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Thursday, 2 January, 2003, 18:05 GMT
Christmas television: Your views
Vegetating on the sofa in front of the box after a huge Christmas dinner is as much a festive tradition as carols and mistletoe.
This year's fare in the UK included the usual soap dramas, films such as Chicken Run and Billy Elliot, comedy from Only Fools and Horses and French and Saunders, drama from The Hound of the Baskervilles and entertainment from Celebrity Blind Date, to name but a few.
A selection of your reviews are below.
The Hound of the Baskervilles was brilliant. A great performance by Richard Roxburgh which captured the brilliant, slightly psychopathic Holmes to perfection... more of this sexy sleuth please!
Very poor programmes over Christmas. I enjoyed Bait with John Hurt but the Only Fools and Horses special was dire. Too contrived and Rodney seems to have a posh accent. Let us remember it in his hey day.
Every autumn, ITV puts on huge big movies that must cost a fortune to buy but they leave nothing for what is supposed to be the biggest TV day of the year. They showed four Star Wars films over the autumn (the first time 3 of them have been on TV in years!) and then once again spat old Bond at us on Christmas Day. Ratings idiocy? Vote with your remotes.
Christmas/New Year schedules did have some gems plus good programmes: Only Fools, Robbie The Reindeer, Sherlock Holmes, Goodbye Mr Chips But overall there were too many extra soap editions, too many duff comedies , far too many films and repeats plus very poor scheduling....can viewers apply for this task and devise better viewing.
Well done BBC. I thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas viewing as I did last Christmas. The highlight was (sorry to be such a bore) Only Fools and Horses which seems to be getting better and better. Who cares if the cast is getting older - this is what my family want to see on the BBC (and I am certainly not alone).
Stop complaining all you UK guys - the best thing I watched at Xmas was Only Fools and Horses which was SUPERB - bring back that series, it is a shame we don't have it anymore.
Christmas TV was made good by Absolutely Fabulous and French and Saunders Christmas Puddings. They were clearly the best programmes. Well Done Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders!
Just when you think it's safe to switch on the TV along comes another episode of EastEnders. Could someone tell them to STOP SHOUTING!
Doesn't it say more about the state of our nation that we're moaning about the state of TV on Christmas Day rather than being with our friends and families and appreciating each others company, rather than moaning about what's on TV? Most people seem annoyed that there wasn't 15 hours of non-stop TV for them to watch. Maybe you should take this time to re-discover the art on conversation!
This year's Xmas TV was weak overall, but this year's Only Fools & Horses was far better than last years, although I do swear the whole booze cruise/stowaway storyline was stolen from Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights...
A big, albeit slightly unexpected, hand to Five. A fantastic Bogart double-bill for Christmas Eve, then Nureyev's Don Quixote on the 25th.
Apart from that, I read my Christmas presents. There's more to the season than the telly. Isn't there?
Only Fools and Horses was the only Christmas programme I have watched this Christmas along with the Queen's Speech. There doesn't seem to be many decent series on BBC at the moment, although there has been some enjoyable dramas over the past year. After receiving the Band of Brothers DVD Box set for Christmas yesterday however I think I will be sitting down to watch that later on, and waiting for a while until a new drama appears on our screens.
Mike Cresswell, UK
It would seem that the TV companies think that simply putting "Christmas Special" in front of whatever programmes would normally be shown on a Wednesday was all they needed to do. It was pathetic.
Domestic arguments must have been at an all time high on Christmas day when people forced to speak to each other, there was no alternative - because there was not one programme worth watching on UK television.
Yes, the TV has been rather poor this year, and only the BBC has managed any level of quality programming (although the Xmas EastEnders seemed a little drawn-out). Then it struck me. With Digital TV beginning to saturate us with all forms of programming 365 days a year, and with DVDs so cheap, Xmas on TV no longer has the appeal of being unusual, a treat. We are spoiled and I think Xmas TV will never be the same again! Or can the good old Beeb pull something from the bag?
Christmas on TV? In a word "GARBAGE"
Complete dross; time to retire Fools and Horses - in it's heyday brilliant, but well past the sell by date! So far, the TV's been off rather than on - we've even had to talk to each other ;)
Thank God for the radio!
Most Christmas's past, I found myself juggling with video recorders and the TV schedules, so as not to miss anything interesting. Not so this year! This time the programme planners have plumbed the depths of boredom. My once-a-year spending splurge on the double-issue Christmas Radio Times was a complete waste of money - I'd have been better off with a chocolate teapot.
This year has been the worst for Christmas TV ever. Hardly any films, too many repeats and general boring programming. Thank god for videos!
Christmas TV this year looks appalling. The Boxing Day schedule is slightly better than Christmas day but still not really up to much. Time for a DVD.
Very disappointed with the Christmas telly this year - the only saving grace this year has been Only Fools and Horses. Absolutely fantastic, as essential to Christmas as turkey stuffing.
The best part for me of the Christmas schedules was the series 'World at War'. Ok, it's not particularly festive, but if I have to watch repeats of programmes then I want to watch the good ones and the BEEB does good documentaries. Also the doc' of the real life of the Virgin Mary was a real eye opener when compared to the traditional view of the nativity.
The choice of good viewing was so poor yesterday that we gave up switching the telly on and spent the day enjoying talking and playing with the children's games. How refreshing!
David Stephens, UK
It sickens me to think we have to pay £112 per year for the privilege of owning a TV, and we still have this pile of old rubbish served up to us.
The time has come for a test case in the Courts for not paying the TV licence fee because it is not worth it.
People in Britain don't appreciate what they've got - the BBC is superb in comparison with other countries' offerings. Anyone complaining about paying the licence fee should try watching TV in Germany, where they pay much the same fee, but the standard is unspeakably poor. Most people have 20-30 channels, but it is almost impossible to find anything worth watching.
Thankfully, Only Fools and Horses was back to its best. Some great lines and a welcome change from the US imports that are plastered all over the Christmas schedules.
James Chinnock, UK
Very poor Christmas TV this year. In fact, we switched it off at one point and played a family game of cards. Yes, we were that desperate for entertainment !!! Only Fools and Horses did try, but it really has passed its sell-by date. Why no Christmas Special of 'The Office' ?
It sickens me to think we have to pay £112 per year for the privilege of owning a TV, and we still have this pile of old rubbish served up to us.
I bet no country can match three days of continuous back-to-back Bond films, as screened on US television, still running until 27 Friday. I am sure that even the four standard channels in the UK must have been better than the rubbish shown here. The best bit was when the rooftop satellite packed up in a major snowstorm at about 9pm.
One long yawn. We ended up borrowing a few videos to watch on Christmas Day so we didn't watch TV at all. For the schedules themselves, not a lot of imagination has gone into them. My five-year-old daughter could have come up with something more stimulating.
This year must go down as the worst ever effort from ITV for the Christmas Day schedule. Two films, one 27 years old and a Bond film 37 years old. Emmerdale, Corrie, Blind Date... at least the Beeb made some kind of effort with a new "Only Fools.." and the network premiere of "Chicken Run". Thank heavens for my DVD player!
Thanks to the BBC for another classic special of Only Fools and Horses. The show was back to its full strength with the jokes and quality storylines coming thick and fast. Thoroughly enjoyable - more please!
Only Fools and EastEnders were fantastic over Christmas.
If the BBC continue to put out these two with the extremely high talent of cast, production and storylines then I won't have any qualms about paying my TV Licence. Both the writers of both EastEnders and Only Fools are a credit to the BBC.
Terrible, terrible, terrible. We laughed more at the news than Alistair McGowan and French and Saunders! Only Only fools and horses came out well, and ITV........the advertisers should ask for their money back!
Christmas television, except for Robbie the Reindeer, was a disgrace. I remember only 10 years ago when great shows made great Christmas specials, but now television seems devoid of true talent.
What a load of rubbish !! That says it all really D J Brown, Great Britain
Christmas television? it must be April 1st. This must be the worst year for Christmas TV ..... I for one would like a refund or better still do away with the licence.
Thanks to Del Boy and Rodney for another helping of their truly British humour. I can't wait for next Christmas. Oh yes, nothing much else thrilled me.
TV at Christmas continues to surprise me. Each year I think it can't get any worse, but the following year it does.
Please please please please pull the plug on "Only Fools & Horses". It has not only dying a very painful death it is now festering.
Good grief, they managed to string out Test the Nation:2002! It was all over within 15 minutes online this evening. Still, I suppose I have this website to thank for the fact I equalled Jo Brand's score of 87%. And does anyone else find Piers Morgan obnoxious?
Stephen Smith, UK
Repeats of old shows + Christmas 'specials' of old shows + Classic BBC self-gloating = Christmas TV. And where have all the decent movies gone?
Whatever happened to the great competition between BBC and ITV for bagging the best feature film? Both are serving up leftovers from years gone by. Murdoch has won then eh? For Freeview read deja vu.
I did not watch UK television this Christmas, and I'm sure I am happier for it. Still, television in the UK could never plumb the depths of Japanese TV and they claim to celebrate Christmas here as well!
Only Fools and Horses - what a treat, brilliant!!
Christmas day TV was nothing short of abysmal, apart from the superb Only Fools and Horses. The uncle Albert and hostage pieces were well written and, as per usual, acted to perfection. BBC1 was the winner in my book but did not have much of an opposition. Thank goodness I got a few DVDs for Christmas.
TV over this period has been appalling.
I am, however, having great fun watching the Real Derek and Clive. Channel 4 very occasionally put out something that is both interesting and funny.
Am I alone in thinking the time is up for EastEnders at Christmas? This year's effort produced some of the most cringing acting I have ever witnessed and certainly the worst writing ever. Keep these miserable East End folk off our TVs at Christmas or just keep showing re-runs of Oliver.
Whatever happened to Laurel and Hardy????
All six of us laughed heartily at Fools And Horses. John Sullivan has once again provided the excellent cast with a superb script. All those beards in France made us laugh loud and long as did the duck joke. It's just such a shame that Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) wasn't here for it.
You are lucky you have Christmas television. Over here the networks show very few Christmas movies or special Christmas shows, even on Christmas Day there was very little on. They don't want to offend anybody. What we get is the usual network garbage, soaps and pathetic talk shows!
On Christmas Day, I found few programmes to watch. BBC had all my pet hates - impressionists - David Jason and Dawn French (they need a rest). The rest seemed to be about the Queen - using material I already had on video. I did watch the Queen and Ground Force - which I thought was wonderful.
Usual anodyne pap. Remove brain, watch programmes, replace brain. Please can Only Fools and Horses be finally put to rest???
Overall the telly was OK. ITV schedule was dire as usual (Blind Date - yuk) and the only blackspot in the BBC schedule was Alistair McGowan's Big Impression. My whole family sat there but couldn't raise a titter. Highlight of the evening as was anticipated was Only Fools. The whole family laughed all the way through and the storyline excellent.
BBC 1 on Christmas Day was very dull with only Chicken Run being a highlight. Only Fools and Horses is now well past it and the Trotters should now do us all a favour and trot off into the sunset.
BBC 2 did at least have Topsy Turvy but, despite having Freeview, it was a struggle to find anything worth watching.
I thought that EastEnders Christmas Day was absolutely awful. Jamie's death was far too morbid (and really strung out) on what was supposed to be a happy family day. I only watched the episode for the Slater wedding. For those of us who have lost near and dear ones Christmas is poignant enough anyway without being reminded of it from our TVs. I think the BBC got it wrong this time. They could have simply killed him off in the accident in one episode last week.
Absolute rubbish. It gets worse every year. Why do they always show the same films? Don't they have a budget for buying new ones?
Thank god for satellite TV and the comedy channel, that's all I can say.
Why so many poorly written, badly acted soap operas? Not every one wants to sit and watch this rubbish night after night! Especially at Christmas.
Well, apart from the programme about the Real 3 Wise Men, and the BBC's Virgin Mary offering, I watched World at War and the Time Team shows. Everything else was repeats and/or rubbish.
This year the BBC surpassed itself even more than was ever thought possible. It was absolutely abysmal. Apart from Fools and Horses there was nothing else worth watching. What on earth do we pay our TV licence for??
Hmmm... what did I watch on TV over the holiday? Not much. And nothing on BBC1, BBC2 or ITV. If it hadn't been for Channel 4's "Philly" and the Disney Channel, my answer would be "nothing."
Hardly watched anything apart from EastEnders. I just sat and read Lord of the Rings.
I'm a Brit living abroad, and boy do I wish I could have had the TV shows to watch that you all got to see. I haven't seen Only Fools for several years.
The films I enjoyed best were Scrooge who was played by the brilliant Albert Finney, Topsy-Turvy, Goodbye Mr Chips, American Beauty and Mary Poppins. Great stuff!
Where were the films? Why do we have to face another Only Fools and Horses where the actors are now too old for their parts? Leave it alone - and don't show it at Christmas again. Why is it that someone is taking the safe option here? Also, on the Saturday in between Christmas and New Year, there was nothing on (bar the usual Casualty which has gone downhill since Patrick died), not one film or entertaining programme - yet this night probably saw more people staying in than a usual Sat night.
Come on - get to grips with entertaining us. And why did ITV choose to repeat Jaws on Christmas Day?! Why didn't they keep the new Star Wars movie until then? What is going on in the world of television?
I didn't watch too much this year, and the soaps weren't very 'festive'. Again, Only Fools and Horses was the highlight. I do wish people would stop analysing it and actually enjoy what is still a national treasure. If you don't like it, don't watch it - but for the rest of us long may it continue!
What did I watch? Speed & LA Confidential but other than that I played my videos, listened to Virgin Radio and put on VH1 for background noise. The schedules are dire. I don't watch soaps so on Christmas Day I recorded TOTP but when I watched that I passed on Gareth and Will and was left wondering why I bothered. My parents didn't want to see Chicken Run. They would rather watch News 24.
Boxing day - thank God for football. Since then I've only seen the crime section on C5, TOTP2 & Jools Holland's Hootenanny on hogmanay. BBC Scotland's Hogmanay Live was dire. Why can't we just have a full ceilidh band without the dire "comedians"?
I agree with most of what has been said about the terrible programmes that have been put on TV over Christmas. EastEnders and Holby City were the worst with Jamie's (too long in the tooth) death. I was grateful when he did go. And then there was the depressing part in Holby City with nurse Kathy and her new hubbie deciding when she should "help him die". Enough is enough. ITV should rethink it's Christmas programming too. Who on earth wants to see films like Jaws on Christmas Day. At least the BBC did a bit better, but please no more Only Fools. I am a big fan of the programme but not this year.
Rubbish. Not much to laugh at. EastEnders is only watched by people who want to slate it, so your viewing figures say at lot!
I thought BBC2's World At War was excellent. I think this whole series should be shown at schools as part of our history. Let them understand just how close we came to suffering the same fate of those millions from various countries. It was war at its most brutal and ghastly. Thank you BBC for a very good programme.
EastEnders was GREAT! So was Chicken Run. I'm glad the BBC got it right.
Yet again the BBC delivered a quality piece of drama.The Hound of the Baskervilles had a fantastic cast, wonderful atmospheric scenery and a scary menacing hound. A brillant adaptation of a classic, the best thing on TV over the Christmas period.
Christmas TV viewing was generally very poor overall on BBC and ITV. What about those of us who have an imagination beyond soaps? Thankfully I was out visiting a lot so did not see much of it. However, cheers for TG4, a small Irish station but also the first non-digital channel to show The Matrix. If they could do it, why not the much bigger stations?
Rubbish! On all sides though so the Beeb is not alone. I can't think of any programming which actually did what it was supposed to do - ENTERTAIN! Maybe the BBC could lead the way in rediscovering programmes that are exciting to watch, full of humour and imagination and minus the foul language. You could make it your New Year's resolution. Instead of the BBC making do the BBC could make great programmes. Happy New Year!!!
Why don't you switch off your television set and go and do something less boring instead?
I was ill this Christmas and spent a bit of time in front of the TV because I felt too unwell to do much else. I have to agree...the level of festive TV was low. I didn't once watch ITV1 (and I only have the 5 terrestrial channels). The only programmes I really wanted to watch were the Billy Connelly Bafta Tribute and The World at War - none of which was "Christmassy". I hope next year not to be unwell and then I can get out of the house and do something much more worthwhile instead.
The only thing good on the BBC over Christmas was a full rerun of the World at War. Sad that the best thing the BBC could come up with is a repeat of a 30 year old ITV programme!
I went to France for Christmas and I could not believe how bad the TV programmes were! Then I came back to London and realised the exact same movies had been shown in France and in GB! I could count something like eight of the same movies over a period of only five days! Needless to say, I was not impressed at all by the quality, just amused that the same choice of entertainment was offered to me.
Well I just say thank God I have a Xbox. The TV this year was utter pants!
Most of the big films we already have on DVD so the days of looking forward to a new film are gone. There is far too much reliance on soaps which we don't ever watch. Who needs to be that depressed - especially at Christmas. We enjoyed French and Saunders, The Hound of the Baskervilles and Dinotopia but little else! Please let Only Fools and Horses rest on its past laurels.
Only Fools and Horses should have finished when they became millionaires. Nice try though. The best drama at Christmas was Goodbye Mr Chips. It was fantastic and deserves an award. Well done.
I enjoyed watching Speed with Reeves and Bullock, Absolutely Fabulous (with the cameo appearance from Whoopi Goldberg), Top Ten of Soul (shown very late, unsurprisingly) and last but not least, Jools Holland's Hootenanny on New Year's Eve. Chas 'n' Dave, what a great blast from the past they turned out to be. Fantastic singing from Solomon Burke who I didn't know actually wrote the song Everybody Needs Somebody.
I agree, there was not much in the way of entertainment apart from war films and EastEnders. Naked Gun raised a laugh from me though. Why do the BBC always have to fall back on the old but much loved security blanket that is Only Fools and Horses? I would have loved to see a repeat of the first series of Babyfather. Only Fools and Horses looks more like a re-working of Last of the Summer Wine.
Thank you to the television corporations for such dire viewing. I enjoyed a great many conversations and fun parlour games as a result.
Only Fools and Horses was much funnier than last year. Not only was the story topical but had the usual Trotter charm throughout - not to mention Gary.
Can someone please tell me the appeal of Only fools and Horses? Just exactly where was the viewer supposed to laugh? As for ITV, it was crammed with trashy, cheap junk as per usual. My guess is that in three years ITV1 will have the same audience share as digital channel Bravo, and BBC1 will go down the pan if this is the only type of drawn-out, mind-numbing programming we can expect!!
Why would anyone watch television at Christmas in the first place? I was thoroughly appalled the first Christmas I spent with my English husband's family that the television was on all day, even through Christmas dinner! The reason US television is dull on Christmas Day is one assumes people have better things to do than watch it.
Good year. I enjoyed Fools and Horses but once again EastEnders returned to depression for pulling viewers by killing a key character on Christmas Day. Strangely overshadowed by a wedding at the same time.
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