Christmas highlights, the tragic death of The Snowman. hangovers revisited and why, oh why, are they

moving Woman ’5 Hour?


Feast of films

‘God bless the TV companies, one and all!’ Chirped tinny Tim. stifling a belch and cracking open another can oflager. ‘Why, I bet their Christmas televisual delights amount to a veritable feast of goodies.’ Ross Parsons casts his eye overthe menu.

James Bond, The Sound ofi'i/lusie and The l Wizard ofOz notwithstanding. the prospect of bumper Yuletide audiences persuades the TV programmers to produce their best. If you are baffled by the bombardment of info on what will be shown by whom. then here is a briefsumtnary . ofwhat to watch out for. (Full details can be l found in the four-page TV Listings section. overleaf.)

The BBC have forked out for Spielberg‘s ET (Christmas Day, 3.05pm). which was born to be a Christmas smash. lt spearheads a season of Spielberg films which include Back to the Future

(Boxing Day, 6.05pm) lnnerspaee (Sat 22. 8pm) and his very first effort. the very watchable Duel (Fri 21 . 10.55pm). Meanwhile. ifyou can find the peace and quiet necessary to enjoy them. BBC2 will be giving the arthouse epic Jean De Florette (Christmas Day, 8.20pm) and its sequel Manon Des Sources (Boxing Day. 8pm) their first airings on British TV. Also ripe for potential ruination by channel-hopping young relatives. are the award-winning tale ofemigrant life in rural Denmark. Pelle the Conqueror (Fri 28. 9.35pm). the mammoth Little Darrin (in two three-hour sections: New Year‘s Day. 8pm and Wed 2. 7.25pm) and The Witches ofEastwiek (Thurs 27.

10.35pm): all available for the first time on


British TV, thanks to Auntie Beeb. l'l'V have the traditional Bond movie Moonraker (Christmas Day. 3.05pm). with Moore's eyebrows at their quizzical best; while My Left Foot (Thurs 27. 9pm) and Dirty Dancing (Boxing Day. 8pm). head up their list of purchased movies for the festive period. Flushed with Christmas good cheer. Scottish TV have provided a group of their employees with an unusual Christmas bonus: they are to spend the entire festive period in the Edinburgh Royal Hospital for Sick Children. whence they will beam out reports on the young patients every week in The Sick Kids (Thurs 27. 6. 15pm). Wagner’s Ring Cycle on Channel 4 (Sat 29, 8pm, Sun 30. 2.30pm, also Sat 5 and Sun 6) and The Cunning Little Vixen on BBC2 (Christmas Day. 6.25pm) should excite some interest from opera buffs. while mainstream musical appetites will be whetted by Madonna (Christmas Eve.

9.30pm) and the Rolling Stones (llogmanay. 10.55pm) who are both appearing in (separate) concerts recorded for the BBC in Barcelona.

As a special Christmas treat for Mary Whitehouse. Channel 4 have taken the bold. some would say foolhardy. step of inviting Gerry Sadowitz to present three programmes. The foul-mouthed comic, who delights in attacking subjects others fear to mention, will be giving an insider‘s guide to magic tricks (Sun 23. 12.55am). While no one doubts that he is qualified to talk about conjuring. the question is how much of it can they broadcast? Among other highlights in a rather disappointing package from Channel 4 is their Night of(.'omedy. which runs from the ridiculous. Tommy Cooper (Thurs 27, 8pm), to the quick-time, Robin Williams (Thurs 27. 11pm). Then. just when you thought it was safe to leave your armchair a new series of ( 'heers begins on Friday 4.


The Snowman

‘Daddy, Daddy, the snowman’s not really dead is he? He comes back alive doesn't he Daddy, Daddy. . .?’ go the anguished pleas of the little ones on Christmas Day at the end oi Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, shown on Channel Four iorthe umpteenth time, and as much a part of the Festive season as tortured rhyming slang in the Only Fools And Horses Special, or ilrrns trying to llog you crap caravan


that overdose of seasonal sentiment is to cultivate a veneer of misanthropy.

the back there please. . .) There is only one answer: ‘Sorry kids, he’s kaput.


We all know the only way to survive

So you can’t resist it can you? Sitting there regretting opening the bottle of Baileys Auntie Greta sent you, bloody Christmas pud wasn’t cooked properly, and you've had to sit through 45 minutes of that smug white git ilying through the air getting up to ‘comic’ antics that are about as funny as the Krazy Kat cartoon in the Guardian. No you can’t resist it, sitting in your armchair surrounded by discarded Duality Street hard centres and dropped nuts (no Aled Jones jokes at

Stliied out. Deceased. That is one late snowman ha ha. Should’ve stuck him in the freezer, silly sods.’ Take it from me it’s the only way to maintain your sanity against the creeping tide of schmaltz, and the latest in a respectable line of ripostes that includes Bambi (‘She's a goner, a dead doe, venison sandwiches iortea . . .') and The Diary Of Anne Frank (‘Look in the cupboard you stupid Germans’) Christmas? Bah humbug. Anyone wanna bottle of

Mandate? (Tom Lappin)

The List 21 December 1990— lilJanuary 1991 67