Far from the world of Location, Location, Location, Kirstie Allsopp has built quite the reputation in recent years for her televised celebrations of all things humble, handmade and crafty, something that otherwise seems all too rare on British TV. This month, she returns with Kirstie’s Crafty Christmas, which sees many of the UK’s most talented crafters battle it out in a series of festive categories.
Who will be deemed the best in Britain at the hand-making of Christmas decorations? What about the honour of the best-decorated Christmas tree, the best decorated Christmas cake or the best handmade toy?
There are even competitions for the likes of the best gingerbread house, the best floral art and the best Christmas dish, among others. It all surely demonstrates once more that even in an age in which many of us seem to be glued to our laptop and phone screens, there are still plenty more of us who adore few things more than getting resourceful with our hands and the most basic materials found around the house.
Find out which crafters triumph in their respective categories on Channel 4 this month.
Doctor Who Christmas Special
Given the absence of any full Doctor Who series at all in 2016, it’s fair to say that the return of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor to BBC One ahead of a full 10th series next year is more than eagerly anticipated.
So, what do we know about the Christmas special? Well, its title has been confirmed as “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”, with the news accompanied by an image of the insignia for a superhero character played by Justin Chatwin.
It has also been reported that the special will see the return of Nardole, the character played by Matt Lucas and who first appeared in last year’s Christmas special, “The Husbands of River Song”. We’ve heard that Nardole will have a “sizable role” to play in the full 10th season.
A source recently told Radio Times that the Doctor wouldn’t have a temporary companion this Christmas, with that “space” essentially taken by Nardole. Nonetheless, we already know that the new full series will see Capaldi joined by new assistant Bill, played by actress Pearl Mackie.
The rumour is that Mackie only signed a one-year contract, and will depart with Capaldi after the 2017 Christmas special.
Simply mention the words “Blankety Blank” to anyone of a certain age (who may well be you!), and some of the most evocative images of 1980s British TV are conjured up – the stick-like microphone known as ‘Wogan’s Wand’, the similarly notorious ‘chequebook and pen’, the comedic double entendre answers (“Did you catch a glimpse of that girl on the corner? She has the world’s biggest blank“)… you get the idea.
So, depending on your point of view, it may be either welcome news or a certain kind of heresy that the show is being revived once more this Christmas, for the first full episode since the end of the Lily Savage era in 2002. Of course, the show hasn’t been completely off our screens in the intervening 14 years, as new one-off versions have been broadcast, not least a Comic Relief segment featuring the man who will fill the boots of the late and legendary former host Sir Terry Wogan, the similarly late and legendary Les Dawson and the still-very-much-with-us legend behind Savage, Paul O’Grady.
That man is Little Britain star David Walliams. Amid the whispers of this ITV Christmas Special marking the beginning of a full-blown revival of the show if it is well-received, needless to say that here at IN&AROUND, we can’t wait to see how he gets on.