Literary Christmas TV

Does anyone else feel like Christmas has already been and gone? I must have been eating too much and wrapping too many presents because I’m in a strange kind of time-warp! (What day is it again?).

A lethargy has descended, which means I can’t seem to get motivated to write anything and if you’re feeling like that too, you may be interested in my invention for a guilt-free Christmas: ‘Literary TV’.

Now, like me, you might be planning to watch a bit of tele’ over the next couple of weeks but, if you pick carefully, you can put this down to ‘research’.

I have discovered, whilst idly flicking through the Radio Times, that there are a lot of ‘literary’ programmes on the TV over Christmas and, as writers, it’s vital that we watch some, if not all of them for .. er, well, for research purposes.

Here are some that I’ve found (but if I’ve missed any out, let me know! But they must be ‘literary’. Doctor Who does not count!):

Jane Austen
(1) Fri 23rd Dec – The Many Lovers of Miss Jane Austen – BBC 2 9pm – 10pm

It’s 200 years since Jane Austen’s first novel, ‘Sense And Sensibility’, was published and this programme is a light-hearted look at the writer’s continuing popularity. What can I say? I am a Jane Austen fan, so I’ll be on the sofa in front of this one!

(2) Boxing Day – The Unseen Portrait – BBC2 9pm – 10pm

Biographer Paula Byrne believes she has found a picture of Jane Austen lost to the world for almost two centuries. Bless, it’s not the most flattering of portraits (that nose!) but it looks like an interesting programme if you like Ms Austen.

Charles Dickens

(1) Christmas Eve: Scrooge, A Christmas Carol – Channel 5. 5.05 – 7pm. Black and white classic film of the Dickens’ novella. Perfect for curling up on the sofa, with all that Christmas shopping done! Phew.

(2) Tues 27th Dec, Weds 28th Dec, Thurs 29th Dec: Great Expectations – BBC 1 9pm – 10pm
Ooh, great stuff. Described as ‘dark and brooding’, this is a 3-part adaptation of Dickens’ novel, starring Ray Winstone as Magwitch and Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham. If you’ve never read the book – or even if you have – this is a must-see!

Children’s Classics

(1) Christmas Eve – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – BBC 1 – 5.50 – 8pm
The film version of the C S Lewis classic children’s book.

(2) Christmas Eve – Polar Express – ITV1 1.45 – 3.35pm.
Described as a ‘glorious re-enactment of Chris Van Allburg’s festive picture book’.

(3) Christmas Day: The Gruffalo’s Child – BBC 1 6.30pm – 7pm

This is an animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson (the Children’s Laureate)’s book, the sequel to The Gruffalo. It looks sweet and as I’ve never read any of the Gruffalo stories (shame on me!) I think I need to see this, don’t you?

(4) Boxing Day – The Borrowers – BBC 1- 7.30pm – 9pm

This is the film adaptation of Mary Norton’s 1950s children’s book, about tiny people who live in people’s homes and ‘borrow’ things to survive.

And finally…. this isn’t exactly a ‘classic’, but if, like me, you enjoy the Sophie Kinsella ‘Shopaholic‘ books (they are my ‘guilty pleasure’!), then you might be interested in the film ‘Confessions of A Shopaholic‘ based on the first in the series, on Thurs 29th Dec, BBC 2 – 6.20 – 8pm. Rather annoyingly, they’ve moved the location from London to New York but hopefully that doesn’t spoil things too much!

Happy viewing!

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11 Responses to Literary Christmas TV

  1. Alice says:

    I can’t wait for Great Expectations. I adore that book. And, whilst it’s not literary exactly, I’ll certainly be sitting down to Christmas Day Downton!
    Have a lovely festive season,

    • Me too, Alice (Downton Abbey!). It feels as though it should be ‘literary’ though, shouldn’t it – but they’ve done strange things to it – it’s all ‘speeded up’, don’t you think?! But it’s still worth a watch, as the turkey goes down! Have a great Christmas too.

      • Alice says:

        Yes, I agree. It’s almost like they didn’t plan on a second series, but went ahead as it was so popular and then weren’t sure what to do with the storylines! I still enjoy it though 🙂

  2. Prue says:

    Hmmm. I’m not in the same time warp as you. Possibly because I did the food shopping today. The only writing I’ve done in the last week was the shopping list – and I still managed to forget a few things (and yes, they were on the list). Then I went out again but spent a good 10 minutes looking for my house keys…which I found in my hand. Christmas! It addles the brain.

    Thanks for the suggestions for research. I did some historical research tonight – the film about Queen Victoria. Apparently we went to see it at the cinema and apparently I enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed it all over again tonight although one or two scenes did look familiar. Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas…or do I mean bah humbug? 🙂

    • Prue – I watched some of the Queen Victoria film too but like you (and I remembered!) I’d seen it at the cinema. It’s good though. I think ‘Albert’ is gorgeous! (He is – or certainly was then – Keira Knightley’s boyfriend).

      I agree with you that Christmas addles the brain. I’m going to make my first ever Christmas cake today! Yes, I know it’s late but I got one of those ‘Mary Berry Christmas Cake sets’ (everything included and weighed out for you) for a bargain TWO POUNDS in Tescos the other day! I can’t resist a bargain.

      Have a good Christmas!


  3. Maggie May says:

    Thanks for those previews. I am particularly looking forward to Great Expectations, and as I have never read it before (shock, horror!), I started reading it the other day, and am trying to complete it before it appears on TV. Really enjoying it.

  4. Julia says:

    I reckon that, if you really wanted to, you could justify Doctor Who since The Sunday Times says it gives a nod to C S Lewis. BTW, best version ever of A Christmas Carol? The Muppets, by far!

  5. Debbie says:

    I’m looking forward to Great Expectations, especially with Ray Winstone, one of my favourite actors.
    Thanks for that Helen, have a lovely Christmas!

  6. Hi Helen, there are some great things on to watch this year aren’t there. Did you see ‘the great little shop of stuff’ a couple of nights ago? It’s a send up of Dickens, though the writing is fabulous play on words. Stephen Fry was the bad solicitor, it was a mixture of all things Dickens, a bit silly, but good writing I thought, it’s repeated on boxing day I think. I also watched the Victoria programme. Made a change from seeing Victoria as an old frump.

  7. Prue says:

    Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!

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