Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Fifteenth Day of Advent

- December 15th -

It's always slightly bizarre when something you love, which has absolutely nothing to do with the festive season, suddenly and inexplicably releases a Christmas collection, edition or special.

For example, it’s no secret that I am rather partial to a certain British science fiction serial that’s been running, off and on, for nearly 50 years, and over the years several publishing houses have released new adventures in book form.

But in December 2008, Big Finish released one of their Short Trips anthologies which took as it’s theme ‘Christmas Around The World’.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful little collection with some great stories by authors such as James Moran, Andrew Cartmel, Kate Orman, Jason Arnopp, Simon Guerrier and Rebecca Levene, but as themes for Doctor Who short stories go, it’s as way out and unexpected as ‘Short Trips: The Best Walks Around Britain’*.

Similarly, in the late 80s, groups such as New Kids on the Block were releasing their own Christmas themed album (alarmingly recorded in just a single day in a hotel room - I kid you not!), while the ZX Spectrum offered games such as ‘Merry Xmas Santa‘, which involved the player guiding Santa Claus successfully over a series of snow covered roof-tops, dodging snowballs, in order to deliver his presents safely down chimneys.

Way back in the 1960s, groovy funky spy show The Avengers offered up their one and only foray into the Christmas market with the suitably seasonal episode ‘Too Many Christmas Trees’. It’s actually a wonderful little episode, which deals with telepathy, mind control and a Christmas party that takes place in the house of a man obsessed by the works of Charles Dickens, but could so easily have fallen into the ‘curiosity from the past’ category.

It’s a fine line that some Christmas ‘editions’ tread, wavering dangerously between ‘wonderfully festive little gem’ and ‘odd bit of Christmas tat’. As with many things, it really depends upon whether they have a genuinely interesting and relevant seasonal story to tell, or they’re just jumping on the Christmas bandwagon in order to make a quick buck.

Let’s hope that most of us are still smart enough to tell the difference.

* Thankfully this anthology does not exist

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