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!


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.

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