Pat Stacey’s Weekend TV Tips: It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas TV

Noah Centineo is, the young people under our roof tell me, a teenage romcom heartthrob. Not to be confused with the ’00s Colin Farrell film of the same name, The Recruit (Netflix) sees him coming of age as a young lawyer whose first week at the CIA throws him into unexpected perils.

This evening

There’s one in there for the little ones Gangsta Granny Strikes Again (CBBC, 5:30 p.m.), an adaptation of David Walliams’ sequel to his 2013 book, also dramatized by the Beeb.

Young Ben (Archie Yates) is trying to come to terms with the death of his beloved grandmother, a skilled jewel thief, when he hears reports of a copycat. Walliams and Sheridan Smith play his parents.

Ashley Roberts and Ashley Banjo are involved as moderators and judges respectively dance monster (Netflix), a new competition where contestants dress up as their favorite CGI avatars. Any resemblance to The Masked Dancer is obviously a simple coincidence.

Can’t watch TV in the afternoon because I’m busy writing about TV in the afternoon Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Detectives (BBC1, 2:15 p.m.) are strangers to me.

In this Christmas episode, detectives (Jo Joyner and Mark Benton) try to figure out who is trying to ruin the Wintermas festival.

It could mean The Great Narstie Show (Channel 4, 11:05pm) but the star of the breakthrough is said to have been pal Mo Gilligan, who is reuniting with his pal for a one-off Christmas. There’s more of him in his own new vehicle tomorrow, more on that in a moment.

There’s also a festive scent in the air over on the reanimated Never mind the buzzcocks (Sky Max, 10pm), moderated by Greg Davies. Basically chaotic business as usual, but with some tinsel on set and a question and answer session over Christmas carols.

If you want to enjoy Comedy Classic: Porridge (Channel 5, 9pm) you must have either manually added the channel to your satellite box or resort to the VPN and get online.

But it should be worth it for this 90-minute celebration of the brilliant 1970s prison sitcom, a high point in the careers of writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, stars Ronnie Barker and Richard Beckinsale, and everyone else involved.


Celebrating a Christmas TV tradition could become a Christmas TV tradition itself if the hour-long documentary The Snowman: The Movie That Changed Christmas (Channel 4, 5pm) is as good as it sounds.

We were promised several revelations, including how a last-minute change to the animation had spared Channel 4, who commissioned it, some embarrassment and the feelings of 40 years later walk in the air Singer Peter Auty on his rendition used in the film overshadowed by Aled Jones’ cover art.

video of the day

For those who love that kind of thing, and there are a lot of them, it’s the finale of Be sure to come dance (BBC1, 7.05pm) although it will be back with the traditional special on Christmas Day.

The aforementioned Mo Gilligan (see Saturday) is cementing his fame by hosting a new entertainment show This is my jam (BBC1, 9:35pm), a British adaptation of a hit US series presented by Jimmy Fallon.

Interestingly, it was actually recorded in America on the same set as Fallon’s version. Two teams of celebrities compete in different music games.

Cliff Richard has pretty much vowed never to be associated with the BBC again (and who could blame him?) after rashly broadcasting live coverage of a police raid on his home related to allegations of sexual assault, which were later withdrawn, seems to be practicing his Christian ideal of forgiveness.

Cliff at Christmas (BBC2, 9.35pm) is a recently recorded concert at St John-at-Hackney Church in London. Between songs, he talks to Sara Cox about his 64-year career in an interview at Abbey Road Studios.

Grace Dents what we observed (BBC4, 8.30pm) is always fun. Here she looks at what was on the box for Christmas 1988. A repeat, but a worthwhile one.


The most controversial World Cup final (RTÉ2, BBC1, ITV, 2pm) is upon us as Argentina take on reigning champions France. Fantastic football was played and there was no end to the excitement but it will be tainted forever.

After a two-year hiatus, partly due to Covid-19 delaying production, the third and final season of Its dark materials (BBC1, 8pm), the excellent adaptation of Philip Pullman’s grandiose fantasy novels, is out.

If you’re expecting an on-screen summary, you’re out of luck. It dives right into the story, so you’ll need to refresh yourself.


Dennis Herdman and Tom Hiddleston in The Play What I Wrote.

The piece I wrote (BBC4, 8pm), Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and Eddie Braben’s hit comedy Morecambe and Wise, is finally coming to television in a production taped at the Theater Royal Bath. A mystery guest star appears in every performance and here it’s Tom Hiddleston.

As if making miniatures wasn’t challenging enough, Sandi Toksvig’s little Christmas challenge (Channel 4, 7pm) challenges the competing amateurs to turn dollhouse-sized cottages into mini-houses for the festive season, complete with tiny Christmas decorations, including trees, gifts and even food. Any drunk uncles I wonder? Pat Stacey’s Weekend TV Tips: It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas TV

Fry Electronics Team

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