The best of Christmas catch-up

Grace Murray 29 December 2014

Christmas is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still claim that slumping in front of the TV with a packet of biscuits is all part of the festive tradition. Unfortunately, the various catch-up services are still packed with the bizarre specials which tend to appear in the run-up to Christmas Day – a modern version of A Christmas Carol starring Ross Kemp, anyone? – and it can be a bit tricky to find some light relief which doesn’t feature any snow and sentimental thoughts.

TCS has therefore put together a selection of some of the quirkiest and distinctly non-Christmassy shows now available online. Save it for New Year’s Day or settle down now and hope that your pile of work will disappear as quickly as your motivation (tried and tested truth: it won’t).


Micky Flanagan’s Foxageddon (iPlayer)

Foxageddon (a word which has surely made an appearance in tabloid headlines of seasons past) was Micky Flanagan’s contribution to this summer’s BBC series of original comedy shorts. CCTV footage of Flanagan killing his neighbour’s pet fox with a can of baked beans is released online, which turns the national media and several world leaders against him. If that’s a bit too surreal for you, the other shorts are all still available on iPlayer.

The moment of truth. Credit: screenshot from BBC iPlayer 

The Pig Who Cried Werewolf (iPlayer)

Once the Shrek films had exhausted every possible joke about Disney and fairy tales, the franchise moved swiftly and logically on to parodies of Alfred Hitchcock movies. Yep, that’s actually what they did, bringing us this spoof of Rear Window starring the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf, which more or less abandons that premise after three minutes and goes for broke. Enjoy.

The horror! Credit: screenshot from BBC iPlayer

Bad Robots (4OD)

Channel 4’s new online series takes Skynet and turns it into a hidden camera series, in which machines rise up and play pranks on unsuspecting humans. In this episode, a hotel receptionist has been replaced by a robot equipped with malfunctioning voice recognition software, which even looks like something out of Doctor Who. The guests are strangely unperturbed.

Creepy, right? Credit: screenshot from 4OD

Whose Line Is It Anyway? (4OD)

4OD is also hoarding every episode of classic improv show Whose Line Is It Anyway?, or at least the ten series of the British version, which is enough procrastination to last all through Lent term. This Series 9 episode features Stephen Fry in his last appearance on the show as well as regulars Josie Lawrence, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie.

Because Stephen Fry. Credit: Marco Raaphorst

Horrible Histories (iPlayer)

Horrible Histories joins a long line of TV shows aimed at children with hidden appeal for the adults who watch with them. If you’ve got a younger sibling still glued to CBBC, chances are you’ve already seen the Horrible Histories mash-up of Eminem and the Restoration of the English monarchy. Convince yourself that you’re broadening your mind and it doesn’t even count as a distraction.

Try not to cringe too much. Credit: screenshot from BBC iPlayer