BBC shows weave into the fabric of an 'authentic' U.K. Christmas

James Rouse of Outsider directs film that aims for a fly-on-the-wall approach for broadcaster's festive promo

Published On
Dec 06, 2021

Editor's Pick

The BBC is promoting its Christmas schedule this year with a film that weaves its shows subtly into the portrayal of a down-to-earth, typically British Christmas.

The three-and-a-half-minute promo centers on two British families, one in Edinburgh, Scotland and one in Watford, southeast England as they celebrate the holiday in a low-key way. Throughout the film, the two different families experience some recognizably British Christmas Day moments, from ugly holiday sweaters to food disasters, terrible Christmas cracker jokes, confusion over party games and arguments about TV. They're connected subtly by a young couple at the start of their relationship, something that becomes clear only later on in the story.

The film, created in-house by BBC Creative and directed by Outsider's James Rouse, emulates a fly-on-the-wall type approach—somewhat like the TalkTalk Christmas spots from a few years ago directed by Tom Tagholm, and also, at moments, strongly reminiscent of "Gogglebox." In this case, however, we're watching actors and a scripted scenario rather than real life.

References to BBC shows and services are there, but so slight that you'd hardly notice—a game of Charades mentions "Call the Midwife," someone makes a comment about iPlayer, there's a conversation about mince pies that alludes to TV cook and former "Great British Bake Off" winner Nadiya Hussain, and the film ends with Wham's "Last Christmas" playing on BBC Radio One.

“As we know all families are unique and in many ways that’s what the BBC’s Christmas film is all about—how we are united by our differences," said Paul Jordan, executive creative director, BBC Creative, in a statement. "The BBC is a unifying theme that runs through the heart of the film, bringing us together, and if you look carefully, you’ll notice it’s always there, like a golden thread of tinsel running right through our Christmas.” 

"Despite humanity’s many surface differences, when it comes to the important core values there’s more that joins us than we first might think, something that’s especially true at Christmas," added Rouse. "We had a fabulous cast of diverse characters to bring this lovely idea alive which made this film a joy to work on.”

The film is showing on all the BBC's social channels, throughout the Christmas period.


Dec 06, 2021
Client :
BBC Creative
Helen Rhodes
Paul Jordan
Head of Planning :
Mike Lean
Head of Production :
James Wood
Creative Director :
Susan Ayton
Creative :
Jules Middleton
Creative :
Andy Parkman
Audio :
Debbie Dillon
Audio :
Steve Huthwaite
Producer :
Chris Church
Production Manager :
Jake Cullen
Production Manager :
Clare Donaldson
Project Manager :
Astrid Reiner
Planner :
Rosanagh Ker
Design :
Jack Freeman
Director Marketing & Audiences :
Jane Lingham
Marketing Manager :
James Parry
Marketing :
Anna Manley
Media Planner :
Emily Wilson
Sound :
The Factory
Sound :
Anthony Moore
Grade :
Grade :
Paul Harrison
Editor :
Work Editorial
Editor :
Bill Smedley
Director :
James Rouse
Alex Melman
Production Producer :
Benji Howell

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