Christmas TV 2015: Best comedy programmes from Walliams and Friend to Not Going Out
Gerard Gilbert picks the programmes not to miss over the festive season
David Walliams, David Attenborough, David Beckham, Darcey Bussell, Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Dickens... the alliteration may stop there, but not the sense of déjà vu as television broadcasts a host of new productions within what is a now well-established template.
Caught between the competing desires of family members, many of us will find ourselves watching Mrs Brown’s Boys, and even perhaps enjoying it, this being the time of year when comedy draws in its claws and gets broad and cuddly.
Detectorists Christmas Special , Wed 23 Dec, 10pm BBC4
This one-off episode of Mackenzie Crook’s bucolic comedy gem rooted in the Suffolk countryside (albeit filmed in Essex) hasn’t been made available for preview, although some of the scenes were apparently filmed – heaven forbid – on the streets of London.
Walliams and Friend , Christmas Eve, 10.05pm BBC1
The friend of the title is Joanna Lumley, as David Walliams accesses his inner Two Ronnies to generally profitable effect. There’s a product-placement skit worthy of Ronnies Barker and Corbett, as well as Oscar Wilde as a lewd northern comedian, a team of Joanna Lumley lookalikes, a Bake Off pastiche and much, much more. Better than you might expect.
Not Going Out , Christmas Eve, 10.45pm BBC1
Having apparently bowed out last Christmas when Lee finally married Lucy, Lee Mack’s endearingly gag-heavy sitcom resurrects itself for another one-off seasonal special, with Lucy (Sally Bretton) now heavily pregnant. Not the best of times, then, to be involved in a hold-up at a department store.
Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special , Christmas Day, 9.45pm BBC1
“Who first stared at a chicken and thought, ‘I’m going to eat the first thing out of its arse...’”. Yes, it’s the return of the cross-dressing Brendan O’Carroll’s Irish mammy in a typically raucous tale, involving a flatulent grandad and punching Christmas trees.
Catherine Tate’s Nan , Sun 27 Dec, 10.25pm BBC1
After a spot of aggro concerning a charity-collecting blind pensioner (“I saw right through his smug white stick”), Catherine Tate’s foul-mouthed bigot is sent on an anger management course run by Warwick Davis. Cue gags about “midgets”, although it’s one about a Muslim that has predictably landed Tate in some pre-broadcast hot water.