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.
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.
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.
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.
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.