Christmas Radio Times Covers

It’s out today (in my region), the new bumper edition of The Radio Times, just in time for Christmas. Yesterday we had a look at the one that was released in the year of my birth, but here it is again.

I think the first one I really remember though is this one, from 1982.

And for sure, this one has stuck in my mind ever since 1985.

Though this one from 1984 is rather … ominous and scary (maybe it’s an Orwell reference).

The one from 1989 was boring. So boring in fact, it burned itself into my memory.

But I think it’s the 1991 …

And the 1992 ones …

That really encapsulate the covers for me. And 2007 is just adorable.

My First Christmas Day Television

Using the always useful BBC Genome Project, let’s have a look at what was on TV for my very first Christmas on Earth. I would have been laying in a manger, surrounded by cuddly farm animals, wondering why a star was moving across the heavens and the world wasn’t coming to an end.

Having been dumped in front of a screen to fend for myself, this is what I would have seen.

Appropriately, the day’s viewing began with Star Over Bethlehem, because Noel Edmonds hadn’t been invented back then. Well, he had, but they hadn’t stuck him up Post Office Tower yet.

I probably would have slept through until The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas came on.

I doubt the film National Velvet would have been more entertaining than my rattle, but the opening credits of Are You Being Served? might have caught my attention at 1.40pm.

Noel Edmonds finally turns up and pops up for a turn on Top Of The Pops, before my burping during The Queen. I would have had a nap during Billy Smart’s Christmas Circus, ready to sit and watch (and dribble) The Wizard Of Oz, and giggle through Basil Brush’s Through The Looking Glass special.

After Songs Of Praise and The Generation Game, it was time for Mike Yarwood and then Morecambe & Wise.

Anyway, here’s a thumb through the 1977 Christmas Radio Times.


Watergate Jokes

For no obvious reason, I’ve been thinking about Watergate and the scandal that bought down a Presidency. So I thought I’d look for some contemporary comedy about the whole affair.

Here’s Johnny, marking the fifth anniversary of Nixon’s resignation.

And that’s pretty much all I could find.

So I guess there was only ever one joke performed on TV about Watergate.



7 Great Gifts For Comedy Fans

I thought I’d compile a list of lovely gifts you could get the comedy lover in your life (even if that person is you). Annoyingly, I already own all these, so I won’t be getting them for Christmas.

The Micallef Program

The three seasons of this Australian show are a treat from start to finish. I cracked open the first box again last night, and was blown away by how much I was still laughing at it all. Some genuinely great sketches, and some brilliant performances.


Vic & Bob did a sitcom before they did House Of Fools, and it’s every bit as dark and interesting (and brilliantly funny) as you’d expect. The performances of the two leads are great too, elevating sketch characters to something rather wonderful. And there’s the added bonus of Reece Shearsmith and Morwenna Banks too.

The Frood: The Authorised and Very Official History of Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Jem Roberts

It’s hard to pick one book by Jem Roberts, because all three of his tomes are a treasure trove of reading. Chances are your comedy loving friend already has the Blackadder one though, and if they already have The Frood, then try the Clue Bible instead.

The Trials And Triumphs Of Les Dawson by Louis Barfe

This book gave me a much better understanding of the genius of Les Dawson, and prompted me to rediscover a lot of his work, including the fabulous radio show Listen To Les.


I only recently bought this for myself, and I’m glad I did. Having heard lots of people laud its merits, I wasn’t disappointed. Like all good sitcoms, it’s better than its description, and well worth a watch (or five).

Whoops Apocalypse

Before David Renwick wrote One Foot In The Grave, and Andrew Marshall wrote 2.4 Children, they created a show about the end of the world. What’s more, the box set comes with the movie too, with a central performance from Peter Cook that seems even more relevant today than ever.

The Seinfeld Scripts

Before the days of On Demand and even DVD, there wasn’t really a way to watch Seinfeld in the UK for a while, and anyway, they never showed the early series on Paramount when it did come on. And so I devoured this book.

What’s The Opposite Of A Fart?

On this week’s episode of setisoppO, the podcast where we work out the opposite of things that don’t have a natural opposite, we wonder on the opposites of Blu Tack, of sweatbands, and of farts. Yes, farts. No, YOU grow up.


This got me wondering about old commercials for Blu Tack. It’s one of those ubiquitous products that doesn’t seem to need advertising, so I’m not sure I ever saw one. Certainly not this one from 1978.

There was an Australian TV show called Hey Hey It’s Saturday, and judging from this clip, they used to do in-vision promos … but not very well.