Wednesday, 24 December 2008


Big Cat Live
1x09 What Happened Next...? [Christmas special]
Big Cat Live suffered from a lack of content, wasting time on "ooh isn't our technology clever" witter and watching nothing happen on live feeds. Unfortunately, this special mostly collates footage from the series, with a few segments added that were previously only online. Only the last ten minutes actually catch up with what's happened since -- "not much" being the answer.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Crooked House
Part 2 Something Old
Short series of three horror tales set in the same house, by League of Gentlemen co-founder/member and Doctor Who & Lucifer Box writer Mark Gatiss, also showing as a portmanteau horror movie on December 27th.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Gavin & Stacey
3x00 Christmas Special
As brilliant as ever. In fact, one might argue it's a return to form after the occasionally lacking second series. With much left unresolved, I hope a third follows.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Have I Got News For You
36x10 (24/11/08 edition) [Christmas special]
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Peter Serafinowicz Christmas Show
2x00 Christmas Special
Peter Serafinowicz's first solo sketch series -- which first aired over a year ago now! -- was a real treat, so it's wonderful to have some new stuff at last. Look out for the iToilet sketch in particular. Hopefully a second series will follow.
One of the best things about Serafinowicz is that he's a rather talented impressionist, but his show isn't about the impressions in the way that your usual impressionist show (e.g. Dead Ringers, Alistair McGowan's) are.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

Survivors [2008]
1x06 Episode 6 [season finale]
This started out as a good finale, bringing threads together and being decidedly more epic than any episode since the first. Unfortunately, it didn't bother to resolve any of its plot strands and ended on a great big cliffhanger. Rather shoddy, if you ask me -- by all means have a cliffhanger, but wrap some stuff up too! Unsatisfying.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


While You Were Sleeping (1995)
[2nd watch]
Very seasonal. Not that you'd guess it from the DVD cover, oddly, but it really is.

Poem of the Day: Twas the Night Before Christmas

or A Visit from St. Nicholas
by Anonymous

As it's still Poem of the Day's first Christmas I think I can be excused some obvious choices, so for the Christmas Eve poem I present this absolute classic.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

"A Visit from St. Nicholas (also known as The Night Before Christmas and 'Twas the Night Before Christmas)" -- which is how I've always known it, so how it's named here -- was "first published anonymously in 1823. It is largely responsible for the conception of Santa Claus from the mid-nineteenth century to today, including his physical appearance, the night of his visit, his mode of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and that he brings toys to children. Prior to the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied considerably. The poem has influenced ideas about St. Nicholas and Santa Claus beyond the United States to the rest of the Anglosphere and the world." (Courtesy of Wikipedia.)