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The TATP Selection Box – Part 2

Its time for another jaunt through TATPmas past with “another chance to see” our Christmas content from the last few years before the new material makes it look like grey old John Majors dressed as a Santa Claus but with more grey on him. Like a satire of some colours.

CBA02First to be ringed round in red pen in the Radio Times is episode two of “Cult Bin Advent” where Ben Baker and Tim Worthington spool through the films that always seemed to end up on TV in the pre-Christmas hinterland, including Carry On Cruising, The Wrong Box, and the BBC’s annual unofficial Michael Caine mini-season, featuring The Italian Job, Get Carter, The Ipcress File, Alfie, Pulp, and any other one where he wears a big coat. Plus there’s still room for discussion of the Beatles Films, The Hudsucker Proxy, National Garreth F. Hirons Week, and the art of perfecting a rubber-faced impression of a rubber-faced impressionist.

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Skipping forward a year, we added Phil Catterall to the slowly building advent capers for the second “Why Wont Yule?” where such fanciful notions as “chocolate trains” and one Christmas catalogue too many has been put aside in favour of such delights as picking out presents, braving the shopping centres, top toys, festive menu items so good they only appear one month in twelve, family members with no interests whatsoever, defacing Christmas cards and trying to visit a department store grotto without being picked up by Operation Yewtree. Oh, and Ken Lewis and his history of Winwick Hospital. Naturally.

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And last but by no means less Grimleys is Tim Worthington‘s terrific “Christmas In The 70s” mix, with a real sense of seventies spangliness (and indeed Spangle-ness) in both the music and the clips, evoking an era when bright glittery colours and big Light Entertainment production values were considered something that everyone could enjoy rather than being labelled a ‘guilty pleasure’.

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And as before, here’s Tim’s notes on the whole shebang…

“Kicking off with a bit of BBC Christmas continuity from 1974, it’s into perhaps the ultimate meeting of bright glittery colours and big Light Entertainment production values as David Bowie and Bing Crosby meet up for a bit of pre-Little Drummer Boy comedy business about ancestral homes. This is followed by Albert Finney realising the true meaning of Christmas in Scrooge, and the Christmas-themed intro to one of the few surviving episodes of Alberto Frog And His Amazing Animal Band.

The Wombles are up next with Wombling Merry Christmas, with bits of Eric Idle when he was good from both Rutland Weekend Television and his Radio 1 show Radio 5. The Likely Lads debate the existence of Santa from the Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? Christmas Special, some children get suspicious about green footprints in one-time TV-dominating Canadian film The Christmas Martian, and seventies family singing sensations The Rhodes Kids make a racket with their, ahem, unique take on Winter Wonderland.

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The BBC’s punchably smug ‘Christmas Buskers’ trailer from 1979 leads in to Mike Oldfield‘s musically identical reading of In Dulci Jubilo, and over the top of that we’ve got bits of Viv Stanshall‘s Christmas At Rawlinson End, the original mid-seventies Christmas On Sesame Street, long-forgotten Tommy Steele-headed ITV ‘lost toys’ panto Quincy’s Quest, and the Chorlton & The Wheelies Christmas Special, Chorlton In The Ice World.

Arthur Lowe narrates the opening of the story of Mr. Snow, and it’s straight into Jethro Tull‘s acerbic Christmas Song (actually better than the more widely heard Ring Solstice Bells), and in turn Wizzard‘s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, with Sir George Uproar meeting himself as a non-ghost youngster from the fantastic Christmas Special of The Ghosts Of Motley Hall, The Christmas Spirit.

What do you mean "Everyone thinks Big Night is shit"?There’s a bit of Yuletide banter from the presenters of ITV children’s magazine show Magpie, a trailer for Christmas On ITV featuring all manner of programmes they’d never get away with now (and mostly a good thing too), and Elton John‘s peculiar b-side to Step Into Christmas, (Ho Ho Ho) Who’d Be A Turkey At Christmas. And some so-camp-you-couldn’t-make-it-up Generation Game plugging from Larry Grayson.

The Goodies appear courtesy of both Father Christmas Do Not Touch Me and John Cleese‘s cameo from their special The Goodies And The Beanstalk, and Slade (Merry Christmas Everybody) and T-Rex (Christmas Bop) aren’t too far behind, with a bit of Two Ronnies on autopilot trailer business thrown in for good measure.

The Blue Peter team open their pets’ Christmas presents with Thin Lizzy/Sex Pistols side project The Greedies hammering out A Merry Jingle in the background, and an extract from the Rentaghost Christmas Special Rentasanta (the last episode to feature the original line-up, fact fans).

BodXmasA couple of extracts from surrealism-for-the-under-fives Bod’s Present bookend ‘Dinners’ McCartney with Wonderful Christmastime, and then it’s time for Greg Lake and I Believe In Father Christmas, with a bit of BBC Schools show Music Time‘s adaptation of Lieutenant Kije (as, erm, ‘borrowed’ in the arrangement of the Greg Lake song) over the top.

The BBC Schools theme continues with the triumphant conclusion of Watch‘s paper puppet-assisted staging of the Nativity, followed by a couple of insults flung BBC trailer-wards by the cast of Radio 4′s The Burkiss Way (well, you’d put this in if you’d sat through that many of the blighters too), a nod and wink to the VT Department from the notorious BBC Christmas Tape White Powder Christmas, and finally Roy Castle taking part in All-Star Record Breakers‘ attempt at breaking – wait for it – a tap-dancing record. Nothing like a good surprise at Christmas…”

So if you need a festive kick in the right direction, let Ben Baker, Phil Catterall and Tim Worthington talk up all things tinsel, cinnamon and worryingly antlered. And if you like it, consider giving us the greatest gift – no, not an end to all wars and famine – I got one of those last year and I ended up just playing with the box – but a nice review and rating on iTunes *here* so other fellow festive types with excellent taste in podcast nonsense might find their way to TATP. Merry Nearly A Bit More Christmas!