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“And what a great cover…”

We’ll be the judge of that, Gill. The Christmas Radio Times isn’t something that should need calling attention to, least of all by its editor on the very first page. It should speak for itself.

So let’s see what it has to say. On Christmas Day at 1.05pm on BBC1 there’s a seasonal edition of The Two Ronnies “from 1997”. Hmm, might have missed that at the time, don’t really remember it…maybe it was a special show of some kind. Oh, but it says “with guest David Essex”. Can’t remember much about ‘A Winter’s Tale 97’. Was Kate “I invented Candle In The Wind 97” Thornton involved?

On New Year’s Eve there’s a one-off drama on ITV at 9pm starring Martin Clunes “as strait-laced museum curator Ian Jones”. A quick look at the cast list within the same billing reveals that Clunes is playing ‘Ian Bennet’. Then there’s the bit elsewhere when someone describes The Krypton Factor with the phrase, “if John Major had designed light entertainment, this is how it would have looked.” That’s the same Krypton Factor with an assault course that, in Gordon’s words, “demanded respect” and which had Steve Coogan and Tony Slattery doing spot-the-difference playlets. 

Anyway, clearly it’s worth rushing out that “LEGENDARY CHRISTMAS ISSUE!” a few days earlier than usual if it means not picking up on every single typo and error and lazy journalistic cliche. Here are a few examples of the Christmas Radio Times when it had a properly ‘great cover’. Some TV Cream figgy pudding for whoever can identify the correct years:













  1. Jane

    December 9, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    If you think this year’s RT is bad, you should take a look at what else is on offer. TV Quick’s attempt at a Wallace and Gromit cover looks like it’s been done by a work experience kid; TV Times (“I never knew there was so little in it!”) appears to have just reused an old illustration of Santa from 1984; What’s on TV, TV Choice and TV Easy have all used virtually identical EastEnders pictures and appear to be in competition with each other to see who can be the tackiest and cheapest looking; and the always woeful TV and Satellite Week has plumped for a really ugly photo of the massively over-rated Gavin and Stacey.

    RT may be rubbish, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the rest of the TV mags out there.

  2. Lolsworth

    December 9, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    It is a great cover. Not aa good as any of those (except Yarwood, to which it is heavily superior) but still a great cover.

  3. David Smith

    December 9, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Well, we all like figgy pudding, so I reckon they are as follows:

    1. 1978
    2. 1981
    3. 1988 (this one holds the record for the biggest-selling magazine of all time, apparently)
    4. 1967
    5. 1928 (in other words, the first one ever. Have you chaps been browsing on eBay, perchance?)

    The Wallace and Gromit cover is of minor significance to RT anoraks in that it’s the first photo cover in 19 years, since 1989’s rather dull choirboy. Personally I can’t accept B&Q on the back cover; it should be Butlin’s by law.

  4. Ben

    December 10, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Tacky it may be, but the TV Quick Wallace and Gromit cover is hilarious. Wallace’s arm resembles a man’s member in a state of heightened excitement. Highly subversive stuff.

  5. Elaine

    December 10, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Give the Radio Times it’s due. The alternatives – TV Choice, TV Times et al – really don’t bear comparison. They all seem to be written by morons, for morons…

  6. TV Cream

    December 10, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Sure, the Christmas Radio Times is still, and always has been, ahead of the rest. It’s just a shame this year’s issue seems to have forfeited accuracy and credibility for the sake of a couple more days on the news stands.

  7. Elaine

    December 10, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    I love the RT. My boyfriend’s elderly aunt swears by “The TV Choice book”, as she calls it, but then she smells of wee and tapes The Jermey Kyle Show so she’s probably not the best judge.

  8. Steve Williams

    December 10, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Incidentally, that Ronnies is sort of from 1997, in that I remember it was repeated that Christmas Day, and also re-edited, because they stuck the BBC logo in the opening titles, which I thought wa ridiculous. Presumably it’s that edit again – it’s five minute shorter than the original showing – so technically they’re correct. But obviously, in another, more obvious way, they’re wrong.

  9. Iain

    December 11, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Personally, am a fan of the Total TV Guide magazine. Have searched high for a Christmas one, but nobody round where I work/live (newcastle) is selling it. Does anyone know if they’ve gone bust or something?

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