TV's festive specials can be a tough watch for those involved.
It's good after Christmas to get back to normal TV shows, after all those specials. Every time you leave the house during the festive period, you wonder if you're missing the Big Fat Festive Best of 2019, or some long-lost Morecambe & Wise clips, or a brand-new episode of a sitcom we thought had finished 10 years ago. Nowadays there's catchup, of course, but sometimes there's just too much to catch up on. They should spread the festive telly throughout the year really; space it out a bit. That's certainly what we're planning on doing with this pile of Christmas chocolate.
It must be a bit weird if you're actually in the entertainment industry though, especially if you're one of those people who regularly pop up as a talking head on list shows. When flicking channels in late December it's odds-on that you'll chance upon at least a couple of festive run-downs; so do you roll the dice and check one out, or do something completely different on a round-up tip? You could make a list of all the social media punters who said nice things about your last TV appearance and write them thank-you tweets, or find a site that has top UK online casinos listed, and forget about the telly entirely.
The thing is, those types of show invariably feature so many different talking heads (apart from the really cheap ones, which can only pay for three or four), that you could be forgiven for forgetting which ones you were actually in. Perhaps you're a comedian who's now a bit thin on top and a bit full round the middle, which is all fine: you sit down with the family to watch some cleverly repackaged clips interspersed with celebs, and suddenly there's you from four years ago, with a full head of hair and a physique that could pass for a lower-division footballer's, in a certain light.
Now different people would react to that in different ways. But definitely bad is if you tune in for a thing and it turns out that you're not on it at all (especially if you thought you would be, but were mysteriously cut out. It happens rather a lot, for varied reasons: quality control, time restraints, or someone's face just not fitting). That really would put a big dent in your festive mood, especially if - again - you're watching with the family.
At what point in the show - and those clip shows can be really long - do you accept the inevitable and decide to give up and do something else instead? If the observation you were most chuffed to come up with during that interview was about, say, the 1996 Only Fools And Horses Christmas special, but the clip show features lots of other talking heads during that bit instead - some of them reality TV types who clearly only saw the Batman and Robin bit (pictured above) for the first time about five minutes before the interview happened - then it's probably not going to be your day.
At least if that happens early enough you can pretend to just be bashful - "I've got a brilliant bit coming up in a minute, but, hey, Christmas isn't all about me..." and insist the folks turn over, or bring out the playing cards, or anything, really. By the time they do catchup and discover the baffling truth, you'll be long gone.