TV Cream

Cream over Britain

Christmas Creamguide: week two


All the stars have been invited to come along and rip off a leg
24th-30th December 2016
Back! Back! Back!

And welcome again to the second part of your Christmas Creamguide, this time with some actual days of Christmas in it. As ever we’ve got loads of shows, films and pedantic points to present…

But before we go on… why not subscribe to Creamguide and get this kind of stuff emailed to you once a week?


CHRISTMAS EVE

BBC1

Richard engrossed by Gallifrey Guardian, there

18.30 Pointless Celebrities
This is exactly the kind of thing we want to see when we’re all settling into our armchairs, especially as Xander usually sings at the end of it like a proper variety special. As usual it’s the stars of panto taking their turns behind the podia and enjoying a much better slot than their own shows got when they were properly famous, including Cheggers, Bobby Davro and Joe Pasquale.

21.00 David Walliams Celebrates Dame Shirley Bassey
Ignore ‘stEnders and it’s old school light entertainment all the way on BBC1 tonight, as we like it. Burley Chassis is eighty in January but that’s obviously no time for a celebratory special so we’re doing it now, David chatting with her and given her space to boom out some of her most famous songs.

BBC2

08.10 Hans Christian Andersen
What better way to kick off The Day Before The Big Day than with Danny Kaye’s bigot baiting garishly-hued-yet-washed-out turn as the master storyteller, though needless to say we preferred the All Star Record Breakers adaptation with Noel as the inchworm.

13.00 Splash
Nino Firetto and The Other Bloke get all het up over that Freedom – Take Two thing while Tom Hanks keeps Daryl Hannah in the bath to ensure that they don’t get sued by Gordon Murray for infringing the copyright of that Gublins episode. Incidentally, for reasons that will become clear very soon, this has only just scraped its way onto the list by the scales on its mermaid arse.

19.00 Dad’s Army
We’re getting all the specials over the next week, although we’d suggest that this is the one to watch because it’s the only one they made while James Beck was still alive. Well, there was that one they did for Christmas Night With The Stars but that’s a bit of an awkward one to schedule, so you’ll have to make do with this.

20.00 Alan Bennett’s Diaries
The latest volume of Alan’s diaries will no doubt be underneath several trees by now, so this is a bit of a spoiler as he’s going to be reading from some of them, but he does it with so much style we’re sure nobody will mind. In between those bits we follow him around doing, well, not that much really apart from being Alan Bennett, which is what we want to see.

00.20 Viva Las Vegas
Taking time out between having a kiss-up in Hawaii and saying it’s swinging pops, Elvis Presley and Ann-Margaret hit the casinos for a quick game of Double Dragon Vs. Battletoads while trying to hit the ‘Three Frank Beards’ jackpot. Elvis may predate the Cream Era by quite some time, and fiftiesmania was never really our ‘bag’, but time was when you couldn’t move for strip-scheduling of his films (and that one where The Pink Panther met ‘Pelvis Parsley’) over the Christmas Holidays, so it’s always nice to see one or two of them get trotted out. Well, the ones before he scoffed a load of cheeseburgers and went into people’s house at night and wrecked up the place at any rate.

ITV

16.20 101 Dalmatians
Well, it’s time to take a stand. At the time of writing, Walt’s Boys are still blocking commercial access to TVS productions, and still refusing to provide documentary evidence that That Bastard Mouse hasn’t been anywhere near The Boy Who Won The Pools with a big magnet. We’ve issued many, many warnings about this in Christmas Creamguides passim, and enough is enough. It would be against everything TV Cream stands for if we continued to plug Disney films – which, lest we forget, were considered persona non grata on the original incarnation of the site and only ever referred to as ‘D*sn*y’ – to the detriment of the sort of shows we should actually care about, so from now on there will be no more billings for any of their movies. Well, not for this week at least. Anyway, they should be thawing Walt’s head out right about now, so he’s welcome to respond to us when he gets a moment.

18.30 Blankety Blank
Nearly twenty years since the last revival of this series – if you don’t count The Guess List from the other year which was more or less exactly the same – so time enough to give it another spin, just as a one-off for now but almost certainly with one eye on a series. It’s exactly the same – so time enough to give it another spin, just as a one-off for now but almost certainly with one eye on a series. It’s certainly an evergreen format, although the main attraction is not any of that, but the relationship between the host and the panel. David Walliams is in charge this time, who seems likely to be more of a Wogan than a Dawson figure, and maybe it’ll be a bit of fun, even though at an hour it might stretch things to breaking point.

01.30 Carry On Loving
Conventional Wisdom has it that once the Carry On series went beyond nudge-and-wink antics and actually started featuring straightforward ‘having it off’ gags and closeups of women bending over in their pants and generally moved into Never To Be Shown Before 11pm territory, they immediately became inessential and unwatchable. This may be true of the rest of them, but is definitely not when it comes to this Sneakily Watched On The Black And White Portable treat par excellence. Terry Scott as a ‘gadabout’, Imogen Hassall in a rare-for-the-series ‘knockers with brains’ role, Charles Hawtrey as a detective with that call-and-response ‘following down the street’ music, a textbook bit of Sid James/Cloth-Eared Taxi Driver silliness, model aeroplanes made from milk bottle tops, Cooking Fat The Cat, ‘Lynchy’ as a wa-ha-hey toting bus conductor… we could go on and on and on as to why this is one of the very best in the series, but just watch it and find out why. And for that authentic last-thing-on-BBC1 flavour, have a watch of this sodding weird closedown afterwards.

CHANNEL 4

08.40 Father Christmas
16.45 The Snowman
It’s the 25th anniversary of the former, although we never think it’s celebrated quite as much as it deserves, C4 continually putting it in a host of off-peak slots – certainly compared to the latter. Still, if they’re prepared to indulge Noel Edmonds for over a decade, they can find half an hour to screen it again.

14.45 Scrooged
Always a pleasure to see this Richard Donner-helmed Danny Elfman-accompanied updated take on the time-honoured Dickens narrative conceit, relocated to ‘The City’ and starring Bill Murray, as eighties updated takes were wont to do. Presumably Scrooge isn’t quite as international a cultural totem as you might have assumed, as it was released overseas under a baffling array of alternate titles, including some that literally translate to The Ghosts Strike Back, The Ghosts Attack The Boss and best of all SOS Ghosts, all of which sound strangely as though they ought to be Topper-riffing whimsical black and white comedies rather than product placement-festooned eighties big hitters.

CHANNEL 5

15.05 Jason And The Argonauts
“This isn’t Andrew Collins And The Argonauts, where a load of skellingtons come to life and start remembering 1983!”. Swashbuckling model work a-go-go as all exotic fish Todd Armstrong finds and Honor Blackman does cosplay as the Princess out of The Singing Ringing Tree. One of those films that everyone used to talk about in the playground the next day when BBC1 flung it out in a midweek evening slot. Actually, there’s a point – what’s happened to Doc Savage: The Man Of Bronze?

BBC4

21.00 Top of the Pops Christmas Hits
For the first time since 1993 there’s no new episode of TOTP2 this Christmas, just repeats of previous episodes late at night, including tonight. But don’t worry, because this programme is, despite the title, exactly the same, and like TOTP2 promises not just Christmas records but records that happened to be in the chart at Christmas or performed on the Christmas Pops, as well as some newly-discovered stuff and a couple of obits. Seems a rather pointless rebranding, to be honest, despite the channel change, but it’s certainly the best slot it’s had for ages.

23.30 Steptoe and Son
We wonder if this series is one of the few long-running sitcoms that was just as good, if not at its best, towards the end of its run, lots of the most famous and most loved episodes, like that with Leonard Rossiter or the split-down-the-middle house, coming from the last two series. Certainly the best Christmas specials come from the end of the run, because they didn’t do one until 1973, and this is it.

Film4

00.55 Rear Window
A bit of classic Hitchcock to take you up to Christmas Day Morning, which is hardly as complaint-engenderingly inappropriate as BBC1 showing Jagged Edge on Christmas Eve was, but it’s hardly exactly Olive The Other Reindeer either, is it? Anyway, about this time you’ll most likely be off to bed and eager to see what you’ve got in the morning, so if you’re feeling particularly generous and are enjoying these listings, please send Karen Gillan round to the Creamguide (Films) Week 2 Ed’s place waving a bottle of very expensive whiskey. Or, failing that, one of those Camberwick Green playsets with all the pieces intact. Christmas *is* about giving, you know.

BBC Radio 2

13.00 Pick of the Pops
Even though it’s Christmas Eve we’re still getting this, and in extended form to boot with three years. They’re not especially famous Christmas charts, either, bearing in mind we always reckon that the Christmas number one as a thing didn’t start until Slade vs Wizzard in 1973, hence 1967 and 1972, which we’re getting here, are much of a muchness, while the most famous Christmas record from 1985, the third year, was held over from the previous year. Still, if you’re after something different to the familiar fare you’ll be hearing on every other show on every other station, here you go.

16.00 A Carpenters Christmas with Petula Clark
For a while it used to be Cliff that was the act most associated with Christmas records, though we recall Shaky was a prolific festive hitmaker in the eighties to the extent Smash Hits once ran a feature complaining when he missed a year. But elsewhere Karen and
Richard loved their Christmas records as well, their silky harmonies the perfect accompaniment to an all-American festive season, as Pet will illustrate.

CHRISTMAS DAY

BBC1

Discs falling into a basin of powder in high-res: That was a real highlight of 2016

13.50 Top of the Pops
Yes, once more, we arrive at Christmas Day to find that new pop music show had failed to make it to the screens again and this old warhorse is back for its fiftieth consecutive Christmas Day appearance. Of course, these days no kid remembers it ever being a weekly series, and that’s perhaps emphasised by the fact that Fearne Cotton’s still presenting, as she has done every year since 2004, despite the fact she’s now on Radio 2, surely the equivalent of Wogan presenting it in the early eighties. Still, now there’s no need to keep us watching for the rest of the year, it does its job with the minumum of fuss, bringing us top hits like The One Off The Advert, The One Off Sky Sports and The One Off The Other Advert.

15.00 The Queen
And that fifty consecutive years does make Pops our longest-running festive fixture, as The Queen didn’t do a speech in 1969 because she thought she’d been on the telly too much that year, a stance we wish more people would take. You may wish to add your own suggestions to that list.

17.45 Doctor Who
Our first meeting with the Doctor for 366 days, his non-appearance for the rest of year another black mark on 2016’s extensive rap sheet. There’ll be more in 2017, of course, though no Pearl Mackie here yet, just Matt Lucas who’ll be joining the gang on a semi-regular basis. Last year’s festive show was good fun, though we thought a bit talky for Christmas Day, but this year it looks like plenty of thrills and spills, with a superhero vibe.

BBC2

08.50 tom thumb
‘neil’-style capitalisation (or lack thereof) to the fore as that bloke out of The Standells’ brother takes the lead in an all-singing all-sort-ofdancing retelling of the Dennis Waterman-esque folk tale about a microscopic youngster who gets conned into helping Peter Sellers and Terry-Thomas pilfer some gold doubloons. Good clean fun for a Christmas Day morning, and what’s more it looks amazing too, on account of having the imagination and budget to do its miniaturisation effects with cleverly-constructed sets and camera angles, rather than Rentaghost/Puzzle Trail-style CSO and ‘goblin’ voices. We know which one we prefer around here, mind.

13.55 The Good Life
This must be one of the few Christmas Days in recent years not to feature an appearance by Tim Allen, who thanks to his roles in The Santa Clause and Toy Story must have enjoyed more exposure on 25th December than anyone else this century, not that anyone in Britain would recognise him in the street. He is on other days, but The Ooh Aah Bird is present and correct at least.

17.40 The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show
Nice to see Eric and Ern in unexpurgated form here rather than only via clip shows. It’s generally considered that the pair were rubbish on Thames because Eddie Braben didn’t go with them, but he didn’t write this 1976 show either, and there doesn’t seem to be much wrong with it, especially with The Sweeney and Angela Rippon, not billed in the Radio Times to make it a surprise. Well, she’s billed now, obviously.

19.15 Blackadder’s Christmas Carol
20.00 Dad’s Army
Seems remarkable to think that we went through virtually the entire nineties without a repeat of the former, given now it’s an absolute festive staple, and miles before the watershed too. Dad’s Army at eight o’clock on Christmas Day now almost seems as much a fixture as The Queen at three o’clock.

01.15 A Hard Day’s Night
John, George, Ringo and ‘Dinners’ abscond from a TV studio-bound train for a bit of a break from the ‘surging’ girls, leaving suits and chaperones beside themselves with anxiety over whether The Fabs will show up in time to not actually perform You Can’t Do That after all. Quite simply the best pop film ever made, with the possible exception of Head, which was kind of the end result of somebody ripping off A Hard Day’s Night anyway. Plus, due to its seasonal ubiquity, it’s about a billion times more festive than So This Is Crismas by Beetles.

CHANNEL 4

14.20 It’s A Wonderful Life
James Stewart’s been all around the Universe, but he’s never seen anything as good as Breadman’s Fish Fingers! A Cream Era Christmas Schedules mainstay, for sure, but there’s always been something a bit YER LIKE THIS about it, as opposed to the Digby The Biggest Dog In The World school of Matchmaker-scoffage accompaniment. Ah well, there’s some much more up-and-at-‘em Golden Age Of The Movies stuff on elsewhere today.

18.00 Home Alone
The jury’s still on out on how well Jimmy ‘Safe’chuck’s Talc & Turnips-inspiring Rotterdam Termination Source-sampled burglar-repellent antics have aged, though chances are the verdict will be “better than the sequels have”. One film you never seem to see now though is Home Alone’s more downbeat contemporary, Christmas On Division Street, starring Fred Savage from The Wonder Years as a youngster who makes it his mission to throw food and clothing lifelines to the local ne’er-do-wells and panhandlers, and which has the baffling air of The Wire remade by the producers of Disney’s Good Morning Miss Bliss. Looks like Kevin Arnold really was man enough to come down to
the streets with Omar.

CHANNEL 5

07.35 An American In Paris
Five’s now-traditional Christmas Day song and dance extravaganza high-kicks off with Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron acting out Tony Hancock’s The Rebel to the accompaniment of some Gershwin ‘tone poems’ that sound for all the world as though Tom and Jerry are about to start chasing each other up and down that big massive ‘showbiz’ staircase. Epic arty romantic comedy marvellousness, followed closely by…

09.50 On The Town
What’s it like, Bart? Bart? Bart? Big brash glammed-up musical mayhem to the fore as Sinatra, Kelly and Minshun use their strictly limited shore leave to check out whether the schoolyard really is up and the shopping mall down, and sing and dance a couple of songs and dances in praise of free goo. Lord knows we might all need a bit of a jolt to get us in to the Festive Spirit at the end of this year, and they’re not coming any joltier than Channel 5’s brace of morning-starting movies. And they’re not done yet…

11.50 Scrooge
Albert Finney gets visited by The Ghost Of Parky Past, The Ghost Of Parky Present and The Ghost Of Parky Yet To Moan, who’ve come to tell him that they want him to do another one at Easter so he can nail up the dog. No Twenty Thousand Years Of The Two Ronoids today though, sadly.

14.10 The Wizard Of Oz
“Dear TV Cream, I enjoy all of your publications and website and even understand some of your Twitter stuff sometimes (except when it’s just oblique references to Clayton Hickman), but I feel I have to put pen to paper and register my displeasure that one of your writers keeps being mean about The Wizard Of Oz – it is, after all, a hugely popular family film for all the family that lots of people like especially families and I do not expect TV Cream to be trading in sharp-edged whimsy and affectionate mockery when families might be reading, please bill it in a more temperate manner in future”. Get stuffed, Flying Monkey Pal.

16.10 Singin’ In the Rain
Gene Kelly’s back again, by now rivalling even TVC’s own Steve Berry in the Greatest Number Of Appearances On Channel 5 stakes, and this time he’s starring as a puppet bear walking through 2D drawn animation sets and shouting something about Morny Stannit. And that concludes their big loud showbizzy sequinning up of the schedules today, which maybe we’ve all seen a billion times before but… well, we don’t need a reason, do we? In the continued absence of a ‘Michael Caine appears in Pulp on Tuesday’ late-night mini-season, it’s nice to know that some small-screen cinematic traditions still thrive.

BBC4

22.10 The Good Old Days
There are many things we know now that we wouldn’t have believed if you’d told us twelve months ago, and this repeat run lasting the entire year would be right up there. It’s Christmas 1976 here, and a better slot than its original transmission when it went out at half eleven, despite Danny La Rue surely being quite a draw. An even more interesting one tomorrow.

Film4

01.20 Vertigo
Watch out for Hitchcock’s uncredited cameo jamming with Tudor Lodge and Mayblitz.

Horror

22.55 The Wicker Man
Hopefully you’ll have kept your appointment with Creamguide (Films) Commentaries’ swear-at-old-shops-along of this classic cult curio, so there isn’t much that we really need to add here other than to celebrate the fact that its equally glorious if exact polar opposite
contemporary Psychomania is now out on Blu-ray, looking nice and grubby in a much sharper and clearer way. Now can we have I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle, please?

Talking Pictures TV

13.30 Runaround On Ice
Seemingly the only actual TV programme this channel has so far shown was this time last year with the ludicrous Runaround Christmas special of 1979, featuring a vintage car leaking coolant onto the studio floor and a pack of huskies that mid-feature started howling so loudly neither Mike Reid nor their handler could be heard and had to be taken off. What better way, then, for Southern to expand the idea the following year then to take the show onto an ice rink in Bournemouth? Madness are the star guests but they’re incidental to an experience that starts with Reid getting pushed on in a bobsleigh sponsored by Rolling Stones Records before spending most of the half hour clinging onto the set for his life.

BOXING DAY

BBC2

The goon’s a ballon

08.15 Around The World In 80 Days
It would take a braver soul than Creamguide (Films) to speculate on precisely where David Niven might fall on a Mad As A Lorry-type comic scale stretching from Palin to Coogan, but there is no doubting that this bloated, gaudy, five million hour spectacle nonetheless knocks any and every other adaptation of Jules Verne’s balloon-tastic literary folly not just into a cocked hat, but into that stupid top hat that Andy Crane wore whilst trying to artificially create an olden days counterpart to TEH VIRALS by arseing around to the tune of Willy Pissing Fogg as if anyone ever cared in a universe where Battle Of The Planets also exists. They have to get the bus home at the end you know.

17.20 West Side Stories – The Making of a Classic
Len and Darcey have had their own shows already this Christmas, so now it’s Bruno’s turn. He’s joining Suzy Klein to celebrate sixty years of the show that more or less made the moden muscial with its uptempo songs and sense of spectacle.

18.50 Dad’s Army
As we always point out, it seems bizarre that huge shows like this and Porridge never went out on Christmas Day in their prime whereas these days any sitcom seems to get that slot by default, although it’s worth noticing that as well as there being far more sitcoms about,
there were also loads more films in primetime that filled up loads of time. But here’s another classic from Christmas 1975.

21.30 The Entire Universe
For a while it was always thought that it was Eric Idle and his moneygrabbing ways that were stopping a repeat run of Rutland Weekend Television, but in fact Eric apparently wants it repeated as much as anyone but boring rights reasons mean it hasn’t been for ages. So instead… a new episode! Well, near enough, anyway, although it’s a bit different, as Professor Brian Cox is the star, though his attempt at a science lecture goes awry with the help of Eric and his associates. But there are some actual facts smuggled in as well.

22.30 Pride
Regular Creamguide (Films) readers will know that we normally allow ourselves the luxury of billing one ‘new’ film, and this one’s an absolute belter. A pitch-perfect recreation of the true story of Mark Ashton, who with a load of fellow early eighties LGBT types before they were actually called LGBT, leapt to the defence of a small village threatened by governmental rumblings of pit closures, winning over the previously hostile hearts and minds of the locals in the process. Hilarious from start to finish, as incidentally is The Reverend Richard previously hostile hearts and minds of the locals in the process. Hilarious from start to finish, as incidentally is The Reverend Richard Coles’ Fathomless Riches, which charts his own involvement in the story and so much more besides in side-splittingly unflinching detail. Plus, on top of all that, there’s a glimpse of a historically-accurate Play Away album as well!

01.25 Tommy
There are two films based on two of The Who’s concept albums. Creamguide (Films) is an obsessive fan of their earlier sixties stuff, and likes one of the films but not the album, and the other album but not the film. We’re not giving any clues as to which film is which, but… Ferdy ain’t been seen, ‘as ‘e?

CHANNEL 5

14.20 West Side Story
The Jets and The Sharks do battle for street-level supremacy by dancing at each other in a Shakespeare-riffing thrilling, riveting, hilarious, action-packed racial tension-decrying spectacular that gives musicals a good name. Plus one of them actually literally says ‘Wacko! Jacko!’ when miming being shot. Meanwhile, one million points to any reader who can correctly identify which late seventies BBC children’s TV show used the yappy chorus bits of America over an animated interstitial. We thought it was The Sunday Gang, but it turns out it wasn’t.

00.05 Muriel’s Wedding
That ‘Australia Being Cool’ thing in the mid-eighties didn’t last much longer than a can of Citrus Spring, did it? Still, what better way to kick off your own personal Yahoo Serious Festival than with something that is infinitely better than a largely self-pity-fuelled comedy-drama with an Abba soundtrack has any right to be. We’d recommend moving on to The Year My Voice Broke, Razorback and that The Clinic one off of Channel 4’s Red Triangle season afterwards.

BBC4

20.00 The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures
For all the history of Pops and the Queen’s speech, though, this is the longest-running Christmas fixture by absolutely miles, given it was first shown as part of BBC Television’s first ever Christmas in 1936, and even then they’d been going for about a century. To mark the eightieth anniversary, this year Saiful Islam is going to talk about the same thing Faraday in his first, energy, and recreating some of his experiments.

21.00 Bob Monkhouse – The Last Stand
A new programme about Lord Bob is always going to be well worth watching, and one produced by Caroline Wright’s team is guaranteed to be great, so this is likely to be one of the best things on this Christmas. A couple of documentaries about Bob have included footage of one of the last things he did, an intimate show in front of an audience of fellow comedians, but the whole thing has never been shown until now!

22.00 The Good Old Days
Certainly emphasis on the “old” tonight, as this episode is from 1959! Quite comfortably the oldest they’ve ever shown, although apart from the fact it’s not in colour and everyone looks a bit younger, we doubt there’s much difference in the content given it was an anachronism when it started. This one’s particularly of interest, though, not just as a novelty, but because fresh-fashed new comedians Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise top the bill.

BBC Radio 2

09.30 The World’s 100 Best Selling Artists
Paddy O’Connell sits in for Ken Bruce over this week, which we’re sure will be great fun because he’s such an affable broadcaster and could be the housewives’ choice if he puts his mind to it. Sadly he won’t be tackling Popmaster or anything, as the morning shows over the next five days are based around a new chart they’ve compiled of, well, the best selling recording artists since the fifties. Likely to be some very familiar names here, but hopefully Paddy will dig out some less familiar records.

TUESDAY, 27th DECEMBER

BBC1

“Call that a knife?” That’s this one, isn’t it?

13.35 Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Well it’ll do until they dig out Jackson Pace – The Great Years. The three Indiana Jones films (and that other one) always seem to show up around Christmas these days, and to be honest even if you know them backwards they do stand up to repeated viewing, in a sort of Fawlty Towers-style expecting your favourite bit like with a pop record kind of a way. You’ll find Temple Of Doom on the same channel at 13:45 tomorrow, and The Last Crusade on Thursday at 13.55, followed by Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull at 23.30. If you must. Still no sign of The Magic Garden Of Stanley Sweetheart, mind.

19.00 Celebrity Mastermind
More of these over the course of the week, as ever with slightly easier questions so you can enjoy it with your family without embarrassment. Going to be loads of Janice Long on telly in 2017 thanks to BBC4, and here she is answering questions on Echo and The Bunnymen, though the round we’re most looking forward to is Kate Bottley on Adrian Mole.

BBC2

07.50 The Love Bug
Another trilogy that always seems to show up on consecutive post-Christmas days, and it actually feels wrong to be discouraging people from watching the Volkswagen with a mind of its own, but a stand against D*sn*y is a stand against D*sn*y. Give us Knights Of God and They Came From Somewhere Else on DVD and then we’ll talk.

11.15 The Password Is Courage
Dirk Bogarde’s WiFi isn’t all that secure then, is it?

19.00 Dad’s Army
As we mentioned in the last part of Creamguide, if you have any views or favourite moments on Dad’s Army, do let us know, because as James Drew points out, we never really say anything about it and just use the billing as a noticeboard really, given it’s usually the first thing in any given issue. Not so much here, which is why this billing is even less use than usual.

CHANNEL 5

10.05 SpaceCamp
Proto-Jupiter Moon sub-Starstormers swots-go-galactic melodrama that was briefly inexplicably the talk of those types in school who’d always got the latest ‘rental hits’ out on video. It was no No Retreat No Surrender, though.

12.10 Teen Wolf
There was something a bit Risen Without Trace about Michael J. Fox’s sudden storming of the UK box office in late 1985 – although, contrary to popular belief, Channel 4 had actually been showing Family Ties for a couple of months by then – but all the same this and the original Back To The Future were and remain fine films which, much like their close contemporary Ghostbusters, spawned disappointing sequels. A fact that was universally acknowledged until the DVD Box Set age rewrote history (“all three are now yours to own” – “but I-” – “YOURS TO OWN”). Meanwhile, if you don’t have time to watch this, why not watch a video of mediocre nineties satiyrrical act, Punt And Dennis?

14.00 Bigfoot And The Hendersons
“Lemon, there was once a great American named George Henderson. He met a woodland ape, or sasquatch, and despite its dangerous message of environmentalism became its friend. When the time came to do the hard thing and send it back into the forest where it belonged, and birds could perch on its shoulder because it was gentle, George Henderson summoned the strength and by god, he did it. Did it hurt? You bet it hurt. Like a bastard. But he did it because it was the right thing to do… for the woodland ape. You think about that”

16.10 Labyrinth
It goes without saying that everyone at TV Cream was as gutted to hear about David Bowie as you were, and it’s been heartening to see that in the immediate aftermath, the more neglected corners of his discography like the drum’n’bass stuff (put a sock in it Stewart Lee) and Tin Machine have subsequently been given a firm but fair reappraisal. However, while many critical salutes may also have been raised to his cinematic excursions like The Man Who Fell To Earth and even Absolute Beginners, it’s a fair bet that nobody will be revisiting The Linguini Incident, a truly dreadful romantic comedy that even dedicated students of bad movies are probably best advised giving a wide berth to. You should definitely watch this, though, even though it’s on Channel 5 roughly every third Saturday anyway.

Horror

09.00 Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors
One, two, three, splanch! Roy Castle, Fluff Freeman, Neil McCallum, Christopher Lee and Donald Sutherland compare notes on sting-inthe-tail type stories about profligate foliage and possessed trumpets with a disconcertingly interested Peter Cushing in The British Horror Anthology to beat all British Horror Anthologies. Yes, even Tales From The Crypt. Incidentally, the shrill shoe-shuffly voodoo jazz in the club scene was actually provided by Corden-alike Brit Jazz polymath Tubby Hayes, and if you’re looking for a good documentary to watch over the Festive Season, we can highly recommend the Martin Freeman-narrated Hayes chronicle A Man In A Hurry. Even if it still can’t explain why the audience just start applauding for no reason in the middle of Down In The Village.

WEDNESDAY, 28th DECEMBER

BBC1

Alan Davies, about to tell the unit photographer about how he’s paid less than he was in the 1990s.

21.00 Jonathan Creek
It’ll be twenty years of this show next year, which when it began was an absolutely fantastic programme, we reckon the first two series being among David Renwick’s finest work. In its sporadic appearances since then it’s never quite been able to live up to those high standards, the exceedingly ropey special a few years ago being the low point, but the last series – which itself was two and a half years ago – was amiable enough and we’re just happy to have anything from David Renwick on our screens, hence it gets a free pass into Creamguide.

BBC2

19.00 The Good Life
We say this every Christmas, but one year you would hope they had the time to show this royal special in full, given that these days they always chop off the bit where the Queen takes her place in the audience and just screen it as if it’s a normal episode, but maybe there are reasons of protocol why it can’t be shown anymore. In any case, now it’s been nearly forty years, isn’t it about time Her Maj turned up in another studio auidience? Graham Norton would be good, with Phil doubtless contributing a suitably bawdy anecdote in the red chair.

ITV

22.25 Jaws
Everyone’s favourite alt-right shark chomps merrily away on the good-for-nothing nudey hippy girl, the maverick cop, the damn disobedient kid and all the usual suspects until they get a bigger boat and he has his Twitter account suspended. We’re fairly sure that ‘Harry’ would have worn that hat every day, though, so why just suddenly remark on how bad it was out of nowhere?

CHANNEL 4

10.45 The Muppet Movie
Believe it or not, there are those within TVC Towers who would have you believe that this was the moment when The Muppets jumped Achilles The Shark, marking the point at which they graduated from once-weekly anarchy with terrifying eyes to an all-conquering everybody-say-ahhhh mediocre student t-shirt industry. However, as it’s not technically D*sn*y, we’ll throw our lot in with Crumpso and company. The Great Muppet Caper’s on tomorrow too.

12.50 Vice Versa
Astonishingly, we don’t seem to have ever billed this Clement and Le Frenais-penned Judge Reinhold/Fred Savage bodyswap comedy before. Doubtless this is due in no small part to it having been massively overshadowed on release by the almost identical but better Big, before. Doubtless this is due in no small part to it having been massively overshadowed on release by the almost identical but better Big, and the almost identical but much much worse Like Father Like Son, and by Abed chucking the DVD away in Community, but it’s a good deal more enjoyable than its reputation might suggest. That said, we’d quite like to see the 1981 ITV version again, featuring Peter Bowles and Spotty off Hardwicke House, and it’s even gloriously free from Mouse-skewed rights complications. Hint hint.

CHANNEL 5

15.20 Kelly’s Heroes
Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Harry Dean Stanton and Carroll O’Connor mostly sinking like subs in Troy Kennedy Martin’s unofficial semi-follow-up-ish to The Italian Job, with more than a smidgeon of proto-A-Teamery about proceedings, though sadly there’s absolutely no scope here whatsoever for making a joke about The Smoke Monster. Well, not yet anyway.

BBC4

21.30 Pop Quiz
Well, Mike Read’s had a decent 2016, if nobody else has, not just thanks to what’s been happening politically, but because after years of hawking the Pop Quiz format round a host of low rent channels in the bowels of the EPG, it’s finally back on the Beeb! And we have absolutely no idea why, but we love a pop quiz so we’re very pleased to see it back, and we hope the ner-ner-ner-ner-ner-ner-POP QUIZ! theme tune is intact. There are two new shows, one next week, though everyone who’s taking part was also active during the original run of the show, with Toyah, Andy McCluskey, Steve Norman and Tom Bailey among the panellists tonight.

Film4

12.45 The Hound Of The Baskervilles
It’s the Hammer/Peter Cushing one, which marks as good a moment as any to repeat our annual call for a DVD release of Young Sherlock, Granada’s 1982 vintage-car-pulling-up-on-gravel-tastic Sunday Evening reboot starring Guy Henry which was seventeen million times better than Spielberg’s twee effort of a couple of years later. Come on, DVD companies, you know you want to. We’ll even put some puns on the front page to promote it.

THURSDAY, 29th DECEMBER

BBC1

Return of the mac/Mac attack/I’d rather mac/Mac’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it

19.00 Celebrity Mastermind
We’ll be seeing a lot of Watchdog’s Michelle Ackerley in this slot during 2017 as she fills in for Alex Jones’ maternity leave, so here’s a chance to get to know her. Or at least marvel at her knowledge of Columbo, while elsewhere it’s John Finnemore on MR James.

BBC2

19.00 To The Manor Born
This is Audrey 1979 style, rather than 2007, although to be honest we’re not that bothered either way because we can’t really understand the appeal of this series because Audrey is clearly not a very nice person.

21.00 Charlie Brooker’s 2016 Wipe
22.00 Cunk on Christmas
As everyone on Twitter has already suggested, an hour is barely enough for Charlie to cover January, and we certainly don’t envy him having to sit through all this year’s crap news again, but we don’t doubt that he’ll have some interesting and amusing things to say and we’ll have a few funny adverts and maybe even him singing again to jolly things along. Certainly if you end up feeling throughly depressed there’s something to make you feel a bit better, another extended outing for Philomena Cunk and even if it’s the same basic concept as Ali G, it’s brilliantly written and perfomed.

CHANNEL 4

05.30 Mysterious Island
Mutang, The Skeleton People, The Smoke Monster, Ben Linus, The Q, the watchful pair of eyes that were hiding in the bushes and the saboteur student one off The New People are forced to join forces to defeat a bigger foe when someone discovers some glowing seaweed or something. Only kidding, it’s a spectacular collision of Ray Harryhausen and Jules Verne, which at least means that we’ll get a proper ending.

22.35 Bruce Springsteen – In His Words
Our interest in the Boss, we’re afraid, has never been that great and it doesn’t help that the record of his we tend to hear the most is his horrible cover version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. But clearly we’re in the minority and we wonder if some Democrats aren’t thinking that he might be their best hope for 2020. He’s written his autobiography recently, and here he is talking about it and himself.

CBBC

17.00 Blue Peter
If the Christmas show is flung earlier and earlier each year, this is a bit more like it as the Review of the Year finds itself on the first Blue Peter day after Christmas as it always used to be. There’s a smashing team on this show at the moment, as they’ll illustrate here, although we’re not sure how much Barney we’re going to get given he took three months off earlier this year, and he’s currently taking another month of for his panto. Doesn’t he know being a Blue Peter presenter is a full time job?

FRIDAY, 30th DECEMBER

BBC1

Uh? Let’s just say, Happy Christmas from the TVC Caption Team!

19.00 Celebrity Mastermind
That image of the Outnumbered kids was the talk of the internet for a day or two earlier this year, although while it’s a rare chance to catch up with two of them in their special elsewhere this fortnight, Tyger Drew-Honey remains a familiar face on our screens, and he’s here tonight being quizzed on The Office. Surely the best questions, though, will come in Tom Ravenscroft’s round on Warp Records.

BBC2

08.25 Short Circuit
As you might have noticed, we’re well into the post-Christmas Creamworthy Film Drought now, and the fact that we’ve resorted to billing this poor imitation of Metal Mickey starring Steve ‘Meet Micky Beans’ Guttenberg and a robot that Clive Sinclair would have thought had a commercially viable design shows just how desperate we are for ‘content’. And, given that we’ll have to finish this a bit earlier than usual for reasons that will soon become obvious, we might well end up having to go out with a whimper rather than a bang. Hmmm, anyone got a possessed notebook?

20.00 Judi Dench: All The World’s A Stage
We had reason to look through the episodes of As Time Goes By the other day, and what most struck us is how slow-moving it appeared, the series taking three episodes over a discussion about whether the two main characters should move in together, while virtually half a series could be taken up by planning a holiday. Clearly the whole point was to enjoy Judi Dench’s marvellous comic timing and stage presence, which is celebrated again in this documentary, with her many co-stars queuing up to pay tribute.

ITV

11.00 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Bound to be edited for ‘language’ at this hour, but still a pleasure to see Caine and Martin indulging in elaborate cork-on-a-fork contrickery, although it’s a little-reported fact that Mick Jagger and David Bowie were initially in the frame for the lead roles, presumably on the strength of the Dancing In The Street video. How this would have squared with the whole Tin Machine reinvention thing is something of a puzzle; it would still have been better than that Mick Jagger album with Let’s Work on it, though.

CHANNEL 4

05.00 It Came From Beneath The Sea
Lesser-seen Harryhausen-enhanced monster movie mayhem as a giant octopus – who actually comes from a whopping great trench rather than ‘beneath’ the sea – gets narked at some Cold War antics and elects to smack Golden Gate Bridge in the chops in protest.
Owing to budgetary restrictions, they could only spare enough money for the stop-motion maestro to animate six tentacles, resorting to clever camera angles to make it look as though the marauding Te Wheke-a-Muturangi-alike had the full complement of appendages. You don’t get that with American Horror Story!

06.20 The Parent Trap
Hayley Mills does some split screen doubling-up antics in a family comedy that always seems to come up in the Christmas Edition, despite us never really appearing to have very much to say about it, barring some expressions of concern over those creepy herky-jerk puppet opening titles. And in any case it’s a D*sn*y that’s sneaked in under the radar, so be off with it.

BBC4

19.00, 01.35 Top of the Pops
And so to the final two episodes of 1982, which we reckon has been the most entertaining year we’ve had so far, if not the best musically than certainly with the most fun and excitement on screen. We say that and we’re now billing an episode introduced by Simon Bates, but you know what we mean. One of the side effects of the way BBC4 are showing them is that some records seem to hang around for ages while others fly straight in, this episode including seemingly Shaky’s third single in about a month.

19.30, 02.10 Top of the Pops
And with neither Christmas show available, this is where we end the year, much as we did twelve months – or six months from our perspective – ago in the shape of a frantic live episode hosted by Kid Jensen. It’s not quite as thrilling as Christmas Eve 1981, and you can blame the charts for that, but it’s certainly an interesting affair with a very eclectic line-up and a corker of a novelty record.

Film4

02.10 The Evil Dead
And with that, the Creamguide (Films) Fireplace doesn’t so much sizzle down as it does explode in an inexhaustible fountain of gunge and brightly-dyed washing powder with a hand coming up out of it for some reason, as rather than the usual subdued comedy-drama to sign off on, this time we’ve got The Number One Video Nasty.

And that’s it!

Sadly thanks to the Gregorians this Christmas special is petering out before New Year, and you’ll have to wait for the next Creamguide for that, which will be in your inbox in those dog days inbetween the holidays. But although this isn’t quite the end of the year, special thanks to everyone who’s contributed to and read Creamguide in 2016, especially these Christmas ones, and we hope you’ve enjoyed it and you’ll stick with us in 2017. Let’s hope next year is a bit better than this one. But for now, a merry Christmas from Creamguide.

 

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Tim Cook

    December 16, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    The West Side Story/animated interstitial thing appeared during Record Breakers c.1978, for a series-long thread about American record breakers.

  2. David Smith

    December 22, 2016 at 7:17 am

    The “royal” episode of The Good Life was available in its full version, Queenie bits included, on BBC Store only a couple of months ago (I did tweet you with this nugget of info ;-)), but sadly it seems to have vanished, boo…

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