Monday, 1 December 2014

Boggen's Advent Calender (Day One) - Barbecued Turkey with all the Trimmings

As we start another advent season, so the advent calender is once again opened up for business hopefully not finding one of those nutty toffees in there. But Christmas television is usually in December, right? Yes, there is the jokes about repeats in July, even the Mike Yarwood 1978 Xmas Special was shown on Election night 1979. Though what about first run specials, surprisingly they don't appear when there's holly on the tree and the tinsel is flowing.

Well, our first out of season performer is Brian Conley who had his Christmas special shown on 22nd of July 1995. With a guest list of Gerry Marsden, Mike Pender, Shania Twain, Domino and John 'Four Square' Sachs to boot. The ITV management thought this was something jolly to show at that time, but July? I can think of nothing better then a warm mince pie and hot custard in the middle of a heatwave. Conley as a performer was at his peak and by 1997 Carlton gave him the chance to appear a bit nearer the time on 23rd of December, at least the show could touch the festival period rather then stretching to reach it with a elongated broom. 

Though the world of sitcom does not escape from this fact either, on the 27th of July 2000 BBC2 broadcast an even more out of place Christmas special, from the minds of Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis came one of the most surreal Christmas specials ever. As part of the third series of Operation Good Guys, it is decided by D.I. Beach played by David Gillespie that because they have their own fly on the wall documentary, so thus the Good Guys should have their own Christmas Special as well. Leading to meetings with BBC executives Paul Jackson and Will Wyatt, a load of confiscated cocaine, an angry small actor called Kenny who has the tendency to bite people, a confused Michael Fish and a kidnapped Denise Van Outen who has to act like she is enjoying herself. Not to forget D.I. Beach's attempt at racial harmony as well.

"Merry Christmas from the BBC!"

But for all these specials come the likes of One Foot in the Algarve, Only Fools and Horses which their episode Miami Twice went on location and even Duty Free decided to book into the same hotel again in 1986, meaning seeing characters roasting under a blazing hot sun whilst in the real world the temperature would not barely climb high enough to warm a cold wet piece of cod. 

At least with the Australian soaps, meaning that Turkey on the beach is a regular thing for those Neighbours down Ramsey Street or with the residents down in Summer Bay for Home and Away. Well as the schedulers like everything to match in with each other nowadays, years ago it was not uncommon to see Christmas on Australian soaps in March or April, owing to the lagging behind by a couple of months from the actual Australian broadcasts. 

"Five Harold Bishops..."

So not always does television do its Christmas programmes in December, but yet they are done so they can feel as Christmassy as possible, no matter if the barbecue is cooking up a treat outside. Still at least it would remind us there are only another two hundred odd shopping days to go till the shops shut and that's a good thing isn't it?

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