HD Heads-Up: December 23-29

➢➢ The pick of the lacklustre free-to-air Christmas specials promises to be The Heist Before Christmas (Sky Open, 8.00 Monday). It stars Timothy Spall and James Nesbitt as two different Santas who cross the path of a 12-year-old Christmas cynic: one’s a bank robber on the run, the other claims to have fallen out of his sleigh. The Sky Max comedy/drama screens here within hours of the UK. Another Sky Open special, Hansel & Gretel: After Ever After (6.30 Tuesday), already can be streamed on Neon …

➢➢ TVNZ’s raft of Christmas-themed newcomers range from Britain Get Singing (8.00 Sunday), a sing-off for TV celebrities, to:

  • Christmas with Delta 2023 (TVNZ 2, 12.25 Sunday)
  • Tipping Point Lucky Stars Christmas Special (TVNZ 1, 7.00 Saturday)
  • Christmas Carols from the London Coliseum (TVNZ 1, 7.00 Sunday)
  • Would I Lie To You? At Christmas (TVNZ 1, 9.40 Sunday)
  • The Wheel With Michael McIntyre (TVNZ 1, 10.15 Sunday)
  • Live at the Apollo Christmas Special (TVNZ 2, 10.35 Sunday)
  • His Majesty The King’s Christmas Message (TVNZ 1, 6.50 Monday)
  • Royals Together at Christmas (TVNZ 1, 7.35 Monday)
  • Bradley & Barney: Breaking Dad at Christmas (TVNZ 1, 7.00 Tuesday) …

➢➢ Sky Open is double-billing two edgy UK comedies: Everyone Else Burns (10.00 Friday) and Hitmen (10.30 Friday). The former is about a family of Christian fundamentalists, the latter stars Sue Perkins and and Mel Giedroyc as incompetent contract killers …

➢➢ The Telegraph said Everyone Else Burns offered much to enjoy — “It’s not a comedy going for cheap laughs about Christianity. It is a show about family, and it has a lot of heart” — while The Guardian quipped: “With perfect jokes that come this thick and fast, you’ll be an instant convert.” The Guardian thought Hitmenslightly plotted but enjoyable” and The Hollywood Reporter said “there’s a ‘just enough’ quality to pretty much every facet of the series” …

➢➢ Claridge’s: The Mega Build (TVNZ 1, 7.30 Thursday) goes behind the famous hotel’s biggest transformation of modern times: digging out a five storey basement, adding four upper floors and creating what’s likely to be London’s most expensive penthouse. “This three-part BBC series about the luxury hotel’s remodelling project is reasonably interesting but functions more as an advert,” said The Telegraph …

➢➢ Duke has a leftover festive episode of The Simpsons (9.30 Monday) from TVNZ’s legacy deal with Disney, in which Sideshow Bob is hired as the mall Santa (S31, E10), and Sky Open is dishing up Further Back in Time for Dinner Australia (7.30 Wednesday), which lifts the lid on five decades of family dining, starting from the 1900s  …

➢➢ Also new to Prime is The Essex Murders (8.30 Wednesday), a three-part Sky docuseries about one of the most notorious crimes in British history: the assassination of the so-called Essex Boys on an isolated country lane in 1995. The Guardian dismissed it as “a string of hardmen interviewees without turning up much drama” …

➢➢ New to Whakaata Māori are variety special Pere Kirihimete Christmas in Te Reo (6.30 Monday) and natural history series Wildest New Zealand (8.00 Tuesday) …

➢➢ TVNZ 2 is replacing Shortland Street over summer with re-runs of top-rating Travel Guides Australia ahead of a new holiday-themed show, Strangers on a Plane (6.30 weeknights) …

➢➢ Live FTA sport for the last week of the year includes:

  • Black Caps vs Bangladesh ODI (Duke, 10.30am Saturday)
  • A League Women Wellington vs Newcastle Jets (Sky Open, 2.40 Saturday); A League Women Wellington vs Western Sydney Wanderers (Sky Open, 5.30 Saturday)
  • Supersmash Cricket Men & Women (Duke, various times Sunday and Tuesday-Friday)
  • T20 Cricket: Black Caps v Bangladesh (TVNZ  1, 6.55 Wednesday/Friday)
  • NBL Championship Bullets vs Breakers (Sky Open, 9.30 Wednesday).
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One Response to “HD Heads-Up: December 23-29”

  1. Thank goodness for streaming services 🙄

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