Wednesday’s TV: Definitely Avoid the Family at Christmas

December 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

THE FAMILY AT CHRISTMAS, Channel 4, Wednesday 24th December, 9:30pm Alert me

Why anyone would want to spend Christmas with the Family is beyond me.  Considering that most of us fee the need to drown out our relatives so unequivocally with glass after glass of port, it seems a little bizarre that Channel 4 felt it’d be good idea to put another few whining voices in our ears. 

Because having watched an hour of this stuff, that’s the only point of these people that sticks in my mind.
I’m sure that once one got to know them all a little better, they’d be perfectly lovely, but from an outsiders’ viewpoint they are tedious, droning, moaning and above all, boring. 

Channel 4 completely missed the boat on this one. There was such potential for The Family to be a
really, truly interesting social experiment – kind of like Big Brother for Germaine Greer. Unfortunately, the family of the title is so normal that in order to provide any sort of decent TV the editors had to show only the more fractious moments.

I am, perhaps, being a little unfair. In amongst the general annoyances, there is the occasional gem of affection and sweetness, but unfortunately these are dulled and submerged by the riptides of irritation surrounding them. Those moments – between father and son, particularly – almost justify the Family’s appearance on the Christmas Eve schedules. Almost. In truth, the last thing I want late on Christmas Eve is an overwhelming sense of irritation.

The Family is far better in its day time slots where the makers feature on a single issue which anyone can empathise and follow it as it unfolds. Without that structure, The Family becomes a loose collection of arguments and triviality.

Don’t bother with the Family at Christmas, I dare say you’d get more amusement watching Grandad get tiddly again before falling asleep in his bread and butter pudding..

By Chris Harding