What was good about it?
• The material in this special seemed to have sieved out weaknesses which were allowed into the series.
• Our favourite sketch featured a teenager asking his granddad what life was like in the old days. Initially, the memories dredged up by the old boy only went back half an hour (“There was none of that Bargain Hunt then; it were all Cash in the Attic”); then, prompted to go back further in time, he recalled being a sperm, generally happy days apart from when he lost many of his chums (Milky, Whitey, Tadpole etc) the day that his father wanked into a sock.
• Peter’s impressions are spot-on, from Terry Wogan getting stoned on Points of View to the French Al Pacino guesting on topical talk show Agenda with Hugh Hume and Paul McCartney singing Turn Your Fucking Music Down.
• As well as being funny, a lot of the material is very clever, such as the spoof of the iMac ads promoting a laptop so small it has only one key (press it 26 times to get a zee).
• The camp estate agent who was charming and oily to the wife but turned into a threatening mugger-like bully with the husband (“Did I arks you? Did I arks you?”).
• The recipe handed down to Brian Butterfield from his grandma for Christmas pizza, an ensemble featuring varicose vein cheese, chocolate currency,Hibernian eggs, baby pork cylinders, Christmas bonbonbonbons, non-calendar dates and so much more, with indigestion tablets included to ease the inevitable pain of eating it.
• Peter’s David Attenborough impression during Planet Earth at Christmas, observing creatures such as snakes who shed their skins to provide wrapping paper and spiders who spin tinsel webs once a year.
What was bad about it?
• The scheduling – this was tucked away late on Tuesday night on BBC2 while the overrated Gavin & Stacey gets a prime BBC1 slot.
• Jeremy Clarkson. Even though he was sent up as being gay (“as exciting as Barbra Streisand duetting with Elton John”), we just don’t want to ever have to see him, for real or faked.
• Spoofing TV shows – the trademark of almost every sketch programme – struggle to amuse us much in an age when so much TV output is beyond parody. Therefore, we could have done without the 30-second cookery challenge.