I’ll surely be tuning into the BBC sitcom Miranda this Christmas (and hoping they make another season!). It’s all about great family, friends, well-meaning mayhem, and the pressures of family, friends, and well-meaning mayhem! A perfect watch for everybody at Christmas!
Series 3, Episode 1 of Miranda opens with typical shenanigans, but at Christmas! The Christmas cheer is infectious from the festive decorations, the squabbles with friends, the making up with friends, to the Christmas carolling.
Trying to escape Penny (Patricia Hodge) and Tilly (Sally Phillips), Stevie (Sarah Hadland) and Miranda (Miranda Hart) run into a very festive square and into a group of Christmas carollers. Stevie belts out ‘I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on’, finding her ‘thing’- a hobby all characters start the episode trying to find. Miranda takes the next line…and let’s just say carolling is not her thing!
Ultimately, though, the sentiment of Christmas is ‘I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on’, and it’s only echoed in every immensely funny and joyful episode of Miranda.
Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)
No matter what Christmas looks like for us this year, there's no doubt I'll be tuning into Gilmore Girls to get into the festive spirit. Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) do nothing by half measures - and Christmas is no different!
While the show's usual tone is light-hearted and fun, there's something about Stars Hollow over Christmas that just gets me in the mood for festivities like no other show.
From that beautiful scene where Luke (Scott Patterson) builds Lorelai an ice rink, to another where the family come together when Richard (Edward Herrmann) ends up in the hospital (timed alongside a Gilmore Family freeze-out) - Gilmore Girls never really goes to a dark place with its plot.
Instead, life in Stars Hollow is deliciously romanticised - especially at during the festive season.
From the twinkling lights covering the Town Square, to the awful nativity plays produced by town locals; to Santa Claus burgers and the snow-filled streets of small-town Connecticut - Amy Sherman-Palladino's classic will always be my first choice of show on the lead up to Christmas.
Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988)
A delightful inversion of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas ghost yarn, Blackadder’s Christmas Carol takes the wonderfully awful Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson)… and makes him quite the opposite. The ‘nicest man in England’, the kind-spirited Blackadder navigates a night of ghostly visitations… which, hilariously, has the opposite effect of the Scrooge spirits.
Christmas, whilst a peaceful time for joy and reflection, is also a concentrated explosion of pressure to perform sterile, picture-postcard perfection. From presents to presence, it's practically impossible for the average person in the space of a day. A cynical reading, I concede. But the comedy of Blackadder resonates with me in this sense – it makes a dryly funny mockery of the virtues of some great, constructed Christmas spirit. (Those, which, I do believe we should all aspire to, but not on some seasonal principle of personal pleasure, but as genuine virtues for our everyday life).
The familiarity that emerges as Blackadder returns to his self, however, instils the cosiness of Blackadder’s Christmas Carol. It is a festive watch that is richly draped in the Dickensian aesthetic of roaring fires, plush nightgowns, frost-dusted windows – despite being a frank inversion of classic Christmas narratives. Blackadder’s Christmas Carol is a favourite of mine, one which allows itself to be both festive and funny. In the words of Baldrick (Tony Robinson), Have a ‘Messy Merry Christmas!’