Making Merry with what’s on the Telly 2
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So another 12 months have flown by quicker than Santa’s sleigh, although it seems more like 12 weeks since the first Making Merry was being put together as carefully as a letter to the Big Man in Lapland. Once again we’re going to save you the bother of drawing circles in the pages of Radio Times, and point you in the direction of what’s hot and what’s not in TV land over the festive season.
Wednesday, December 22
Calling all history buffs! Channel 5 prove they're not all about middle-of-the-road movies during the festive season, with Christmas at the Tower of London followed by Our Victorian Christmas. Meanwhile, The Hairy Bikers Go North for Christmas on BBC2, to prove once again that they're not proper chefs.
Top of the Tree: Christmas at the Tower of London (C5, 8pm) - Who would've thought it was even possible 400 years ago?
Top Turkey: Pointless Celebrities Christmas Special (BBC1, 5.15pm) - Maybe it wouldn't be if they got some fresh celebrities...
Thursday, December 23
Reasons to cheer tonight as it's the welcome return of probably the best sitcom around right now - a festive edition of Ghosts. To be honest, it's the saviour of today's schedule as there's precious little else to raise a glass to; that is, unless you're a fan of Danny Dyer. Prepare for The Wall v Celebrities: EastEnders Christmas Special, followed by... EastEnders. Joy to the world!
Top of the Tree: Ghosts (BBC1, 8.30pm) - If you haven't watched it already, prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
Top Turkey: The Wall v Celebrities: EastEnders Christmas Special (BBC1, 7.15pm) - First of a double dose of Danny Dyer.
A treat for those who don't have BritBox (and let's face it, that's about 95% of us) in the form of Spitting Image. The latex lookalikes are always worth a watch, and who knows who'll be getting sent-up in this one-off Yuletide special. Among those not doing Christmas so well tonight are 8 Out of 10 Cats and Top Gear.
Top of the Tree: A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Mezzotint (BBC2, 10.30pm) - A brand-new adaptation for the Beeb's M.R James season.
Top Turkey: Bradley & Barney: Breaking Dad at Christmas (ITV, 9pm) - Possibly the most pointless travel programme ever, and that's saying something.
A shame to say this, but if you're going to give a big fat "Humbug!" to the box, you'd be best off making it today. It's difficult to pick out anything outstanding as it's all a bit samey - see Channel 5's offerings of All-Time Favourite Abba Songs and Britain's Greatest 80s Songs. If you're one of the many who love Bake Off, however, the bacon on your pigs in blankets might be saved.
Top of the Tree: Terry Pratchett's The Abominable Snow Baby (C4, 7.30pm) - Although the competition wasn't fierce.
Top Turkey: Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special (BBC1, 10.20pm) - What else?
By stark contrast, St Stephen's Day gives us plenty to shout about. As an added bonus, the stars of the show don't clash, either. As tradition dictates, it's a banquet of racing on ITV, culminating in the King George VI Chase. A couple of hours later, the BBC serve up a double-helping of adventure, in the form of parts one and two of Around the World in 80 Days, starring David Tennant as Phileas Fogg.
Top of the Tree: Racing (ITV, 1pm) - Just gets the nod by virtue of tradition.
Top Turkey: Adele: The BBC Sessions (BBC2, 10pm) - She's back. We get it.
Monday, December 27
Unfortunately, sport is today's only saving grace, and even then it's at 1am, so technically it's on tomorrow. Either way, you've got a hell of a long wait before New Orleans Saints face-off against the Miami Dolphins for some live American Football. Maybe this is this why Netflix is so popular.
Top of the Tree: American Football (C5, 1pm) - As we edge ever closer to the Superbowl.
Top Turkey: EastEnders (BBC1, 7.30pm) - It was a tough call, but you can always rely on the cheeriest of soaps.
Tuesday, December 28
Tears will doubtless be shed tonight, as it's the final instalment of the hit drama series A Very British Scandal. Elsewhere there's Extraordinary Escapes at Christmas with Sandi Toksvig, and where better to explore at this time of year than Norway? Later, Gary Lineker is on hand to present the final Match of the Day of 2021.
Top of the Tree: A Very British Scandal (BBC1, 9pm) - Almost scandalous that it's finishing.
Top Turkey: Mock the Week (BBC2, 10pm) - Scandalous that it's still around.
Wednesday, December 29
It's all about Channel 4, but not all in a good way. Firstly, hats off to them for Celebrity Quizness, as four famous faces compete to win £25k for the charity of their choice. Before that, we're treated (an operative word) to a look at how the other half live in Billionaire Blooms and Britain's Most Expensive Houses.
Top of the Tree: Celebrity Quizness (C4, 10pm) - A great programme for great causes.
Top Turkey: Inside the Factory XL: Diggers (BBC2, 9pm) - Gregg Wallace pretending he's interested.
Thursday, December 30
As we near the end of this guide, it's a tale of two TV icons, one of them sadly no longer with us. First up is David Attenborough with Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard, then we have Wogan: Now You're Talking; essentially a biopic of the legendary broadcaster.
Top of the Tree: Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard (BBC1, 8pm) - And in the Thames, no less.
Top Turkey: Most Shocking TV Interviews (C5, 10.30pm) - A bit of a yawn, other than the Bee Gees walking out on Clive Anderson.
New Year's Eve
And so here we are - how's it been for you? There's not one, but two end of year extravaganzas going on tonight. Up for a second bite at the cherry is The Big New Years and New Years Eve Party, whilst there's also the seasoned campaigner in Jools' Annual Hoottenanny. While we've got your undivided attention, a merry Christmas and a happy new year from all of us here at Roobla!
Top of the Tree: Jools' Annual Hootenanny (BBC2, 11.25pm) - A much improved guest-list compared to the last few years.
Top Turkey: Question of Sport (BBC1, 8pm) - Anyone know what's become of 'Mystery Guest' and 'What Happened Next' ?