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The Christmas telly we used to watch

Thompson's Television store in Fowler Street in 1974.
Thompson's Television store in Fowler Street in 1974.

There was a time when Christmas telly was an occasion for all the family to gather round “the box in the corner” and enjoy a whole host of so-called festive favourites.

These days, there are so many different devices to chose from and channels to stream, that everyone can be watching their own personal film or show at the very same time.

They may be all together, but their focus is on their own personal iPad, mobile phone or whatever.

How things have changed since the days when there were just a few channels to watch.

During the daytime, despite the fact that people’s attentions were more tuned into presents than programmes, the telly was always on, providing the usual seasonal fayre – more often than not an old black and white film.

Come the afternoon (if you were still awake after the Christmas dinner and drink) and the viewing was a bit more entertaining, with the focus shifting to “family” films, think the Sound Of Music, the Wizard of Oz and other such sing-a-long spectaculars.

On a more historical note, you could also usually bank on a re-screening of Zulu or The Great Escape, if not on Christmas Day itself, then sometime over the holiday period.

Then, for many families, at 3pm (right bang in the middle of the afternoon), there would be the seasonal “must watch” – the Queen’s message.

It is a tradition that still holds fast today.

I don’t know about you, but we always watched it accompanied by a slice of Christmas cake and a glass of sherry.

The royal message over, it was on with the “entertainment”. As a lad, I seem to remember it was either Billy Smarts Circus or a pantomime.

As the afternoon rolled into teatime (and more food and drink to consume) the screen was set for more family fun in the shape of popular shows such as the Generation Show.

Stars such as Little and Large, Canon and Ball and the like, also paved the way for the “big guns” such as Shirley Bassey, Lulu or Cilla. And then, of course, was the cherry on the cake, the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show.

Watched by millions, it too was an unmissable part of the festive season.

People of a certain age will look back, with fond memories, at the star-studded sketches that made the show an integral part of many family’s seasonal viewing.

In recent years, it’s been big blockbuster films that have ruled the roost as far as TV audiences are concerned.

No doubt you will have your own favourite telly memories of the past. Why not drop us a line with yours.

And what did you watch your Christmas viewing on – a TV from Thompsons Television store in Fowler Street, perhaps?

TVs, just like the programmes, have undergone massive changes over the years.

Long gone, thankfully, are the days when you used to have to switch the telly on a few minutes before the programme you were about to watch came on – to let the machine “warm up”. And what about the clock-like switch on the window sill for those of us who had “piped” TV!

Try telling your gran you’ve been watching a film on a tablet and she’d think you’d a pill for being so daft!