Our British secret weapon: Jackie on Christmas TV in the UK

I love, love, LOVE Christmas episodes of British television. This is not really a big surprise, as I love British TV and I love Christmas (driving around in snow notwithstanding, every time I hear the song “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” I think about my fears of careening off a snow-covered highway while driving to visit the in-laws and it makes me want to punch something–“since we’ve no place to go,” my ass). So this week I asked our British secret weapon, Jackie, about what programs show up fairly regularly on UK television during the holidays. And here is her answer:

“There are a few programmes that seem to be repeated every year. Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, and more recently The Snowman and The Snow Dog, are timeless classics that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

I also love the way the BBC brings a different Julia Donaldson book to life each Christmas. It started in 2009 with The Gruffalo and continued with The Gruffalo’s Child and Room on the Broom – all narrated by British TV greats like Helena Bonham Carter, James Corden and Robbie Coltrane.

Many classic TV programmes have produced Christmas specials, but these don’t tend to be repeated each year. You might catch glimpses of episodes of Blackadder, Porridge, or Steptoe and Son on a compilation clip show, but they don’t tend to show repeat episodes on the main TV channels – unless you’re watching at 3am!

The only programmes that do seem to be repeated each year are Morecambe and Wise* and The Two Ronnies.

The main TV channels tend to be filled with new content. This year we’re going to be treated to Christmas specials from Call the Midwife, Still Open All Hours, Birds of a Feather, Doctor Who and Bake Off. I can’t wait!”

Isn’t it AWESOME knowing someone to give us the inside skinny on the telly? Thanks so much, Jackie, and Happy Christmas, all!

*I’ve already watched part of this and not only is it funny, but now I know what a “string vest” is, which I’ve heard referenced elsewhere (just wait for it in that clip–it’s there, at the very end, and Dylan Moran is always worth three minutes of wasted time at YouTube). This is all I could have asked for for Christmas–even more esoteric, nerdy Brit TV pop culture knowledge.

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