Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Guest Setting Four: Kylie in Space, “Tiny” Evan Davis, and Custard Jammy Dodgers

Right now, we're busy simultaneously (a) looking a bit disgruntled at Frank Lampard's fluky goal against Liverpool in the Carling Cup and Peter Crouch's consequent two-footed lunge that earned him a red card, (b) wondering why the images we've uploaded to our new webspace aren't appearing right now, (c) trying to gauge if we'd slightly built up the taste of jam-and-custard Jammy Dodgers in our minds before actually tasting one just now, and (d) trying to get a bunch of Proper Work done. In that order. Luckily, Phil Oddy has prepared his own intro for his guest update, so we can merrily continue looking peeved, confused, disappointed and distracted while he takes over. All yours, Phil.

Phil Oddy is the co-founder of, home of the highly addictive, free-to-play football predictions games Prediction Premiership and – just relaunched for the 2007/08 season - The FAntasy Cup. For all the details on how you can win a pile of football related stuff just by predicting the outcome of some football matched better than some other people, check out The Rules. Remember – Every Game Counts!

Christmas TV. It’s a bit rubbish, isn’t it? Well, most of it is and I, for one, don’t have time to waste on crappy TV. Some of it’s easy – no-one needs to be told to avoid My Family, for instance. But by the same token, I don’t want to miss the good stuff. In my opinion, you can’t argue with form. It’s as true with Christmas TV as it is with predicting football scores (see what I did there?). Maybe Catherine Tate will produce a riotous laugh-a-minute comedy extravaganza. But she probably won’t, just as Havant and Waterlooville probably aren’t going to win the FA Cup. So, to avoid spending your Christmas groaning and shouting at your TV, go with form. Ricky Gervais, for example has a proven track record when it comes to Christmas specials, and whilst Extras won’t ever replace The Office it should be worth some hard disk space on the Sky +.

So here is my verdict on what will be hot and what will not, based on that recent festival of specials-that-aren’t-that-special, this year’s Children In Need.

1. Doctor Who will be ace. Well of course it will, but I mean really ace. In seven minutes they tied the new series into the old with an evocation of childhood that left me with a little tear in my eye, I don’t mind admitting. For Christmas they’ve got 10 times as long, and Kylie Minogue. In space. Can’t wait.

2. Strictly Come Dancing will be painful. I’ve got quite into the latest series (the wife makes me watch it, honest), but they can’t do specials. CIN was their chance to redeem themselves after the ill conceived Eurovision Dance Contest but they blew it as the least spontaneous woman in telly stumbled through a “joke” and they did a bit of a shuffle on a tiny stage. So expect some half arsed dancing (because there’s nothing to compete for) and plenty of scripted ad-libs that Arlene Phillips can’t be bothered to memorise properly. Avoid.

3. Dragons Den will be surprisingly heart-warming. A Children In Need highlight, I’m looking forward to them breaking out of the format again (it is getting a bit repetitive) – maybe Duncan Bannatyne will be visited by a series of ghostly apparitions, including the grim spectre of The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come (played by Deborah Meaden), who persuade him to change his ways to save the life of “Tiny” Evan Davis, whose leg was crippled by a “dramatic twist”. Or maybe they won’t. But I’ll tell you where I am… I’m in.

…and that’s where the analogy breaks down because I fast forwarded through most of Children In Need. But if Boyzone pop up anywhere then watch that because they were hilariously shambolic. I’ll also be watching Harry Hill and Charlie Brooker’s Screen Wipe but that’s OK because they fit under a whole other theory I’ve got about “telly about telly”… although it won’t apply to The 100 Best Clip Show Moments that Channel 4 probably have lined up for the new year. Bah humbug.

Cheers, Phil. We've just registered with PTS, and stupidly backed Claudio Pizarro to start slotting them in for Chelsea, as well as Portsmouth to beat Arsenal on Boxing Day. And unlike betting, it won't all end in us selling our Christmas presents on a street corner in order to fend off a visit from BrokenTV's bookie, Huge Alan. Great stuff.

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