In keeping with the general spirit of good will to all men and all that, this week's column will be filled with the milk of human kindness and I won't be nasty about anything I've seen on the box this week. Mind you, thinking about it, that's quite a tall order. Maybe I should just compromise and be slightly less catty than usual. Let's see how it goes.
My first problem was that all the Christmas preparations, parties and generally lame excuses to disappear to welcoming hostelries full of people who only drink once a year and end up looking like Amy Winehouse after just one glass of wine, I didn't catch a vast amount of telly.
The big event of the week was Oliver Twist but I selfishly decided to save watching that until Christmas Day afternoon given the tosh and tired old movies and repeats my favourite channels have decided to schedule after our own dear Queen (or maybe Dame Helen Mirren if Her Majesty fancies the day off) has addressed the nation.
Actually when I got my bingo pen thingy out to highlight the shows I didn't want to miss over the festive period, I soon found that I had only highlighted Doctor Who and Extras.
Heston Blumenthal is perfect for British television. Not only is he very good at what he does in the kitchen but he has that sort of eccentric way about him that you simply have to have to capture the nation's hearts.
To say he puts a lot of thought into his creations is an understatement, but the Great British Public are often intimidated by someone with great intelligence. Carol Vorderman seems to dispel this potential hostility by dressing like a vamp, for Heston it's his uncanny resemblance to Eddie the Eagle Edwards that makes us comfortable with the fact that he's a bit of a smart arse.
Heston's seasonal special saw a bunch of famous faces enthusing over his perfect Christmas dinner. While the scenes of the great man creating these dishes and spanning the globe to do so are really great viewing, seeing Sue Perkins and Rob Brydon salivating over the fare on offer is just not the same as being about to smell and taste it yourself. It just seemed wrong to be munching on my Tangy Cheese Doritos while watching all this wonderfully indulgent food being lovingly and scientifically prepared. Even the sour cream and chive dip didn't seem to help.
Heston's a star, but to be frank, we didn't need the celebs. How many times can you stick Richard E Grant saying “extraordinary” in one programme? I kept expecting Julia Sawalha to stroll in with an Argos catalogue
As Charlie Fairhead said hello to a complete stranger outside a shop, everyone playing Spot the Victim at Hogan Towers shouted that she'd be run over and before we could place our bets she had been mown down in sudden, brutal and shocking fashion, even dragged up the road by the hit and run driver. We were stunned. It was a scene that wouldn't have been out of place in a Final Destination movie.
Sadly this was to be Charlie's swansong after 21 years of sterling service, and while they've been building up his exit for weeks now, it still seemed something of an anticlimax given the life or death end of season cliffhangers he's been involved heavily in over the years. I suppose the one bonus is that hopefully that's the last we'll see of irritant Louis.
Having lost Charlie and Josh in such a short space of time, it'll be interesting to see who can take on the mantle of being the show's iconic figureheads. It certainly won't be weirdo porter Big Mac, whose presence seems highly bizarre.
In the bleak mid winter
I'm supposed to be being nice this week so I can't tell you that I've been admonished by my partner for shouting “You thickie!” at the telly at frequent intervals during the run of Junior Mastermind. I could be wrong but there were times when I'm sure host John Humphrys was thinking exactly the same thing.
Throughout the whole drama Liam looked as gormless as ever which explains why he and the equally planklike Maria get on so well. It's a wonder they didn't spontaneously combust while making babies. Ask a boy scout what happens when you rub two pieces of wood together.
It was BBC Four that really got me into the Christmas spirit. Surprisingly even though it's come of age at 21 years old, the 1986 EastEnders Christmas special has stood the test of time rather well. The only bad thing about the clip show Xmas Turkeys on the Telly was its brevity.
Shameless filler time again and a look back at a few of the year's TV highlights shoe-horned in ridiculously to fit the lyrics of a traditional song:
Twelve drummers drumming
The drummer of the year easily has to be the Cadbury's gorilla getting his groove on to the Phil Collins classic Coming in the Air Tonight. If there's been a better ad this year, I've not seen it.
Eleven pipers piping
Ten lords a-leaping
Leaping ahead of all but one of his rivals, Louis Hamilton made Formula 1 a must watch TV sport again after years in the doldrums. His fallibility makes watching the circus all the more enjoyable and while the outcome of the season left British viewers frustrated, it made for wonderful telly.
Nine ladies dancing
Eight maids a-milking
Our news producers have been milking certain news stories for all they are worth. I'm not sure what the stats actually are for missing children but if you were going by the evidence of the TV news, you'd think Madeline was the only one. Coverage reached a low point when the McCanns were taken in for questioning and we got hours of coverage of a police station door. We used to be the best in the world but now for insightful balanced coverage of world events it's often better to go to offshore news outlets.
Seven swans a-swimming
They were certainly almost swimming at Glastonbury which lived up to its reputation as a mudfest. Funniest sight was Kate Silverton trying to look fashionable in her designer wellies as she attempted jolly sticks style interviews with revellers who were often a bit worse for wear. Kate was also dispatched to report on the floods so it was quickly becoming apparent that someone at the BBC just wanted her to get wet. They got their wish when she took on St David's Bitches in a BBC One special. I should explain more about that here but I quite like the way it reads.
Six geese a-laying
Having seen Jim Davidson on Hell's Kitchen, they probably have a point.
Five gold rings
The best thing to say about Golden Balls is that at least it's better than the other Jasper Carrott quiz vehicle Cash Inn which has been blighting pubs up and down the nation on Sunday nights for the last few weeks – and depriving me of watching the Spanish footy in my favourite Sunday night hostelry. Neither show is particularly exciting and I don't want a sombre and serious Carrott, I want a funny one. Tell us a joke, Jasper.
Four calling birds
Three French hens
'Allo 'Allo made an ill-advised return to our screens in April. Sometimes it's better to let sleeping dogs lie. I still fancy Vicki Michelle though.
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree
No Alan Partridge this year but we have had The Alan Titchmarsh Show which is probably as close to Knowing Me Knowing You as we're going to get. To be fair, Titch has got me closer to nature this year. I'd rather watch the squirrels in my back garden than his chat show.
I said I was going to be nice didn't I? Oh well...
Bit 'n' Bobs
Parkinson bowed out in style with two excellent shows. The only bit of his Final Conversation which grated was Peter Kay. He's trying too hard.
Spooks takes itself far too seriously. I'd like to point out that Bob Hogan is a fictional character and no relation to me whatsoever. (Neither is Hulk Hogan, incidentally.) Saucer-eyed Jo begged Adam to save her from a fate worse than death but I fear she'll still end up teaching at Waterloo Road.
Little Lauren Branning clicked on “Burn” on her laptop and did precisely that to any chance of a peaceful EastEnders Christmas.
I really wanted to hate Britain Sings Christmas but it was actually great fun. Whoever picked Kate Thornton's frock did her no favours though. Thankfully they didn't sanitise the words to Fairytale of New York and even those celebs who couldn't carry a tune in a bucket managed to fit in somehow.
I find Simon Bates scary though. Not sure why.
May you all have a Christmas that's as lovely as you are.