Christmas Telly Round-Up

Happy 2016 everyone! As we stumble outside and face the grey drizzly dawn of another new year let’s enjoy a round-up of the best and worst telly from the past two weeks. If we concentrate really hard maybe we can still pretend we’re comatose on the sofa in a Batman onesie surrounded by Quality Street wrappers and fighting about whose turn it is to put the kettle on. Ah, happier times.

So in no particular order…

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‘Abz on the Christmas Farm’ – On the Box

As you may recall back in September BBC2 introduced us to a superstar in pretty unusual circumstances, and I thought he was fantastic. This was Abz Love, ex-boyband member of 5ive breaking with his past and being born again as a super enthusiastic small-holding farmer. In my review I was hoping for a follow-up, and the Christmas telly listings gave me that gift.

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‘The Great History Quiz’ – On the box

Geek squad assemble!

So it’s Christmas Eve, (in the front room, not the drunk tank… not this year) and we’re gathered to watch a festive treat on BBC 2 The Great History Quiz. “We’re so old” moans Mr H. Nope, not me. I’ve always been like this – a total geek for history, ever since Mrs Green dressed us up in togas for our Romans project when we were 12. And any show about the Tudor dynasty is bound to appeal to kids. I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t like grizzly tales of ancient plagues and beheadings. The continuing success of the wonderful Horrible Histories should make that abundantly clear. More on that later.

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‘Bear’s Wild Adventure with Barack Obama’ – On the Box

Well that was strange. And preachy, very preachy.

Barack Obama, sitting President of the USA, the guy with the most famous desk job in the world. He looks pretty fit for a fairly stressed out 54 year old but he seems to be worried that he’s not getting out enough. So he teams up with chipper Boy Scout adventurer Bear Grylls for a walk on the wild side up a glacier in Alaska.

Bear’s eyes light up as soon as he sees the helicopter (Chopper Force 1?) and from the off you can tell this is going to be a total bromance – “You look so fit. How do you keep so fit?” growled Bear, stating into Barack’s deep brown eyes. Barack is happy to be out of the office and out of his suit, but still wearing black and grey. How smart, how dull.

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‘House of Hypochondriacs’- On the Box

Important note: this blog post was written after watching the show and I’ve left it exactly as written at the time, but please see the comment from Shaun (a participant on the show) below. He’s not happy with how his comments were edited by Channel 4, and I’m very thankful for him contacting me to set the record straight.

I am not well.

It’s a virus, or a weird skin thing, or very possibly both. I need to leave it alone and it’ll get better and I need to hurry to Clinical Photography and get pictures taken to aid diagnosis. I need to continue life as normal and I need to stop using soap, cut myself off from all contact with humans and animals and never even look at another kiwi fruit for the rest of my life.

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Too much on TV- Series 2

So The Guardian has got it about right – proclaiming that 2015 was the year of never catch-up tv. Their review team voted for 112 different tv shows as the best of 2015. 112! That’s over 45 hours of tv. And that’s only the good stuff – the telly that people make time for and series link, not just the dross on the high-number Sky channels that you leave on for company, to keep the cat entertained or because your hangover hurts too much to reach over for the remote.

Speaking of over indulging, a proper Christmas break is the perfect time to snuggle up and catch up on the tv you missed. Taking inspiration from the Guardian’s extensive list I will try to find time for:

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‘The Man In The High Castle’ – Seeing the Future

“The entire first season of The Man In The High Castle will be released on Amazon Video on Friday 20 November”

The entire first season?! People – welcome to the future!

Not only are we able to watch a new US tv show at the same time as American viewers (unthinkable 20 years ago) but we can sit and binge-watch the entire first series in a day if we want to. Wow!

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