Watching in real time without a VCR or DVD meant that there would be clashes of programmes. Everything had to be watched when it was broadcast.
This meant careful consideration for what has become some legendary TV performances that are still repeated our screens year on year.
Names such as Morecambe and Wise, Ronnie Barker, David Jason and Father Ted top the list of greatest ever Christmas TV.
Along with Porridge, Black Adder and more recently Mrs Brown’s Boys, those programmes were appointments to view.
Some of them had over half the population of the country watching them at any one time. Each was a show that would be talked about and enjoyed in the memory over and over again. This was very much a golden era of Christmas TV.
How things have changed. No-one can tell me that The Best of Gogglebox is the ultimate in Christmas Day viewing. In fact, this year, the only thing I am looking forward to is the Christmas specials of Ghosts and Worzel Gummidge.
The latest episodes of the once-loved Vicar of Dibley have left me cold. They have been as festive as a bath in baked beans and have turned Dawn French into the poster girl for every woke cause to sprout up in the madness of 2020.
At best, they have been preachy boiler-plate socialism and, at worse, boring. We do not need to see a comedy legend like French take the knee to show solidarity to a cause that wants to defund the police and introduce radical Marxism.
That is definitely not BBC impartiality, but, that’s nothing new for the BBC.
In just one month, a total of 268 slots were filled by comedians with publicly pronounced left-leaning or ‘woke’ views. BBC comedy does not have to be impartial.
Leo Kearse, a popular comedian with conservative views, said: “This gigantic monolith that we all have to pay for or go to jail oozes a liberal, Oxbridge-educated, metropolitan elite agenda at every pore.”
Kearse is quite right. I believe that the BBC looks down its nose at northern working class people and regards Yorkshire as an outpost of flat capped whippet lovers.
The teenagers in charge of commissioning need to understand that there is life outside the metropolis and most viewers are aged over 40.
Wokedom is killing comedy and it is also killing Christmas TV. It is certainly not making me want to watch a feast of television.
Why can’t we have good quality family entertainment back on our screens at Christmas? Do the golden days of stopping everything to gather around the telly have to end?
It does seem that the BBC and other broadcasters have lost touch with their real audience as they go in search of the mythical youngsters they value so highly.
Do they not understand that the success of shows such as Mrs Brown’s Boys and Ghosts is that they are what the core group of viewers like me want to watch?
At Christmas, I want to get away from the stresses of the world and the year-long worry about Covid and lose myself in some good TV.
I don’t want to have people relentlessly preaching woke views at me in the disguise of comedy. Christmas TV should be more than game shows and documentaries.
The trouble is that we actually lack the star potential of performers like Morecambe and Wise.
There are no longer any big names in television and everything that made Christmas TV special has become mediocre. All we have is Britain’s Got Talent.
I would really like to see some good variety entertainment and not people ice skating naked. Nor do I want to have to watch repeats. Even the long-awaited Gavin and Stacey Christmas Day slot is something that we have seen before.
All the BBC seem to be good at is rolling out Dr Who in an attempt to save ratings, but even that show has slumped into the abyss of political correctness.
As Covid has changed Christmas, it is the one year when television will play a major part of people’s celebrations.
It would only be right for broadcasters to have pulled something brilliant out of the bag and not the below par offerings they have crammed into the schedules.
GP Taylor is a writer and broadcaster. He lives in Whitby.
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