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.