Not The Radio Times

Radio Times

Highlighter Pen at The Ready

It continues to amuse me that the greatest weekly magazine that the UK produces continues to be called the Radio Times despite the fact that almost nobody uses it for looking forward to radio listings but instead plan their TV viewing for the forthcoming week. And, of the 51 issues that get released every year, it is the “legendary” (their own word) double-sized Christmas issue that makes for the greatest read. So, for this post, with the trusty tome by my side, I will provide my own recommendations for viewing between now and the New Year to help you with your own schedules. However, if I have missed anything worthy of videoing please drop a comment back. As an aside, I still use this term “video” as a verb despite not having had a VCR in the house for years because I can’t find anything better… “Sky’ing” doesn’t scan, “PVR’ing” is equally fraught, and simply calling it “recording” is a little bland. Suggestions for this also welcome.

Once the coming working week reaches its end at 5pm on Friday or, more realistically, at about 1pm most of us fortunate folk will be into the Christmas season and starting to either (a) party, or (b) panic shop as appropriate. However, to help you through the final days of hard labour and before the festive Radio Times begins its own coverage, here’s the highlights that I’ll be looking out for from from today until Friday night and there are many things that are ending before the festivities get under way:

  • Sat 15th – Tonight I shall mostly be watching the end of series two of Robin Hood, [edit: Ooops, not quite the end, there’s a double bill in two weeks] which is better than the people who gave up on it early might think, before switching to ITV1 to catch the end of the X-Factor final.
  • Sun 16th -Sunday also features the “conclusions” competing between the Beeb and its rival as Parkinson: The Final Conversations goes up against the surprisingly refreshing Cranford.
  • Mon 17th – Mondays never seem to the be the best days for viewing and at Chez Fazzinchi we tend to focus on clearing the Sky planner.  I’ll probably get home from work and crash in front of the seasonal Deal or No Deal (which still, remarkably, entertains) and the final Gadget Show.
  • Tue 18th – Regardless of how enticing the last in the series of “Trinny and Susannah” followed by “Lose 30 Stone or Die” might be on the third channel (not!), it’s time to take the phone off the hook and settle down to the new Oliver Twist (begining for 5 consecutive nights) and the end of the best ever series of Spooks.  And if that wasn’t enough, over on Sky it’s the much anticipated, feature length Battlestar Galactica: Razor.
  • Wed 19th – Nothing on, I’ll be down the pub!
  • Thu 20thBuzzcocks, Lead Balloon, Norton, Boosh.  Easy.  And to wrap things up the final ever Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
  • Fri 21st -The first of the Christmas specials as Not Going Out is on BBC1 and later flick over to BBC4 for Charlie Brooker to put it in perspective with his Screenwipe: Christmas Special.

Then, of course, what is still regarded as one of the most important periods in the TV viewing calendar gets underway in earnest and here’s what I’ll be looking out for…..

  • Sat 22nd – Well, I’ll be out for dinner and drinks but those who do stay in will almost certainly be watching “Strictly” but if it was me, I’d be watching one of the competing list shows: The Most Annoying People of 2007 on BBC3 or The 100 Greatest Xmas Moments on E4… probably the former becuase of the lack of adverts.
  • Sun 23rdTop Gear is one of the finest programmes going at the moment and the final installment of the current series is the highlight of the evening, although the Griff Rhys Jones documentary Charles Dickens and The Invention of Christmas looks like it’ll be worth a look.
  • Xmas Eve – Proving that intellectual shows can entertain as well (most of the time) the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures begin on five while the other end of the spectrum will be on show as Christmas at the Riveria sounds like a middle-of-the-road ITVcomedy drama.
  • Xmas DayDoctor Who “Voyage of the Damned” and Doctor Who Confidential.  Well, there’s nothing else on, is there?
  • Boxing Day – Competing one-off dramas, watch one, record the other, grab a plate full of cold cuts and place your bets.  The Old Curiosity Shop vs Ballet Shoes.
  • Thu 27th – There’ll probably be lots of DVDs from under the Christmas tree that I’ll be eager to watch by this time but eveything’ll stop for Extras.
  • Fri 28th – I’ve not mentioned any movies so far, but three turn up tonight that I haven’t seen but would like to… take your pick from “Meet The Fockers”, “The History Boys” and “The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse”
  • Sat 29th – Other than the double header of Robin Hood that I hadn’t realised about earlier, I honestly can’t see much here to whet the appetite.. repeats, rubbish films and shows like “Any Dream Will Do: The Winner’s Story” litter the schedules.
  • Sun 30th – Billie Piper is back.  No, not as Rose Tyler (yet) but as Sally Lockhart in The Shadow in the North based on Phillip Pullman’s book.  Earlier in the evening JK Rowling: a Year in the Life may be a nice way for Potter fans like me to spend an hour.  Also, the Big Fat Quiz of the Year gets is first outing on Channel 4
  • New Year’s Eve – Plenty to watch of you’re not planning on partying hard as yet another one-off comendy drama on ITV is on with the watchable James Dreyfus in Double Time but you can do no better than see in 2008 with Jools Annual Hootenanny.
  • New Year’s Day – Another new year, another new period drama.  Perfect hangover fodder as Sense and Sensibility debuts on One while the fifth series of Shameless begins on Four.
  • Wed 2nd Jan – Another one of “those days” when nothing’s on.
  • Thu 3rd JanCold Blood is back and another chance for Matthew Kelly to creep us all out.  There’s also a wierd new Big Brother show starting that I kind of hope falls flat on is face and the format dies and gives us a moment’s grace.  I’ll probably get drawn in and rave about it though.
  • Fri 4th Jan – Yet another bleedin’ one-off comedy drama with “Bike Squad” on ITV.  Sounds rubbish.  Over on Channel 4 we have yet another bleedin’ list show… “Greatest Comedy Catchphrases”.  Stop it.  Please.

Hopefully the new year will bring lots of TV goodies but there is a lot of dross amongst the highlights I’ve put in bold above.  So, what will you be watching?

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