Maybe I’m not sentimental enough for Christmas telly.
Writing in the left-overs strewn lull between Christmas and New Year my favourite character so far is the grumpy cat in the rather lovely Room on the Broom. There was a certain amount of fellow feeling there as he shrugged and sulked and then gave in… Gracelessly…
If you didn’t see it seek it out and have a watch – it’s only half an hour and really nicely done although I’ve never seen such a clumsy witch! If she’d invested in a decent handbag instead of dropping everything it might have been a different story.
Alas, the big hitters of Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey both left me dry eyed and not purring.
Call the Midwife had all the traditional triggers – destitute ex-workhouse woman redeemed by penicillin and a good wash, young girl secretly giving birth in an old shop – not quite a manger but yes we got it thanks. It added a grittier edge – birth in the communal toilet, lots of emerging plastic heads and a chunk of missing placenta but I’m afraid I was left mostly unmoved. It also managed the most resolutely un-cute Nativity yet seen.
I will say that it was beautifully written and not a foot was put wrong in the performances but just not my thing. I do like the period detail – when did you last see a row of babies out in prams unsupervised? – but the snowy scenes felt very fake and the sun was much too high for winter. Maybe that is what added to the feeling I had of being a step removed.
The nurses do seem a slightly po-faced lot – I think I’d prefer to share a festive mince pie with the nuns! Maybe Sister Evangeline could be persuaded to give us a tune…
There were lots of lovely hats, fabulous frocks and gorgeous interiors on Downton Abbey but sadly that wasn’t enough to get us through two tedious hours (was it really only two hours?) of lack of plot and tension.
Downton Abbey has become such an unstoppable juggernaut that I’m guessing no one quite had the nerve to suggest a bloody good edit. An hour might have spared us the Yorkshire stereotype with his eyes on Mrs Patmore’s hams. And why Scotland? Apart from a couple of new characters whom we’ll presumably never see again it seemed a complicated ruse to allow the lethal Lady Mary to pod unaccompanied.
The Bates’ marriage, now it’s jail free and saccharine sweet, has lost any dramatic impact and the grand surprise was that – wait for it, you may want to sit down – Anna had learned to reel. Yes. I did too. The cheeky new maid setting her cap, apron and pretty much everything else at Branson would have been more fun if we’d had a chance to get to know her first. I was briefly curious about why she was so blatant and so sure of not needing to know her place but no one else was. Not even the redoubtable Carson took her aside for a word before she attached herself to the junior master’s trouser buttons.
By the time the fourth decade of watching approached there was only one thing to do. Kill someone. Anyone. I was ready to volunteer. The great big massive huge shock was sadly spoiled by the papers so I was far more perturbed to see that Cousin Matthew went so far as to drive in his shirtsleeves. How terribly uncouth. At least he had to decency to expire before any of the lower orders saw him…
I surprised myself by enjoying Doctor Who. I’m not much of a Whovian (and wasn’t a fan of Amy Pond AT ALL) and many of the references go straight over my head but the schmaltz free parts of the Christmas episode were fun. I could happily do without the tears save the world twaddle or whatever that was and the icemen/snowmen seemed to be rather easily defeated despite their fearsomely toothy grins.
There were some wonderful images – the spiral staircase to the cloud was just lovely and the subtitles assure me that walking on the clouds made a metallic springing noise! Richard E Grant always makes a good villain although he was sadly underused here and I’d like one of those giant snow globes for growing malevolent snow. Please.
Not sure if the new companion is going for the record held by Rory for repeated dying but it’s an intriguing set up. Just what/who/when is Clara Oswin Oswald? Despite the characteristics taken straight from the ‘feisty, slightly sexy, a bit clever’ stereotype box I like Clara and – if they skip the faux-romance which is always so dull – it’s a good set up for the new series. I’m interested to see how they develop the character once she gets more settled – introductions are always a bit frenetic.
I do like the sparse makeover of the TARDIS interior but I’m really going to miss the giant glass dildo cheerfully going up and down (don’t tell me you didn’t notice). It made me snigger childishly every time…
I still have a few things to catch up on – Miranda, The Girl and the documentary on the creator of the Moomins. I’m also looking forward to Restless and Ripper Street.
Hopefully at least one of those will batter my cynical head into some nice uncritical enjoyment.
That would be nice…
…although I haven’t a clue what I’d write about then!