23. ‘That’ Christmas episode of Old Jack’s Boat

I want to be clear, from the off, that I have no problems with Old Jack’s Boat. Yes, on occasion, while watching it you do start to wonder if Bernard Cribbins is having an acid flashback or not, but for jeep’s sake, we are talking about Bernard bastard Cribbins here. If he wants to have an acid flashback while presenting a kids tv programme he can. It’s nobody’s business but his own. He has earned that right. The man is a legend.

Plus, as if Bernard Cribbins wasn’t enough, Old Jack’s boat also features Freema Agyeman and Janine Duvitski. It is packed full of quality. Plus, the format – a bit of light comedy followed by a story told by Bernard Cribbins – is a good one.

So, why is it on my list?

Those of you who have seen the Christmas special know why. You know all too well. For those of you haven’t seen it, a recap…

The story that Bernard Cribbins tells in the Christmas special is the story of him falling in love as a boy, getting married, and living happily ever after.

And you’re probably thinking, oh that’s nice. And it is, except, OH YEAH, HE GOES ON TO SAY THAT HIS WIFE DIED ON CHRISTMAS EVE? Sorry. Did I forget to mention that? Because yes, that happened. The Christmas special is an old man telling you that his wife is dead. I mean, fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. Really? Way to break Christmas, Cbeebies. Way to break my heart in new and surprising ways just before I open my presents. Thanks for making me have to fake the happiness I should be feeling, but now can’t, because you’ve put me in a world where Old Jack’s wife is dead. Thanks for retconning the whole show, so that now I can only see his laughter as bravado masking the sadness of his existence. Thank’s for making his rainbow coloured boat a temple to mourning. No, yeah, pass the pigs in blankets and I’ll see if I can’t get the taste of ash out of my mouth. Sure, put the Christmas compilation on like nothing has happened. Just don’t expect me to get through Stay without breaking down again.

Oh God I can see him now, trying to put on a brave face, a single tear rolling down his cheek. Oh God. Oh Jesus. Hold me. Somebody hold me.