Burt Breezes in to Rescue My Festive Viewing

Article excerpt

Byline: PHIL DIFFER

CHRISTMAS Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day - probably my three favourite days of the year.

At the end of what is always a busy period for me, I appreciate the chance to put my feet up and plant myself in front of the telly with a tin of Quality Street in one hand, a box of Roses in the other and the television remote control stuck in my mouth.

The first thing I always check is what movies are showing and my heart is saddened... no sign of The Alamo. Never mind, there's lots of other cinematic goodies to enjoy.

On Christmas Eve, for anyone who's been on the moon for the past 60 years or so, there's another chance to catch Casablanca and It's a Wonderful Life, although I'll probably give the remake of Miracle on 34th Street a miss.

But if I have to choose just one movie for the night it's got to be Burt Lancaster's magnificent teeth giving their Oscar-winning performance in Elmer Gantry. 1-0 to Channel 5.

Earlier, STV are hitting us with a triple whammy - My Favourite Hymns, Christmas Carols and Jesus 2000. You would think Christmas was a religious festival.

As I survey the rest of what's on offer my despair is growing. There are more programmes I DON'T want to see, like Christmas with Charlotte Church, Bonnie Langford for the millennium - without the ringlets.

With Aled Jones there was always hope. We knew one day his voice would break and his career would be over.

With Charlotte it's slightly different. Being a girl, merciful release down the voice-breaking route isn't an option. I fear Ms Church's beautiful if slightly nauseating warbling could be heard for many a Yuletide.

But something did catch my eye - The Real King Arthur. If this is one of those Channel 4 in-depth documentaries that takes a serious look at the truth behind the myths and legends it will make up for everything. Knowing my luck, though, it'll be a spoof profile of Minder's Arthur Daley.

Christmas Day brings... absolute rubbish. I'm struggling to see one programme that makes me think I must try to stay awake for it. I'll probably give Titanic a miss but will watch the best film of the day, a right good western in High Noon.

This is so good I may even put down my Quality Street and Roses and open my special Chocolate Gingers. …