Every Christmas, when the Christmas/New Year edition of the TV Times comes out, I go through it with a highlighter pen and mark up anything that I think might be of interest for the kids. And each year there is less and less highlighted - in fact this year there are whole days when there's not a highlighter mark anywhere on the page.
But this, I highlighted. This I wanted to see:
'No one will be on the streets of London to hear the chimes of Big Ben. Bars and restaurants across the country will be mysteriously empty. House parties will be abandoned, with expectant New Year's Eve hosts sobbing over their cheese-and-pineapple-on-sticks because their guests have failed to turn up for their New Year's party. And why will everyone be staying at home? Because the greatest boy band in the whole world ever are on the telly! Joy, oh joy; we couldn't think of a better way to welcome in 2008 than singing along to some Take That tunes.'
Well, they (and I) mightn't be able to think of a better way to bring in 2008, but never underestimate those lovely people at Ulster Television, because, at 11.15, when the rest of the country is firing up their lighters and tuning in to see Take That Countdown to Midnight, we in the U.TV region have the absolute pleasure of watching 'Gerry Kelly's New Year's Eve Party'. Yipee!
Gerry Kelly. Gerry Termonfeckin Kelly. The rest of the nation gets to watch Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and friends and we get to watch a retired local primary school teacher turned chat-show host.
But, (as the angels said to the shepherds) do not be dismayed! Gerry is not alone. He will see in the New Year with:
'a lively mix of music and chat. Singer Dickie 'the name says it all' Rock is just one of the 'famous' faces on hand to ensure the party gets off to the worst, sorry best possible start.'
Dickie Rock is best known by my mothers generation for playing in the local Showbands in the 1960s. If you are familiar with Coronation Street, he's a real life Vernon. And I'm thinking, if Dickie Rock is the only 'famous face' they are prepared to name in the TV guide, just how bad must the rest of the line-up be?
So, Happy New Year to you all (except if you work at U.TV programming) and, if like me the year started out a bit crap, remember ... in the words of Gary Barlow ... 'have a little patience'!