Did we like it?
By bringing together two of our favourite things – Justin Lee Collins and fun-filled 1970s music – there was no way we wouldn’t adore this attempt to create a Christmas hit single.
What was good about it?
• Justin Lee Collins’ relentless enthusiasm to end a terrible run of non-tinsel-tinged Christmas chart toppers. “It’s 15 years since the last festive Christmas number one, by Cliff Richard – and that was sh*t,” JLC complained.
• The tense Mission Impossible-style attempt to assemble enough talent to pull off the project. JLC pounced on Mud’s Rob ‘Can’t Get it Out Of My Head’ Davis (petrified like a fraudster on a consumer programme), Boney M’s Liz Mitchell (shaken but jolly), Slade’s Dave Hill (fake reluctance), Jona Lewie (bewildered) and Aled The Jones (too busy – God bothering probably).
• The interviews with the contributors, with Liz Mitchell moaning about all the Phoney M tribute bands, Dave Hill being coy about Noddy Holder, and Jona Lewie not living up to his reputation (“We’ve been warned he’s as mad as a dog in a bungalow,” JLC cautioned).
• JLC showing off his two fully-formed hands to Jona Lewie to prove he wasn’t prankster Jeremy Beadle
• The clips of Slade, Elton John, Boney M, Mud and Wizzard’s sensational 1970s hits.
• Justin’s despair about the competition: Sugababes, Crazy Frog doing Jingle Bells, G4’s When A Child Is Born and Santa’s Is This The Way To Santa’s Grotto? “How many years has Father Christmas been around?” asked JLC. “Why’s he chosen this year to release a song?”
• The song was recorded in the street where we live.
• The end product was a stomping success called The Perfect Gift, sung by David Essex with contributions by some Mud, some Slade, some Showaddywaddy, Jona Lewie and Justin himself (“I’ll play sleighbells on this record if it f**king kills me”)
What was bad about it?
• The disappointment felt by JLC that the doorbells of the stars didn’t ring out their Christmas hits
• JLC’s devastation when Liz Mitchell pulled out
• Our attempt to download the single on the Channel 4 website was unsuccessful
• JLC’s dress sense (his wardrobe comprised leather jacket, jeans, cheap T-shirts, his smartest Christmas jumper)