About Christmas TV History

Friday, July 28, 2017

Christmas in July 2017: Niall McGarry

Richard Attenborough from 1994's Miracle on 34th Street.

Christmas in July 2017: Niall McGarry

1) Who's your favorite Santa Claus?

I haven't yet found a Santa that matches up to the Santa Claus of my imagination but the Coca Cola Santa probably comes the closest but worthy mentions should also go to Edmund Gwenn, Richard Attenborough, Ed Asner & David Huddleston.

 Only Fools and Horses.

2) What's your favorite Christmas episode from a TV series?

In the UK, series tend to end before the holiday season and instead we are treated to a special extended seasonal version of a popular series. I'm going to cheat here and choose 3 very different UK favourites. My first choice is a special episode of Only Fools and Horses called 'The Jolly Boys Outing' and was first shown on Christmas Day in 1989. Like many UK Christmas specials, Christmas doesn't feature at all and the episode actually takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Despite that, it is forever associated with Christmas. My 2nd choice is The Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special from 2008. This special episode actually revolves around a typically British Christmas and the prospective in-laws et al coming to stay, just delightful. My 3rd choice is "The Worst Christmas of My Life," which is a special version of the sitcom The Worst Week of My Life and was shown in 3 parts during Christmas week in 2006 and is about the new parents bringing their first baby home to the wife's parents for Christmas. This is played as a very British farce and everything that can go wrong goes wrong.

3) Do you enjoy watching Christmas entertainment year round or do you only like watching it during the holidays? And, why?

I try to limit what I watch outside the holiday season in order to rack up the anticipation but I do allow myself to watch the odd Christmas TV movie I've still got recorded when I'm in need of a fuzzy boost.

4) This is the 21st century--how do you watch TV and/or Christmas entertainment? 

We use all the platforms but I'd say we watch mostly the terrestrial channels via antenna as they are very good over Christmas but we have satellite, Amazon & Netflix as well and if there is a seasonal special then we'll catch it there. I have a collection of favourite DVDs of movies and specials and will watch those as well. If there is a special cinema showing of a Christmas classic then we might go and see that and we usually go to see Royal National Ballet's production of The Nutcracker every year if we can.

2005's The Family Stone.

5) If you were to be stranded on an island (maybe Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean!), what three Christmas movies, specials, or episodes would you like to have with you?

A very hard choice but two movies we absolutely must watch every Christmas is White Christmas & The Family Stone. Very different but both are much loved and we will only watch those during the holiday season. My third choice is an episode of my favourite sitcom Frasier, "Merry Christmas Mrs Moskowitz." It is so clever and is the classic farce with characters coming in and out of doors just avoiding each other. The dialogue & timing is just faultless and is one of the funniest episodes ever written.


  1. Huge fan of British TV and love some of your Christmas specials—though I'm always perplexed, as an American, when they don't involve Christmas AT ALL. Outnumbered has always been one of my favorites, when they're trying to go on holiday. Sweet, funny but also poignant and wise. (Outnumbered is one of my favorite UK series, full stop.)

    Will have to seek out the Worst Week of My Life. Never got around to it will it was available on Netflix and it's now, sadly, vanished.

    And the not British, but Australian: Moody Family Christmas. A series that revolved around a son coming home once-a-year from the UK to spend Christmas with his crazy family. Each episode was a Christmas and it was followed up by a one-year series of holidays call The Moodys. Both used to be available on Hulu, but have sadly disappeared. Really unique Christmas entertainment.

  2. I love that we are all finding out about different shows and movies we might not have before.