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So this is Christmas, and what have you done?

Well, if you’re Steve and Rad, you have prepared a three day preview of the best of Christmas telly so’s you can put your feet up for a couple of days.

Today we are not only previewing the best Christmas Eve has to offer, but also the best of Christmas Day (Cough. Kylie. Cough. In Doctor Who. Cough.) and Boxing Day. So put your feet up, grab a mulled wine and mince pie and let us guide you through the next few days’ telly treats. You may actually want to read it a day at a time, actually, as it’s a bumper-sized edition (well, if the Radio Times can do it)…

ANTICIPATION! Christmas Eve telly

Most of the channels have filled the day with films, presumably thinking that parents will be busy stuffing turkeys and peeling carrots and drinking sherry (one for Santa, one for meeee! etc) and whatnot, so they will want to stick the kids in front of a film or two, or three, for the day.

BBC1 is, as always, the prime choice for your discerning kids (and we are not talking about Sky Movies deliberately. Mainly because we don’t have it), with Ella Enchanted at 1:20, followed at 2:45 by Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events which promised to be a franchise (after all there are 13 books to cover) but seemed to stall at this one film, followed at 4:20 by The Princess Diaries 2, followed by an eensy bit of news to frighten the kiddies, then the filmic fun continues with a 25 minute new special, Shrek the Halls.

For the grown ups, the Beeb also has Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl at 8:30, and Hope Springs at 12:45am. Five are showing a bunch of things we’ve never heard of, whilst ITV goes traditional with The Railway Children at 12:15pm and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at 4:15. With, err, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation in between at 2:15. Channel 4 has 80s kids fave (that’ll be us then) The Snowman at 1:50pm, opposite films on all the other main terrestrial channels, including My Fair Lady at 1:15 on BBC2.

The soaps today are building up to their big Christmas plots, which we all know about anyway, because the papers and TV guides spilled the beans weeks ago, and we'll cover those in full detail in tomorrow's entry.

Gordon RamsayIn comedy, BBC2 seems to be having a Ken Dodd night, which isn’t exactly our cup of tea, at least not on Christmas Eve. And Channel 4 is countering this with Gordon Ramsay night, featuring an F-Word clip show (yawn) and the very exciting prospect of Kitchen Nightmares USA . Your annual French and Saunders is a clip show of their best Christmas bits, as Catherine Tate has clearly usurped their Christmas comedy throne.

There’s also a festive two-hour comedy/drama extravaganza thingy at 9pm on ITV, Christmas at the Riviera. It stars some great people, as ITV big comedies and dramas always do (Pam Ferris, Reece Shearsmith, Anna Chancellor, Ben from Lead Balloon), but it will also be rubbish, as ITV extravanganzas always are.

When Joseph Met MariaThe ultimate HIGHLIGHT of the day (and, barring Doctor Who, the week) will be When Joseph Met Maria, BBC1, 7pm. Lee Mead! Connie Fisher! Hopefully Daniel Boys! (and John Barrowman – but you can’t have everything – and no doubt Myleene Klass as well for reasons of compulsory ubiquity). We don’t know what they are actually going to be doing in this show, but who cares, it will be wonderful anyway.

Christmas CarolsYou can see Jesus’ birthday in with the midnight carol service Christmas in Worcester on BBC1 at 11:35, (along with obligatory Carols from King’s, BBC2, 5:30pm), one of the only actually festive things on all evening. But perhaps that's because all of the truly festive telly is being saved for tomorrow, so if you want to know about that, why not hurry up and read the next bit, eh?

PRESENTS AND TURKEYS!Christmas Day

This is one of the busiest telly days of the year, so we'll just get straight down to business and mention the stuff we think will be worth watching. Let's assume that most of us will be too busy opening presents and fighting with our relatives to watch much telly on Christmas morning, as there isn't really anything there that looks hugely exciting. Indeed, our first pick would have to be Casper on ITV1 at 11.40am, wherein Christina Ricci meets a friendly ghost, and hijinks ensue. Hooray!

The QueenThen a return for a much-mourned show, the Top of the Pops Christmas Special is on BBC1 at 1.30pm, going over some of the year's most popular songs. It's probably safe to say that Rihanna will be in there with her umberella-ella-ella-eh-eh-eh somewhere, and probably Leon bloody Jackson too. In one of the few reliable occasions of synchronised scheduling, we can then choose whether we want to watch The Queen's speech to the Commonwealth on BBC1 or ITV1 at 3.00pm. Rumours that the only difference between the two will be the inclusion of a phone-in vote on the ITV edition have proven utterly false, thankfully. (Channel 4's traditional alternative Xmas message is on at 8.05pm, by the way, and we think they're definitely missing a trick if it isn't done by the McQueen family from Hollyoaks, who could perhaps declare 2007 their "annus vestsecksis" or something.) Finding Nemo is on BBC1 at 3.10pm, where our children will learn that even clownfish can be neurotic parents too.

EastEndersIn terms of festive soaps, there's a bit of schedule-hopping to be done: you can find EastEnders on BBC1 at 6.20pm and 8.00pm, with the promise that Stacey and Max's grubby affair will finally be revealed and we can all just bloody get on with our lives now (and as much as it pains us to disagree with Grace Dent, we don't have any sympathy for Max at all), while on ITV1 Emmerdale is on at 6.50pm for an hour-long special, where Jack will be weeping over Diane's betrayal, and Coronation Street is on at 8.30pm for an hour, with Sarah and Jason coming to an important understanding about their future. Interestingly, Hollyoaks is getting a festive episode this year, but has been booted out of its C4 slot and will instead just air at 7.00pm on E4, as far as we can see. Fear not, digital refuseniks: there will be a triple-bill on Boxing Day at 5.15pm.

Doctor WhoThe festive Doctor Who, involving Kylie and the Titanic, which ought to be wow-ow-ow-wow, is on BBC1 at 6.50pm, and there's really little else we can say about that other than the fact that it's Kylie in Doctor Who and if that news doesn't excite you even a little bit, this may not be the website for you. And on ITV1 at 8.00pm is Harry Hill's Christmas TV Burp, which we're very excited about indeed. We can't wait to see his verdict on the festive telly, to check whether we were right to be enjoying ourselves or not.

Strictly Come DancingStrictly Come Dancing has its Christmas special at 8.30pm, where this year's top four (that's Letitia, deserved victor Alesha, Gethin and Matt, if you've alreay forgotten) take on previous champs Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash to see who gets the festive trophy, based on the votes of the judges and the studio audience, which is always a bit of a frustrating experience for those of us used to giving fate a poke in the eye with our phone votes. Somewhat randomly, albeit not unwelcomely, if that's a word, on BBC2 in the same slot is a 90-minute festive special of Dragons' Den, looking back at some of the highlights of the show to date, including Reggae Reggae Sauce and the waterless egg cooker.

To the Manor BornA moment of lowculture silence, please, for the return of To the Manor Born on BBC1 at 9.30pm, where we catch up with what Richard and Audrey DeVere have been doing over the past 25 years. There will be probably be fierce competition between this and Doctor Who to be the absolute best thing on telly on Christmas Day. Either way, we're very excited by both of them. At 10.30pm on BBC1 there's The Catherine Tate Christmas Show, containing the rumoured death of Lauren. But is she bovvered?

The Motorcycle DiariesAnd finally, for those of us who are sick of traditional festive fare at this stage, Channel 4 is airing The Motorcycle Diaries at 10.35pm, for those who think they might need a bit of actual culture at this stage, or indeed just a nice bit of Gael Garcia Bernal. Never let it be said that Channel 4 doesn't now exactly what we want for Christmas.

Obviously that doesn't even begin to cover everything, and we haven't even looked at multichannel, but there's plenty there to be getting on with, so all that remains is for us to wish you a very happy Christmas Day from everyone at lowculture.


HANGOVERS AND LEFTOVERS! Boxing Day

Now, by rights, this should be the best telly day of the year, because the presents are opened, the best food is eaten, with only coffee creams and turkey sandwiches to gorge on, the toys have all been played with, and your relatives are getting on your wick. But the schedulers tend to stick all the big guns on on Christmas Day, so this lot feels, appropriately enough, like the leftovers.

There is a wrong day alert over on BBC2, where its entire Thursday night comedy line-up has been moved to Wednesday (9:30pm onwards). We haven’t felt this disoriented since they replaced Holby City with Oliver Twist last week.

ITV1 gets the Dickens bug tonight with The Old Curiosity Shop: for which, scroll back up to what we said about Christmas Eve’s big drama/comedy thing.

An American TailThe films are a bit sparse today, with only An American Tale (which still makes us teary-eyed - although in fairness everything makes us teary at this time of year, because we're tired and we've usually had too much cheap cava. We wept like little girls when Alesha won Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday) on Channel 4 at 11:30am, Monsters, Inc on BBC1 at 5:35pm and Galaxy Quest on BBC1 at 11:50pm(!) worthy of your attention.

Channel 4 sends out Studio 60 with a whimper at 1:05 and 1:55 am (yes, we know it was on More4 last week, but we had other things to talk about then), the soaps continue the Christmas fall-out and BBC4 gets relatively populist with Darcey Bussell’s Ten Best Ballet Moments at 9:55pm. BBC3 is the only channel still clinging to the festive spirit, with EastEnders Christmas Fall Outs at 8:30pm and Chrissytittybangbang at 9:30pm.

Jake Shears in DollywooodThe two main events today, though, are Jake Shears in Dollywood, which has got several of the forum users already in a tizz, and is on at the ridiculous hour of 11am(!) on Channel 4, and Ballet Shoes, a family drama of the type wot they used to make, starring Emilia Fox, Emma Watson (always our favourite of the main trio from the Harry Potter movies, we don't care what anyone says), Richard Griffiths, Yasmin Paige (Maria from the Sarah Jane Adventures), Marc Warren, Eileen Atkins, and (multiple yays) Victoria Wood. This is on from 8:30-9:55pm on BBC1, which seems a bit late for kids, but what do we know, eh?

And that's it! Normal daily updates resume on the 27th. Merry Christmas one and all!

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thankyou lowculture, merry christmas to you too!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:16 pm  

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According to Marxist theory, cultural forms such as opera, classical music and the literary works of Shakespeare all fall under the heading of high culture. Low culture refers to a wide variety of cultural themes that are characterised by their consumption by the masses. We might not be Marxists, but we do know we loved Footballers Wives. If you do too, you'll know what this is all about.

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