The worst thing about Christmas is the telly!
THERE is no pleasant way of putting this so I’ll just have to give it to you straight - the worst thing about Christmas is The Telly! Each year I wait in hope that somebody, somewhere is going to pull something unseen and brilliant out of the hat but it never happens. And each year we are reduced to watching reruns of The Wizard of Oz, the Sound of Music and ET.
To be fair this year TV3 did show one of the greatest movies of all time - The Shawshank Redemption which despite its age, (first released in 1994) is still a brilliant film. Argo also appeared on RTE’s schedule on Christmas Day, another superb film as was the Big Lebowski starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman which TG4 showed on Christmas Day.
But that was about it. After that the two main highlights of the Christmas TV calendar were Mrs Brown’s Boys and the Downton
Christmas Special, neither of which set me alight. Although Mr Carson’s unexpected proposal to housekeeper Mrs Hughes made my day! The blossoming relationship between them was so heartwarming to watch that it brought tears to my eyes and made me feel full of Christmas spirit, the first that wasn’t alcoholic!
And there were lots of touching moments, such as Lord Grantham getting chest pains and fearing that he was going to kick the bucket, making peace and telling Edith he had forgiven her for having an illegitimate child and that he still loved her. Pompous old fool!
Poor Anna of course spent the festive season behind bars but she did get a visit from Lady Mary and her Beloved Bates who told her that he had absolutely no doubts about her innocence regarding Greene’s death. In fact he decides to confess himself to the crime in a bid to free his beloved.
Meanwhile the Grantham’s go to stay with Lady Rose’s in- laws, The Sinderbys for some “lickety spit” grouse shooting. And that’s where the shocking revelations begin - we discover Lord Sinderby has a bit on the side AND a secret love child, there is more about the Dowager’s racy past and planned elopement with Prince Curagin and the surprises conclude with Carson’s proposal.
There was some brilliant one liners. When asked how was Venice, Lady Rose replied, “Amazing. There was water all over the streets!”
The observation by the Dowager Countess that “the presence of strangers is our only guarantee of good behaviour!” followed closely by “If you’re going to be miserable you may as well be miserable in comfortable surroundings!” I couldn’t agree more Lady Grantham! But although the sentiments were sweet and it was all very charming, I couldn’t help feeling a little bit cheated that there was no Christmas clangers to leave us gasping at the end. A nice bit of scandal and impropriety would have been a lovely way to end it. There was plenty of impropriety however on Mrs Browns
Boys which aired on Christmas night on BBC and received the top ratings of the day, drawing 7.61 million viewers and making it the most watched show on Christmas Day. Hugely impressive stuff for Brendan O’Carroll and his team who also ruled the Irish box office this year with the movie, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie.
I like Brendan O’Carroll as a person but I just don’t find Mrs Brown’s Boys funny. You know what the catch line is going to be before he even says it and the liberal use of bad language just for the sake of it, doesn’t make me laugh!
Thankfully I was sufficiently full of wine and brandyh at that stage, to pretend to find it funny because everyone else in my company thought it was hysterical. This year’s storyline involved Mrs Brown confusing the word Botox with a part of the male anatomy and believes her gay son was having a sex change.
There was the usual abundance of innuendo, a scene with her mistaking a vibrator for a whisk and catching a priest with cream all over his mouth, and of course there was the talking Christmas tree. The jokes are terrible, the cast members fluff their lines and start laughing and O’Carroll is totally over the top in his role as Mrs Brown. The whole thing is like a bad Panto.
But I seem to be in the minority. Everyone else thinks it’s the funniest show ever so I must bow to their superior knowledge and have to consider I may have lost my sense of humour somewhere along the line.
Just don’t make me watch it next year!
ONES TO WATCH
Callan Kicks The Year, Tuesday December 30, 9 .30 pm, RTE1
I like Oliver Callan. I think he is genuinely funny and you can always count on him to have a more offbeat look back at the year. This is his second Christmas outing and this time Dobbo is at the helm of his acerbic and funny look at Ireland in 2014. The show features clips of the top political, sporting and celebrity TV
moments of the year. Callan’s best loved characters are on hand to tell Enda Kenny’s year of scandal and controversies from cronyism and Irish water. He also takes a look at The Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon, celebrity weddings, Bono’s year, and Love/Hate are just some of the things he satirises in this festive romp.
What’s Another Year? The Life and Times of Shay Healy, New Year’s Eve, 7.25 pm, RTE 1
This is a fascinating documentary on the career of one of Ireland’s best loved characters, Shay Healy. Over a career that’s spanned five decades, songwriter, broadcaster, journalist, author, documentary maker, director and general raconteur Shay Healy has added greatly to the gaiety of the nation. In this one hour special, Shay along with friends, colleagues and family members, looks back on a long distinguished and occasionally turbulent life and times.
Pat Kenny: Out with the Old: In with the U, New Year’s Day, UTV Ireland, 8.30 pm
UTV Ireland launches the new year with a brand new station and Pat Kenny makes his long awaited (for some!) return to television on this, their launch day in an hour long documentary where Pat looks forward to the year ahead, charting the issues and events that will shape 2015.
One of the highlights of the Christmas TV calender was the Downton Abbey Special where Mr Carson’s unexpected proposal to housekeeper Mrs Hughes which made my day! One to Watch is Callan Kicks on Tuesday December 30 at 9.30 p.m.