Back To Christmas 1982 (27th December 1982)

It’s a quiet day for me on BBC1 and BBC2, but The Funny Side of Christmas will be a must watch. Had it aired on the 25th then they could have revived the Christmas Night With The Stars name (indeed, given the talent involved it’s slightly remarkable that it didn’t take pole position on the big day).

Hosted by the incredibly avuncular Frank Muir, it features newly recorded bite-sized treats from many of the BBC’s comedy favourites. Most were still in production at the time, the one major exception being The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin which had finished in 1979. That the whole cast were happy to reassemble for this five minute skit says a great deal about their positive feelings for the show.

Some (Yes Minister) are short but sweet, lasting for less than two minutes whilst Smith & Jones are given a generous eight minutes (in their first post NTNOCN sketch appearance). All this plus the likes of Butterflies, Last of the Summer Wine, Open All Hours, Only Fools and Horses, Cissie and Ada ….

Luckily it doesn’t clash with The Morecambe & Wise Show on ITV. It’s slightly sad that, post BBC, the show’s no longer a Christmas night fixture but the formula remains the same. Tonight, amongst other treats, Robert Hardy will demonstrate his dancing skills. Given how familiar some of the BBC festive specials are, these days I do enjoy sampling the less well known treats of the Thames era – some of the rehashes don’t work as well as they did first time round, but overall the series deserves a little more love than it receives.

Earlier on ITV, there’s the big Bond movie premiere – Moonraker. Some people dislike Moonraker, but we don’t need to worry about them. Yes, it’s got very little to do with Ian Fleming but if I want to enjoy Ian Fleming’s James Bond then I’ll pick up one of his books. This is just the sort of entertainment you want at this time of year – plenty of action, bad jokes and Roger Moore being Roger Moore. Perfect.

4 thoughts on “Back To Christmas 1982 (27th December 1982)

  1. If you look on YouTube there’s trailers advertising The Funny Side of Christmas being in Boxing Day, which it obviously didn’t do and I’ve always wondered if it was an error in the trailer of a last minute reshuffle.

    I too enjoy watching the lesser seen Thames Morecambe and Wise specials. Was the Thames years output ever repeated on ITV or UK Gold before the advent of DVD? I’ve tried looking to see but to no avail.

    Lastly – I fully agree – Moonraker is fabulous! I won’t hear a bad word said against it.

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    • This 27th was actually Boxing Day, which seems a little odd but there you go.

      I don’t recall Thames era M&W on UK Gold which seems surprising since Thames had a stake in the company to begin with.

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      • Excellent thank you. It looks like UK Gold didn’t really show much M&W until the 00s which is very strange as you say. I’ve always grown up with the notion M&W we’re the pinnacle of TV prior to maybe Fools and Horses (can’t say I disagree much) so it seems baffling they weren’t shown more (maybe a rights issue?).

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      • Boxing Day was so called because it was when the tradesmen got their Christmas boxes. But tradesmen didn’t work on Sundays, so if the 26th of December was on a Sunday they would get their Christmas boxes on Monday the 27th.

        I thought the later Morcambe and Wise Christmas shows were relegated to Boxing Day because they were less popular, but this is not the case. Viewers in the London and South East region were served by Thames Television from Monday morning to Friday evening, and London Weekend Television from Friday evening to Sunday night. And Thames Television didn’t show London Weekend programmes or vice versa.

        The first three year’s Morcambe and Wise were at Thames Christmas Day was on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, so they were on on Christmas Day. But their last three years Christmas Day was on Friday, Saturday and Sunday so they were shown on the bank holiday Monday. Before Eric Morcambe died Thames were planning to show the 1984 Morcambe and Wise Christmas show on Tuesday the 25th of December.

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