Including This Is Your Life and Oliver Twist

by Fiona Rae / 26 December, 2009

BOXING DAY


Costanza Bonanza (Comedy Central D010, 3.00pm). The top 10 moments of the greatest sitcom ever made. Hm, that could be tough. Is it the Soup Nazi? The Master of Your Domain? Teri Hatcher's boobs? Jason Alexander, recently on tour here, chooses his own top 10.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 27


The Zoo: This Is Your Life (TV1, 7.00pm). Whoa. Taking anthropomorphism a little far, don't you think? Will they bring in the animals' past keepers and surprise them with long-lost family members? The first episode looks back on Indra the orangutan's life - the highs, the lows, the escape into the zoo grounds. Good times.

Sunday Theatre: Oliver Twist (TV1, 8.30pm). Awesome adaptation of the Dickens story, featuring a brilliant turn by Timothy Spall as Fagan. EastEnders' writer Sarah Phelps turns in something that "manages to feel modern, yet also faithful", said the Guardian, "somewhere between melodrama and gritty realism, but funny, too, in a dark and sarky way". Also, it looks fantastic: "You can almost smell the pisspots, the sweat, the farts, the hypocrisy, the social injustice."

MONDAY DECEMBER 28


I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here (TV2, 5.00pm weekdays). We're lucky down here that most US reality television is, if not entirely out of sight, at least out of mind. Craven narcissistic fare such as The Hills, Tool Academy and Bad Girls Club are easy to avoid on MTV, and missing the rest of the dross, such as I Love New York and Rock of Love, is as simple as not turning on C4. But no longer. The show in which Z-listers try to revive their flagging careers screens every weekday on TV2 right where our children could see it. Surely a reality show starring has-beens Lou Diamond Phillips, Stephen Baldwin, and several contestants who are famous for being on other reality shows can only be one of the seven signs of the Apocalypse.

@Seven (TV3, 7.00pm). We're hoping this Campbell Live replacement show will be something of a Sunrise at night: the presenters are Paul Ego and Petra Bagust, who could easily be early evening versions of Ollie and Carly. Let the banter and eye rolling commence!

Mythbusters - Pirate Special (Prime, 7.30pm). Really just an excuse for Adam and Jamie to talk in stupid West Country accents, wear eye patches and blow stuff up. Two hours of piratey Mythbuster fun includes the myth that a cannonball blast will kill more enemies with splinters than the cannonball itself; that rum is good for cleaning clothes; and that an eye patch is a pirate's way of being night-vision ready.

TUESDAY DECEMBER 29


Top Gear Australia (Prime, 8.30pm).Jeremy Clarkson's huge personality, or possibly something else that begins with "e", ends with "o" and has a "g" in the middle, would seem to preclude a Top Gear franchise situation, but nevertheless, the Aussies have had a go at it. Their versions of Clarkson, Hamster and James May are former racing driver and BBC MotoGP commentator Charlie Cox, cartoonist and car enthusiast Warren Brown and race driver and advanced driving instructor Steve Pizzati. According to reviews, the show is a little rough around the edges at first ("A little too tricked up for its own good," said the Sydney Morning Herald of the first episode), but it apparently settles down - enough to go into a second series, anyway. There are the usual previews and reviews and stunts - in the first episode, Brown is sent underwater for an encounter with a great white shark while trapped inside a Mini Moke. There's also a Star in a Bog Standard Car segment (first guest: actor Vince Colosimo), a What Were They Thinking? board and an old car commercial.

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 30


7 Days - 12 Months (TV3, 9.15pm) TV3 supersizes 7 Days in this special that covers the whole year. Who can remember? Hopefully Paul Ego, Dai Henwood, Ben Hurley, Jeremy Elwood, Michele A'Court and Steve Wrigley. There are favourite games My Kid Could Draw That, Captions and Yes, Minister, plus a new game that somehow relates to the New Year festive spirit. What, they get drunk?

NEW YEAR'S EVE


The Royal Variety Performance 2009 (TV1, 7.30pm). Blackpool relives its glory days with its first Royal Variety Performance since 1955. Comedian Peter Kay hosts, and the line-up includes the winner of this year's Britain's Got Talent, dance group Diversity; the cast of Sister Act (the West End musical version), including Whoopi Goldberg; Michael Buble - he's Canadian; teen popster Miley Cyrus; opera singer Katherine Jenkins; and Bette Midler.

The Flight of the Conchords Marathon (The Box, 8.30pm). The Box completely ruins its trashy reputation with this display of good taste. The whole second season of FotC, the one that includes Brian Sergent as the New Zealand Prime Minister, Lucy Lawless as his assistant, Paula, and Art Garfunkel as, er, Art Garfunkel. The pro-wrestling fans will be gutted.

NEW YEAR'S DAY


I Get That a Lot (TV3, 7.30pm). No Glee, boo-hoo, just this reality show in which real celebs work ordinary jobs for the yuks. Naturally, customers are confused when Jessica Simpson serves them at a computer repair store; Heidi Klum is at the counter of a pizza place; Jeff Probst is the cashier at a grocery store; and Ice-T poses as an athletic-shoe salesman. Hilarious.

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