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The Telegraph: What’s On TV This Weekend?

December 20th, 2019

Britain’s Favourite Christmas Carol
Channel 5, 6.50pm, Saturday
Countdown shows have fallen somewhat out of fashion since their 1990s heyday, but nobody has ever accused Channel 5 of being ahead of the curve. They’re continuing to resurrect the Saturday schedule-filler with this 90-minute injection of very light entertainment. Feel free to dip in and out of this countdown of the nation’s 20 best-loved Christmas carols that unspools in the usual fashion, by deploying famous(ish) faces to provide humorous or revealing commentary in between clips.

Those expressing their thoughts on Ding Dong Merrily on High et al include Toyah Willcox, radio presenter Katie Thistleton and DJ Pat Sharpe. But what may elevate this special is the addition of musical and historical experts – including Rev Canon Ann Easter, Chaplain to the Queen (no less) – to describe the musical innovations that make particular carols appealing, and to share surprising stories behind some of the classics.

Performances will come both from a raid on the television archives for memorable clips and from choirs nationwide. Of course, television countdowns are no more scientific than a poll of your friends at the pub, but this piece of televisual tinsel should at least put you in a festive mood.