Haven’t watched a lot of Christmas television. Okay, so I watched ‘Doctor Who’, that’s compulsory. I caught about one minute of the end of an episode of ‘EastEnders’ where they were using John Lennon’s Xmas song as incidental music; it was so incoherent and badly-edited I assumed it was a trailer until the end titles came up. Nobody bothers about starting or ending scenes properly any more.
Also watched the ‘Not Going Out’ Xmas special, which was okay, and the ‘QI’, which has grown increasingly flabby, where some of the ‘facts’ are total made-up bollocks (no-one in the history of Beatles fandom has ever used the ‘Help’ album cover as part of a John Lennon is dead conspiracy!)
Caught the second half of the Victoria Wood Xmas special. Her special from ten years ago was rather soul-destroying so I wasn’t expecting great things; what I saw confirmed my expectations. It was as if she’d delivered a half-hour special and they’d decided to screen an early edit in order to fill an hour slot, by leaving in the longeurs, the jokes that stiffed, and padding it out with her doing that sodding ‘Let’s Do It’ song again. I mean, I’m a big fan of Victoria Wood – 'As Seen On TV', that series of one-off comedy plays, 'dinnerladies'... but everything after that, the Acorn Antiques musical, it just seems half-hearted somehow. Still, it could be worse, it could be French & Saunders.
And, as is tradition, 'Top Of The Pops'. Oh Christ it was bad. Obviously the producer had decided to only pick her favourite acts, and had decided to fill the audience with her middle-aged Facebook list, while whoever was compiling the ‘year in music’ clips was only interested in hip-hop and R-n-B. But worst of all were the presenters, Reggie Yates and Fearne Cotton; the two presenters who got the show axed in the first place. Bringing back TOTP with those two would be like them bringing back Doctor Who with Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred. Reggie and Fearne have no chemistry; they’re clearly not even listening to each other, constantly gabbling over each other’s bits like the presenters of a student radio station, with no clue what to do while the other is talking. And delivering the scripted line ‘2009 – a great year in music’ without a shred of self-awareness or irony. I’ve always thought they should revive TOTP – but not with these two, they were the two final nails in the coffin lid. While these two remain attached leech-like to the brand, it has no hope of resurrection.