Monday, 22 December 2008

Spare us the Christmas specials

Well, the Christmas specials are certainly starting to come in thick and fast this week.
And all we can say is... make it stop. Please.
For One Night Only (ITV1, Sat) with Tom Jones, The Charlotte Church Nutcracking Christmas Special (C4, Sun), All Star Mr and Mrs Christmas Special (ITV1, Sat) and the awful Clash of the Santas (ITV1, Sun)... fun isn’t the word.
In fact, the word is something we probably can’t write in this blog.
Perhaps most gruesome of all was After You’ve Gone (BBC1, Sun).
This is the embarrassingly bad comedy created by the people who bought you My Family, with Nicholas Lyndhurst playing a (deservedly) abandoned dad and Celia Imrie as his utterly dull mother in law.
We’ve only previously caught the last five minutes or so on a Friday night (usually when switching over for Have I Got News for You), but even from this fleeting glimpse you could see it was very, very bad.
Nothing could prepare us for the full half hour experience though.
The Christmas plot, if you can use such a word to describe this kind of material, involved a burglary, a house swap and a hilarious case of mistaken identity.
A teenage son, who obviously had some kind of specials needs which was never quite explained, was also involved in a sub plot about selling toy dolls.
And Tracy Beaker was around for some of the time too as a teenage daughter. She didn’t get too many lines though. Lucky her.
It was only towards the end of this dire show that it suddenly struck us.
Nicholas Lyndhurst was once a part of the must-see show of the Christmas TV schedule (Fools and Horses). Now look at him.
If you think you’ve had a bad year, what with the credit crunch and all that, at least console yourself with one thought.
You’re not Nicholas Lyndhurst.
Best thing on the telly all weekend was actually a kids' drama, Dustbin Baby (BBC1, Sun) - about troubled teen April (Dakota Blue Richards) and her foster mum (Juliet Stevenson).
Penned by Jacqueline Wilson, it had a good story (a baby abandoned at birth and shoved in a dustbin at a pizza parlour), fine acting, warmth and a real Christmassy feel - despite having nothing at all to do with the festive season.
With the afternoon darkness outside, the twinkling lights on the tree, a large tin of Quality Street on the go and a reasonably happy ending, this was indeed a perfect yuletide family drama.