“Christmas box that sound with the real sound of hooves on the roof and jingling bells everywhere.”
What can it all mean? That’s right! I’ve had a breakdown but before they cart me away to St Miranda’s Hospice For The Criminally Criminal, I’ve just enough time to listen to the Box Set Go Christmas Special, which is all about A Christmas Gift For You, the 1963 holiday staple that has been the backbone to many a festive event since its release fifty years ago.
Ben Baker and Tim Worthington are your guides to this wonderful but troubled release attempting to claw it back from just being “that Christmas record by the bloke who done murdered someone”. We’ll learn the genesis of how the groups came together, remember the short-lived Ronettes remake of Porridge, try to forget “Snoopy’s Christmas”, debate the pointlessness of a “Marshmallow World”, ponder the “Back To Mono” campaign and just who the sodding crikey Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans actually were. Plus mentions for Larry The Lamb, Brian Wilson, Bob Rivers, Simon Mayo, them Beatles, David Letterman and many more.
And who am I you ask? Why I’m The Ghost Of Christmas Past. And definitely not Ben Baker wearing a white sheet over his head and running round drunk at 3 o’clock in the morning. No. But if I was I’d definitely wish you a merry Christmas and invite you to enjoy the entire TATP back catalogue on this site or via iTunes. And if you want to leave us a present in return, a rating or review on there would be very helpful in bringing new people into our Marshmallow World of Twist. Thank you and enjoy!
Our final merry skip through the snowflowers (NOTE: check if this is an actual thing before publishing) before we lunge menacingly towards some new material with the last editions of “Cult Bin Advent”, “Why Wont Yule” and “Christmas In The…” programmes. So drag out your chocolate trains, throw a Cheeky Girl on the fire and lets allow ourselves to feel ever so slightly Christmassy…
“Hello! Richard Burton here…”
Here’s hoping you’ve all got your Twilight beds and “Cool It!” BluRays wrapped and under the tree. If not, why not do it now in the company of the latest – and indeed final – Cult Bin Advent with Ben Baker and Tim Worthington as they take a half hour sleigh ride through the subject of “Advent…erm…Stuff”.
What exactly is “Advent Stuff”?
Well, its anything and everything we couldn’t fit into the previous three shows, including two radio programmes, a book and two festively-filled TV listings magazines. In and among you’ll find out what was nearly called “Baddiel’s About”, what was the most horrific Radio Times cover ever, how a Scampi’s song sounds, what fantastic pop-culture books you might like to buy, which misguided 90s indie rocker needs a career revival, what the Blue Peter team were banned from doing with Magpie‘s Mick Robinson, how many jokes Tarby‘s got this Christmas and what true rock and roll is with a chap named Cameron Ingrams.
Congratulations, you’ve got through the three weeks of slow build up and now we’re in Christmas proper and you know what that means…you can LEGALLY listen to Now The Christmas Album in full and the fuzz can’t touch you for it (even if half the people on it are presently under investigation by Operation Yewtree.) So join Ben Baker, Tim Worthington and Phil Catterall sharing two small headphones between them as they enjoy the likes of Slade in tinny barely audible quality. As well as that we’ll be taking on the big subjects, namely selection boxes, Christmas parties that seemingly only existed in 1970s sitcoms and our favourite (and most loathed) TV specials running the gamut from Community to that bloody “Miami Twice” episode of Only Fools And Horses.
And finally, here’s Tim with his final festive mixtape taking in the last two decades: “Personally speaking, the nineties was something of a blur (and indeed a Blur) of indie music and non-daytime Radio 1 shows, and that’s pretty much what you’re getting here, with the odd more recent thing thrown in for good measure. Kicking off with the intro speech from The Coen Brothers‘ best film The Hudsucker Proxy, we’re then into a bit of a Radio 1 medley, with an extract from Chris Morris‘ recently unearthed (thanks to a reader of my book about Radio 1 comedy, Fun At One) 1990 Christmas Day show, a Festive jingle from Easy Listening boom-inspired oddity Radio Tip Top, the intro from John Shuttleworth‘s Christmas Special, the Christmas 1994 station sting, and Lee & Herring‘s introduction from their Christmas show the following year.
Then it’s Saint Etienne and Tim Burgess with I Was Born On Christmas Day, with a bit more Radio 1 over the top courtesy of Victor Lewis-Smith. Rotterdam Termination Source‘s sinus-hurting Yuletide salutation for ravers Merry X-Mess is next, with bits from Alan Parker Urban Warrior‘s Radio 1 Christmas Special, and the unmatchable Father Ted Christmas Special A Christmassy Ted in the house piano bits, and some more from Chris Morris, this time from his 1994 Christmas show.
Long-fringed long-sleeved indie sensations Ride unsubtly rework their earlier Like A Daydream as Like A Snowflake, with some more Radio 1 business from John Shuttleworth and Chris Morris, and Peter Cook being interviewed by Ludovic Kennedy for Twelve Days Of Christmas-themed absurdist chat series A Life In Pieces. Elastica‘s Ding Dong Merrily On High rewrite All For Gloria, from a Christmas Carol-based session for Radio 1′s short-lived ‘religion is hip!’ magazine show The Big Holy 1, is followed by the no less celebratory BBC1 Christmas trailer from 1993, in which such unlikely participants as Paul Daniels, Mr Blobby and the cast of Birds Of A Feather belt out a ludicrous doo-wop number about Christmas schedules.
John Shuttleworth‘s The Christmas Orphan is next, followed – via a bit of the Futurama cast facing up to the impossibly high ‘Naughty/Nice’ standards of Robot Santa – by Pet Shop Boys‘ All Over The World, which frankly should have been the Christmas number one a couple of years back instead of that Military Wives thing.
There’s a bit of the original Have I Got News For You Christmas Special from 1991 in the middle too. Hugh Laurie causes grumpy gift-giving mayhem in one of the Christmas episodes of House, followed by The Darkness‘ tremendous Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End), accompanied by a glimpse of Seinfeld‘s alternative religious festival ‘Festivus’.
Blur‘s little-heard take on a medieval carol The Wassailing Song is next, followed by Peter Serafinowicz‘ ‘Ringo Remembers’ sketch about ‘Dinners’ ruining Christmas with filth, and Spitting Image‘s The Christmas Singles, another Phil Pope-penned lament for the fact that people insist on playing Slade‘s festive opus as if it’s a perfectly listenable and perfectly harmless song that you hear once a year.
The Mike Flowers Pops‘ other Christmas single, Give Her One For Christmas, and Super Furry Animals‘ underperforming Yuletide offering The Gift That Keeps Giving, are brought together by a bit of The Santa Clause with – what else – Bernard being ‘wiseass’, and David Tennant making his Doctor Who debut in The Christmas Invasion.
Then there’s just time for one last bit of Radio 1 with Belle & Sebastian careering through The Twelve Days Of Christmas for the last ever Christmas Carol Concert at Peel Acres, Liz Lemon getting a bit bah humbug in one of the eight million Christmas episodes of 30 Rock, and the cast of Glee dreaming of a White Christmas. And on that note, Happy Christmas…!!’ And if you like all this nonsense, consider giving us the greatest gift – no, not food and shelter for the entire world’s sick and poor – I had to take the last one back to Argos as it wasn’t in the colour I’d asked for – but a nice review and rating on iTunes *here* so other fellow festive types with excellent taste in podcast fun might find their way to TATP. We’ll be back with some of this very soon. A very merry Christmas to you and yours from all of us. Hope you get that Chocolate Train you asked Santa for…
Its time to remember those less fortunate than ourselves at Christmas – those poor, old podcasts who only get to be loved every December – and you can help. Simply send no money and listen to these three shows, starting with the third of Ben Baker and Tim Worthington‘s “Cult Bin Advent” programmes in which they discuss the things that have a distinct Christmassy feel without having that much to do with the season itself.
This episode deals with Advent Music (That Isn’t Actually Advent Music) in which you’ll learn about the cows agriculture forgot, when Brian Wilson was right, Martin Green and the rise of “Moogs Funks Breaks”, why “Heroes and Villains” was nearly an utter disaster, where the Family Ness were when John Cale was recording “Paris 1919″ (or halfway through The One Show), Glam Goose, The Adventures Of Don Quick, Lou Reed’s approach to etiquette, what Dave Lee Travis tapped his hairy feet to and and who or what ‘Eurofashion ’68′ might or might not have been…
The following year added the true spirit of festivity Phil Catterall to the chaotic Christmas countdown that was “Why Wont Yule”. This third show saw your audio pals putting up the decorations and tree like any normal person, watching ‘pre-Christmas limbo’ daytime TV and waiting for even the slightest bit of specially placed tinsel or baubles on Rob Curling‘s majestic “Turnabout”.
You’ll also find out which of us actually went carol singing and which of us always awaited delivery of a Christmas Hamper (read = a box with some corned beef in). Plus such standard diversions as a giant robot ant, a statistical breakdown of American vs. British sitcom characters’ retrieval of decorations, how hampers are apparently like an autopsy, why a Chocolate Orange is essential to Phil‘s family Christmas tree traditions and a lot more to boot… Jason, stop messing with that ”If You See God, Tell Him” playset and go help yer father get the cyber-decorations out of the eLoft!
Tim’s decade-decimating highlights of all things sparkling with “Christmas In The 80s”, a mix of music, comedy, TV and other misc clips for a certain generation in which it was all about late-night comedy and hints of slightly more interesting music poking through the all-pervading pop but still gets dewey eyed at a BBC1 Christmas Day rundown from 1985….
And here’s Tim with a more detailed look at the contents… “Starting with the legendary 1985 Telly Addicts Christmas Special in which reigning champions The Pains took on the Michael Grade-fronted ‘Aches’ its then onto the opening theme from state-of-the-art BBC children’s drama The Box Of Delights, The Housemartins performing an impromptu Christmas greeting to listeners at the end of a Peel Session version of Heaven Help Us All, Holly Johnson‘s phone-in contribution to the b-side of Do They Know It’s Christmas?, and from 1989, the unfairly maligned reworking of Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid II, which may not have worn well but is still infinitely more listenable than the dreary Band Aid 20.
Then there’s a bit of the Terrahawks special A Christmas Miracle, ‘Neil’ introducing the ‘Christmas Ripoff Mix’ of his flop second single My White Bicycle, and Band Aid II escapee Jason Donovan with his really rather good Christmas single When You Come Back To Me, with Roland Rat proffering greetings from his BBC debuting Yuletide Binge, and a bit of Dormobile-related seasonal angst from the Christmas Special of Ever Decreasing Circles. John Peel, from his famed Other Christmas Records show, introduces The Waitresses with Christmas Wrapping, and a couple of extracts from a Blue Peter behind-the-scenes feature on the Grange Hill Christmas Special where someone tried to steal the school disco, Mel Smith & Griff Rhys Jones‘ Home Made Xmas Video, and the oft-censored bit of Blackadder’s Christmas Carol. Then there’s a Woolworths ad, sadly in place of the Christmas ’82 (CHECKITOUT!) Today’s Tesco one, which I couldn’t find anywhere. I’m just off to the Zavvi! Meanwhile, Comic Strip Presents… spinoff heavy metal spoof Bad News turn in their one musically listenable moment with Cashing In On Christmas, followed by EastEnders (when it was good)’s celebrated ‘Happy Christmas, Ange’ ratings-topping shenanigans, XTC‘s frustratingly overlooked Thanks For Christmas, and an inexplicable ‘Psychedelic Christmas’ greeting recorded by XTC frontman Andy Partridge for his label’s seasonal promo CD. Shakin’ Stevens‘ Merry Christmas Everyone comes accompanied by a ‘Bad Girl Warning’, as there’s a bit of the Christmas Special of notorious bad behaviour blame-target Educating Marmalade over the top, and it’s followed by a hefty chunk of Radio 4′s commercial radio parody Radio Active, complete with Phil Pope‘s oddly-worded Wizzard parody Thank Christ It Isn’t Christmas Every Day, and its explanation-averse lyric “skin Roland Rat alive and shout hooray”. Aztec Camera‘s Walk Out To Winter and Alan Ayckbourn’s BBC2 play Season’s Greetings add an Observer reader-slanted touch to proceedings, and the Quality Street ‘All The Fun Of The Share’ ad adds all the flavours you don’t much care for but which are the only ones left in the tin. Mel Smith and Kim Wilde do their bit for Comic Relief with Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – in the little heard longer and indeed Griff-heavy version – followed by a bit of its ‘recording studio hijinks’ b-side Deck The Bloomin’ Halls over the top of Jona Lewie‘s Stop The Cavalry.
Spitting Image‘s controversial Chicken Song follow-up Santa Claus Is On The Dole is up next, followed by New Kids On The Block with Merry Merry Christmas, and late-night ‘computer generated’ pop show host Max Headroom‘s work of demented genius Merry Christmas Santa Claus (You’re A Lovely Guy), with a bit of encouragement from Channel 4′s charade-playing Christmas trailer robots. Then there’s an outro from a )Telly Addicts Christmas Special, ‘Dinners’ McCartney‘s incomprehensible phoned-in contribution to the b-side of Do They Know It’s Christmas, and French And Saunders and Raw Sex demonstrating the correct way to do a Festive version of your theme tune. And, thankfully, no room for Jive Bunny…”
So if you like all this nonsense, consider giving us the greatest gift – no, not an end to suffering and decay – I’ve got six already and they’re just cluttering up the shed – but a nice review and rating on iTunes *here* so other fellow festive types with excellent taste in podcast fun might find their way to TATP. Merry Even More Nearly A Bit More Christmas!
Ahead of the new series of New Chart Riot next January, here’s another chance to hear Ben and Phil‘s Christmas Eve special from 2012. Ben’s pretending to be a ghost or something and Phil’s getting pissed off. Pretty much business as usual then…
“Its Christmas Eve and Ebenezer Phil Catterall is about to receive a very special ghost, in the form of Ben Baker. Who is neither dead or a ghost, but definitely is special. In this extra-length, bumper free gift double issue of New Chart Riot, Ben and Phil learn the true meaning of whatitsface…starts with a C…Crampsis? Anyway, whatever this period is, we’re going to learn the shit out of it via three random festive charts.
We’ll discover the world’s worst advent calendar, how to tell when a dog is dead, the biggest grossing Christmas movies since 1980, what John Grisham gets up to at the festive period, which animated holiday classic Ben finds utterly – and controversially – tedious, the (alleged) ten worst Christmas songs of all time (spoiler alert: this is ridiculous), the John Ritter / Judge Reinhold personality conundrum, what Michael Dorn could do next, a Kirsty MacColl records appeal, a heated debate on who the inevitable star of the fourth Santa Clause film should be, the traditional festive treat of Frank Sinatra waiting outside the door, things Charles Dickens probably never shouted, the sequel they HAVE to make for Tango And Cash, East 17‘s cynical hooded evil and the “best” “Christmas” “quotes” “ever”.
Please note that due to previous commitments, this special has been recorded in July 1976.”
Don’t forget you can subscribe to us on iTunes *here* and if you think we’re the sort of charting chumps you’d like to share with the world, please consider giving us a nice review and rating so other fellow festive types with excellent taste in podcast nonsense might find their way here too. Thank you!
ITS NOTVERYCHRIIIIIISSSSTMAAAAASSSS! Before the all new festive specials later in the month, here’s a special selection box of increasingly Christmassy content from TATP years past.
First, here’s episode one of Cult Bin Advent from 2011, Ben Baker and Tim Worthington‘s first series of half hours in which they count down to the big day via all the little things that make it feel more and more like Christmas as the weeks go on.
Show 1 takes a look at Advent-associated TV programmes, including Noel Edmonds’ hoofer-doofer heavy quiz show Telly Addicts, over-repeated BBC Schools efforts Music Time and Watch, and the numerous quasi-supernatural children’s’ serials the BBC used to put on in the run-up to Christmas, including The Box Of Delights, The Moon Stallion, The Children Of Green Knowe and, of course, the bastard scary version of Pinocchio. Plus there’s stuff about Simon Pegg, Roland Rat, paper plates with faces drawn on them, and Eight Competing Bernard Cribbinses.
The following year, we dragged Phil Catterall into the mix for another four part series devoted to the weeks leading up to Christmas. We called it…
Show 1 looks at the first rumblings of festive feeling as we tiptoe delicately into December. The decorations aren’t up, we’re not actively listening to carols and most of our presents are lying unwrapped, and in many cases, still in the shop. But what is there can can officially announce the ‘C’ word without being overly festive too soon? Well…
We look at the tradition of Advent Calendars and the constant battle of “quality chocolate vs. character licensing”, the hours spent in those pre-internet days rifling through the Grattan catalogue and accidentally leaving them open for anyone to see on the page with the shiniest new Gobots, trips to school fairs and whether the “bottle pull” or “Chocolate Train” were really just figments of our childish imaginations.
And finally, the first in Tim Worthington‘s “Christmas In The…” mix series, running from the sixties to more or less the present day and guaranteed to bring memories, good and long-suppressed, flooding back when you hear them. Unless you haven’t heard them before, in which case I should just shut my face up and suggest that you start right now with Christmas in the 1960‘s.
And here are Tim‘s notes on what made it into this particular mix:
“The aim with this one was to try and capture a sense of how ‘different’ the run-up to Christmas was in the sixties, with the emphasis on actual literal physical shopping days, TV and radio shutting down overnight (and indeed people still considering radio as big an entertainment draw as television), and the way that spectacles such as department store Santas and Christmas Lights being officially ‘switched on’ seemed to be a much bigger deal than they have ever really been since.
Everything seems to have been a bit more bustling and condensed, which is hard to put across in music alone. To this end, it starts with a bit of a 1968 Pathe News piece on Glasgow’s Christmas Lights, which the reporter thought were superior to London’s display that year. Then there’s some music and narration from God Rest You Merry, an early sixties BBC Home Service production featuring Andrew Cruickshank (Doctor Cameron from Doctor Finlay’s Casebook) reading Bible passages over The Saint Martin Singers, which just goes to show how closely entertainment and religion were still intermingled in those days.
Then it’s on to the first record, The Vince Guaraldi Trio‘s take on Hark The Herald Angels Sing from their jazzed up score to A Charlie Brown Christmas, with a couple of bits of dialogue from the Boris Karloff-narrated How The Grinch Stole Christmas and David Frost‘s seasonal special Frost Over Christmas over the top. More TV spinoff material follows with Yulesville, an in-character song about meeting Santa by Ed ‘Kookie’ Byrnes, the jive-talking car park attendant from hip detective show 77 Sunset Strip. The Ronettes‘ take on Sleigh Ride from Phil Spector‘s legendary A Christmas Gift For You album follows, with a bit of Kenneth Horne‘s surprisingly post-modern introduction to the Christmas Special of bawdy radio comedy Round The Horne.
The BBC Radiophonic Workshop‘s John Baker hits a few cash registers to the tune of O Come All Ye Faithful for the slightly sarky Christmas Commercial, and over the top is an argument about the correct rendering of Basil Brush‘s tail from Something For The Children, a BBC documentary about how they merchandised their own children’s shows. Amazing to think that something that would get right up Rupert Murdoch‘s nose and have people calling for an end to the license fee nowadays was considered a bit of harmless Christmas Eve entertainment back then.
The most peculiar cash-in record of all time, The Go-Go‘s I’m Gonna Spend My Christmas With A Dalek (apparently written by someone who had never even seen a Dalek), leads in to a clip from The Feast Of Steven, the even more peculiar Christmas Day panto episode of Doctor Who from 1965.
Forgotten sixties girl group Wild Honey offer up a funky tribute to recently-assassinated politicians in Christmas Angels, while Jack Warner, TV’s Dixon Of Dock Green, introduces a mini-episode of The Likely Lads from the BBC’s one-time multi-show institution Christmas Night With The Stars. Then there’s a hefty chunk from the Christmas Special of The Craig Torso Show, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band‘s parody of the recently-launched Radio 1.
The Anita Kerr Singers tell the story of The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle, while over on Tracy Island, Gerry Anderson‘s puppets are having yet another heartwarming seasonal adventure in the company of a suspiciously healthy-looking ‘ill’ youngster in the Thunderbirds episode Give Or Take A Million. The Beach Boys sing in praise of Little Saint Nick, with an alarmingly ahead-of-its-time bit of amusement about short-stay BBC Director Generals from the Christmas Special of Goodies/Python prefiguring radio show I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again, and a trailer for the notoriously so-bad-it’s-good movie Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. Unhinged garage band The Sonics get in on the act with Santa Claus, underneath The Monkees discussing Peter‘s poor track record in present-buying from their Christmas Special.
Then it’s The Vince Guaraldi Trio again, with instrumental A Charlie Brown Christmas selection Skating, and some hefty chunks of dialogue taken from the Hancock’s Half Hour special Hancock’s Happy Christmas, a bit more from The Craig Torso Christmas Show, and an extract from A Charlie Brown Christmas itself.
Then it’s into a Light Entertainment segue with Marty Feldman‘s dour A Joyous Time Of Year (worth it for the line about Christmas Cracker jokes being “as funny as King Lear”), Andy Williams doing a bizarrely rewritten version of The Twelve Days Of Christmas in one of his all-star multicoloured TV spectaculars (which, erm, UK viewers only got to see in black and white), Rolf Harris singing about Christmas in Australia in Six White Boomers, and Dean Martin‘s wry The Christmas Blues.
Equally wry singer-songwriter Jake Thackray chimes in with Joseph, a song in honour of the forgotten man of the Christmas story, followed by Dudley Moore leading the Private Eye staff through a terrifying rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas (from the 1964 Christmas giveaway single I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus), a brief bit of the Joe 90 Christmas episode The Unorthodox Shepherd (which is actually better than the other Supermarionation Christmas episodes, despite the show proper generally being duller), a slightly less brief bit from The Beatles‘ 1964 Fan Club Christmas record, and to finish, a clip from the Pathe News item ‘Christmas Greetings From Space’ (no, really), and a final bit of Bonzos. See you in the seventies!”
And Tim‘s own blog – http://timworthington.blogspot.co.uk - is also re-running the complete “Nothing To Do With Us Advent Calendar” every day from the 1st until the big day itself. Enjoy!
Whether you sat as a timid six year old in 1963 scrambling in fear from the first sight of a Dalek or were in your mid-twenties and it was March 2005 when you first came into contact with the programme, Doctor Who means a lot of things to a lot of people. Which means trying distil 50 years into a 45 minute mixtape taking in every Doctor, era and assorted Rill would be a very foolish idea indeed.
Hi, The TATP Years, have we met? Hang on, we’re regenerating…
Hand-picked by Tim Worthington and Ben Baker and mixed by the latter, The Doctor Who Years is less a comprehensive guide to the series and more everything else that comes with such a televisual phenomenon – an audio scrapbook of the awkward kids TV interview appearances, spurious tie-in promotions, parodies, spin-offs, fan involvement, Blue Peter moments, charitable contributions and of course, acres upon space acres of musical tributes to the show, its theme and stars. Some good, some frankly bloody awful but all of it makes up the fantastic and fantastical world of Doctor Who. We wouldn’t have it any other way…
The TATP Years is a regular home-brew take on “the rock and roll years” style shows mopping up some of the music, TV, film, news stories and ephemera that more high minded programmes might miss. We’ve done three series and several specials, all of which can be found be clicking here.
We’ve a huge range of podcasts, all completely free available here or via the dreaded iTunes, which you can find linked – here – and if you like our stuff, we’d be incredibly grateful for a comment or rating so that we can spread our noise across the universe. Its a labour of love and all done for free in our spare time, we hope you’ll agree its worth it. Thank you!
Oh and in case you’re wondering why its 45 minutes and not 50, the other five minutes should be filled with the second half of this (but just the bits with Jon Pertwee being a knob):