A Child's Christmases In Wales 2009

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A one-off TV comedy telling the story of three Christmases in the Rhys household of the 1980s. After having to entertain her husband Geraint (Mark Lewis Jones)'s bickering brothers, Huw (Steve Speirs) and Gorwel (Paul Kaye), for Christmas in 1983, obsessively tidy Brenda (Ruth Jones) suffers in silence as the dreaded influx becomes a yearly ritual. As seen through the eyes of teenage son Owen (Oliver Bunyan), the following Christmases of 1986 and 1989 chart the ups and downs of the family, as they struggle to keep their yearly get-together in the festive spirit.

Starring:
Ruth Jones, Mark Lewis-Jones
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 59 minutes
Starring Ruth Jones, Mark Lewis-Jones, Steve Speirs
Director Mark Watson
Genres Comedy
Studio 2 ENTERTAIN
Rental release 29 November 2010
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Debra from Hull on 27 Sep 2010
Format: DVD
This is a one-off comedy drama that first aired on BBC Four Christmas 2009.

It's loosely based on Dylan Thomas' short story 'A Child's Christmas in Wales. But instead of focusing on just one Christmas it focuses on three (1983, 1986 and 1989). Each year starts with the family waiting for the brothers and nephew to arrive on Christmas Eve. One of the brothers is a self-made man, one a lovable alcoholic squatter and the other a traffic warden! Each Christmas is celebrated in the same way - the only things that change are the presents and fashions!

Some of the themes from the original story are still there. If you've read the story you'll be quite pleased at how they've incorporated them. The set designers have done a really good job of recreating an 80's house.

This made a refreshing change at Christmas. It was great to see Ruth Jones playing the mother of the family. I didn't think about Nessa once! Fantastic actress. I can't really compare it to anything else. Although not laugh-out loud, this contains some clever dialogue and observations. One of my favourites is below. And I loved all the Welsh references (Max Boyce, Tom Jones etc).

This would make a great stocking filler, especially if the recipient is Welsh! I've given it four stars for the initial viewing but that would probably be reduced to three stars for repeated viewings.

*****************************************************************************************************************************
The mother is arranging the bath towels in alphabetical order. The narrator (the son) says "These days they call this kind of thing obsessive compulsive disorder. At that time it was known as housekeeping!"
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Finch on 6 Dec 2010
Format: DVD
I caught this programme by chance last year and loved every minute. It was definitely the best programme over the Christmas season and should join The Snowman, Carols from King's College (and the Great Escape?) as an annual TV event.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Samuel VINE VOICE on 28 Mar 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This was first shown on BBC4 a few years ago, and heaven only knows why it wasn't put out on BBC2 (or even BBC1). It tells the story of several Christmasses during a child's time growing up in the 1980s in Wales (that much is obvious from the title).

Owen, the boy concerned, has a mother (Ruth Jones from Gavin & Stacey and Stella) who seemingly dreads Christmas and is increasingly obsessed with cleanliness in the house as the years go by. His father is a normal down-to-earth man, who doesn't seem too bothered by progress. However, the keystone of the story is the relationship between Owen's two uncles - one of whom is a hardworking money-obsessed man who runs his own business, the other of which (Paul Kaye) is a complete loser - out of work, living in squats, and whose main money-making scheme seems to be placing bets each year as to whether it will snow on Christmas Day. Also key is Owen's cousin, Maurice, who changes somewhat as the years go by...

There's a lot of recurring jokes (the ever more commercialised carol singers, for instance), comment on the obsession with having the latest most modern presents over old classics (the Christmas with a very early BBC computer), and a moving view on how one changes throughout late childhood and teens as one ages. However, the main story told here is one of brotherly rivalry and, despite everything, brotherly love. And that's something that's worth having reinforcing at any time of the year, let alone Christmas.

People of a certain age (my age!) will look at this and remember scenes and toys from the Christmasses of their youth. People of any age, however, will find this simply a good story well told. Guaranteed to make you feel Christmassy, and destined to be watched by my family every Christmas for a very long time. And perhaps even between Christmasses, as well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rev. Gareth Bowen on 22 Dec 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of the best christmas comedy dramas that I have ever watched. If you were expecting the Dylan Thomas: A Child's Christmas In Wales you will be disapointed althought Thomas's short story inspired this. The casting of Ruth Jones as the Mum with OCD "or house keeping as it was called then", Mark Lewis Jones as the quiet Dad, and Steve Speirs as Uncle Huw who seems to know Tom Jones because he sold him some carpet from the biggest carpet waehouse in Wales are all inspired.

How ever this comedy drama is made for me by the character of Uncle Gorwel played by Paul Kaye who gets in a fight with the carol singers (VAT registered!) because they are interupting him watching "Max" (Max Boyce) and they can't pause the VHS because it might "stretch the tape" as Uncle Huw says.

If your family comes from the South Welsh valleys then this will all ring true, I had an Uncle who was like Huw and another who was a little like Gorwel!

We watch this at Christmas after Lunch and before Max Boyce.

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Gareth
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sue Carter on 30 Dec 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Oh I can't praise this enough, absolutely lovely and so touching in places and so funny too, love it, a true xmas classic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By grey snail on 31 Jan 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this drama on tv christmas 2009,and was hoping it would be repeated.It is a gentle comedy that although not being welsh,I could identify with.I had many christmases just like this,when my own children were similar ages,and gave me a good helping of nostalgia.The characters were,I felt believable and well played,and after watching it on tv this christmas decided to find a dvd to watch at other times of year.the dvd was just as i expected,good family viewing.
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