Christmas Links #6

Inside the New York Public Library’s Last, Secret Apartments:
"There are just 13 left."

Estate defies Covid to organise its own Christmas lights switch-on:
"Families wanted to boost community spirit."

Submarine Santa brings festive cheer to Tokyo aquarium:
"Dressed in a Santa Claus costume, a mask and flippers, a diver waved through a curtain of tropical fish in a Tokyo aquarium at socially distanced spectators watching from behind glass."

‘A present you make is so much better than one you buy’: 10 brilliant homemade Christmas gift ideas:
"Want to give a little love with a handmade present, but don’t know where to start? Try these ideas from artists and designers."

Saying Goodbye to Hanukkah:
"I lit the menorah as a child, but my kids are growing up in a different type of household."

Can You Name All 12 Days Of Christmas?
"So. Many. Birds."

Shakespeare and Christmas:
"In all of his works, Shakespeare uses the word ‘Christmas’ only three times. Why is there so little of Christmas in the works of Shakespeare?"

2020 broke Christmas music. Here’s what I’m listening to instead:
"The holidays, it appears, are here. And with them, the annual sleigh-dump of Christmas music, which this year arrives like an unsolicited fruitcake: unexpectedly heavy, disproportionately sweet and near impossible to digest."

IndieWire’s Guide to ‘Mank’: 25 People and Places in David Fincher’s Historical Epic Explained:
"David Fincher's movie is filled with complex reference points — some real, others imagined. Confused about what to believe? Come here for answers."

Red squirrels going nuts for Ottawa couple's Christmas lights, but reason remains a mystery:
"'We're trying to figure out what they're doing with the bulbs' says frustrated homeowner."

Christmas Links #5

The York Mystery Plays Radio Broadcast:
"The York Mystery Plays, which are a selection of biblical stories drawn together into a piece of theatre, date back to the 1300s. They have now been adapted for radio, for our delight, and include four plays in four installments – Adam and Eve, The Flood part 1, The Flood part 2 and Moses and Pharaoh."

The first 'Christmas Star' in nearly 800 years will soon be visible:
"Mark your calendars for December 21st (the Winter Solstice) because that is when Jupiter and Saturn will align very closely in the sky, so close that to the naked eye they will almost appear to be, “colliding.”"

Hope Street sparkles with new light installations for Christmas:
"Hope Street has welcomed a new, specially commissioned artwork for Christmas."

Advent calendars: Count down your days to Christmas in style:
"Advent calendars work on a simple premise: every day in December until Christmas eve, build your anticipation for the big day come the 25th."

BFI's Christmas Crackers:
"It's time to join the ghosts of Christmases past as we celebrate a century of festive film."

All Santa Wants for Christmas Is to Stay Out of Politics:
"After a brush with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, professional Santa Clauses are just trying to get through this holiday season safely."

Cheers! Or not: ‘Scandalous’ 1st Christmas card up for sale:
"The first commercially printed Christmas card is up for sale — a merry Victorian-era scene that scandalized some who denounced it as humbug when it first appeared in 1843."

Help us prevent Covid creating a lost generation of young people:
"Life chances are in danger of being blighted by the pandemic. That’s why young people are at the heart of our charity appeal this year."

Clocaenog Forest Christmas tree thief pays compensation:
"A man who stole a Christmas tree from a forest has agreed to pay compensation to a red squirrel conservation trust."

Best Spots in D.C. for Holiday Postcard Photos:
"Where should you go for the finest Christmas snapsot in the D.C. area? Easy! The best outdoor venue for magical holiday shopping is at The Old Lucketts Store, where your camera will find the perfect staging with fun holiday murals, antique props, a wine garden, and more surprises at every turn."

Christmas Links #4

British Christmas tree grower of the year – in pictures:
"A family business in York has been crowned the winner of the Champion Christmas Tree Grower of the Year competition, giving it the honour of supplying No 10 Downing Street’s tree."

Belgians can invite guests for Christmas dinner, but only one can use the bathroom:
"In Belgium, having a few people over for Christmas dinner is not necessarily out of the question this year. But only one lucky guest will be allowed to use the bathroom, if the government has any say in the matter."

Christmas Party Cancelled? Here’s What To Do Instead:
"We regret to inform you that this year’s Christmas party has been cancelled."

Getting Creative for the 2020 Office Holiday Party:
"Because yet another Google hangout is not going to cut it."

Police are warning about a Royal Mail scam that could steal your bank details this Christmas:
"With the countdown to Christmas officially on, many of us are relying on delivery services like the Royal Mail to have our packages and presents brought straight to our homes, or sent to loved ones."

Odeon Liverpool is bringing panto to the big screen:
"In association with Curtis Productions, the show will feature a blend of live-action performances from the cast with scenic and interactive projections beamed onto ODEON’s cutting-edge screens to enhance the production and immerse audiences into the fairy tale."

Birmingham New Street’s Christmas Eve meal returns as take-away for 2020:
"For the third year running Network Rail is teaming up with award-winning charity Midland Langar Seva Society (MLSS) to provide hot food and festive cheer for those who are struggling in the city centre this Christmas."

Dorset farm's Winter Wonderland charity fundraiser:
"Nutley Farm's lights and reindeer experience to raise money for charity."

Driving home for Christmas: Students begin exodus in university travel window:
"As the six-day window finally opens, Sophie Gallagher speaks to students making their escape and those who have chosen to stay."

A brand new, star-studded version of Cinderella is coming to BBC Two this Christmas:
"This Christmas the curtain will be raised on a very special, virtual version of Cinderella, as a host of famous faces from across the land will be gathering together for a fabulously festive treat as Cinderella: A Comic Relief Pantomime For Christmas comes to BBC Two."

Christmas Links #3

Lovely ideas for festive place settings:
"Perfect place settings for a seriously lovely Christmas celebration. Make sure everything on the table looks as good as it tastes."

How VOCES8 are keeping the choral flame burning brightly:
"Behind-the-scenes at Westminster Abbey for the Christmas edition of Live from London."

Grimsby tip waste transformed into Christmas wonderland:
"Rubbish discarded at a recycling centre has become a visitor attraction after being transformed by workers into a Christmas winter wonderland."

With Ni'Var, Discovery Pays Homage to an Original Star Trek Fanzine:
"Vulcan's new name bridged Trek's fandom past with a new future."

A Christmas cracker! The three siblings putting on a festive bonanza for charity:
"Three siblings have created a festive lights bonanza on their street in Dawley in Telford."

Have You Sent Your Holiday Cards Yet?
"In a year marked by distance, loss and virtual stand-ins, physical greeting cards are selling quite well."

12 Movies to Watch After Your Favorite Christmas Classics:
"Alternative picks for the rest of the year."

7 Foods You Can Serve Your Neighbours This Christmas:
"Garri is cost, but thankfully still affordable. Or you can try elubo. Make eba, amala, and wrap it inside cloth for them. They will take it home and prepare stew on their own. It’s the thought that counts."

The Queen Will Spend “a Quiet Christmas in Windsor,” Sacrificing Her Usual Holiday Traditions:
"There will be no large gatherings of royals, or an opportunity for fans to watch the family on their way to Christmas Day church services."

Christmas Links #2

The Mandalorian: Rosario Dawson Tells All About Ahsoka Tano:
"The actress and writer-director Dave Filoni discuss bringing the animated hero to live-action, Baby Yoda’s name, and real-life controversies and influences."

National Theatre at Home:
"Unmissable theatre, whenever you want it."

Bake me happy: 10 deliciously different mince pie recipes:
"From the perfect traditional version, to brownie hybrids, deep-fried delights and a throwback from 1591, homemade never looked so good."

In Praise of Becoming a Deranged Holiday Person:
"It’s November 30—not even the official month of all things holly and jolly—and yet I’ve already purchased every Christmas present on my list. Two friends and I are driving to New Jersey in a few weeks to see Elf in an empty movie theater (yes, you can rent a whole theater out for not much more than it costs to buy a ticket and popcorn in New York City), and I fully intend to haul a tree into my fourth-floor walk-up apartment ASAP. This isn’t my normal mode of engagement with the holidays, but then again, why should any part of this bizarre year be normal?"

Liverpool's Christmas tree lights up as city prepares to welcome shoppers back:
"The Church Street tree will welcome people as the city's 'non-essential' shops reopen on December 2."

Chris Chibnall confirms extended 70 minute Doctor Who festive special:
"The showrunner added that the episode was "an epic, emotional rollercoaster"."

Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Could Be About To Get Its First Ever UK Number One:
"The festive classic was released in 1994 and is more popular than ever."

Burlington's Christmas tree lights up hearts and minds:
"On Saturday, Burlington Riverfront Entertainment lit up the ceremonial conifer in front of Memorial Auditorium with their second annual tree-lighting event."

We tried Morrisons Christmas dinner pizza and this is what we honestly thought:
"Do turkey, cranberry sauce and pigs in blankets really belong on a pizza? We found out!"

Christmas: Drive-thru market saves festive German tradition:
"Most traditional Christmas markets in Germany have been cancelled this year. But one has found an innovative way to get around tough new lockdown restrictions."

Christmas Play (1959):
"Taking the lid off the creative process - of a group of theatrically-minded 11-year-olds as they stage the nativity."

Christmas Links #1

Here we are again. Advent calendars are up, the Christmas tree is booked for the 18th December and it's time for twenty odd days of solid gold (if somewhat tarnished) content on the blog. We'll see how this goes, I'll try to keep things as COVID free as possible. As ever if you have some project or article you'd like me to plug (and it doesn't necessarily have to be Christmassy) tweet or email me through the usual channels and our editorial team will decide if it should make the cut. Ahem.

Festive treats and perfect soundtracks this Christmas across BBC Radio & BBC Sounds:
"This Christmas, across BBC Radio and BBC Sounds, we’ll provide the perfect soundtrack to the celebrations, with a raft of content bringing festive treats and music for every mood."

Christmas isn’t Christmas ‘til You Toast With Rompopo:
"Does Belize have an official Christmas drink? You bet. It’s called Rompopo and it’s so close to eggnog you could have a hard time telling them apart—-until you ask for seconds!"

Micro Live: Xmas 1985:
"The last of the present series of reports on the new developments in information technology."

Our favourite Christmas poems:
"A time for family, friends, festivities and an undeniable sense of childhood nostalgia, the Christmas season brings with it so many sentiments. We’ve chosen a selection of our favourite Christmas poetry, from funny Christmas poems, to moving festive verses and some Christmas poems for kids, all perfect for reading by the fire over the festive season."

The Nativity at Night by Geertgen tot Sint Jans at the National Gallery, London:
"This painting tells the traditional Christmas story – how Christ was born in a stable, and his mother ‘laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn’ (Luke 2: 7). The infant Christ, lying in the manger, is watched over by Mary, Joseph and adoring angels, while an ox and donkey peer out of the darkness behind."

How to get out of your work’s depressing Zoom Christmas party:
"The pandemic means the annual office Christmas party is getting a digital twist, and employees are scrambling to come up with excuses at a time when lockdown makes that difficult."

Why arguments about when Christmas starts are as old as the hills:
"Analysis: as history shows, preventing trees, lights, tinsel and baubles appearing earlier and earlier has been nigh on impossible."

Daze Before Christmas:
"Daze Before Christmas is a video game developed by Norwegian video game development company Funcom and originally released by Sunsoft onto the Sega Mega Drive in 1994 exclusively in Australia. A version was also released for the Super NES both in Europe (only in Germany) and Australia. A North American release was planned however it was canceled. It is one of the last games to be released by Sunsoft's USA division. The game is one of the few Christmas-themed video games to see commercial release."

The Snowman Belongs To A Shared Cinematic Universe:
"The Snowman is an animated holiday classic, but it also belongs to an early form of shared cinematic universe — with somewhat troubling implications."

Let’s Settle This: A Unified Theory to Define “Christmas Movies”:
"Okay, internet. Let’s settle this once and for all: What exactly IS a “Christmas movie?” It’s a debate that’s torn families apart and continues to send internet armies to war. From Die Hard and Iron Man 3 to Home Alone and White Christmas, how do we decide what films get the title of “Christmas Movie”? I propose formulating a unified theory so we can finally get to the bottom of this debate."

Fresno Fire urging community to be safe when putting up Christmas lights:
"Black Friday may be known as the biggest shopping holiday of the year, but many see the day as getting the green light to put up the Christmas lights."

Christmas in Canterbury, 1963 from the Screen Archive South West: "John Clague's colourful film captures those last exciting days before Christmas – with Christmas trees and Christmas lights all ready for the big switch-on."

Frosty the Snowman visits Beef-A-Roo customers:
"Customers at the Beef-A-Roo on Riverside Blvd. got to meet a special guest on Friday!"

York Christmas tree lights up Downing Street:
"Local firm York Christmas Trees won the honour of providing the Downing Street Christmas Tree after winning Champion Christmas Tree Grower of the Year."

The Time War 4.

 Is this the final end for The Time War?  When these were originally announced, nominally as a prequel to The War Doctor series, it was with an indication that it would be four and out.  But this ends on what feels like a cliffhanger so the chances are we'll all be back here in September 2021 which is fine.  The regular releases continue in the background and unlike those, The Time Wars have been pretty self contained.  But still I dream of a return to the monthly four episode releases with the Doctor and a plus one becoming involved in self contained stories without massive implications for the Whoniverse.


Much like the previous box, this feels like a way of telling the story of a recurring character without trying to sell something within their own series but on this occasion it feels as though that's what Big Finish should have done.  For two whole episodes of this boxed set, Davros is the protagonist and although the story is sound and Terry Malloy's performance incredibly compelling, I paid my twenty-odd pounds for the Eighth Doctor to be front and centre rather than an incidental figure.  There are half a dozen other boxed sets which offer that.  Not to mention that there's an inevitability to the conclusion when a lighter, more forgiving touch might have been in order.


The Eighth Doctor has amnesia.  Again.  Fortunately on this occasion he's not the only one so we get to enjoy an amnesia episode as the Time Lords forget who they've been fighting and make huge assumptions about who that might be.  Perhaps of most interest is Bliss, a creation of the war with a shaky fix on her individual reality who now remembers her alternative version's participation in the Companion Piece episode of Ravenous 3.  Due to the release schedule, it's been difficult to warm to Bliss, but she's fresh, resourceful and incredibly funny in place and stands as a contrast to the rather sullen and "realistic" Liv and Helen.  

Restoration of the Daleks

Of course.  As you know I'm less enamored of the jargon soup adventures in which various Daleks and Time Lord factions have incomprehensible battles, with  various "gods" shouting at each other, Nick Briggs destroying his lower vocal range through his ring modulator.  But in the midst of the multi-dimensional Dalek nonsense, there's some incredibly squeesome moments of foreshadowing setting up the revival period not to mention looking backwards towards the golden era of "The Eighth Doctor Adventures" ("The Seventh Dimension!" Dingy-dingy-dong).  If there is another chunk of these Time War stories, can we have some more reportage from the fringes of the war, about how it effects other peoples in the galaxy?