Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas telly ramblings

OH well, that's another Christmas done and dusted. The kids certainly enjoyed themselves (Robosapien, Scalextric and computer games console for Dylan; Iggle Piggle, remote control racing car and, erm, toy kitchen for Connor), but I find it harder and harder to work up any enthusiasm for it these days. I think it's a combination of my age and the fact I only got five days off work for the festive season (in my magazine days I could count on 10 or 12). Still, I got a nice new jumper and Doctor Who series three on DVD out of it so I shouldn't complain too much.

On the subject of Who, Voyage Of The Damned washed over me a bit. Having only seen it once I'm not sure whether that was the fault of the show itself or the fact I had to watch it through a barrage of kid noise. I'll probably give it another look over the weekend to see if it deserved that incredible audience of 12.2 million (the show's highest since 1979, I understand).

The only show watched more than Doctor Who on Christmas Day was EastEnders which surprises me a bit as it's so profoundly bleak and, as The Guardian's reviewer remarked, "misanthropic". Its also horribly ham-fisted with the settings marked "shouting" and "crying" turned up to 11 at all times. EastEnders doesn't do subtlety and you get the impression its producers wouldn't know where to start if some BBC bigwig suggested that they should.

One of the two Christmas Day episodes ended up with Tanya Branning falling down the stairs and cracking her head open after finding out about her husband's affair with his daughter-in-law. You half expected someone to pop in and shoot her in the face at the end just to add even more melodrama and misery to proceedings.

My favourite EastEnders Christmas Day episode ending was a good few years back and featured Arthur Fowler (pictured above) sobbing his heart out on the floor of his prison cell (he'd been banged up for stealing some cash). It was genuinely quite upsetting and about as Christmassy as a dog shit sandwich.

I thought this year's Christmas Day Coronation Street was far and away the best of the big two soaps - full of humour, storylines that didn't stretch credulity too far and even an uplifting ending. Of course, it got utterly walloped in the ratings. It seems our festive goodwill doesn't extend to soap characters - we want them to suffer and, if they don't, we switch off.

* THIS will probably be my last post until 2008 so, to everyone, HAPPY NEW YEAR.

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