The unhinged Scottish comedian Limmy is a surprising choice for a Christmas Special. His eyes don’t twinkle; it’s more a murderous glint. Sure enough, the Limmy’s Show Christmas Special (Sunday, 10pm BBC2 Scotland) is a bleak, hilarious, all too familiar collection of the worst aspects of Christmas and New Year’s Eve (Hogmanay). Speaking with RadioTimes.com, he gave us his festive highlights.
What are you going to watch over Christmas?
Well first of all definitely Limmy’s Show Christmas Special, especially the repeat on BBC One Scotland in HD (Christmas Day, 12.50am BBC1). “H-Dee Dee”: there’s a wee pun for you. I think I stole that off someone on Twitter, so it’s no my joke.
Other than yourself, what will you be watching?
Top of the Pops (Christmas Day, 2pm BBC1). You get to a certain age, probably 18 or something, and you don’t care about the charts anymore. But since we had my son I just stick the radio on and listen to whatever’s getting played. So it will be good to get informed with what’s actually happening in the world of pop.
Do you follow Miley Cyrus?
No I don’t like her. I don’t like her. Nothing to do with the whole sexual stuff, but that wee go she had at Sinead O’Connor I thought “aw f*** off you”. But I don’t think that’s something to stick in the interview. “Limmy turned serious when Miley Cyrus was mentioned.”
Where do you spend Christmas?
We go through to the Maw’s and Da’s house, so I’ll probably be forced to watch some soaps, Eastenders and Coronation Street. I wonder if the producers think “this is the time that people are forced to watch us, so we need to get them hooked.” Like heroin, just one shot…
Any favourite Christmas movies?
I went through Radio Times to check and I saw that Scrooge (Friday, 5pm TCM) was on, the musical from the 1970s. I always thought it was good, but I see it’s got 2 out of 5 stars and I’m like: “Is that one of they films that once you actually watch it you realise there’s about two good songs and the rest is all boring?”
Have we ruined a precious Christmas memory?
No you’ve given me a reality check. You’ve burst my bubble. It’s like finding out Santa doesn’t exist, it had to happen some time. I feel awake. I feel AWAKE!
What about children’s shows for your son?
We’ll be watching Doctor Seusss’ Horton Hears A Who (Christmas Day, 10.25am Ch4). My son likes Doctor Seuss books, but they’re right tongue twisters. You get to certain bits and you stumble your words and it makes you feel like an idiot. It’s like when you stood up in front of the class in school to read out a book and you’d f*** a wee bit up, it’s humiliating. “You cannae read! You cannae read!” Also we’re going to watch Chicken Run (Christmas Day, 11am BBC1). My son hasn’t seen any of the stop motion animation by…what’s his name?
Mel Gibson? He stars in it.
Is that right? Well that’s that ruined too then. It’s like an onion of bubbles with you. You think one bubble’s burst, but then there’s another layer being peeled away. I don’t think I’m going to get to watch anything really, everything will be getting half watched. Maybe they’re deliberately putting on rubbish shows to get people talking. It’s very nice of them. I get it. I get it.
Did you used to highlight shows in Radio Times as a Christmas tradition?
That sounds familiar…actually I’m maybe wanting that memory to come for your article. Aye we used to do that! Aye we used to mark up the Radio Times! That’s what made Christmas! My parents said “you can get presents, or you get to mark up the Radio Times.”
Thanks for that. If you just say things I ask you to say this will go really well.
Go on, as long as it’s not against my political beliefs or anything like that, nothing too right wing. Just put words in my mouth.
I get the feeling from your Christmas Special that you’ve been to a lot of terrible Christmas and Hogmanay parties.
When you stop drinking and you have your first Hogamany, and you’re stone cold sober, that’s when you realise you’re really taking it seriously. Going to a pub when you’re not drinking is pretty boring. Even when I was drinking I remember just kicking about the town getting knock-back after knock-back and it’s f****** freezing, the worst of the worst, not being able to get a taxi at a freezing, freezing time of year. A horrible, haw-rible time of year.
So you’re looking forward to it then?
Aye! Because I’m not going out. Just going to get all cosied up in my comfies and might get my quilt on the couch. Just a nice wee family thing then maybe have a biscuit at the Bells. I mean shortbread, sorry.
Do you actually like Christmas?
Aye aye, I’m not one of these people that hate Christmas. Some people think it’s all fake, but I like that kind of thing. It’s like Las Vegas. I know this isnae really the Eiffel Tower and that isnae really the Statue of Liberty, but it’s just a bit of fun.
It’s like saying peace on Earth is impossible, but let’s just pretend for a wee while?
Aye, people go “oh it’s Christmas, maybe I’ll give this person I used to know a phone.” And then you don’t. If you can just hold on until Boxing Day, you don’t have to get on with them for another year.
But yours is less nostalgic than other Christmas specials, right? It’s full of ungrateful child unwrapping presents and other horrible memories.
When we filmed that sketch, folks laughed more than at anything else. I think everyone can remember not getting what they want. Somebody told me that someone they knew wanted Wrangler denims, so their Maw made a pair of denims from scratch. And they got f****** laughed at and slagged off. And I bet there’s weans this year, where instead of getting an iPad they get a MyPad or something. I think it’s funny as f***, looking back, once the tears have dried. Can nostalgic stuff be bad stuff?
Are you excited by the idea of a Scottish Broadcasting Corporation under independence?
I’ve not thought about it that much. I’ll just vote yes and see what happens. I’d like to be shown UK wide. I’d like to be shown worldwide. People ask “you’re into Scottish independence, why do you want to be shown in England?” It’s not like we’re going to fire Scotland into space and just no get in touch with anybody. We’ll still be here, just like America. I still watch American programmes.
Do you think an SBC might give you wider exposure?
I don’t know, because Limmy’s Show has gone really well for me. Ewan Angus the commissioner has let me do pretty much what I want. But I wonder if in a UK wide broadcaster you’ve got to be more middle of the road, because the budgets are higher. Maybe it’s just my own attitude, but Scotland’s just a small country so we could just have a wee laugh. An SBC or whatever might be a bit wilder, take more chances. It’s no for everybody, it’s just for 5 million people up here. But we’ve kind of got that already with BBC Scotland.
What about Sky? A lot of people comedians are going there at the moment. If they said ‘we’ll give you money, you can do whatever you want’, would you have any hesitations?
I would definitely consider it. It’s not like working for The Sun; that would be different. I would have to look into hacking and Rupert Murdoch. It’s basically like a group of mates, where one of them is a complete arsehole, but the rest of them are alright. The people who work in Sky and commission stuff are all normal people just interested in making good programmes. It’s not like every programme is indoctrinating you in right wing stuff. But it’s like a group of pals and there’s this arsehole there and it makes you go: but how can they be alright, when they’re with this arsehole? Have they got a choice in the matter? Maybe there’s nothing they can do: that’s thingmy's brother or that’s thingie's cousin and he has to come along.
Limmy's Show Christmas Special, Sunday 22nd December, BBC2 Scotland 10pm. Viewers outside Scotland can access BBC Two Scotland on Sky 142 (HD) & 970, Freesat 970