Critic’s Choice: Films On TV Friday 26th December
Mary Poppins – ITV1, 3.25pm Alert Me
Despite a famously abominable cock-er-nee accent from Dick van Dyke (only recently rivalled by Don Cheadle in Ocean’s 11), Mary Poppins has endured. Preposterously light, nice, frothy, inoffensive, and all of the other adjectives you might use to describe a 1960s Disney film.
The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe – BBC1, 5.50pm Alert Me
At long last, Hollywood are getting to work on adapting CS Lewis’ classic books. There’s a bit of a problem, though – greenlit post Harry Potter, and post Lord of the Rings, Narnia suffers by comparison. Indeed, it’s nigh-impossible to look at the battle sequences in particular and not mention the similarities to LOTR. Even the special effects company is the same, and you can’t help thinking that this is really just Rings-lite: y’know, for kids! Wedded to undertones of religious-right conservatism (the film is produced by Disney) Narnia may leave a slightly bitter taste in the mouth. For the most part, though, it delivers the fantasy epic goods – even if they are slightly lighter and flimsier than the fantasy epic goods you might be used to.
Nicholas Nickleby – BBC2, 5.55pm Alert Me
Just in case five thousand episodes of Little Dorrit weren’t enough to sate your unquenchable appetite for Dickens – here’s a rock solid adaptation that fills the Dickens at Christmas quota, even if this isn’t a yuletide number. Great cast, too.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – BBC1, 8.30pm Alert Me
This third part of the Pirates trilogy (hopefully it shall remain a trilogy) is hopelessly complicated. Worlds away from the salient charms of the first film, we now have cod-epic, Lord Of The Rings-attempting spectacle. Johnny Depp, playing Cap’n Jack, is leagues ahead of everyone else – and clearly has been given free reign to go as crazy as he likes with his Keith Richards impression. Keef is shoehorned in for a cameo – but unfortunately, the shoehorn seems to have been very busy, creating ‘important’ plotlines and arcs for every boring character (hello, Orlando) who you don’t really care about, because they’re not Captain Jack Sparrow. Intermittently entertaining, still, but an overblown spectacle.
Cool Runnings – BBC3, 8.30pm
The Jamaican bobsleigh team attempt to compete in the winter Olympics in this perennial holiday-season favourite. One for all the family, as you get behind the plucky Caribbean underdogs and scowl at the EVIL East German team – oh, how I hate them! But their country doesn’t exist now, so that’s okay.