“All them programmes is recorded in August!”

Friday, December 14, 2007 by

Broadcasters have been ripping off millions of viewers through phone-ins. The Controller of BBC1 was forced to resign over media pressure. Thousands of viewers risk being disenfranchised by digital switchover. And what’s Liberal Democrat broadcasting spokesman Don Foster doing? Counting up all the repeats on Christmas telly again.

It’s ironic that Foster’s moaning about repeats given the only time he seems to show up in the media is to talk about the repeats on Christmas telly. Here he is doing it in 2006 and here he is doing it in 2003. And, as usual, it’s utter rubbish. On the day itself, BBC1 is all new from 1.30pm until 11.30pm, ITV1 is from 3pm to 9.30pm, and of the other channels, who cares? So BBC2 is showing Dad’s Army at 8pm on Christmas Day – that’s because everyone’s going to be watching EastEnders and Harry Hill’s TV Burp. What else are they going to do?

Of course repeats are going to be up if you include cartoons at 5am. Look at the programmes Foster cites as being repeated - The Snowman which is on at 2pm and Creature Comforts which is at 10.30am. If you’re going to be watching telly then, what do you expect?

Besides, it’s not as if the “golden age” of Christmas telly was any better. 1977 is always cited as the best ever Christmas Day line-up, but the prestigious post-Queen slot was filled by The Wizard of Oz, for the second time in two years, while before that was last year’s Are You Being Served? and the ancient National Velvet. Or what about 1991when BBC1 primetime was largely filled up with two utterly unfestive films?

Foster seems to be living in some sort of sitcom version of Christmas where The Great Escape is unspooled every Christmas night and the nation stands up for the Queen’s speech. Your dad comes up with more relevant and topical material after he’s downed five glasses of bucks fizz, and he’s not being paid for it.


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