Since I picked it up at the same time, here's whats on over the Christmas fortnight. Which is rather underwhelming unless you are into family films, but there are a couple of weird oddities as well, mostly based on a trend of wanting to turn everything into interpretative dance, for some reason.
Sadly nothing of note airs on Film4 during the entire festive period, only strengthening the sense that the entire channel goes into hibernation (or maybe more accurately, a coma) for the duration. The only new film showing on Film4 at all after Our Ladies on Tuesday 19th is Ti West's first entry into what has become an ongoing period horror series, X
(dark 'n' moody version of a famous song ahoy! And A24-style nervy strings!). Which is showing at 11 p.m. on Friday 5th January, which is probably technically more the weekend after Christmas than showing during the festive season itself. Sadly it is also by far the most notable film showing over the fortnight.
: Stop the presses! There is
another film being premiered on Film4 with Irish horror-comedy Let The Wrong One In
showing at 1:55 a.m. in the early hours of Thursday 4th! With Anthony Head, a long way from Buffy! Although that is also arguably in the post-Christmas period than during the holidays themselves! (It is also interesting to note that both this and Film4's premiere of this upcoming Saturday, My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To, appear to both be distributed by Dark Sky Films. So Film4 must be in the midst of some sort of collaboration with them. If so, fingers crossed for Lola
turning up at some point in the future)
Family film-wise, this is the run down:
Christmas Day: The Addams Family 2
at 1 p.m. and Toy Story 4
at 3:10 p.m. (they made a fourth
?!?!) are on BBC1 and Sing 2
is on ITV1 at 4:30 p.m.
Boxing Day: Peter Rabbit 2
(they made a second one
?!?!) at 3:15 p.m. and the 2019 Lion King
(they made a third one
?!?!) at 5 p.m. on BBC1
Wednesday 27th: Spirit Untamed
(is this a two decades late prequel to Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron?!) at 11:40 a.m. and The Croods 2: A New Age
(I'll take the Gogs
instead) at 2:25 p.m. on BBC1. And Brian Cox doing a 'Bob Hoskins in Twentyfourseven' with Believe
at 10:20 a.m. on BBC2. Which despite avoiding football films like the plague, does have quite a cast, so that might be worth a look. Ominously it has taken a decade to achieve its first screening on UK television though, which may be entirely due to the Brian Cox related post-Succession bump up in its profile.
New Year's Day brings the terrifying duo on BBC1 of The Boss Baby 2: Family Business
at 11:15 a.m. and Robert Zemeckis' Roald Dahl's The Witches (2020)
at 5:55 p.m. And Channel 4 counters with its single premiere of the entire fortnight, with the IP that shamelessly shilled toys on such an industrial scale to rival Pokemon and Transformers with PAW Patrol: The Movie
at 1 p.m.
The more adult-oriented films (though I use that term loosely) is probably most represented by the two films clashing at primetime on New Year's Eve with Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson teaming up in film for the first time since Anaconda, in Marry Me
showing at 8:30 p.m. on BBC1, and Pirates
on BBC3 at 9 p.m.
There is a Noël Coward theme to Boxing Day with Brief Encounter showing at 12:45 p.m. on BBC2, the premiere of documentary Mad About The Boy
at 9 p.m. on BBC2, and then straight afterwards on BBC4 there are two rare showings of Coward productions with 1982's A Song At Twilight
at 10:30 p.m. (with Deborah Kerr!) and the 1969 "Wednesday Play" The Vortex (there's no version of this 1969 adaptation on YouTube, but there is a 1964 ITV Granada version
with introduction by Coward!)
Unfortunately those two Coward plays on BBC4 clash with the premiere of Benedict Cumberbatch spy drama The Courier
that follows Mad About The Boy at 10:30 p.m. on BBC2, and is showing in a spy double followed by the Judi Dench film Red Joan at 12:20 a.m.
There's an Aretha Franklin night on BBC2 on Thursday 28th with the centrepiece being the premiere of Respect
at 9 p.m., and a 1968 Amsterdam concert at 11:50 p.m.
Other than a few Christmas TV movies, the only premiere of note on Channel 5 is Invitation To A Murder
showing at 8:10 p.m. on Saturday 23rd. Which despite being a English-set murder mystery is a French financed(!) Wisconsin filmed (!!) production from the director of Dudes & Dragons
(!!!) This may end up being an essential watch!
There are two surprisingly notable TV series showing nightly on ITV each week, with Helena Bonham Carter starring as Noele Gordon, real-life star of the notoriously shonky soap opera that ran from the 1960s to the 1980s, Crossroads, in Nolly
. That's showing on ITV1 at 9 p.m. for three nights from Wednesday 27th to Friday 29th, with the last episode on Friday followed by "The Real Nolly" documentary at 10:20 p.m. That same format continues the week after with Toby Jones starring in Mr Bates vs The Post Office
showing in four episodes at 9 p.m. from New Year's Day up to Thursday 4th, along with again a ""Mr Bates vs The Post Office: The Real Story" documentary at 10:45 p.m. on Thursday after the final episode.
The BBC's Ghost Story For Christmas directed by Mark Gattis is going to be an adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Lot No. 249
, showing on BBC2 at 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve and starring Kit Harington.
And the most bizarre things showing over Christmas are modern interpretative dance related with Danny Boyle's Free Your Mind: The Matrix Now
showing on BBC2 at 6:55 p.m. on New Year's Eve (Forget the Wachowskis, with all these live event spectacles is Danny Boyle the new Zhang Yimou?), along with Rambert Dance in Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby
showing on BBC4 at 9:25 p.m. on New Year's Day.
Repeat-wise not too much of note although among the surprisingly rare screenings turning up for the first time in years are Scent of a Woman on Channel 4 at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday 23rd and Nine To Five on BBC2 at 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve (following Lot No. 249)
Relating to BBC2: there is a Humphrey Bogart double bill from 1 p.m. on Saturday 23rd with The Big Sleep (last shown in 2002!) and Casablanca. Suspicion is showing at 8:40 a.m. on Wednesday 27th. There is a 60s crime double of Bonnie and Clyde (last shown in January 2013) followed by In The Heat of the Night from 10 p.m. on New Year's Day. And The Big Country is showing at 1 p.m. on Wednesday 3rd.
Channel 5 has a lot of notable screenings: The Wizard of Oz is showing at 3:10 p.m. on Christmas Day. The Dirty Dozen is at 10:25 a.m. on Boxing Day, followed by The Glenn Miller Story at 1:25 p.m. (and a very rare showing of The Commitments at 11:25 p.m. that same evening). Gone With The Wind (last shown in 2018) is showing at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday 27th, followed by The Dam Busters at 1 p.m. Out of Africa is showing at 9:15 a.m. on Friday 29th. There's a Tom Hanks day of films on Saturday 30th, notably showing The Money Pit at 10:25 a.m.. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers is at 11:55 a.m. on New Year's Eve, followed by Hook at 2 p.m. (which used to be the most disappointing adaptation of Peter Pan, until this year's Disney version
, which really makes me want to revisit and reacquaint myself more with what the Spielberg film was doing). An American In Paris is showing at 9:10 a.m. on New Year's Day, with Singin' in the Rain showing later that day at 2:10 p.m. and My Fair Lady at 4:15 p.m.
Beyond that, Possessor is showing on Film4 at 1:40 a.m. in the early hours of Christmas Eve. And Now For Something Completely Different turns up on BBC2 at 12:20 a.m. on Boxing Day, as well as at the exact same time on New Year's Eve, to make entering 2024 extra-absurd. To Live and Die In L.A. is on Film4 at 1:35 a.m. on Wednesday 27th. One of the only two subtitled films showing over the fortnight is a repeat of Petite Maman at 2:25 a.m. on Channel 4 in the early hours of Saturday 30th. Film4 marks the liminal space transition period of New Year by scheduling Mulholland Drive at 11:15 p.m. followed by Climax (the other subtitled film) as the first film of the new year at 2 a.m. The great Kevin Costner western Open Range transitions from edited afternoon showings on Channel 5 to the un-DOG-tagged Film4 for a 9 p.m. screening on Tuesday 2nd January (which makes for a nice tribute to the late Michael Gambon too). And after showing the Julia Ormond-starring First Knight for the first time in over a decade a few months back, Film4 pick up the earlier Ormond film (and surprisingly rarely shown) drama Legends of the Fall
at 9 p.m. on Thursday 4th - I'm looking forward to seeing that one again the most.
In terms of television programmes, after those two Noël Coward plays on Boxing Day evening, and to tie in with this year's Royal Institution Christmas Lectures being about A.I., there are a couple of intriguing looking programmes from the BBC's archive being shown on BBC4 in the form of a 1967 programme Towards Tomorrow: Robot
at 1 a.m. and the 1978 Horizon programme Now The Chips Are Down
at 1:55 a.m.
The repeats of the archive television programmes from the previous year continue on BBC4 with Dennis Potter's The Singing Detective series being repeated over Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th, leading into the first of the strand for the new year with the 1995 Colin Firth starring
version of Pride & Prejudice showing with the first half of the series showing in a large chunk of three episodes on Wednesday 3rd preceded by an interview with screenwriter Andrew Davies at 10 p.m.