NORMAL service has been resumed.

Alas, not for me.

My Christmas tree and cards are still on display until January 6.

I will squeeze out every bit of free festive feel-good fun.

But sadly, I now have to book some TV rehab.

I need a tinsel-coated television detox.

A timely report was released yesterday that children are eating too much sugar and are becoming "snack addicts."

Funny how this has been unleashed as the last selection box is put in the re-cycle bin.

But I feel we adults have all been force-fed sugar-coated small screen telly programmes for the past six weeks.

Entertainment fodder masquerading as festive programmes.

I miss the days when I was small and Christmas trees were tall (lyrics courtesy of Sir Barry Gibb) and watching festive telly was pure escapism.

We all looked forward to the bumper Radio Times and the announcement of that year's movie blockbuster to and the Ken Dodd Ticklemass Special.

This year's schedules look as though they were made in summer.

Many clearly were.

I was once invited to a Brookside script meeting where they were planning the Christmas edition ... in July.

A room was bedecked out in decorations and a Christmas dinner was dished out complete with crackers and everyone wore paper hats so that they could get in the festive mood.

I was asked to leave before they started work on the top secret Yuletide cliff-hanger.

This year we were mis-treated to the stodgy pre-recorded likes of Miranda Hart and Allan Carr sporting silly sweaters festooned with reindeers.

Every one of these shows lacking spontaneity as celebrities plugged their new albums and films.

The highest-rating programme was Mrs Brown's Boys - a show disturbingly caught in a time warp alongside the depressing EastEnders when its characters prove there ain't no Sanity Clause.

Ant and Dec came up with the biggest turkey with Who Shot Simon Cowell? - the unfunniest, cringe-inducing in-joke of the year.

New Year's Eve was only saved by the consistently slick Jools Holland with his real musicianship party.

So can I ask for an early Christmas present from the TV commissioners: Please can we have quality TV back for Christmas 2018?

Give us top dramas and documentaries – not every programme has to have sleigh bells rolling with the credits.

And how about some LIVE TV to make us feel it is actually Christmas we are celebrating and not re-heated virtual reality dross.


WHILE the likes of Slade, Wham! and all the other festive songs fade away from our radios for another ten months, one time-less ballad is still being played because 30 years after it was recorded it has social resonance.

The Pogues' classic Fairytale of New York features a less than romantic reference to a "drunk tank." 

And who would have thought that its writer Shane MacGowan (who likes a tipple) has since influenced some of our health chiefs to take notice of the benefits of more drunk tanks here in the UK.

These are ideal places for those who over-imbibe spend time cooling off in a sobering room rather than blocking up our under-resourced A&E departments.

Cheers, Shane.


ANOTHER year over and a new one just begun, sang John Lennon.

The late Beatle wanted all politicians to make an annual resolution for world peace.

What a great idea if all our decision-makers - national and local - made a must-do resolution list each January and report back to us voters.

I'd urge them to support the scrapping of car park fees in our hospitals.

And I want them to sort out the dispute regarding driver only trains.

Also, we commuters deserve better as we take more outrageous rail increases on the chin.

Already this week irate travellers have been protesting at Merseyside stations.

Small businesses in particular are suffering as public transport becomes ever more expensive and unreliable.


IT'S the end of mischief-making as we know it.

In this column we have revealed how the whole image of Dennis the Menace had been softened.

Even the Beano bad boy's catapult is replaced with an I Pad.

Now we hear the ultimate stripping of his badge of anti-honour for his new CBBC series.

Meet just plain – Dennis.

They are dropping The Menace.

Imagine Attila losing the Hun, Vlad the Impaler becoming plain old toothless Vlad.

No, fang you very much. William the Conqueror and Peter the Great loved their titles.

However, Ethelred the Unready was always unavailable for comment.

Now only Roger the Dodger is on the naughty register.

It all reminds me of Flash Gordon reaching 90.

They now just call him Gordon.


DONALD Trump is already talking about a second term and is tweeting again while North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un has invested in a new suit.

So it looks as though we have some breathing space before ordering nuclear shelters on E bay.

Which reminds me I was given a heart-warming Christmas present - a book called The Romance of Wirral, which informs me when the end of the world is nigh.

If you see someone perched on top of Bebington church spire dislodging ivy then it's time to compile your bucket list - according to ye olde poet and prophet Robert Nixon.

Happy, healthy and successful 2018, dear readers!

Peter Grant