TV & Radio Friday December 30

by Fiona Rae / 30 December, 2011
Who let the dragon out? Who, who? And the Downton gels are on Jonathan Ross's couch.


Live at the Apollo (TV2, 8.30pm). Comedy for the festive season. Christmas really is the happiest holiday on Earth, isn’t it? Here’s a British line-up of stand-ups filmed at the Hammersmith Apollo in London: Scottish comic Kevin Bridges presents sets from Jack Whitehall and quite possibly the only female Iranian comedian in the world, Shappi Khorsandi. But wait, the laughter just goes on and on with Wanda Sykes: I’ma Be Me following Live at the Apollo at 9.30pm. The American comedian (who starred in The New Adventures of Old Christine) riffs on America’s first black President, coming out, going on a gay cruise, and getting older.

The Adventures of Merlin (Prime, 8.35pm). Uh-oh, Merlin let the dragon out, and now John Hurt will have his revenge! No expense spared – well, some – in the final of season two in which the great dragon (voiced by Hurt) attacks Camelot, and only a dragonlord can kill him. Pity that silly old King Uther (Anthony Head – he hates magic! Oh the irony, Buffy fans) wiped out all the dragonlords years ago. But wait, there is one …

Comedy Gala (TV3, 9.30pm). Even more comedy for the festive season. American comedian Arj Barker hosts a gala that was taped during this year’s International Comedy Festival.

The Jonathan Ross Show Christmas Special (TV1, 9.35pm). Fantastic line-up for Wossy’s Chrissy spesh. Tom Cruise promotes the new Mission Impossible film, but who cares about him when Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), Jessica Brown-Findlay (Lady Sybil) and Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary) are on the couch? The cast of The Inbetweeners probably mean less to us, although the TV series and its spin-off movie are enormously popular in the UK. Brilliant Aussie comedian Tim Minchin does a Christmas song, and teenage tenor trio Il Volo do a turn as well.


Dawn of the Dead (Four, 8.30pm). Pop-culture geek Zack Snyder (who went on to make 300 and adapt the unadaptable Watchmen) uses a script based on George Romero’s original screenplay in his 21st-century version of the 1978 zombie classic, which means that, yes, the shopping mall is once again the killing ground. However, this is less a comment on slack-jawed American consumerism, more of a gorefest. The zombies move with the same feral speed seen in 28 Days Later and it’s up to Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber and Mekhi Phifer to find new and inventive ways to stop them. My, that propane gas is handy. (2004) 7


Flying Nun Records (Radio New Zealand National, 11.06pm). This’ll make you feel old – Flying Nun Records turned 30 this year. To commemorate this milestone, here’s a repeat of a five-part doco made in 2002, presented by Karyn Hay. She takes us through the record label’s history, from 1981, when Roger Shepherd – armed only with naive optimism and $50 – started his contribution to the preservation of our popular music. Tonight: Anything Could Happen. – Diana Balham


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