So, That Was Christmas

Blackadder Rides Again a

Christmas 2008 has been consigned to the history books and with it the festive fortnight of strange and delightful television schedules have concluded. I have to confess that I didn’t watch a great deal of the stuff over the last two weeks but now, as the bumper edition of the Radio Times heads off to the nearest recycling plant, I feel it is time to look back at my personal choices of shows that were blessed by the highlighter pen here at Chez Fazzinchi.  Not that  there were too many but here are the few bits and pieces that I sat down to enjoy with varying degrees of success.

Blackadder Rides Again. I don’t generally watch many documentaries but a bit of rare insight from Rowan Atkinson himself on this much trailed one enticed me in to watching and I was rewarded in spades.  Blackadder was one of those shows that got better and better and each of the four seasons played and it was fascinating to hear about the far from simple production process (especially, that final scene)

Survivors. This six-part thriller came to a conclusion in the week leading up to Christmas and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The script may have been a shade ropey at times but it was one of those dramas that stays with you for quite some time afterwards. It is also good material for one of those “what if…” discussions over a bottle of good wine. Even the little kid was watchable.

Doctor Who (and Doctor Who Confidential). Enough said about The Next Doctor on this blog already, perhaps. However, the second viewing, as predicted, did turn out to be a bit more rewarding.  The producer commentary published on the official website (and played on BBC3 via the red button) gave an unusual amount of insight as well. As for the “special announcement” during this weekend’s Doctor Who Confidential, well, name one other show that could get over 6 million viewers for some casting news?

The 39 Steps. I thought, although many didn’t, that Rupert Penry-Jones was on fine form as Richard Hannay during this remake of the John Buchan classic. The romantic subplot helped turn the original gritty story into a lighter, more nostalgic tale that may not have been to everyone’s taste (and was more than a little surprising for its inclusion) but I thought it added a Christmassy feel to proceedings.

Gavin and Stacey. Gentle yet magnificent viewing.  All the regulars were on fine form as Gavin successfully decided to seek a new job in South Wales much to the chagrin of his mother and Smithy. Beautifully observed subplots involving the turkey, the keyboard, more about the fishing trip, baby Neil et al made for the perfect Christmas Eve. And it sets everything up nicely for the recently confirmed thrid series.

Wallace and Grommit. Other than the bloomin frustration of having the recording cut off early, the latest outing for one man and his dog from the Nick Park factory was deserving of its number one spot on Christmas Day. All the usual clever touches were there along with a blistering plot that provided chuckles aplenty.  Cracking.

Crooked House. Only watched one of the three so far, which wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be. I am hopeful for better things to come. I also have the last few Merlins, The Ascent of Money and Royal Institute Christmas Lectures clogging up my PVR, which I need to watch to free up some room for the deluge of new shows about to descend.

Christmas TV 2008….. 7/10.  Not a classic but enough sixpences in a  stodgy old pudding to satisfy.

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