TIM FANNING MY VIEW
Why watching the TV is the best way to get worried about your Christmas…
If you were in any doubt that your Christmas was going to be anything less than perfect, then think again. Neven, Rachel and Kevin, Paul and Mary, even Nigella, are going to whip you into shape. After all, whatever else is wrong in the world, however many typhoons, famines and wars continue to afflict the poor planet, Christmas must be perfect. Do you understand? PERFECT.
Lest there be any confusion, that doesn’t just mean the turkey is glazed and basted to within an inch of its long-dead life and your pudding looks like it could appear on the latest Tesco ad, it means making sure that when you cook your dinner, you are stress-free, all right? STRESS-FREE.
The proliferation of Christmas specials that clog up the schedules is probably a response to the fact that we no longer leaf through the television listings checking off the times and dates of Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory and The Great Escape. Multi- channel TV, cheap DVDs and the internet have killed that particular piece of Christmas magic. Instead, we have celebrity chefs cooking great hunks of meat in the kind of festive jumpers worn by those loud drunken strangers ruining the atmosphere in your local pub.
Back in the old days, I imagine, we used to put our faith in Maura Laverty. Now, if there isn’t a twist on the traditional way of doing things, it won’t pass muster. The irony is that these shows pretend that they’re going to make the task of cooking your Christmas dinner easier. Quite how they improve on following the instructions in the tried and tested cookbook your mother handed down to you is unclear.
At least, there is some good news for all those heads of households dreading the day when they’ll have to fire up the oven and produce a piece of culinary perfection: they can console themselves with the thought that even domestic goddesses such as Nigella Lawson occasionally feel the stress. Instead of feeling inadequate about your dinner-party disasters, remember that there’s more to Christmas than festive food. There are tips on TV about creating the perfect home, perfect gifts, and most importantly, the perfect drinks… This is it. After last night’s spectacular show from the Wembley Arena in London, the winner of the singing contest will be announced. While it has lost a bit of pizzazz in recent years, the 2013 edition has recouped some of the magic, thanks in no small part to the return of Sharon Osbourne (centre with Nicole Scherzinger, Gary Barlow and Louis Walsh) as one of the judges. And tonight’s starry line-up of guests – Elton John, Katy Perry and One Direction – proves that there’s plenty of life in the old dog yet. But which of the remaining acts will walk away with a recording contract and a possible Christmas number one? Tune in to find out. Honorary Irishman Dermot O’Leary will be hosting proceedings with his usual aplomb.