I'm so glad the UK spend millions guaranteeing a jam-packed TV schedule for Christmas/New Year, featuring lots of specials and seasonal treats for audiences. From what I've heard, the US TV schedules are barren and desolate places, with all the big shows off-air for winter hiatus, which confuses me. What do those crazy Americans do till January? Talk to their families? Play games? Go outside? Crazy! No, but seriously, it seems weird. Or, rather, a missed opportunity.
Surely there's a captive American audience wanting to be entertained over the holidays, right? Is festive TV just not part of the culture overseas? I have memories of highlighting all the best shows in the Christmas edition of the Radio Times, as preparation for a Christmas half sat in front of the TV surrounded by toys, wrapping paper, wine, cake, chocolates and turkey sandwiches.
Anyway, here in the UK the BBC have released a list of what we can expect on their schedule this year:
Top Gear (a Three Wise Men inspired challenge to reach Bethlehem); sketch show The One Ronnie (where Ronnie Corbett's joined by stars like Rob Brydon, Elton John, Charlotte Church and James Corden); a Royle Family Christmas special "Joe's Crackers"; Ruth Jones's Christmas Cracker (with guest Ricky Gervais); Come Fly With Me (David Walliams and Matt Lucas's new airport-based sketch show); The Impressions Show Christmas Special; a festive edition of Shooting Stars; The Rob Brydon Show's Christmas special; drama The Nativity (starring Peter Capaldi); When Harvey Met Bob (a dramatization of the Live Aid concert's preparation); Eric & Ernie (a biopic on the early days of comedians Morecambe & Wise); a Miranda special; Helena Bonham Carter in the '60s drama Toast; an adaptation of Douglas Adams's novel Dirk Gently (starring Stephen Mangan); Doctor Who's Christmas special "A Christmas Carol" (guest-starring Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins); the premiere of the Upstairs, Downstairs revival; Rock And Chips: Five Gold Rings (a festive prequel to Only Fools & Horses); a new Just William adaptation; classic ghost story Whistle And I'll Come To You (starring John Hurt); The Hairy Bikers Mum Knows Best Christmas Special; Never Mind The Buzzcocks festive special; Mock The Week's Christmas special; and finales of The Apprentice and Strictly Come Dancing (which also has a Christmas special featuring new celebs).
What do you make of that lineup? A decent mix of specials and brand new shows? Is there anything you're particular excited about? Is anyone jealous the UK spend a fortune on Christmas TV, or is it much the same where you live?