HAD another look in Fenwick’s window before I left Newcastle today to check out that polar bear in the nativity scene.It wasn’t there: my memory’s definitely not what it was. There was, however, what looked like a large, white husky and, further along (and very definitely) a baby leopard. Not easy to see the immediate relevance to the birth of Jesus, but then again neither is a Norwegian spruce. Or for that matter a man in a red coat coming down the chimney.

Looking forward to tonight at 10.35pm:

Christmas Tales: Legends of Santa

Three-part series in which Fiona Phillips examines the phenomenon of festive icons. In this programme, she looks at Father Christmas. Is he a real life saint, pagan figure, commercial creation or a mix of the three? Whoever he is based on, our modern day idea of the jolly, bearded Santa is very different from the character loved but sometimes even feared by an earlier generation of children.

The Guardian guide says tonight’s programme is in fact about the origin of the Christmas tree, not Santa. Either way it’ll be an interesting three-parter.


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