Outnumbered (BBC1, 9.35pm)
Stupidly, this is another programme over of the holidays, which doesn’t get any kind of a repeat whatsoever – and not everyone wants to watch something via Iplayer, especially when there are scores of hours showing very little of anything but well-trodden repeats – and one which I’ll watch but I do feel is getting long in the tooth, now, as the children are getting older and wouldn’t, particularly, be this stupid all the time.
The normally private family also go against type by throwing a Christmas party for their neighbours, and you can expect all good plans to fall apart quite quickly. In the interests of watching as much of my viewing in HD as I can, and only because able to record in standard definition, I’ll be watching up until the top of the hour when it’s time for…
Peep Show (C4, 10pm)
The conclusion of the eighth series, still proving very strong, albeit more improbable as it goes along. However, it still makes me laugh and has some very inventive lines, so long may it continue… since you actually could see Mark and Jeremy living together until old age.
Friday Night Dinner (C4, 10.30pm)
An incredibly strong second series is followed up by a Christmas special, where the family are having Christmas dinner… even though they’re Jewish.
In this episode, Grandma is coming round… but a different one, from their father’s side. She’s horrible, and she has an equally horrible dog, Boudacea, which has to wear an oxygen mask…
Doctor Who (BBC1, 5.15pm)
The episode where Jenna-Louise Coleman gets properly introduced, in a story which this time involves evil snowmen.
Yes, stories often take a back seat at this time of year, and this looks to be no different. Oddly, however, this is on at such an early time. Normally, it ends up starting between around 6-7pm, but this year, as well as Strictly, it’s also being bumped early by Call The Midwife.
Synopsis: It is Christmas Eve, 1892, and the falling snow is the stuff of fairytales. When the fairytale becomes a nightmare and a chilling menace threatens Earth, an unorthodox young governess, Clara, calls on the Doctor for help. But the Doctor is in mourning, reclusive and determined not to engage in the problems of the universe. As old friends return, will the Doctor really abandon humankind, or will he fight to save the world and Christmas from the icy clutches of this mysterious menace?
As well as starring Matt Smith, it also features Richard E. Grant, Dan Starkey, Catrin Stewart and Neve McIntosh.
The Royle Family (BBC1, 9.45pm)
For a programme which only ran for three full series and ended over a decade ago, it’s existed since in Christmas specials only, some of which have been hit and miss. It’s definitely time to call this a day.
Synopsis: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Royles’, and Barbara has gone overboard with the presents, having spent a whole two hours in a pound shop. A new neighbour moves onto the street with an impressive cleavage, but will she be welcome on the sofa? In a flash of seasonal entrepreneurial spirit, Dave reveals the idea he intends to pitch to Dragons’ Den. Will it take off and make them rich? Or is Jim’s scratch card more likely to bring in the Christmas cheer? Next door, Joe is looking for love and places an advert in a Lonely Hearts column, reading ‘Vacant Lady Wanted’. Who could resist?
It stars Ricky Tomlinson, Sue Johnston, Caroline Aherne, Craig Cash and Peter Martin.
Can’t see Joanne Froggatt in the cast, but after the end of the last one with her just about to give birth, I would’ve assumed they’d make mention of that.
Have I Got a Bit More News for You Christmas Special (BBC1, 11.45pm)
I only ever watch the extended versions these days, and even those are half-hearted. What a shame Paul and Ian forced Angus out.
Oh well. This one puts Daniel Radcliffe in the presenter seat with Sara Cox and Andy Hamilton as guest panellists.
And the rest:
Mock the Week (BBC2, December 27th, 10pm)
Running for a full hour, this edition states it will be “full of hilarious festive treats”, but I wish they’d explain why they’re STILL only having THREE comedians in the topics round. Makes no sense!
Charlie Brooker’s 2012 Wipe Out (BBC2, New Year’s Day, 10pm)
One of the better offerings over the holiday period. I’d rather this was shown earlier, so I could watch it on New Year’s Eve and forget all about that ‘midnight’ shit.
Synopsis: Charlie Brooker takes a comedic look back at 2012. It was a busy year crammed full of Olympian events, including the jubilee, some elections, pussy riots, exposed regal flesh, The Valleys and also some actual Olympian events.
With added extras from Doug Stanhope, Sharon Horgan and Peter Serafinowicz.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.