I only ever buy the Radio Times once a year. Their legendary Christmas double-issue is a tradition in my house stretching back as long as I can remember. It became well-thumbed, with creased-down corners marking the films and shows I wanted to watch. When we got a VCR I would mark those things I wanted to record and watch later – usually because they were on a stupid times of the day – and leave notes for my parents not to switch everything off (or change the channel on the satellite box for the year or two we had that).
The centrepiece, the star, the thing I looked for first, was the Big Christmas Movie. BBC and ITV would vie for who had the best film. Who got the latest blockbuster – and thus who would have the big ratings on Christmas Day.
This year, BBC 1 are showing “Puss in Boots”, ITV aren’t even bothering with a film. We’ve had Auntie Beeb’s movie for a few years, it’s alright if you’re wanting to see more of Puss from Shrek. But it’s not great.
I’m blaming the home video market. Time was we couldn’t get hold of films until they’d been on TV. Now I can buy five or six of the latest releases for the same price as taking the family to see one at the cinema. Just about every movie on TV this Christmas – that I want to watch – I’ve already got.
I guess that just leaves the Dr Who Christmas Special. And we all know how good they’ve been in recent years.