Old People's Home for Four-Year-Olds leaves you full of festive spirit, while Doctor Who gets a mixed reception

Lily, Ken and Italiah at the Old Peoples Home for Four-Year-OldsLily, Ken and Italiah at the Old Peoples Home for Four-Year-Olds
Lily, Ken and Italiah at the Old Peoples Home for Four-Year-Olds
There are no decorations up in my house yet. No baubles on the tree, no paperchains festooning the shelves, no tinsel glinting in pine and cinnamon scented candlelight.

I don’t like having Yuletide nick-nacks out too soon, it seems to spoil the fun, but after watching Old People’s Home for Four-Year-Olds (Channel 4, Wednesday, 9pm) I felt like buying the biggest Nordmann Fir I could find.

You often get newspaper thinkpieces this time of year, agonising about how Christmas isn’t like it used to be, and that our festive spirit has all but evaporated.

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However, the elderly residents of Larkhill sheltered housing complex and their pre-school friends restored your faith in all things Christmassy.

A festive follow-up to a series from earlier this year, there was a serious side to it – an experiment to see if the interaction benefited all.

All right, so it was bound to be a bit sappy, what with it being Christmas and all, but it was a genuine delight to see how being with the young children opened up the 70-, 80- and 90-year-olds, many of whom seemed to think that Christmas wasn’t for them anymore.

As widower Ken, 87, said: “Christmas is a tough time. I prefer to be on my own because I don’t want to spoil it for anybody else.”

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And it’s not a one-way street. These men and women, who grew up during the war, and experienced real hardship and austerity, teach the youngsters about giving, and being happy with what you’re given in return, even if it’s not necessarily what you wanted.

It was such a lovely, uplifting programme, not even the continuing fiasco at the House of Commons could know the festive spirit out of me.

Happy Christmas. Now, where did I put my baubles?

Doctor Who (BBC1, Sundays) finished with an episode that wasn’t the strongest, but Jodie Whittaker has been terrific as the Doctor, and it has thrilled my kids, so it must be doing something right.

There was an absorbing portrait of an unlikely pop star in Paul Heaton: From Hull to Heatongrad (Channel 4, Tuesday, 12.10am). Eccentric, likeable,and a really great songwriter.