Best on the Box: New Year’s Eve Television Highlights

There are titters from Sky and BBC One and the usual New Year party pices from BBC Two.

BBC One bring us Two Doors Down at 9pm. The show – pictured above – is a one-off comedy set in a chaotic New Year’s party thrown by Eric and Beth Baird as they count down to the bells in traditional Scottish style with their two sons Ian and Angus, Beth’s unpredictable sister Caroline and their Latimer Crescent neighbours.

Joining the Baird’s Hogmanay celebrations are aspirational friends Colin and Cathy; Norwegian neighbours Henning and Nina; Ian’s exuberant and outgoing partner Tony; and teenager Sophie, who’s been left home alone while her parents are away.

As friends and family gather, Eric and Beth hope the highlight of the night will be the return of their son, Angus, who’s currently serving in Iraq. A lively evening is assured as drink flows, tempers fray, and Beth’s legendary steak pie comes out of the oven.

Written by Simon Carlyle Two Doors Down stars Alex Norton as Eric, Arabella Weir as Beth, Ian by Kevin Guthrie, Angus by James Young, Caroline by Daniela Nardini, Colin by Jonathan Watson, Cathy by Doon MacKichan, Henning by Jefferson Hall, Nina by Zoe Harrison, Tony by Greg McHugh and Sophie by Sharon Rooney.

Two Doors Down, BBC One, 9pm

From 9pm on Sky Atlantic viewers can laugh along with Steve Coogan: Stand-Up Down Under in a double bill. The special sees cameras follow Steve Coogan on his 2009 tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Featuring exclusive footage from his live shows as well as unrestricted backstage access, this is a warts-and-all documentary charting the highs and lows of the comedian’s trip Down Under.

For the tour, Steve brought back four of his best-loved characters: Mancunian wastrel Paul Calf; Paul’s foul-mouthed sister Pauline; Portuguese singer and self-proclaimed ladies’ man Tony Ferrino; and inimitable local broadcaster Alan Partridge.

Footage of Steve’s performances throughout the tour gives an illuminating insight into how he brought these characters back to life, honing and perfecting them for his Antipodean audience. The documentary lays bare the pressures of touring as Steve and his skeleton production crew battle nerves, stress, jetlag and homesickness off-stage while coping with inevitable on-stage mishaps, from rogue microphones and troublesome faux facial hair to drunken hecklers.

As the relentless touring schedule and demanding media commitments begin to take their toll, a disillusioned Coogan declares he’s fallen out of love with performing. But despite the strains, the elation that comes from bringing down a packed theatre is plain to see, and there are some genuinely touching moments

Steve Coogan: Stand-Up Down Under, 9pm on Sky Atlantic

Its music and entertainment however we really want as the night draws on and that old vynil copy of Russ Abbot’s single Atmosphere just won’t cut it anymore. Not to fear, Channel 4 and BBC Two bring us enlightened entertainment firstly with Alan Carr and later Jools Holland.

With Alan Carr’s New Year Specstacular once again the camp comedian and his celebrity guests run riot around Channel 4’s head quarters to bring in 2014 with unpredictable madness, party games and special guests appearing in various guises.

Be sure there will be plenty of music, sketches and witty stand-up as guests include this year James Corden, Keith Lemon, Ben Cohen, Abbey Clancy, Emma Willis and Seann Walsh. Plus live music from Tinie Tempah and Katy B.

Alan Carr’s New Year Specstacular, 9pm on Channel 4

Yes it just wouldn’t be new year without the new year being seen in by Jools Holland and his celebrity pals. Joining Jools, for his 21st Annual Hootenanny, will be a host of musical stars to get your groove on.

Classic British songwriter and leader of The Kinks, Ray Davies performs three of their classic sing-a-long numbers with Jools and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra while East London outfit Rudimental will have you dancing your way into the New Year with three of their big songs from the past year.

Also joining Jools and the Orchestra will be legendary singer with The Gap Band and recent Kanye West collaborator Charlie Wilson. He will be performing a couple of Gap Band classics as well as new soul star of the year, Birmingham’s Laura Mvula performing her hit single ‘Green Garden’ along with a Nina Simone classic.

Others popping in for a sing-song on Jools’ Annual Hootenanny include Lisa Stansfield, Ella Eyre, Emeli Sandé, HAIM, The Proclaimers, John Newman, Dawn Penn, Lee Thompson, The Lumineers and Melanie C.

Jools’ Annual Hootenanny, 11.30pm on BBC Two

Share Button