Once upon a time, before the age of everything being available all the time via the internet and the rise of the DVD boxed set, Christmas belonged to television. Networks saved up all their big movie accquistions to wheel out over the festive season, and producers worked furiously to cobble together a Christmas special, even for the least Yule-friendly shows...
And hence the release of the Christmas editions of the Radio Times and TV Times was a hotly anticipated event, where we all waited with baited breath to see what treasures the idiot lantern would be beaming into our homes.
But the real sign that the fun was to be begin came from the BBC, when a couple of days before Christmas, you'd turn on the old googlebox and suddenly the usual spinning globe logo was replaced with a seasonal replacement. Yes, this was the omen that heralded the start of Christmas.
Of course now, in these days of ever more elaborate. and indeed, ever changing channel idents, this little slice of magic has gone the way of the dodo. But it was mind bogglingly exciting at the time - the evening when the TV when on and you discovered Auntie Beeb had ditched the usual revolving globe, and replaced it with something suitably seasonal meant that after weeks of build up, Christmas was finally here. And every year, it was something new...
So join me now, and take a trip back with the Ghost of Christmas Television Past, as Mr Frank Coleman and TV Cream have a wry look back at the old BBC Christmas decorations...
PART I - 1976 to 1984
PART II - 1985 to 1989
PART III - 1990 to 2000
PART IV - 2000 - 2009
JIM MOON, 15th December 2009