(Click to see pictures from the Christmas episodes.)
Christmas CrackersIn the first of two Christmas episodes, the staff hold an early-morning think tank to discuss ideas for increasing sales figures. After such ideas as holly in the underwear and a reindeer/sleigh combination to ferry customers up to the counter, Young Mr. Grace takes the decision out of their hands and decides the staff should dress up in novelty costumes (Robin Hood, Long John Silver, etc.).
Later that day, the staff gather in the canteen for a predictably disastrous Christmas lunch. Their holiday spirit is revived somewhat by the pulling of the Christmas crackers and the novelties inside.
The Maintenance department has redecorated the shop floor beautifully, and as the staff arrive in their costumes and see the decorations, they are filled with the Christmas spirit and burst into song ("Christmas Time Is Here" [92k .wav] [1.2 MB .mp3]).
(Click for an extensive review of this episode.)
Father Christmas AffairGrace Brothers' latest sales gimmick is placing Father Christmas automatons (a.k.a. Christmas Display Units) throughout the store. As is usual with Grace Brothers displays, the CDUs malfunction, causing injuries to some customers.
In the meantime, Mr. Lucas and Mr. Humphries stay behind with Mr. Grainger after hours to help him rehearse an Al Jolson/minstrel show routine for a local nursing home. Mr. Grainger finally masters the routine after some initial difficulty and is a smash at the old people's home. Unfortunately, he is unable to remove the black greasepaint makeup after his performance.
The CDUs having been abandoned, Young Mr. Grace offers a £50/week bonus to the staff member chosen to be the store's Father Christmas. The generous offer brings a flood of applications from the ever-ambitious and greedy Ladies' and Men's deparments, including Mrs. Slocombe's bid to be "Mother" Christmas (after all, Parliament has just passed the "Sexual Relations" Act) and Mr. Humphries as "Merry Stripmas". Young Mr. Grace decides to assign the task of choosing to a young boy of African descent, who selects the blackface-clad Mr. Grainger.
(Click for a more extensive review.)
|....||BBC Christmas ident. (Unfortunately, it is from BBC2, as I was unable to find a similar one for BBC1.)|
(Thanks to R.W. Hobbs for his assistance with "touching-up" the video captures.)
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© 1997 Emily Jackson