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Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas TV - humbug!

I shall be starting to sound like Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells if I dare to query the TV licence fee, but Christmas - well! How much more lacklustre could TV get?

To be honest we don't watch much TV. There's so little that appeals, we tend to watch films (excellent service from MovieBank or Sky Box Office).

But we do enjoy a big budget costume drama, wildlife documentaries and, of course, Strictly Come Dancing.

I've written endlessly about the latter. The final was disappointing, the Christmas Day special was enjoyable, and the Story of Strictly was very entertaining. I particularly enjoyed the Natasha Kemplinsky footage because I missed series one.

Oliver Twist on BBC1 was a delight, except for the last episode which was baffingly bad. Why was Bill Sikes seen running through a forest with Oliver, only to return to London to get nabbed? Bill Sikes was so appalling the last couple of episodes, where his brooding malevolence is supposed to dominate, became a bit laughable.

I had sore misgivings about "Ballet Shoes" and these were borne out. Victoria Wood seemed grossly miscast; Emma Watson wooden and the other two orphans lacking in charisma or talent. Even poor Marc Warren, who's normally memorable in everything, struggled to make much of his role.

Marc Warren

Extras was an unexpected highlight: it can be very hit-or-miss, but I enjoyed the Christmas episode. There was a great blend of humour and pathos, and the scenes with George Michael and Clive Owen really utilised their talent and star quality.

I've also been enjoying Bleak House. Not new I know, but I missed it the first time round, so I've been recording it on UKTV Drama. It's great to come down in the morning and find another couple of episodes ready to watch.

I missed The Old Curiosity Shop thanks to the DH recording two football shows (thanks Spurs / Reading for the 10 goal bonanza - how about imnproving your defence?).

Disappointingly, two of my festive faves weren't new this year, Celebrity Masterchef and Come Dine with Me. Both repeats. And I had to get my Nigella Christmas fix from UK TV Food. The Christmas show is I think only a year old, but it highlighted the huge difference between Nigella then and the recent Express programme. It's been written quite widely how she seems to have become a parody of herself. Too much finger wagging at the camera and double entendres. I blame the director. Nigella, make it a NY resolution to go back to being semi serious about the cooking?

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