One of the real joys of Christmas is being able to kick back and drink yourself to near-death.*
[*Some folk also like to see their family and friends during this special time. However others believe that a case of Buckie offers exactly the same ‘nearest and dearest’ experience… 😉]
But there is also the welcome opportunity to watch some seriously obscure TV. Match of the Day, for example. Who knew that it was still on, and that the Premier League was still a ‘thing’? An insomnia-curing thing…
The Clumpany also noted that Her Majesty is still producing an annual pilot for her proposed series which would be entitled “My Speech”. You have to admire her relentless efforts on this over the decades. I am sure it WILL be commissioned by a network one day.
And then there’s Coronation Street. On Christmas Day you really can’t beat a pint and melodrama in the Woolpack with some nice lingering shots of snowy North Yorkshire. I must admit that the last time I saw Coronation. Street it looked like a grim cobbled bit of Greater Manchester, but I guess that even Weatherfield has to move with the times. As well as into a different county.
I am not sure what this new ‘Eastenders’ thing is, but it left me feeling as depressed as someone who went to the trouble of wearing a bread wrapper to a football match only to see their side pumped 5-1.
On the more positive side of things, it was good to see Dr Who still on the go, but WTF happened to William Hartnell? And what’s with the bizarre The Thick Of It mash-up?
However, my favourite sort of Christmas TV is the arcane documentaries. You know the sort of thing: Queen Victoria: Did She Sink Titanic? And Area 51: An Intergalactic Car Park?
This year, I stumbled across a really enjoyable season of programmes on the ‘F*ck Me, Did That REALLY Happen?’ Channel. The season was entitled “First Place Is For Losers!” and opened up with the heroic tale of how Captain Scott successfully consolidated his grip on second place by arriving at the South Pole some time after Roald Amundsen. In a touching sequence, it contained a ‘recreation’ of the celebratory triumphal parade which Scott and his team would have experienced in London had they ever made it back to the UK.
Next up was the story of how it was actually Queen Elizabeth II who saw off the Spanish Armada. Apparently Elizabeth I lacked the necessary winning credentials on account of not being second. So clearly our present Queen MUST have used Sir Francis Drake’s head as a cannonball fired from a bowling green to disperse the King of Spain’s fleet. Or something.
Buzz Aldrin then popped up to explain how Neil Armstrong’s claim to be the first man on the moon didn’t count as a result of him having a ‘going down the steps first’ advantage. “Second is the new first!” proclaimed a very proud Aldrin.
We then moved on to a number of Second World War ‘documentaries’ where it emerged that the real victors of the battles of El Alamein, Stalingrad and Berlin were Nazi Germany. Apparently “history has gone on to show that those who take second place are always the true winners”. Sadly the programme did not manage to explain quite how history had done this.
Late on Christmas Day, viewers were treated to a quiz show segment. This showed exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of contestants who lost the ‘gamble’ on Bullseye actually taking the speedboat home. I bet they REALLY felt like winners as they dragged it up the stairs to their Birmingham flats.
And then, at about 3am on Boxing Day morning, the continuity announcer informed viewers that the next programme would be about football, and would include the true story of the 1967 European Cup Final.
At that point I drew the line and went to bed.
Some history is so wonderful that it can’t be re-written, and some triumphs are so magnificent that second place doesn’t even come close.
NB Hat tip to @MarkMaclean6 and @CelticF1rst who had similar ideas for jokes!