1979: 21 minutes of the pre-Christmas Swap Shop are illuminated by Debbie Harry and a Super 8 camera wielding Chris Stein taking calls and remaining unfazed by the experience of Noel. Apparently the pair were spotted at QPR that afternoon. Meanwhile Tiswas included a radical version of A Christmas Carol, Chris bringing a cow into the studio, the Barron Knights, Frank Carson in place of Lenny Henry and a water-fuelled ending during which Sally wisely disappears and the Phantom Flan Flinger slips over.
1983: The evergreen Dennis Waterman and George Cole Top Of The Pops appearance. Cole’s mike is too low at the start, both seem to be improvising around the lyrics and reputedly Waterman sought private words with John Peel after the show.
1984: By this Christmas Kid Creole and the Coconuts were not so much headed down it as paying rent on their dumper space, never to see the Top 20 again after the end of 1982 and their two singles that year failing to make it past number 83. Only one thing for it, then – a prime-time ITV fantasy musical with a message! Made by Granada, There’s Something Wrong In Paradise sees the mixed race band shipwrecked on a Caribbean island governed by a racist black dictator. The sometime August Darnell finds his true love (played by the Selecter’s Pauline Black), negotiates a Three Degrees cameo and spreads a message of harmony through postmodern calypso pop, and it’s all as confused but fun as it sounds. This has been uploaded by Coati Mundi himself, which at least makes up a little for his perennial ‘percussionist’ tiresomeness.
1987: No Limits went to the Shetland Isles for their Christmas special so Jenny and Tony could do their innocent at home act all over the locals and their customs. Though they clearly don’t know it given that they trail the next series as coming soon – and Tony Baker adds a joke about The Roxy, which in retrospect may have sealed its tempted fate – this was also its final show.
1990: Saint & Greavsie didn’t stop for Jimmy Greaves being ill, so his Spitting Image puppet stood in with the vocal aid of the recently deceased Peter Brackley (who despite the claims in some of his obituaries didn’t lend his impression to the latex lampoonery itself, that was Chris Barrie) Ian St John even seemingly addresses it as if it were the real thing at times. If nothing else, watch Jim Rosenthal nearly get elbowed in the face on live TV at 23:25.