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Christmas TV – will you be tuning in or turning off?

Santa Claus in front of TV

It’s that time of year again when TV will either be a treat-filled festive cracker, or a duff cracker that leaves you glumly staring at your paper hat. Are you a festive telly fan?

Opinion is split here in the Which? offices –¬†varying¬†between those who are indifferent to the festive TV schedule, to others that are turned off by the mere mention of Christmas Television (or, specifically, Eastenders).

In an ideal world, Christmas should be a happy time and many of us are pretty fortunate to be warm and filled to the brim with food. And many of us are ready to watch the Queen’s Speech or Only Fools and Horses for the 57th time. Not me.

Elisa on missing it (but not missing out)

For my family at Christmas, the TV is given a rest and goes virtually unwatched. Not only is it partially buried under a good haul of Christmas cards and well-placed decorations, it’s also drowned out by festive cheer.

Friends and family come over to my parents’ house over the Christmas period. We catch-up with each other, are thoroughly spoilt with home cooking, play games (including the obligatory four-hour long game of Monopoly), and¬†may even allow ourselves to be subjected to my Dad’s enthusiastically devised quiz. And that’s despite the odd obscure question that only his fellow aeroplane enthusiasts will know the answer to. All in all we enjoy a merry old time.

So, while we often miss what‚Äôs on TV at Christmas, I’m happy to avoid it. Especially the persistent stream of adverts. Ads for last-minute Christmas gifts, which are then¬†steadily¬†replaced by those insisting you simply cannot miss out on their sales.

That said, I do intend to catch every second of the Coronation Street specials this year.

Then there’s Eastenders. And this is where my colleague Jess Moreton comes in…

Jess wishes for an end to Eastenders

Every year you can rely on a plethora of ‘feel good’ TV to add to the merriment of Christmas Day.¬†Strictly Come Dancing, Downton Abbey and the Top of the Pops Christmas Special are among my¬†favourites.

But in the midst of all the good cheer, the mood is ruined by one programme in¬†particular ‚Äď the dreaded Eastenders. The Eastenders cast cry and shout their way through¬†an extra-long special thoroughly dampening the Christmas mood. The plot lines are as unfestive as¬†you can possibly imagine ‚Äď this year bookies are taking bets on how current baddie Derek¬†Branning will die. Will he be murdered, and if so by whom? And if not, will he end it all¬†himself?

Surely this is not what we need blasting into our houses on Christmas Day? I¬†know there‚Äôs a wide choice of TV available over the festive period and I can easily avoid¬†Eastenders, but I still strongly dislike sombre shows being broadcast on primetime BBC at Christmas.¬†Sorry¬†Eastenders fans, this one just isn’t for me.

So there you have it – that’s what we’re tuning into (or not!) this holiday season. How about you? Do you flick through the TV guide in anticipation of some great films and Christmas specials, or do you avoid festive telly altogether?


Due to floods, our daughter and her partner will not be able to get to us this year for the first time ever.
However we always record some programmes during the preceding month to watch over Christmas as the live programmes are pretty naff. Same old films etc..
So we will be watching some of our recorded stuff. Same as we always look forward to Christmas day with our daughter, especially as she hasn’t had a day off for 2 weeks inckuding Sundays.

I am sorry to hear that you’re daughter can’t make it for Christmas, redkite. But at least you had the forethought to record some programmes to keep you entertained during the day! I hope you managed to celebrate a (belated) Christmas with your daugther soon.

Christmas TV-pass
Radio? that is R3 and R4 daytime kinda pass. Evening radio surprise surprise just about listenable. Some discount on the licence fee maybe? Oh bye the way I do recommend GOOD dvds. Last night (Christmas Eve) I watched a superb old Channel 4 production (whatever happened to it?) The programe in question was the Miles Davis Story-brilliant,on DVD of course.Then I watched a superb Franco-Russian production of Stravinsky’s two wonderful ballets The Firebird and The Rite of Spring-again dvd.Oh finally I resorted to old fashioned technology and read an excellent book. There are ways and means of circumnavigating this period of cultural desert? You could even go for a walk-I suppose?

I have to say I enjoyed the Snowman and the Snowdog. Brought back memories and much preferred the music than Aled Jones singing ‘Walking in the Air’. Or was it another choir singer, with Aled just singing the single version?