Holiday viewing - Where are the good TV guides?

Published December 15, 2010

It’s getting to that time of year when the inevitable will happen. It’s unavoidable, you will be sucked in. It’s that dreaded period of indulgence known as: Christmas TV.

Actually it’s not all that bad. This is the one time of year that I buy a TV guide to help keep track of what is on and when. Most of the year I can rely on perusing the iPlayer and keeping tabs on some excellent TV blogs, because I’m likely to be relying on the On Demand services more than live programming. When Christmas happens, the channels start bringing out the big guns, and I have more time to sit around and flick through the channels. This requires some extra information.

The TV guide is something that continues to bug me. When I used to purchase physical magazines, it was one of my favourite things, pondering what good stuff the TV was going to bring me this week. I cannot find a decent online alternative to the TV listings. The aforementioned blogs are excellent at highlighting upcoming and catchup programmes, but for straight up listings, I get frustrated.

The Radio Times and TVTV are all very well, but they show such a limited scope in the one window, it’s not that great for browsing. Far too many clicks for an enjoyable experience. One thing I particularly like about the iPlayer is that you can browse an entire day at once (give or take the slightly annoying ‘All Day’ button on the channels with hefty schedules). It’s just one big list that I can scroll through and see what catches my eye.

All the others are just clunky.

Anyways, this year I have bought a physical magazine again, my first for a very long time. It’s slightly irritating that it runs out on New Year’s Eve. The silly calendar means they can’t do the usual cross coverage of both festive days, but never mind. The TV people can’t control the way the year works out, as much as they’d like to.

Last year, the BBC started featuring a lot more films on the iPlayer, and I think that will dominate Film Watch for a while. I am likely to get very behind again, and the New Year will see a big catchup. Add to that the fact that iTunes have started putting up HD films TO BUY, and it’s going to be a couple of weeks full of watching the box. Square eyes ahoy come January.

The only thing I have officially lined up for viewing this year is Doctor Who. You won’t be able to tear me from the screen when that theme tune begins. Lukeh has posted some of his Christmas staples, and having seen that, I’m pretty sure I will be forced to watch Love Actually. Don’t tell anyone but I do actually quite like it, sentimental mush that it is.

What is likely to happen, now that I am beginning to try and get organise, is that I will sleep in every day, miss all the good stuff on TV, and rely on the iPlayer just like every other day of the year. That’s Christmas for you, though, eh?

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