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Looking back, over my shoulder

January 2, 2008

One of the downers of not writing a thing on the old blog over the festive season is that, when you do come to typing up a little ditty, there’s a mountain of things to mention. And so I won’t. It’s another highlights and lowlights for me. Forgive my laziness, but I’ve just been nursing Mr Badger back to health after a nasty bout of pneumonia. So there. Ha. That shut you up, yer bastards, so lay off!

Right then. Highlights of the festive season off the top of my head and in no particular order:

balletshoes3.jpgBallet Shoes

Yes, I know I’m officially an old woman/annoyingly snotty nosed girl for liking this, but I *did* read the books as a kid and thought this was adorable. Also wanted to watch it to see if Emma Watson’s acting technique outside of Hogwarts goes beyond wiggling her eyebrows to denote emotion. It doesn’t. Keep an eye out for
Lucy Boynton, who played Posy (and who’s also in the new Beeb adaptation of Sense and Sensibility). She looks like she could be a right brat (and she probably is), but she’s cute, a good little actress and has a fabulously husky voice!

The Royal Ballet’s Tales of Beatrix Potter
Again, this must mean I’m turning into an old fart™ but I have my reasons. When I were a lass, we’d spend most holidays with my grandparents in Brighton. They only ever had three videos we were allowed to watch: the animated version of Wind in the Willows, the Spike Milligan version of Alice in Wonderland and the 1971 version of Tales of Beatrix Potter, performed by the Royal Ballet. Oh, and they were on Betamax. Yup. *grabs moisturiser* Every half term, summer holiday, Christmas and Easter, my brother and I would sit on the sofa in my grandpa’s study glued to one of those. And if I got my way (and I usually did being the youngest and a girl) we watched the ballet.

So, this had real sentimental value to me, and I don’t kind admitting (even though I’m well ard OK?) that my watched it with soggy face and snotty nose. The music brought back many a long-lost memory and reminded me of my dear Grandpa and his funny humming.

Ahem. *sniff* Right, back to it then.

Extras was OK I suppose. Not as funny as usual but a fitting end I think. Liked how Gervais brought his Milman right down to the bottom and then redeemed him a la Brent. But it wasn’t nearly as good as…

Lead Balloon

Kicking myself for not getting into this sooner. Cracking episode centring around Dee’s character promising to get the autograph of a classic actress only for her to die on him. Wondrous cringing.

Most of it was white, but the actual unveiling was superb. I did expect more of a kick off, but I suppose subtlety is better. Liking the War of the Roses/Kramer vs Kramer thing they’re creating. Glad Tanya is staying. Oooh, also, shed a tear for Kevin and hi bad acting RIP. Thought the actress playing Denise did a superb job last night. Superb.

What was not so great about Xmas telly?
Mostly the fact that on a normal Xmas telly season, you’re out a lot more, so you do tend to miss the dross. Having to stay in more or less all day every day over the festive season meant a lot of pent up frustration at how crap the schedules were. And even things that should have been craking telly, was not up to scratch.

dr_who_christmas_07.jpgDr Who
Cant be arsed to go into it all, so here’s more or less what I wrote on my mate’s Facebook wall almost straight after:
“The episode had its charms. Kylie was cute and wasn’t as annoying as I thought she’d be, the nasty angels were… nasty (but apparently these were a rip off of an old Who ep, so…).

But there were far too many “I am the Doctor” speeches, the queen thing was utterly embarrassing and reminded me of the Naked Gun films. In a bad way. Oh and the corny Astrid ending – “She’s just atoms now” er… I know I’ve only got a GCSE in science, but aren’t we all just atoms?) That silly Flartybartfast-named, Hitchhiker’s Guide-ripped-off character, gah! What a let down.

The only cool thing was that he landed in Cardiff at the end and not fecking London. Oh, and then if that wasn’t bad enough we get an advert for arsing Torchwood straight after. *rolls eyes*

Oh, and Tennant in a Tux is so very good. Would rather have had that for the duration than what RTD managed to hack up.

George Michael
Cropping up on both Catherine Tate and Extras? Need to pay the rent do we?

Speaking of Catherine Tate, I am not a fan but was forced to watch that sketch where they all end up weeing themselves over Lambrini (the one where someone hilariously leaves their hair dryer at someone’s house?) So. This is meant to be observational comedy right? I don’t get it. These people actually exist. I’ve seen them. So what’s so creative? What point was she trying to make? They’re not funny in real life, so why create a sketch out of them?

Cookery Shows
These doubled over the festive season. I know how to do a roast dinner, thanks Jamie, Nigella, Bloomenthal…

Sales Ads
More or less as soon as the queen had done her speech they started. You know they say that if a note is repeated enough times at the same monotonous rhythm you can’t hear it? Well I can’t even hear those ads any more.

Is it too much to ask for some quality films on non-digital channels over the festive season? Yes, I know the digitalus ones get first crack, but there are still good older films that aren’t geared towards making us feel so sickly sweet we’re retching/reaching for the bumper pack of paracetamol. I lost count of the number of times the Radio Times described a film as “saccharine” or “festive family fun” or “heartfelt.” Argh! Just because it’s Crapmuss, doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly gone off thrillers and horrors and sci fi (oh my!). To be fair, we did have the wondrous Hitchhiker’s Guide, which was fab – more of that basically please.

More Hetty Wainthrop Investigates? Really? Wasn’t it bad enough the first time around? It’s only mildly interesting to watch now because it’s funny seeing how Charlie Off Lost started out (as a rather awkward gimp with massive ears – think Gollum in a fleece). I have absolutely no interest in the Green Green Grass (yes, technically not a repeat, but a spin-off and therefore, kind of a repeat), or Dibley (fecking Dibley). Thanks feck they didn’t repeat THAT Only Fools and Horses Xmas special. The only good thing about these BBC-cut-back repeats has been the at-long-long-last repeats of Red Dwarf. Thank you Beeb!

Except they’re on in the wee small hours. Why? WHY? As Comedy Connections (yet another repeat) – shown just before the season one re-run over xmas – said, RD was pulling in millions of viewers each week – it wasn’t just a cult audience. So why stick it in a ‘cult’ slot? It’d be much better to shove it on just after the news to watch before bed. But nooooo, anyone with a job must either stay up til 1.15am or video it. Hurumph.


Everything about NYE scheduling was crap. From that gurning Klass woman (who should have been at home minding her new-born if you ask me) to The Sexy Gethin Jones™ squawking over the London fireworks, this was just embarrassing. I’m mildly fuming that my license fee paid to get this made. Far better to stick on a massive clock on the screen with occasional 70s-style acid-trip graphics for an hour or so. And don’t get me started on those fireworks. Yes, they were brilliant. For the first three minutes or so. After that you couldn’t really see much else because of all the smoke. And yes, the rainbow bit was lovely and extra special. But really – £1.5 million literally being set on fire and blown to shreds? Call me a bumpkin, but that is London attitude for you (and apologies to any Smoke-dwellers who feel the same as I). £5 for a pint of warm beer? Sure! I’m a Londoner! Council tax bills that could feed a small European country for a month? No problem. I live in Europe’s finest city. I travel everywhere by cab or underground because I’m far too important to either walk for ten minutes or take a bus. Makes me sick.

We were flicking between Klass and Jools over on BBC2 for most of the evening. Jools was cool. It was fun watching the celebs getting more and more drunk and more and more outrageous in their pieces to camera. But was there really any need for as many Kylie performances as possible? I lost count after she sang I Should Be So Lucky but in a smoky, cabaret/club stylee. Ick! They certainly got their money’s worth with her…

The whole night’s viewing was a let down. Yes, I know most people are either knee-deep in vomit or on their knees behind a club at that stage of the night, but there are some (and I’m willing to bet that it’s actually quite a few) who stay in, and watch telly. And TV should cater to those. I’m talking quality programming. The Big Fat Quiz of the Year was on the other night. Why not stick that on for NYE? Would have been great viewing. Much better than yet another Graham Norton innuendo-fest with C-list celebs (and Chico) followed by a boring old fart film and then Klass. Yes, Harry Hill’s TV Burp was on, but that was all that interested me that night (AND it was a repeat).

If the Xmas/NYE schedule is a showcase for what’s coming in 2008, then I await with trepidation (and a slight taste of bile in my mouth). Here’s hoping the writer’s strike in the US sorts itself out, and fast – I very much doubt there’ll be much quality coming out of the UK this year…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2008 5:53 pm

    I watched, and enjoyed Ballet Shoes too, even though I didn’t know the story – unlike the current Mrs Ambassador. Mind you, I’m a sucker for Emilia Fox.

  2. Rhian permalink
    January 2, 2008 6:18 pm

    You thought the Hitchhiker film was fab??!!

  3. January 3, 2008 10:33 am

    Yes I did! I think it was a nice intro to the book (as opposed to an adaptation of the book) and I think Adams wouldn’t be turning in his grave. I’ve not read the book, so obviously I didn’t hate certain bits that hard-core fan-boys would have hated. Saying that, one of my best mates is a HUGE Adams fan and he quite liked it too.

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