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Christmas Creamguide 2021: Week Two

Here is the news – it’s Christmas!

Hullo there!
And welcome back to the second part of the Christmas Creamguide. No Doctor Who in it this year, of course, the way the days falling mean we’ll have to wait until the next Creamguide for New Year’s Day, but there’s much else as we take you through to 2022 in fine style. And look, it’s…

CHRISTMAS DAY

BBC2

11.10 Casablanca
12.50 Meet Me in St Louis
Well, here’s a helluva thing! In a radical departure from the plan of recent years in throwing out – and up – the sequel to a middling animated film that is the equivalent of those DVDs of generic versions of hits which reside in bins by the doors of independent department stores or those racks in Poundland nobody ever buys anything from (Ratatoing, A Dug’s Life, Sup!, Winderella &c) instead we get films that are – gasp! – more than a decade old and even in the first instance – yikes! – black and white! We’ve long campaigned (and by ëcampaigned’ we of course mean ëhuffed annoyingly once a year’) for schedulers to abandon attempts to be hep to the jive by booking in modern films for da kidz that produce only eye-rolling instead of interest and instead programme for the audience who might actually be watching. We suspect this might well be because these two seminal titles already exist on the surprisingly good Films category on the iPlayer and therefore probably isn’t costing much more money but whatever the reason, it’s genuinely thrilling to see such great films on proper telly on Christmas Day. Perhaps the odd nipper will pick their Bogie or singalongaJudy with their grandparents as they settle in for the post-presents/pre-dinner period and close some of that generation gap we keep hearing about in Open University lectures from 40 years ago. Chase that youth demographic, you say? How about just putting good stuff on and letting the yoots decide for themselves whether they like it or not?

16.10 Quentin Blake: The Drawing of My Life
Blake was certainly no slouch as a writer as well as an artist, and indeed many people of a certain age will remember him doing both, to great distinction, on Jackanory. But it’s as an artist he’ll be best remembered and his distinctive scribbly style was a huge influence and probably changed the way kids’ books were illustrated forever. Still going strong at 89, here’s his story, in his own words – and pictures.

19.00 The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show
19.45 The Morecambe and Wise Show: The Lost Tape
The former is from 1971, second only to 1977 as the all-time classic with Previn, Bassey and the first example of how the pair helped emphasise TV Centre as a real fun factory with all kinds of unlikely faces popping in. Then it’s a bit of excitement with a recently rediscovered show, as found in Gary Morecambe’s attic. You’ll recall two Eric and Ern episodes being unearthed a few years ago, although they were from the era when Sid and Dick were writing for them and were more interesting for their rarity rather than being any great shakes comedically, especially fifty years on (“We’ll do the IRA sketch now!”). But don’t worry, because this one’s from 1970 with Eddie Braben on board and rather more in the way of the familiar fare. You’ll have seen bits of it in black and white on an ITV documentary earlier this year (and earlier this week) but it’s now been restored so we can see the whole thing in colour.

ITV

15.10 Santa Claus: The Movie
Promoted from its regular slot of recent many many years from Christmas Eve afternoons, this is the independent television equivalent of our see-above scheduling rant, except this is crap. So crap, as we always like to say, that we saw it in the pictures. Twice. It’s not quite how we’d like Dudley Moore to be remembered but at least on that front no-one is showing Best Defense (unless it’s closeted away in one of those tiny print columns set aside in the RT for obscure digital channels, like Methodist TV or Pensioners Up and At ëEm! Or something). Once HMQ finishes her yearly turn and kicks off her patent Deichmanns to relax with a carton of Um Bongo and a Twix, this festive Salkindfest can provide the background rumble to lunchtime dinner in a way that won’t cause any rows with children who might otherwise insist they stay in front of the telly but which will also be safely finished when everyone turns their attentions to proper things to watch. We’re pretty certain this tenuous line of reasoning formulated the Power Point presentation put together to convince wary ITV executives who might’ve seen the proposed schedule and inevitably remarked, “But it’s crap.”

CHANNEL 5

15.10 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Or watch the film forever known in Fife as Chutty Chutty Bong Bong. At the risk of tempting fate with the Curse of Creamguide(Films) it’s to be remarked upon that Dick Van Dyke is Still Alive! Having already survived a horrendous car crash from which he emerged unscathed like a hoppin’ and skippin’ T-100 and later being stranded at sea only to be escorted back to land by dolphins who sang him a medley from movie musicals (probably), the original DVD remains one of the last things to make this mucky ball of landfills stuffed with old plastic bags, VHS copies of John Carpenter’s Vampires and rotting cartridges of E.T. the Atari game, worth clinging to. Indeed, if your jollity palls at any point today and the awful realisation that, compared to 2021, 2020 was a laugh riot and things feel like they are closing in, get on the YouTubes and find the clip of Dick leading a singalong of this eponymous theme in a California Denny’s full of smiling folk and breathe again. Stay with us forever, Mr VD.

BBC Radio 2

10.00 Junior Choice
14.00 Richie Anderson’s Festive Boys Bands v Girl Bands
17.00 Gary Davies with 70 Christmas Number Ones
19.00 Human League: Don’t You Want Me at 40
The usual array of festive fun on the Light, some of which you may find more edifying than others. Heaven knows why Junior Choice is still being wheeled out every year, especially now Stewpot is no longer with us, but Anneka Rice is taking charge again. There’s some suitably sparkly pop to accompany lunch, and then it’s Gaz marking the seventieth Christmas number one. He’ll have to get a move on to play all seventy, though it should illustrate that the Christmas number one as we know it wasn’t really invented until 1973 with Slade and Wizzard, and before that anything went at the top of the charts, regardless of how festive it was, with the likes of I Hear You Knocking. Then Gaz is back again almost immediately with a celebration of our favourite of them all.

BOXING DAY

BBC2

12.40 Singin’ In the Rain
14.20 Some Like it Hot
At time of writing it’s still possible to say that these are the ideal accompaniment to an afternoon of turkey toasties in a house quietened by everyone else being out fighting their way through the Boxing Day sales. But thanks to the Decepticon variant, none of this might be the case on the day itself. Whatever happens, just pull the blinds and belt out the hits in the first and tango alone with a flower in your mouth to the latter. Are great old films on proper telly now to be a part of the ënew normal’ forever? Well, every cloud. Although if everything is locked down it’s all round to Boris’s for a few rounds of Twister and a prawn crown [SATIRE]*
*this billing brought to you by Too Soon Productions. Wardrobe by Botany 500.

17.20 The Two Ronnies
18.10 The Perfect Morecambe and Wise
Sadly we’re not getting a repeat again this year of Christmas Night With The Stars 1972 with the Rons in fine form (“27 Stuffing Road, Turkey”), but instead it’s another outing for Christmas 1987, their very last of course, with a suitably budget-busting filmed item to go out with. Then it’s not the compilation made for 1991’s Perfect Christmas day which regularly gets an outing even though it’s way older than all the clips were when they made it, but a show with a similar name and concept that was made in 2013, with all the other famous bits you didn’t see yesterday, and some you did.

ITV

21.30 Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure
As we’ve said before, Billy Connolly has been a major figure in TV comedy without ever really starring in a fully-fledged scripted comedy show. Apart from his brief spell in the US on Head of the Class and his own sitcom, his other exposure has all been with appearances on chat shows, recordings of his stage act and documentaries. And that’s the case here, a follow-up to last year’s show where he potters around in Florida, talks about his life and introduces archive stand-up sets, though some of them here have never been shown on TV before.

CHANNEL 4

16.00 Crocodile Dundee
As memory serves, this antipodean reptile-out-of-water fable was the Big Film on Christmas Night BBC One back in 1989. We’d like to confirm this but as yet no one will buy our waiting-in-the-wings-for-over-a-decade magnificent octopus, HOLIDAY FILMS ON THE TELLY: A DEFINITIVE GUIDE. In a question that perhaps answers itself, why wouldn’t you want to know what the big Christmas films were in 1978? (The Sound of Music and a TV movie sequel to True Grit on the BBC; Battle for the Planet of the Apes and Diamonds Are Forever on ITV – you win this round, ITV!) Or indeed the year Dragonslayer was on twice in one Christmas Week thanks to regional variations? Maybe we’ll just make a Fringe show out of it, now we know Cammy won’t be around to heckle it*
*this billing brought to you by Too Soon Productions. Rostrum Camera, Ken Morse.

20.00 All I Want(ed) For Christmas
Here’s a pleasing slab of easy, uncritical nostalgia to accompany the last of the leftovers. The concept is that a host of celebs, including Charlie Higson, Robert Webb and Grace Dent, reminisce about the Christmas present they always wanted but never got, before they get to finally unwrap it and have a go at it as a grown-up. Should be good fun, we think, with a load of evocative Christmas adverts to back it up.

Talking Pictures TV

16.00 The Footage Detectives
17.00 The Eartha Kitt Show
Merry Christmas to Mike and Noel, and as it’s the season to bring people together, they’ve got a special guest in the shape of Jonathan Kydd, a familiar face and an even more familiar voice on our screens, but here today mostly to discuss his famous father Sam. Then it’s some suitably sparkly entertainment for the festive season with Eartha growling her way through a selection of songs in 1965.

BBC Radio 2

21.00 Pet Shop Boys, Takeover
Happy memories here of Neil and Chris standing in for Simon Bates on Radio 1 in the early nineties, as while the likes of Diana Ross and Jason Donovan phoned in a few links, they were live in the studio playing loads of dance tracks plus Sid Vicious’ version of My Way with the swearing left in at nine o’clock in the morning. It’s always worth hearing from them so here’s three hours of the pair being hugely entertaining in between disco, synthpop and northern soul.

BBC Radio Wales

13.00 My Radio 1 Roadshow… in Wales
Well, here’s a suitably seasonal show! Should be an entertaining listen, though, as Shaun Tilley has brought together an array of jocks to reminisce about the Radio 1 Roadshow in general, and its jaunts to Wales in particular as it traversed through Tenby, Porthcawl, Barry Island, Colwyn Bay and the rest every summer. For many jocks they made their debut on the Roadshow on this leg, with Simon Mayo, Paul Burnett and that life and soul of the party Andy Peebles all talking about that, while also taking part are Gary Davies, Mike Read, Janice Long, Rosko and Dangerous Dave Pearce, plus Smiley Miley of course.

MONDAY 27th DECEMBER

BBC2

13.55 Calamity Jane
Doris Day takes the lead as the all-singing all-dancing all-trouser-wearing-apart-from-when-she-has-to-show-her-‘feminine-side’ rootin’ tootin’ sharp-shootin’ whip-cracking away whip cracking away whip cracking awayyyyyyyy Wild West gal with Howard Keel as a Wild Bill Hickock gearing up for a showdown with Wes Parmalee, terrorising frontier towns with endless musical numbers requiring them to all do that dance where they clip their heels together completely out of time with the music, and a billion adults to sing The Deadwood Stage at bewildered children with an expression conveying incredulous expectation that they should somehow automatically know all the words by default. The textbook example of a movie you’d only get to see the first three minutes of because your family were ‘having people round’, and it would somehow still be on after they’d left. And no, Wagon Wheels haven’t got smaller, you’ve just got greedier. Now run along and play with your Whipper Snappers.

23.30 Highlander
When the video for A Kind Of Magic got its premiere on Good Morning Britain at slight sinus headache o’clock in the morning, it’s doubtful that most of the youngsters glugging down Cherry Coke on its extremely brief attempted UK rollout and wondering if they were going to play the Max Headroom song had any idea that it was from a film soundtrack. Even then it’s equally doubtful that any of them would have expected said film to enjoy any more cultural permanence than Electric Dreams, Absolute Beginners or The Boys In Blue, but it got a foothold courtesy of those blokes in school who were always up for a bit of that Robin Of Sherwood slash A Spaceman Came Travelling slash Krull eighties sword and sorcery malarkey and were always going on about how they were really into this band you won’t have heard of called Runrig, and slowly became a phenomenon courtesy of home video to the extent that there’s probably still a spinoff called something like Highlander: Curtains Cull going on somewhere now. It could so easily have been Razorback. All of which might well lead you to suspect that the bloke who directed Derek And Clive Get The Horn’s tribute to the Electric Blue theme might be a bit on the iffy side, but it’s actually really good. There SHOULD have been only one, though.

CHANNEL 4

18.00 “Crocodile” Dundee 2
‘Greedy’ Smith recounts a story about getting some KFC stuck in his harmonica to Smash Hits while Paul Hogan and company reunite for a somewhat more crime capery second outing, apparently fashioned after Miami Vice by someone who had never actually seen Miami Vice, with some good moments and some like those cars all deciding to follow each other in pursuit of a party they’ve just decided each other must be going to for no good or apparent reason that make absolutely no sodding sense whatsoever, but as big blockbusting eighties sequels nobody asked for apart from the ‘money men’ went, this was an above average effort and has worn better than most. Probably best not to use “hey yeah you with the sad face, come up to my place, and live it up” as your Bumble bio though.

BBC4

21.05 Sondheim at the BBC
22.05 Omnibus: Sunday in the Park with Stephen
22.55 Face to Face: Stephen Sondheim
A huge figure in musical theatre died the other week, marked by a rather bizarre Guardian obituary which compared him unfavourably to Andrew Lloyd Webber as he didn’t put enough bums on seats, which seemed a strange approach to take. This should be more of a celebration, starting with a new compilation of his most famous songs, as performed by the likes of Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis Jr. Then it’s an Omnibus from 1990 which follows the making of Sunday In The Park With George from score to stage, followed by an interrogation from Jeremy Isaacs in 1995.

TUESDAY 28th DECEMBER

BBC1

19.15 Worzel Gummidge
Between them Mark Gatiss and Mackenzie Crook seem to be single-handledly attempting to reinvent the family viewing they grew up with for a new generation, and they’re doing a great job of it too, Crook’s Worzel adaptations now seemingly just as cherished as those of the seventies and eighties, and well-established now as a seasonal staple. Two more this Christmas, today and tomorrow, with another superb supporting cast of familiar faces as well.

CHANNEL 4

23.15 Misery
Once the schedules in the week after Christmas were absolutely chock full of films in which Michael Bentine and Bernard Cribbins are trying to turn their back on a life of crime but then they hear about ‘the job to end all jobs’ from a former cellmate who’s just come out of Wormwood Scrubs and get the boys back together for one last caper that you only saw once and could never find out the name of again, but now you’re lucky if they put on any films at all, which is why we’re resorting to billing this psychological shocker from Stephen ‘Gurney Slade’ King about a writer called Mr Snrub who comes from some place far away and finds himself held captive by an obsessive fan with a neat line in joint-breakage, based on the original novel as ostentatiously touted by that girl in school who always seemed really normal and came from a boring family but would cheerfully and casually reveal that she had seen Front 242 live and wore some kind of leather bracelet with a cabalistic symbol carved into it. Presumably not named after that song The Beatles covered, but Stephen King has written so many novels that for all anyone knows there actually could be sequels called Baby It’s You, Matchbox and Hm Hmm Hiiimmmmm.

CHANNEL 5

17.10 Planes, Trains And Automobiles
Technically this should probably be classed as a Thanksgiving movie rather than a Christmas one, but most people accept it as seasonal canon, and in any case, given that a poll has literally only just found that fifty two percent of people – not in in any way echoing any other massed outbreak of being entirely and totally wrong on every single level imaginable – vigorously rebut the suggestion that Die Hard is a Christmas Movie, doubtless in the same breath as insisting that Keeping The Dream Alive by ‘Farenheit’ is both a Christmas single and sounds ‘exactly like’ The Beatles. No Ferrero Pocket Coffee for you lot. Anyway, here’s Steve Martin and John Candy re-enacting an edition of Ultra Quiz crossed with those Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman things as they try to get home to their families in time for turkey, but where’s the movie of Bhangra Beat? They made one of the singers go upside down once. And the background changed colour. Twice.

BBC4

20.00 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures
We do remember last year some people on forums putting together their fantasy Christmas Day schedules and including the daily Covid briefing in them. With Professor Chris Whitty and special guest Tom Allen. But the joke’s on us because here’s some festive entertainment with Jonathan Van-Tam! Actually JVT, as we’re seemingly all allowed to call him, is just the kind of friendly boffin who seems suitable for this format, what with his spectacular way with a metaphor, and over the next three nights he’ll be explaining what’s gone on over the past two years or so in suitably engaging and accessible style.

21.00 West Side Story
“Pneaow! Pneaow!” – “Wacko! Jacko!”. Still dazzling whistle-heralded song and dance extravaganza with a cast of glamorous young hopefuls hoofing it up to those interstitial bits from Record Breakers (we *think*), doubtless wheeled out here to tie in with Stephen Spielberg’s new films that are for your eyes fro-om Hollywood remake with a WAP-enabled hoverboard or something, which has been being trailered almost as long as the Morbius film but is now on general release so we’re about to be deluged with columnists explaining why the original is rubbish, not good like you thought. It won’t have enough Living Vampires in it either. So rather than getting into a nonsense barney with that bloke who wrote that ridiculous article about how you don’t actually like Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory when you think about it, here’s a couple of shout outs for a handful of films that slipped out under the radar when cinemas had sort of reopened but they hadn’t really and needed something to put on while Ian Disney was trying to work out how he could make more money for himself at the same time as legally countermanding Scarlett Johansson’s Jelly Tots stash. Dream Horse – the true life story of a consortium who bought a limping nag and trained it up to win the KP Frisps Championship Derby Dash Jamboree or something – and Sally Phillips-equipped fiftysomething women reliving their gap year road movie comedy Off The Rails are both a good deal more enjoyable than the sniffy ‘s’pose it’s alright if you insist on watching something that isn’t the Netflix thing I’m telling you all to watch’ reviews might suggest, The Broken Hearts Gallery is a sparky sarcastic take on modern dating and modern art, and The Last Letter From Your Lover is basically that The Guernsey Potato Pie Rodent And Boggit Extermination Eeny Meeny Mack Racka Rare Are Dominacka Shickeypoppa Dickywhoppa Om Pom Stick thing with slightly posher flashbacks. We do not speak of The New Mutants.

WEDNESDAY 29th DECEMBER

BBC2

08.40 Bringing Up Baby
Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn find that due to a Hennimore-esque If Your Mansion House Needs Haunting-worthy administrative error they are obliged to have to remind a leopard that nobody likes a same-phrase like some sort of more carnivorous take on Along Came Polly. One of those films that – like that Elvis one where he decides he’s had it up to here with ‘dames’ and runs away to sea to sing Silly Old Uncle Feedle or something – due to scheduling familiarity screams ‘Christmas’ despite not having anything remotely Christmassy about it. Unless there’s some part of the Nativity we aren’t aware of where someone knocks over a dinosaur in a museum.

CHANNEL 4

01.45 The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen
We’ll have no trouble here! Allan Quatermain, Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll, Dorian Gray and company join forces to shout hello daaaaaaaave at some kind of steampunk terrorism threat that doesn’t quite make sense in the hope that it’ll just go away, based on the graphic novels by Alan Moore which, given that he would probably try to distance himself from himself for not accurately reflecting his own vision was hardly exactly a surefire path to creative and commercial success. It’s no Eternals, put it that way.

CHANNEL 5

16.35 The Glenn Miller Story
As is par for the course, we’re a bit short on the sort of films that would have done Steve Berry’s Awaiting Shipping Page (With Hundreds Of Images!) proud in the good old days of frameset-within-frameset TV Cream, so we’re reduced to resorting to covering the likes of this origin story for the cat that ate Roy Jenkins’ new shoes, which to be fair is a spectacular razzle-dazzly retelling of the life and times of a man who is unfairly only really known to several generations as the bloke who did that tune that The Two Ronnies sang different words to rhyming ‘her over there’ with ‘you know where’ while dressed as women in a choir, and a photo of him in a military cap that sort of half fades out over sombre music, but way back when it always felt like the sort of thing that the swotty kids would get caught up in while you wondered why they weren’t showing The Cat From Outer Space instead. Put it this way, as jazz musicians go, they wouldn’t do The Jamiroquai Story with Terry Christian and Charley Boorman playing Lee And Herring in that bit where they made fun of him for saying “the government just take the piss” on Fist Of Fun.

20.00 Pauline Collins: Britain’s Sweetheart
When Mrs Brown’s Boys appeared on Christmas Day for the first time we pondered if it was the first time there’d been “fuck”s on Christmas Day BBC1, but seemingly the uncensored swearing in Shirley Valentine caused a bit of a stir in 1992. That’s on here tonight, preceded by this profile, with contributions by Simon Callow, Tom Conti and Nerys Hughes, who doubtless owes Collins a bit of a debt as her departure after the first series of The Liver Birds opened the door for Hughes instead.

THURSDAY 30th DECEMBER

BBC2

01.20 Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
Alert Comedy Clown Patrick Marber! The more recent Partridge outings may have been something of a mixed bag for those who were in on the ground floor of News and yearn for a stray mention of Jenkins The Killer Whale, Through The Chicaaaaaaaanne or The Real Ghostbusters Fridge Magnet – and anyone on Twitter who says ‘lol – hes gone ful partridge!’ whenever Andi Peters has a scarf on or something can sod right off – but there’s no disputing that this big screen outing more than delivers, not least because of the extra Cream Points awarded on the basis of it featuring several former members of The Mock Turtles in the cast. And you yourself can win twenty million Cream Points if you can spot why we’re also billing BBC2’s 16.50 showing of The Remains Of The Day here. Send YOUR answers to First Post, Granada Television, Manchester, M six tee nine eeeee eahr.

CHANNEL 5

11.15 My Fair Lady
Sandwiched between the more cloying Annie and the slightly less more cloying but still more cloying The King And I, here’s an all too rare outing for the riotous Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison comedy of musical manners and the cause of a million stilfed giggles over THAT bellowed line at the racecourse and pretending to cover your ears in alarm at the ‘angry’ bits in Show Me. Hopefully Audrey won’t mind us getting a plug in here for a couple of film-related recommendations too – Anna Cale’s rollicking biography The Real Diana Dors, ever-engaging movie podcasts Don’t You Want Me? and Verbal Diorama, and inevitably Get Back, which a lot of people were expecting to be an interminable niced-up version of the original Let It Be movie but is essentially just one long Ealing comedy leading up to the ridiculous events surrounding the Fab Four’s fabled rooftop concert, with plenty of footage of that sort of ‘Weird’ London you get in things like The Ipcress File and the outdoor bits in Monty Python’s Flying Circus to boot, although the real highlights were George talking about what he’d seen on ‘the BBC2’ last night.

21.00 Wogan: Now You’re Talking
If anyone’s trying to pinpoint when we entered the bad timeline, the three weeks in January 2016 when Bowie and Lord Terence both died is probably around the time we should be looking. As everyone said when Tel died, it was bizarre to think you’d no longer be able to switch on the radio and hear him chatting away, which was for so long the sign that all was right with the world. As with Brucie, there was at least some comfort from knowing that when he died he was as famous and as popular as he’d ever been, his second coming on the radio coming after a decade as chat show host which ended in rather rancorous fashion. His best work was always his unique brand of wit and whimsy on the wireless but there were all kind of TV vehicles too, not just the famous ones but the long-forgotten likes of Star Town and Do The Right Thing, some of which we’ll hopefully see here.

NEW YEAR’S EVE

BBC1

23.25 The Big New Years & Years Eve Party with Kylie and Pet Shop Boys
It’ll be well into 2022 by the time they finish reading that out. Olly Alexander has enjoyed a good 2021, what with his role in the great It’s A Sin and from there topping the list of potential new Doctors (although we still reckon you should whack it all on Lydia West), and now his band – such as it is, as it’s pretty much him solo now – get the honour of topping the bill in the prestigious New Year’s Eve slot. Some fine special guests too should make it pretty enjoyable for all ages, and it sandwiches midnight where like last year we’ll see something, but exactly what remains a mystery.

BBC2

18.55 Dad’s Army
Comedy writer Joel Morris recently remarked on how programmes with animated opening titles always felt like a bit of a swizz when it turned out you weren’t actually getting a cartoon but just some people being all normal and ordinary, and Dad’s Army was a particularly conspicuous offender on this point. Now of course everyone is so tired of the over-repeated antics of the old blokes and that stupid boy from Walmington-On-Sea – and so tired by association of dimwits like Mark Francois shouting “OI OI SAVELOY” while pointing to a low quality image of Private Godfrey or something – that they probably can’t wait for those opening titles to be out of the way, so it’s actually quite a nice surprise to see the lesser-seen big screen adaptation of that weirdly creepy bit at the end where they were all marching off towards an air-raid siren, which may work less well as a comedy but does have more of a haunting and unsettling air, to the extent that those Public Information Films where they learned how to use Pelican Crossings feel almost as though they could be chronologically canonical. It’s interesting to ponder, though, on an alternate reality where Dad’s Army never existed, and the GB News-adjacent bores had bang on about, say, Oh Happy Band with Harry Worth instead.

BBC4

22.40 When Harry Met Sally...
There are quite a few of the usual New Year’s Eve suspects on today – although you won’t be seeing The Usual Suspects again in a hurry – including El Cid on BBC2 at 08.55 which we won’t be billing as we can’t think of a good enough joke tying it in with the late eighies ITV comedy drama of the same name; The Great Escape at 15.15 on Channel 4 which we won’t be billing as we always get complaints for being ‘disrespectful’ about it; Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom at 18.45 on Channel 4 which we won’t be billing because we once got told off for going ‘MOLA RAAAAAM’ too loudly; Spectre at 21.00 on ITV which we won’t be billing because of all that ludicrous hoo-hah about the release schedule for No Time To Die and all the crying men whining that it had invalidated all eight hundred and seventy million previous James Bond movies, books, coffee mugs, dinner jackets and submarines by having one of them ‘birds’ in it when Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings comprehensively kicked it into the back end of a split in half bus anyway; and Four Weddings And A Funeral at 00.05 on Channel 4 which we won’t be billing because it makes us have to remember The Boat That Bastard Rocked. Instead, we’re going to finish on a charming sophisticated low-key romantic comedy where Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal slowly develop an unexpected romance over several years instead of swiping right, going on one date and then racing to ghost each other first, which can even be forgiven for causing Harry Connick Jr. to show up on every television programme in existence singing that “a little birdie told me/de de dah dah dah/and that’s the recipe for KP Cheese Dip” song for months afterwards. Also, it was a 15 when it came out, so you can look back with smug satisfaction on the fact that you got in to see it at the Classic Cinema and some kids from the year below you in school didn’t, ha ha. Which was to prove quite the sore point when you later ended up dating one of them. Worthy of Harry and Sally themselves, in fact. Get a ticket, not a CHESNEY HAWKES record!

BBC Radio 2

12.00 My Platinum Year
And to round off Creamguide for 2021, a look ahead to 2022 which surely, surely can’t be any bloody worse than this year, surely? Well, there should be lots to look forward to, including a load of sporting events, a Jubilee and accompanying Bank Holidays, ABBA live in concert and, of course, a hundred years of the Beeb. And here are all the Radio 2 family getting together to look ahead to all of that, and hopefully start the ball rolling for that Strictly Royal Dancing special we’re forever banging on about. It’s also 25 years of TV Cream, but we’re not sure that’ll get a mention.

And that’s that!

Yes, you’ll have to wait until the next Creamguide pops up in that no-man’s land between Christmas and New Year for your guide to the first days of 2022, so do join us for that around Thursday 30th. In the meantime, we’d like to thank everyone who’s read and contributed to Creamguide over the past twelve months, and as David Dimbleby always said at the end of election night, we hope you’ve enjoyed it and that we’ve been of some use to you. But for now, a Merry Christmas to all of you at home!

By the way…

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. THX 1139

    December 17, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    I half expected ITV to double bill Santa Claus: The Movie with Three Fugitives.

    Anyway, any opportunity to point out how horrible The Boat That Rocked is should not be passed by, and neither should any opportunity to point out how great Dick Van Dyke is, so this is obviously the best Christmas TV guide out there.

    Merry Christmas to all at TV Cream, and if there hasn’t been much apart from Creamguide from you this year, it’s understandable given what 2021 has been. There’s so much on the site that there’s plenty to comment on regardless. Apart from that scary few weeks when the site went down, but that’s 2021 for you.

  2. Sidney Balmoral James

    December 17, 2021 at 5:49 pm

    Ha – good to see that Sondheim obit in the Guardian get called out – it was bizarre, made the ridiculous assertion that Sondheim was some sort of also-ran in American musical theatre and lacked the daring of Andrew Lloyd-Webber (i.e. didn’t write a musical performed on skates or with Bonnie Langford dressed as a cat). Mr. S of course was partly responsible for what should be a Cream classic – The Last of Sheila, which has a crazy cast (James Mason, Ian McShane, Raquel Welch), and some cracking convolutions (including James Coburn in drag). Not shown much on TV.

    • THX 1139

      December 17, 2021 at 10:03 pm

      Seconded on The Last of Sheila, a terrific whodunit and co-written by Anthony Perkins! It was on TV in the 1990s, I think, but seems to have fallen off the radar since.

  3. Richardpd

    December 17, 2021 at 10:32 pm

    At least ITV seem to have a decent print of Santa Claus: The Movie, as for years it was screened from one that made the average episode of The Sweeney look like it was shot on IMAX, with all the matte lines visable in all the flying scenes.

    I remember Crocodile Dundee back when Christmas was prime time for seeing a film for the first time on TV, especially as it was when I was first allowed to stay up late. When it was originally shown at the cinema my Dad laughed so much he was worried he was going to be asked to leave!

  4. Glenn Aylett

    December 18, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    Radio 2 wheels out Junior Choice again on Christmas Day. I can’t see the point as Ed Stewart is dead now and by its final years, the show was totally outdated and sneered at by most kids, who wanted to hear the latest one by The Jam, not Morningtown Ride every damned week for eternity or novelty songs from the 1950s. Why not approach Anne Nightingale to do her eighties request show on Christmas Day as the Radio 2 audience would appreciate this more?

  5. captain kremmen

    December 26, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    sorry to moan but every year i find the hyperactive, stream of consciousness film listings virtually impenetrable with all their bafflingly niche references. With regret, they’re almost unreadable.

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