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I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Telly: Xmas Edition

Just as I’m getting over the death of Brian Griffin, the telly world goes and upsets me again. Mrs Brown’s Boys is possibly the worst thing that the BBC have ever made, I’m not even prepared to debate that, and I’d always assumed that the mouth-breathers who watch it were the most moronic of mums and dads. They seem to have hit an impressive new low though as 850 of them complained when the show was interrupted this week with news of Nelson Mandela’s death. These people were so engaged in their silly wigs and slapstick fuckery that when one of the world’s greatest leaders dies they find it outrageous to be alerted to the fact. These are the people watching Mrs Brown’s Boys everyone – just so we all know.

Right. Doctor Who. Has to be done. Not a massive fan but celebrating 50 years, and with the promise of not just David Tennant returning but also the casting of John Hurt as ‘The War Doctor’, it would take somebody far more cynical than I to refuse even a perfunctory look. Ten minutes in and the urge to turn off BBC iPlayer – the most painful, sideward shit of an online player – to lose another evening to xHamster had, to my surprise, very much passed. I must admit, this was a good hour of telly, and if you’re only going to watch one episode of Doctor Who in your life, make it ‘Day Of The Doctor’. The scene where all the Doctors show up did feel pretty special, even not knowing who most of them were. Also, we got the sneakiest of peeks at Capaldi’s 13th manifestation in the shape of, now, the most famous eyebrows of 20-fuckedy-13. Worth watching over Christmas to see how Malcolm Tucker takes on the role.

Something good you’re missing… and yes, you’re probably missing it… A Young Doctor’s Notebook returned to Sky Arts for a second season. The best post-Potter role I’ve seen the (now not so) young Daniel Radcliffe portray as yet, it’s an equally grim and hilarious story of a Russian Revolution-era doctor’s decline into morphine addiction amid the bloody chopping of limbs, bleak snowscapes, dead horses and sex with beastly women. John Hamm’s in it as well as the sort of ghost of Radcliffe’s future. John Hamm! It’s brilliant, it’s funny and you’re not watching it. Another one for Christmas viewing.

Some other Christmas planning, and no surprise the BBC is pulling out… um, none of the stops. As to best highlight their dryness of new talent, the big shows this year include a special of Lee Mack MOT failure of a vehicle Not Going Out, the aptly titled Pointless Celebrities, surefire family hit Christmas university Challenge, and of course Mrs Brown’s Boys Xmas Special. Poor old David Jason is being yanked from near death to reprise his role as Granville in Still Open All Hours, the biggest turn though being that made by Ronnie Barker.

There’s hope though, but not over on Channel 5 which is screening Eddie Stobart: 12 Days Of Christmas, nor indeed from ITV which will be on full soap fluff alert until Downton Abbey. ITV’s ability to keep their audience moderately stimulated just enough to stay alive and watch is remarkable. But no, salvation comes from Sky One’s Little Crackers. If you’ve not caught these before, they’re a series of short stories written by and starring some bloody good British talent. The blinding Chris O’Dowd penned Moone Boy started off as a Little Cracker before going on to be one of the most fun new comedy shows of 2012. This year Martin Freeman leads the pack playing his own dad. This is a really well made way to stream new ideas, and it all happens at Christmas… just as it should be.

Oh yeah… also, you should watch Die Hard, Bad Santa, The Children and Bernard and the Genie this year instead of Elf or anything with Tim Allen. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals.

- Alex Thompson

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