BAH HUMBUG! 20 Things To Watch On Christmas Day For Those Who HATE Christmas - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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BAH HUMBUG! 20 Things To Watch On Christmas Day For Those Who HATE Christmas

For many, Christmas Day is all about yuletide joy, festive films, and heartwarming specials. But let's spare a thought for those for whom the constant jingle of bells and merriment grates on the soul. For these brave souls, who’d rather dive into anything but Christmas cheer, here's a list of ten shows that aired on Christmas Day but remain delightfully bereft of holiday spirit.

Doctor Who: "The End of Time, Part One" (2009) The Time Lords return, and David Tennant's Doctor faces one of his darkest hours. Aired on December 25, 2009, this Russell T. Davies special had minimal tinsel but a lot of dramatic tension. Entertainment Weekly said, "It's a holiday special, but not as you know it."

The Time of Your Life (1986) A drama series that saw Gwen Taylor navigating life after a 34-year coma, hardly the stuff of festive fairytales. Broadcast on Christmas Day 1986, it's an exploration of personal rediscovery. Anecdotes reveal Taylor’s commitment to playing the role authentically. Retro Review from TVGuide: "Bringing realism to festive slots."

Black Mirror: "White Christmas" (2014) While set during the holidays, Charlie Brooker’s anthology series offered little cheer in this tale of technology and torment. Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall's performances were a bleak treat. Variety stated, "A Christmas tale with a Black Mirror twist."

The Great Escape (1963 film broadcast in 1994) Steve McQueen's iconic motorcycle jump might be many things, but "Christmassy" isn’t one of them. When this war film was shown on Christmas Day 1994, it was a gift for those seeking non-festive content. Behind the scenes, the jump became a legendary moment in cinema. The Hollywood Reporter noted, "A wartime escape from festive clichés."

EastEnders (1986) A soap opera renowned for dramatic Christmas episodes, 1986's instalment showcased Den Watts serving divorce papers. For those relishing in non-festive drama, this was a treat. An interview with Leslie Grantham (Den) highlighted the gravity of the scene, dubbing it a "Christmas shocker."

One Foot in the Grave: "The Man Who Blew Away" (1994) Victor Meldrew’s escapades were hardly ever festive. In this episode, his confrontation with a shotgun-wielding farmer is pure Meldrew. Airing on December 25, 1994, it was an alternative for traditional holiday viewing. The Guardian’s review read, "Victor Meldrew - stealing Christmas laughs without the tinsel."

Coronation Street (2008) Christmas in Weatherfield isn’t always merry. The 2008 episode featured intense drama with Tony Gordon. No reindeers or carols, just pure, gripping storytelling. A retro review from The Sun declared, "Corrie delivers drama, sans the Christmas trimmings."

The Towering Inferno (1974 film broadcast in 1991) Skyscrapers, fire, and Steve McQueen again, but no Santa in sight. A disaster film for those wanting a break from festive fare. This cinematic marvel, aired in 1991, captivated audiences. Behind-the-scenes, the production was known for its ambitious set designs. Empire stated, "Flames rise, while Christmas takes a backseat."

Porridge: "No Way Out" (1975) Set in a prison and focused on an escape plan, this was hardly your conventional Christmas special. Ronnie Barker's comedic genius was on full display. Reviews from the time praised its wit, with the Daily Mirror quipping, "Bars over baubles: Porridge serves up holiday humour."

Casualty (2016) The emergency room drama, known for its intense storylines, didn't hold back in 2016. With a focus on medical emergencies rather than merriment, it was the perfect antidote for those seeking an escape. Behind the scenes, the cast often spoke of the challenges of filming intense sequences. Radio Times wrote, "Casualty delivers a dose of reality amidst festive fantasies."

Sherlock: "The Six Thatchers" (2016) On Christmas Day, Sherlock fans were treated to a riveting episode where the great detective unravels the mystery behind destroyed Margaret Thatcher busts. Despite its winter release, it was more about mystery than merriment. The Independent reported, "A tale woven with intrigue, not tinsel."

The Godfather (1972 film broadcast in various years) This classic mob drama, although a staple for some during the holidays, is far removed from the festive spirit. Marlon Brando’s unforgettable performance offers an escape into the mafia world. Time Magazine once mentioned, "A holiday tradition for those looking beyond Christmas lights."

Absolutely Fabulous: "Cold Turkey" (2003) While Edina awaited her family on Christmas, this wasn't a typical festive special. With its iconic humour, it's a departure from typical holiday sentimentality. Joanna Lumley's anecdotes about the episode always highlighted its unique take. The BBC review read, "Absolutely festive? More like absolutely hilarious."

Jaws (1975 film broadcast in 1988) This Spielberg classic about a man-eating shark might be oceans apart from festive cheer, but when it aired on Christmas in 1988, it was a breath of fresh sea air. Production tales of a malfunctioning mechanical shark are as legendary as the film. Empire Magazine said, "Forget snow, it's about the deep blue sea this Christmas."

Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988) A twist on Dickens, this special sees the nicest Blackadder turn wicked. A witty alternative to heartwarming tales, it delivers laughs without excessive festive fluff. Rowan Atkinson's take on his character's transformation is a treat. The Guardian wrote, "A carol like no other, Dickens would be baffled."

The Royle Family: "The New Sofa" (2008) The Royles get a new sofa, and that’s about it. But its genius lies in its simplicity. Airing on Christmas Day, it gave viewers family banter without festive overtones. Retro reviews lauded its realistic portrayal. The Daily Mirror exclaimed, "A sofa, a family, and sheer brilliance."

Gremlins (1984 film broadcast in various years) Nothing screams anti-Christmas like these mischievous creatures. This horror-comedy, often aired during the holidays, is the perfect antidote to saccharine specials. Behind the scenes, the puppetry involved was groundbreaking for its time. Film Review Journal noted, "These aren’t Santa’s elves, and thank heavens for that!"

The Twilight Zone: "Night of the Meek" (1960) This episode might start with a drunken Santa, but it's far from your traditional festive story. It provides an eerie yet poignant look at humanity. The episode's depth has always been its talking point. Time Magazine declared, "A festive episode? Maybe. A masterpiece? Definitely."

Downton Abbey (2012 Christmas Special) Set in the summer, the Crawleys visit the Scottish Highlands, leaving behind their titular home. With minimal festive themes, it’s perfect for those seeking an escape. Maggie Smith’s behind-the-scenes tales added depth to her character. The Telegraph reviewed, "Downton without the Christmas glitz still shines."

The Snowman (1982) While it's undoubtedly set in winter and there’s a festive feel, the ending of this animation is heart-wrenchingly melancholic, making it suitable for those who prefer their Christmas with a side of sorrow. The iconic song "Walking in the Air" adds to its nostalgic charm. A Nostalgia Digest review stated, "Snowy landscapes, yes. But this isn’t just another jolly holiday story."

As the festive season comes around, remember, Christmas isn't just about joy and cheer. For those who yearn for something different, television, in its varied glory, has always been there, providing an oasis amidst the festive mirage. And while the snow may fall and lights may twinkle, there's comfort in knowing that not everything on TV will jingle all the way.

View all our Christmas articles and retrospectives here.

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