Yule (B)Log V: The Telly Schedules Are Out

The proper ones, not the 'To Be Confirmed' saturated travesties that pop up in the tabloids at the end of November. And here are the links that'll help you decide whether it's worth investing in a bunch of DVDs to watch in the last week of this month:

BBC One
BBC Two
BBC Three
BBC Four

As ever, a bit of a mixed bag, and a selection that brings up a nagging feeling that Christmas television was a lot more interesting in the 1980s and early 1990s. But was it? Thanks to the excellent BBC Programme Catalogue, we shall see, as we take a wander through a couple of

THE BBC ONE CHRISTMAS DAY SCHEDULES OF THE PAST

1983
The Big Hitters:
Erm... nothing much of note until a pre-Queen TOTP, with the likes of Ziggy's Gift, Bugs Bunny and The Christmas Raccoons making up the numbers. The prime post Liz slot was taken up with Blankety Blank, and it didn't even have Kenny Everett on duty, with Freddie Starr taking his turn on the 'bottom middle' position rota. Patrick Moore, Roy Kinnear, Ruth Madoc, Beryl Reid and, erm, Sabina Franklyn making up the numbers. Cripes. Jim'll Fix It also made an appearance, featuring "Hi-Di-Hi sketch, 1918 Hero, cracking walnuts, Father Christmas, reading the lesson at Norwich Cathedral and blind horse riders". The proper big guns came out late at night, with festive editions of The Two Ronnies and Only Fools And Horses (hopefully the ace one where Grandad forgot to take the giblets out of the turkey).

The Big Film:
Treasure Island. Which we don't think we've seen, because that would have been the time BrokenTV's Mum made the family turn the telly off for Christmas dinner.

Phoning It In:
Songs Of Praise, because the 25th fell on a Sunday, and the BBC was duty bound to show it. Still, a good excuse to put on the CalecoVision, so the family can see who can get the best score on Donkey Kong. Before Top Of The Pops there was also a show called 'The Glitterball', which the BBC Programme Catalogue excitingly describes as "A television programme".

Overall Christmas Aceness Rating: 3/10

1987
The Big Hitters:
Ah, now we're talking. Despite the likes of Ziggy's Gift (again!) making up the early morning schedule, Songs Of Praise is banished to 8.24am, where it's missed because everyone in the United Kingdom is busy opening their prezzies, freeing up later on for a proper Christmas Day line-up. Christmas Morning With Noel? Check. A repeat of a classic Porridge? Check. Imperial phase EastEnders? Check. The Russ Abbott Show, ah shut up, he was enjoyable enough at the time? Check. Only Fools And Horses (the "Frog's Legacy" episode that told everyone Rodney was only Del's half-brother about eighteen years before they tried to use that as a dramatic selling point for the last ever episode)? Check. The last ever (and most expensive) Two Ronnies Christmas Special? Check. In Sickness And In Health? Check. Now that's proper scheduling.

The Big Movie:
Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. Get in!

Phoning It In:
Well, we never liked Miss Marple. But then, that gave everyone time to play Trivial Pursuits. And yup, we did leave that 's' there to deliberately annoy unspeakable bores.


Overall Christmas Aceness Rating: 9/10. So close. If there had been something like a Big Deal Comeback Special instead of Marple, it could have been a ten.


And what of 2007? On the plus side: Doctor Who. On the negative side: A Catherine Tate Special dirtying up BBC One. Eeeh... 5/10.

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