On Christmas Eve ABC1 screens Nativity!, a 2009 Christmas film from the UK with Martin Freeman, Ashley Jensen, Marc Wootton, Jason Watkins and Alan Carr.
The Mirror said of the film, “Not a Christmas cracker, perhaps, but certainly not the turkey we’d been dreading” but The Guardian said “Nativity! ends up a pretty shambolic effort, despite its undeniable good-heartedness” and The Independent gave it 1/5 stars.
Having given up his career as a frustrated, under-achieving actor, Mr Maddens (Martin Freeman) has become a frustrated, under-achieving primary school teacher.
Each Christmas, his school and that of his long-time adversary, Gordon Shakespeare (Jason Watkins) of the posh independent school up the road, compete for a 5-star review of their respective nativity plays.
Every year the privileged Oakmoor students thrash the underdogs at St Bernadette’s. Maddens is resigned to this. Since receiving a vicious review from the local drama critic (Alan Carr) for his last production, he refuses to have anything to do with the annual festive fiasco. Five years ago his girlfriend, Jennifer (Ashley Jensen), dumped him under the mistletoe and left for a new life in California. Maddens’s headmistress (Pam Ferris), however, has plans of her own. She wants a proper Nativity in her last year before retirement, and she wants him to direct. He is still thinking of ways to wriggle out of it when he runs into Shakespeare at the garden centre.
Goaded by his rival’s arrogance, Maddens makes an idle boast: not only is St Bernadette’s preparing a barnstorming Xmas Xtravaganza but their production has already attracted the attention of Hollywood!
7:30pm Monday, 24 December ABC1.