Having a laugh this Christmas with a rib-tickling line-up on TV
PUBLISHED: 12:02 21 December 2018
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There’s plenty of laugh-out-loud comedies to watch on TV this Christmas (and Mrs Brown’s Boys, ho ho ho) and there’s nostalgia mixed with new festive offerings, What will make you roar with laughter this Christmas? Here is a flavour of what’s on offer...
Not Going Out Live, BBC1, December 21, 9pm
We had the Inside No 9 team giving us a chilling tale live at Halloween, now it’s Lee Mack and Sally Bretton’s turn to risk live television with Not Going Out. With no room for slip-ups or mistakes (no pressure then) we join Lee and Lucy live from their festively decorated living room, nervously discussing the Ding Dong Merrily On Live Christmas Spectacular - the Christmas variety show they’ve been strong-armed into organising to raise money for their children’s school. But things are rarely plain sailing for our duo, as they soon come to realise: with an animal impersonator as the only confirmed performer, quality acts are worryingly thin on the ground. Who will Lee and Lucy turn to? Surely Toby (Hugh Dennis) and uptight wife Anna (Abigail Cruttenden) can’t be roped in? With egg juggling and some knife throwing (CUT!) for good measure... what could possibly go wrong?
Goodness Gracious Me – 20 Years innit, December 22, BBC2, 10.15pm
Kiss my chuddies, man, Goodness Gracious Me is 20 - and to celebrate this ground-shaking, award-taking and mould-breaking show, BBC Two is looking back at some the funniest and most loved moments as we reveal the ten most memorable sketches - decided by comedy fans on a supporting BBC website. There will be exclusive interviews with its stars and creators alongside other comedians who are fans of the series.
The show created over 100 characters, dozens of catchphrases and some of the standout comedy moments of the last two decades with sketches featuring The Kupers/Coopers, Mr Everything Comes From India, Chunky Lafunga, Cheque Please, Competitive Mums and of course the classic, Going For An English.
King Gary, December 23, BBC1, 9.30pm
Writers Tom Davis and James De Frond, who previously worked together on Murder in Successville and Action Team, are behind this new sitcom. Davis stars as Gary King, who is married to his childhood sweetheart Terri (Action Team’s Laura Checkley). The working-class couple are now living in competitive suburbia, but Gary’s desire to achieve social acceptance from the neighbours is complicated by his need to impress his old school dad, Big Gary (The Fast Show’s Simon King). In this pilot episode, Gary plans to throw a barbeque, only to learn there’s a rival event taking place on the same day. Meanwhile, Terri tries out ‘micro-blading”, with disastrous results. The impressive supporting cast also includes Camille Coduri and Romesh Ranganathan.
Bad Move, Christmas Eve, ITV, 9pm
If you’ve already had too much festive cheer, get yourself on an equal footing again by watching Jack Dee doing Christmas.
Nicky (Kerry Godliman) and Steve (Dee) make a pact not to celebrate Christmas this year. They’re determined to treat it just like any other day. But when Nicky takes pity on Alice, the wily old lady from the village, they find themselves hosting a drinks party, although as Steve is at pains to point out, “It’s not Christmas drinks – it’s just drinks that happen to be on Christmas Eve.” Nicky’s Dad is invited, as are Matt and Meena, the world’s smuggest neighbours. An unexpected turn of events leads to their house guests staying longer than any of them intended.
Upstart Crow, Christmas Day, BBC2, 8.45pm
It’s a bleak midwinter in the Shakespeare household as the family comes to terms with a cruel loss. But when a mysterious stranger (Kenneth Branagh) offers to share with Will (David Mitchell) a tale of redemption he becomes filled anew with love and hope. Now Will has a mission - to save another soul from despair. He and his family and friends get together to save Greene (Mark Heap) from a mean and miserly life, and arrange for three midnight ghosts to visit him before Christmas. Who is the stranger? Can Will and his gang’s efforts persuade Greene to change his ways and show some generosity to his servant Job Scratchit? (Karl Theobald) And could this tale of Yuletide redemption be another smash Shakespeare hit on the stage, or is its time not yet come? In short, what the Dickens is going on?
Mrs Brown’s Boys New Year Special, January 1, BBC1, 10pm
If the Christmas Day helping left you hungry for more then you’ll be pleased you-know-who is back. In the first offering of 2019, the doting mother offers Winnie and Sharon a place to stay when the pipes in their house burst, but Agnes and Cathy soon discover that living with best friends isn’t as much fun as they thought it would be.
Island of Dreams, January 3, BBC2, 10pm
One-off comedy, starring Harry Enfield. Necker Island has white sands, turquoise sea and girls in bikinis serving drinks. It also has Sir Richard Branson helping to solve the problems of celebrity guests, from JK Rowling and Adele to Daniel Radcliffe to Daniel Craig, while they enjoy some well-deserved luxury. But does the tycoon have a more important masterplan - a dark secret involving interplanetary travel? Co-starring Samantha Spiro, Morgana Robinson, Al Murray and Dustin Demri-Burns.