that Amazon have a special gang of elves more than willing to zip a copy of Steve's cracking read THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CLASSIC SATURDAY NIGHT TELLY to your door in time for Christmas morning.
The first copy of the Radio Times I ever kept was the 1989 Christmas issue, which given I was only ten years old at the time shows massive dedication to telly. Since then, about the first eight pages have been lost along the way and it's full of scribbles where my sister and I faithfully ticked off all the programmes we were going to watch - there's a huge box around the premiere of Grease 2 on New Year's Day, natch. This was a big Christmas in our house, as a Fast Forward goody bag I'd won was delivered to my house on the 23rd and we went away for New Year's Eve, to the Marine Hotel in Llandudno, which was the first time I'd ever stayed up until midnight.
Back then, Christmas telly to me meant the following things...
* A Song For Christmas - we used to love A Song For Christmas and we always used to spit feathers when, thanks to it being a Daytime Live/Pebble Mill production, it was shown on lunchtime on the 20th or 21st and we'd still be at school, and its scheduling always baffled me as it involved kids and nobody else. I'm not quite sure why we were so nuts about it, to be honest, other than at that point it was always nice to see Phil Schofield doing "adult" telly and the set used to really go nuts with the fake snow. Sadly it was finally axed along with Pebble Mill in the mid-nineties.
* Children's Film Foundation - this is a specific memory from that specific Christmas 1989 because the CBBC holiday mornings rolled out virtually all the old CFF films throughout the festive season. It's remarkable to think they were still being shown in January 1990. In any case, my sister and I roared with laughter at Pop Pirates, shown on the 21st, and its authentic seventies soundtrack. Indeed, this was probably the first time I realised the potential for cheap laughs from archive footage that has kept me in good stead throughout my work on TV Cream.
* Lyle The Crocodile - Nobody in the world seems to have heard of this, but this cartoon was on BBC1 for a couple of Christmasses and my family loved it, considering it up there with The Snowman. It was first shown, I think, in 1989, and the following year we highlighted its repeat - on New Years Eve - in the Radio Times and made sure to record it on a good tape to keep for always. It's based on a book - Lyle,Lyle Crocodile - published in 1965, although the animated version was produced some time in the mid-eighties, and the "Moving Into A New House" song ("It's enough to make you cryyyyyyyy!") has been running around my brain non-stop for the past eighteen years. I think we taped Home and Away over it in about 1994 when we were desperate for tapes, though. In fact we used to have loads of stuff taped off the telly at Christmas, including It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown, which I wish we'd kept because it was preceded by a long clip of Andy Crane in the Broom Cupboard.