Saturday, 17 December 2011

Boggenstrovia's 10th Bit of Christmas... Consider yourself... to be lucky not to miss this...

So, BBC1 are running a campaign to make us 'feel at home' and part of their Christmas. Some of you might say 'Bah, humbug!' or 'Poppycock!' at the mention a television channel trying to inject some spirit into the festive season with it branding and positioning of it.

For so long in Britain, we have rejected this style of 'Here we are!' promotions, which are more prevalent in America with the networks over there. But its strange to think that this maybe a fallacy of broadcasting in this country, it might just be the British psyche that it doesn't represent us. Though you would be wrong in thinking this at all, it is Christmas where the selection box of stars are wheeled out to show themselves and the recognisable faces are given the chance to address the nation like kings and queens of broadcasting and entertainment.

Take for example this promotion from BBC1 at Christmas 1981, in showing that the channel isn't all about entertainment but also what else they do as well...

"All warm and Cuddly Ken..."

So we start with The Two Ronnies, the BBC's number one double act at that time. Both Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett, stalwarts of the Christmas schedule by now are put first to be to recognised by all and as they were loved by nearly all at that for their shows. Such a safe pair of hands, they were asked to do the BBC's Christmas Night with the Stars. At that time the BBC's flagship programme on Christmas night, so something for all...

With appearances from the Swap Shop team, Les Dawson, Ken Dodd even the BBC news and the Tommorrow's World team, this shows the branding of the channel or maybe a more innocent age of a television station caring about its loyal viewers. 

But what about ITV? They maybe commercial, it may seem that the adverts the channel now but even they would treat Christmas as something special. In terms of the 15 companies they may have separate by each producing their own programmes, but they formed a united front when it came to Christmas presentation. Knowing full well, that in competing with the BBC, they had to make sure they were on the top of their game. 

Chas and Dave, like fish and chips... Without the fish... or the chips

The example above comes from ITV in Christmas 1982, straight off the bat comes Lennie Bennett, who earlier had help launch TSW into life. Its easy to forget that Lennie Bennett was on of ITV's biggest stars in the early 1980's with Punchlines, such was its success that be afforded   an early evening spot was treasured by most shows. 3-2-1 had that spot on Christmas Day, being able to pull in the viewers. With a bit of pre evening meal entertainment, as far as that goes, its good enough fair by either show

The programme at 7pm on Christmas Eve is a bit of a mystery really, it purpitrates to be a celebration of Music, Comedy and Dance called 'A Christmas Lantern'. I'm guessing Wayne Sleep and Roger Whittaker were involved in it somewhere, but as a presenting wrapping programme, its one to settle down and relax to. Its of its time really, being presented with the now would maybe confuse people as they are used to overnight sensations made over months and months on some reality show or other. Ok, rant over about that. But is like a trick is missed sometimes, thought I will give ITV its due for getting someone like Michael Buble to do a show for them, maybe not all is lost then. 

Though its rounded with Gary Terzza making a joke, but its the style of ITV's friendly style and also of the in-vision continuity announcer. At Christmas, they came into their own and into living rooms everywhere. With the continuity booths turned into Christmas parlours adding to the illusion of roaring fireplaces, such is the imagery which this created in people's mind. Wheither it is a simple Christmas tree or the full on lounge effect, they are able to make that powerful case of television at Christmas...


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