The YouTube Files – The Tim Vine Christmas Present.

The Tim Vine Christmas Present (Channel 5, 1997)

It’s Boxing Day, hello again. When Channel 5 launched in 1997, their very first show was co-hosted by Tim Vine. He went on to host that channel’s cheap but cheerful game show Whittle (and Fluke which was on Channel 4 around the same time). I have always enjoyed his comedic style of fast-moving daft puns, and he has definitely made many shows worth watching over the years.

So at the end of 1997 he was given his own hour-long Christmas special by Channel 5, one of the very small (too small!) home-made comedy shows for that channel. I do remember watching some of it at the time and thinking it was good fun, so I was pleased to discover that it had recently turned up in full on YouTube. I felt it was worth reviewing here.vlcsnap-00902

The Tim Vine Christmas Present was hosted by Tim at home (well it seemed to be his home, apparently he can fit a rather rowdy studio audience and a camera crew into his front room, how strange). It’s snowing outside, and this was going to be a show packed with jokes, music, and general silliness. Example joke: “I actually lived in an advent calendar. It’s freezing at the moment because most of the windows are open”. That’s the kind of standard we’re at. vlcsnap-00907

It’s about ten minutes into the show, and the audience are now so helpless with laughter that Tim can barely get a word in, maybe they were full of the Christmas spirit. He then got a little distracted as he remembered the time he got toothache in August, but he cheered up when he found his lost cushion in a piano. Then some pupils from Tim’s local school come on to perform a song, and they all get a present as a treat. However, he didn’t try and do “pen behind the ear” at this point. vlcsnap-00900

Tim really likes the magic of Christmas, he then plays some games, puts on a pantomime in 30 seconds, and also takes a look at life at a Christmas cracker factory. He was then joined by some celebrity guests, including Sarah Greene who offered some Blue Peter-style ideas for making your own presents, and that fat bloke who used to be in EastEnders. vlcsnap-00917

By this point, Tim informs us that if you are stuck in a tree, you should play Hide And Seek with a squirrel. Tim and friends then all gather round to end the show with a special song about just how great Christmas can be, which was described as “sickly” by one critic. Tim had a good time though and promised to return next year, but unfortunately this show turned out to be a one-off. He would go on to further success though including The Sketch Show and Not Going Out, and all these years on it’s still a pleasure to see him on TV.


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