All I want for Christmas is some new programmes...

Do we need another Downton Abbey Christmas special?
Do we need another Downton Abbey Christmas special?

By Fiona Dobie

After a big dinner on Christmas day what better way to spend the time relaxing and letting the food settle than in front of the TV?

Well, at least that’s what I used to think.

In years gone by, in the run up to December 25 I used to look forward to seeing the festive television schedule when it was published in advance in the newspapers.

And again this year, there was a spark of interest when I saw my in-laws had a copy of the festive Radio Times in their house.

‘Excellent’ I thought, time to plan the television viewing for the few days I’ll be off over the Christmas period.

However, I’ll be honest, as I flicked through the pages of the magazine I was nothing but disappointed.

Where are the big blockbuster films that are eagerly anticipated for television screening - apart from on Sky Movies, which not every home has access to?

Maybe it’s my memory that’s a little hazy but if it still serves me correctly there always used to be a number of decent family friendly films that hadn’t been aired on ‘normal’ TV before that were among the highlights of the festive programming.

But this year, I’m struggling to find one that really appeals. Yes, there are a few names of fairly recent films that I recognise - many of them were actually on satellite television this time last year - that I haven’t seen on ‘Freeview’, but the numbers are few and far between.

And I guess a lot of this has to do with the changing technology we have these days - with more and more people having paid for television and the length of time that it takes for a film to come out on DVD after its been in the cinema has become much shorter.

But putting that aside, all that I seem to be seeing in the listings is yet more and more repeats.

I’m not adverse to watching classic films such as ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Mary Poppins’, but are the television channels not being a little lazy in their thinking by screening such films year after year.

‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, at least one of the ‘Harry Potter’ films and at least one from the ‘Shrek’ series - they are all sure to be on.

It’s all just so predictable and we may as well set our clocks by them.

Then there’s those films that are continually repeated with a festive theme - I’m not saying I don’t like them, some of them I do, but come on, let’s get something new.

It seems about time that those in the film industry bring out a brand new Christmas film - one that will grow to be a classic in its own right and be watched across the country year after year in 10, 20 or 50 years time. The only one they’ve come close to in fairly recent years was ‘Elf’, which I can see having a very positive future.

As for the actual television programmes rather than the films, don’t get me started. How many Christmas specials of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Dr Who’ do we really need? At what point will they consider that maybe people would like to watch something different?

So, please television and film companies, for next Christmas can we have something new?