Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas is coming...the aardvark's getting fat!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  Or so they say.  Welcome to my Christmas blog, I'd like to thank you for the year.  I'm feeling particularly festive this year and there is a very simple reason why.  For the first time since my uni days  (seven years, if I must spell it out) I'll be on holiday for the whole Christmas period.  My old job would be horrendously busy over Christmas, so just at the point when everyone else was slowing down and chilling out, we'd be busier than at any point churning out the schedules for the festive period at a rate that would ensure we could all take the weekends and Bank Holidays off. 

Typically I'd then race up north to see family, hurtle back down again as soon as the trains started up again and then the whole process would start again, we could get ahead enough to have the New Year days off.  I don't want to go OTT - after all, we never had to work on the big days themselves - but when you involved the travelling too you'd end up starting January feeling absolutely exhausted just as everyone came back into the office, asking you if you'd had a nice holiday.  So this year I've been enjoying the lunches, drinks and parties that little bit more than usual.
Christmas work drinks at the London Transport Museum!

As my new role involves working in advance, our busy period was at the end of November, involving the finalising of the content inside the double-issue behemoth that you all started using on Saturday.  This does somewhat take the shine off reading the Christmas Radio Times when it's published at the start of December, which for me as a young telegeek was always the "cue" to start feeling festive.  The same can be said of the debut of Christmas idents on television - as with the magazine, earlier than it used to be and less of a mysery than it once was.  This year's it's fair to say that the big boys have disappointed somewhat - what with lack of effort on one side and possibly the most irritating promo of all time on the other (who on earth thought that would be endearing?).  Who would have thought BBC Two and ITV2 would come out top?

All of which got me thinking.  You probably wondered what the smell of smoke was.  What's the best Christmas ident of all time?  It was a close-run thing, but this is my winner. 

I think this is not only the best Christmas ident of all time, but quite possibly the best Christmas-related thing to ever be committed to film. A bold assertion, but here's why:

  • A complete story is told in fifteen seconds.
  • That story is wonderfully ridiculous.  Why on earth can't the TARDIS get out of snow without the help of reindeers?  But somehow it seems right for this much-missed era of the show.
  • It's perfectly executed.  You know exactly what's going on and why.  You can almost see the storyboard.
  • It's amazingly Christmassy.
  • The composer has seemingly done the impossible and managed to cram some Christmassy twinkles, the BBC One sting and the Doctor Who theme coherently into fifteen seconds.
  • It captures David Tennant at the height of his pomp as the tenth Doctor.
  • It's quite possible the final words Tennant recorded in character were "daaaa! wohhhh...woo hoo!" which can only be a good thing.
  • To anyone who remembers the years when the series was off air, the idea of this sequence being shown before every programme on BBC One for three weeks is....insane.
  • In a clever bit of planning, the ident was switched for the Tennant-less "news edit" after his regeneration has been screened on New Year's Day 2010.  Obvious when you think about it.
  • I can honestly say those fifteen seconds are better plotted than most of series six.
I'll leave it there or I may be here all night.  Let me know if you agree or disagree.  Come Friday I'll be off for eleven whole days, and will be cramming in visits to my wonderful in-laws to be for Christmas, Kate's birthday, then over to my family and finally back down to London to host our annual festive bash for uni friends, this time on New Year's Eve.  Bring it on!

As a final thought I'll leave you with this incredibly random clip from Children's BBC at Christmas nineteen (nineteen!) years ago.

"Shall we have a bit of a rave?" Kids won't get that with Iain and Hacker.

Whatever you're up to this Christmas, make sure it's a bloody good one.