The six worst Christmas Radio Times covers

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Worried about heating your home this Christmas? Dig some of the following disgraces out of your attic, douse with a bit of brandy, then WHOOOMPH: a conflagration that’s both physically and sanctimoniously satisfying.

Alternatively, use these covers as an alternative to wrapping paper – on presents for people you dislike deeply.

6: 1949

What the..?

Let’s be charitable and say this was done for a dare. On the other hand, let’s not, and wonder how the hell this grisly confection ever made it past the proofs. As if 1940s Britain hadn’t had enough of terrifying things falling from the skies.

5: 1936

By golly

Not merely a gollywog, but a gollywog looking desperately pissed off. The tree’s fallen to pieces as well, while a box of cigars lies ready for a child to begin a lifetime’s addiction to narcotics. Merry fucking Christmas.

4: 2009

Pro - cras - ti - nate!

What could be funnier that a Dalek in a Santa hat? Quite possibly everything. But look: the RT Christmas issue has now somehow become LEGENDARY. Who could have known? We prostrate ourselves in front of your biblical self-righteousness, oh mighty tome of insufferable cant.

3: 1993

Grow some teeth, kid

An ugly kid pulls a gormless face, and we’re meant to feel festive? Come back when you’ve grown some teeth, son – not to mention some manners.

2: 2010

Legendary

Ah look, Wallace and Gromit are back. Well, yes, in the sense they were on the front of the Christmas Radio Times just 12 months earlier. But no, in the sense of them starring in a brand new adventure that’s the centrepiece of the Christmas schedules. In fact there was no new Wallace and Gromit on TV at all. This was just an idle, lousy reworking of the previous year’s cover. Thank heavens they never tried that again. Oh, wait…

1: 1974

A failure, yesterdayBritain’s unfunniest comedy creation gestures at a tube of tatty shiny paper. To pour piss into the wound, look at that long, long list of names, any one of whom would have been 100 times better as cover star. “I’m a failure!” And so say all of us.

Dishonourable mentions for…

No, us neither

1952: fright before Christmas

Oh no, it's "me"

1978: oh bollocks, it’s “me”

Plonkers

1985: plonkers needing stuffing

Get back in your box

1996: typographical trauma

Not wild about Harry

2000: not wild about Harry

Get out, Claus

2007: call Crimestoppers now

Now see the six best Christmas Radio Times covers

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17 Responses to “The six worst Christmas Radio Times covers”

  1. Applemask says:

    There have been many unfunnier comedy creations than Frank Spencer. His schtick might be “an idiot savant doing the same old slapstick over and over”, but at least it’s done well. This year’s Christmas RT is the first in years not to self-describe as “legendary” (although they did use the word in previews), thank God. I mean, it’s TRUE, I’ll give them that, but you don’t SAY IT. Not about yourself. That makes you a dick.

  2. Duncan says:

    1993 is clearly a play on the song but I cant help feeling they came up with the strapline first and then asked the artist to come up with something that matched.

  3. Adrian says:

    In fairness to the 1949 cover, the country was in the grip of a financial crisis at the time (just like now then), and paper and probably ink was still rationed so they were lucky to get a Xmas RT out at all.

  4. neu75 says:

    Bang on about 1974, the least Christmassy Radio Times Christmas cover ever…

  5. Des E says:

    “Dishonourable mention for 1985: plonkers needing stuffing.”

    But as Applemask says in his Christmas Wrapping ’11 video, full marks for dressing Buster Merryfield up as Mr Claus, since he already looked like him.

    On the other hand, the following year’s EastEnders cover had no cleverness in it at all – just Pauline Fowler and co sitting in front of a tree.

    The pig’s arse cover from 1976 should get a mention, too.

  6. Alex W says:

    For my money the most un-christmassy so-called christmas cover has to be 1930. An illustration by Paul Nash of…wait for it! An electric meter at a sub-station and a pylon… WTF?

  7. Rae says:

    I beg to differ. The Christmas edition is indeed Legendary. Like mulled wine, tangled fairy lights and horrid green over-cooked vegetables, it wouldn’t quire be Christmas without it.

  8. Glenn A says:

    Rather than burning a 1949 RT, even though the cover looks like a bad nightmare, surely taking it along to the Antiques Roadshow and making a few hundred pounds( this must be very rare now) would be a better idea.

  9. Nicky H says:

    I’m a bit confused by the Wallace and Gromit thing. The comment under the 2010 cover is,

    “Ah look, Wallace and Gromit are back. Well, yes, in the sense they were on the front of the Christmas Radio Times just 12 months earlier”

    The 2009 cover is a couple of entries up – I’m looking quite hard, but I can’t see them anywhere. Unless they’ve just been exterminated by that Dalek…

  10. Des E says:

    Rae – that still doesn’t mean the Christmas edition *has* to describe itself as “legendary”. As Applemask said last year: “I mean, it’s TRUE, I’ll give them that, but you don’t SAY IT. Not about yourself. That makes you a dick.”

    Nicky H – I think TVC meant *24* months earlier, rather than 12. ;)

  11. Glenn A says:

    Don’t agree with the 1985 edition being bad, Only Fools and Horses was becoming a massive hit by then and the BBC could have created more of a controversy by putting Alf Garnett on the front cover, as this was just as big a success in 1985. However, two of the worst covers are from the nineties, no surprises, the BBC under John Birt was mostly awful anyway.

  12. Liam says:

    The “L” word is back this year…

    Other than that, I quite like the cover – Kerr can do no wrong in my eyes cos I loved the Mog books when I was little.

  13. Glenn A says:

    Why the Frank Spencer hate on TV Cream, his shows were like a modern day Harold Lloyd and he did all his own stunts? Also since he was pulling in 19 million viewers in 1974, the BBC were right to have him on the front cover. I’d much rather watch Some Mothers repeats than some of the alternative, right on trash that appeared in the nineties.

  14. FishyFish says:

    I hate the ‘Legendary’ tag. It’s not the lost city of Atlantis, King Arthur, or Jason and the Argonauts (I refer here to the original myth, and not the Harryhausen movie, which will have to make do with being merely Fucking Brilliant) ferchrissakes!

    I’d be perfectly happy wth them sticking ‘Traditional’, ‘Highly Anticipated’, ‘Much Loved’ or something on there, but ‘Legendary’ reeks of a bunch of self-congratulatory marketing ‘creatives’ having their hands all over it.

  15. Des E says:

    Glenn A: “Two of the worst covers are from the nineties, no surprises, the BBC under John Birt was mostly awful anyway.”

    The 1997 cover was excellent, though. And I’ve no complaints at all with the redrawn 1924 cover for 1994.

  16. borgduck says:

    Strap yourselves. There’s a Some Mothers repeat in less than half an hour!

  17. Richard16378 says:

    While I have a higher opinion of Some Mothers Do Ave Em than TVC I admit that picture of Frank Spencer isn’t that great.

    There’s a version retouched so Frank is holding a video tape.

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