Belfast Telegraph

TV View: Val Doonican's festive frolicking was just what the Doctor ordered

By Joe Nawaz

Tis the season to be jolly. Or so I've been told. And what could be more "fa-la-la-la-la" than The Val Doonican Christmas Show, which came on my screen the other night when I was just about to give up the ghost of Christmas present?

Back in 'the day', I vaguely remember Val as being the singing Terry Wogan, who only came out on Christmas Eve to croon and banter with elderly folk in the studio audience. And Jan Leeming.

So it was on BBC4 the other night. I was balancing an unseasonal plate of spaghetti hoops on my knees and wondering if our Christmas tree was 'dressing to the left', when from the faraway land of the mid-1980s Val's big face filled my 46-inch screen like a surprisingly amiable Crimewatch photo-fit.

He proceeded to sing in a mock-up of his home about the list of chores that mums had to get through before they could enjoy the holidays.

At one point he was cheerfully chirruping to camera in a Pringle sweater with his hand up the bum of a (dead) turkey.

It was utterly dated stuff, but hugely charming. And packed more festive spirit per cubic centimetre than a bottle of voddie down the Queen Vic on Christmas Day.

It got me thinking about its modern equivalent? I reckon the closest we have to the Two Ronnies, Big Val and Morecambe and Wise now is the Doctor Who Christmas special. Honestly! It's the moment where family members, young old, beloved or antipathetic, congregate round the goggle-box and share a festive moment.

Needless to say, my spaghetti hoops had gone cold at that point.

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