Behind the scenes at the office party...

The Office Xmas (sic) Party – traditionally the time of drinking too much and telling your boss what you really think, snogging that person from accounts in the stationery cupboard, or photocopying inappropriate body parts, or so the cliches go.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 20th December 2014, 11:00 am
Black Mirror - Rafe Spall as Joe Potter
Black Mirror - Rafe Spall as Joe Potter

The three-part programme of the same name (ITV, Monday 9pm) took a look at what really goes in to the annual bash at a trio of businesses.

With the potential for innuendo already high, where else to go in the first episode than to an ‘adult’ toy company?

Firstly we’re introduced to the company’s CEO, Chris, a former banker. ‘My mum, to this day, doesn’t know what I do’, he explained. Well this is going to lead to an awkward Christmas Day dinner, then.

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But Chris was determined to make this year’s party a winner for his staff. Except he was quite clueless on how best to go about it. How about holding it in the warehouse, he suggested?

‘A party in a warehouse for staff who spend 50 hours a week - in a warehouse,’ the voiceover wryly noted.

Chris eventually found a pub willing to host the party, and it was all go for the doll-dancing, booze-quaffing and inappropriate advances.

We met some of the staff – always be wary of someone described as ‘a character’ by colleagues. But warehouse worker Rusty was this man – and he showed how he got the moniker.

Garry, warehouse manager, admirably played the role of ‘dull man you try to avoid getting stuck talking to at the party,’ while Jackie from customer services failed to stick to her one large glass of wine, and was soon getting friendly with the lewd ice sculpture.

You got the impression though, that this was all a bit of an ego stroke for a CEO who wanted to prove he’s just one of the regular guys. Albeit with a lot more money, and (in a brief intervention of seriousness) not on a zero hours contract like some of his staff. He got to be the one playing Santa, or he’d be taking all his toys home.

The occasional Black Mirror series (Channel 4, Tuesday) spewed up its latest instalment this week, with a festive special: White Christmas.

Like the best of the Black Mirrors, it felt like an updated Twilight Zone – writer Charlie Brooker took technology that you could imagine already existing and drew it to a plausible if somewhat terrifying conclusion.

It took a plot that enveloped social media, the ethics of cloning and our surveillance society, and waltzed with them down some seriously dark alleyways.

Starting with two guys, Matt (Jon Hamm, Mad Men’s Don Draper), and Joe (Rafe Spall- above) preparing a Christmas meal, the plot slowly unravelled, mostly in flashbacks...It would be unfair to reveal more, as this is worth seeing on catch-up.

But the final fate of our two main protagonists sent a chill through the bones that wasn’t entirely down to the December night. You’ll never listen to Wizzard’s I Wish It Could be Christmas Everyday in the same way again.

Chris Broom