Marie Louise McConville: Sorry to say, Christmas TV is failing to ignite my festive spirit

The 2018 Christmas TV listings have failed to ignite Marie Louise's festive spirit
Marie Louise McConville

So, the final countdown has begun.

With just days to go before the man in the big red suit pays us all a visit (hopefully), it's now the final push to get everything sorted.

From turkey and stuffing to stocking fillers and sparkly frocks, time is running out.

Soon the big day will be upon us and I don't know about you but for me it's lovely to sit back over Christmas and watch some good television.

However, therein lies the problem because to be honest, I've never particularly been a fan of festive telly - I always find it disappointing.

Aside from the usual movies, it's almost always a series of repeats and this year, there seems to be very little new on offer.

To start with, in the lead up to Christmas Day, there's a big budget adaptation of Watership Down.

With a high profile cast, this new take on the gritty animal tale is spread out over two nights.

At this point, I should say that I watched Watership Down when I was a child and cried my heart out.

I have never watched it since and don't intend to watch it just before Christmas - what a downer.

Then, on December 25, we have the usual Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.

I haven't watched the show for years and feel it has lost its sparkle so that one's a non-starter for me.

The only saving grace seems to be The Great British Bake-off Christmas Special because Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding together are just TV gold.

I'm looking forward to kneading, proofing, and baking drama with a little festive cheer added for good measure.

There's also a wee drop of Mrs Brown's Boys available on Christmas Day, so that might give us a laugh.

After Christmas, we are spoilt for choice - if we want downbeat and depressing.

We have the Dr Who Christmas Special, which is never joyous, or The ABC Murders, which stars John Malkovich and tells the story of the race against time to stop a serial killer travelling the length and breadth of Britain in 1933.

Or maybe a six-part adaptation of Les Miserables is more up your street but be aware, this one isn't even a musical.

So, there we have it, dark, miserable and boring - festive television 2018.

Just give me It's A Wonderful Life, some Christmas baking and a few Only Fools and Horses classics and I'm happy.

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope your every festive wish comes true.


Let's have a big cheer for Lidl this week for its marvellous customer service.

Santa called me to tell me he had gone into Lidl last week to find a gift for Abbie but when he got it back to the North Pole, he found it was broken.

He called the lovely people at Lidl but unfortunately, it was out of stock.

However, a dedicated member of staff called Elaine pulled out all the stops and a few days later, a replacement arrived at Santa's door.

Great job guys - you've helped make Christmas a Lidl bit special.



The season to socialise is in full swing, so how do you fancy winning a Nando's voucher so you can treat family or catch up with friends this holiday season?

Best known for its legendary and delicious flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken, Nando's is a firm favourite.

Served on or off the bone, in a wrap, burger or pitta, and served with a delicious selection of sides, salads, Firestarters and sharing platters, Nando's offers great variety, and mouth-watering recipes.

Whether you go for a quick bite, a family party, a fun night out with friends, it won't be just your taste buds that are invigorated.

To celebrate the festive season and catching up with those we love, I have three Nando's vouchers to give away to three lucky readers.

Each voucher, which is only valid for Nando's in the Richmond Centre in Derry, is for two combination meals and two soft drinks.

If you fancy winning a voucher, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is 12 noon on Wednesday, December 26, 2018.

(Q) Q: What type of chicken is Nando's best known for?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

The winners of the Bellamianta competition are Ann Marie McGarry, from Crumlin, Aine McAuley, from Ballycastle, and Joanne Moore, from Lurgan.

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