# Similar Movies Like Christmas At The Riviera
Christmas At The Riviera 2007
About: The assistant manager of a seaside hotel is left to run the building over the Christmas period.
Released: 24 Dec 2007 Director: Mark Bussell, Justin Sbresni Writers: Mark Bussell, Justin Sbresni Actors: Alexander Armstrong, Darren Boyd, Anna Chancellor, Warren Clarke Genres: Comedy
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See Anna Chancellor in Christmas a.

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Christmas At The Riviera Reviews:

One of the most disturbing sights in British tv in newest years has been the disappearance of comedy from the I.T.V. schedules ( discounting unintentionally funny fare such as 'Footballers' Wives ). The network that once gave us 'Rising Damp', 'Man About The House', 'Nearest & Dearest', 'On The Buses', 'Doctor In The House' and 'Shelley' would seem to have given up the ghost, resorting to tatty fare based on home film footage or ancient film/television clips. The less told about 'Get A Grip!' and 'News Knight With Sir Trevor McDoughnut', the better.What has happened to I.T.V.'s ability to create famous sitcoms? Have all the funny folks either died or moved over to drama? It certainly seems that way.I was not holding out much hope for 'Christmas Night At The Riviera', a feature-length comedy unique broadcast on Christmas Eve 2007. I was impressed by the cast, though - Alexander Armstrong, Darren Boyd ( 'Hugo Yemp' in the underrated 'Hippies' ), Warren Clarke, Sam Kelly, Pam Ferris, and that old warhorse Peter Vaughan, still going powerful three decades after 'Porridge' and 'Citizen Smith'.So I tuned in. And am I glad that I did. It was the funniest thing on I.T.V. in literally years! The premise is this: 'The Riviera', a rundown seaside hotel in Eastbourne, prepares for an influx of Christmas guests. Ashley Dodds, the assistant manager, takes over at short notice when his boss leaves because of family problems. Well-meaning Ashley is to be blunt, a disaster area. To entertain the guests, for instance, he ebooks an obscure band named Doug Pride and His Lions.Amongst the problematic guests is Miles, a priest terrified that his fresh clerical post will be jeopardised by an adulterous liaison he had in a jacuzzi with the stunning Vanessa, whom he calls 'Melons'. To create matters worse, Vanessa is also at the hotel.Married couple Maurice and Rita are an appalling pair, especially the former, a grump who gives Victor Meldrew a run for his money.Tim and his father Dennis have brought along the latter's wife's ashes, which he insists on talking to as though the girl inside were still alive. Dennis keeps badgering Tim to search a fresh girlfriend. In the restaurant, they meet Avril, a sexy, middle-aged Welsh woman, but Tim is not interested.The first major catastrophe is when the guests ( along with a Salvation Units band ) fall into the frozen pool in the hotel grounds. Then one of the kitchen staff forgets to thaw the Christmas turkeys, so Ashley orders that they be grilled. Dennis's urn has somehow been transferred to the kitchen, and the ashes wind up as part of the stuffing mix. Fortunately, Ashley realises this in time, and spaghetti is served to the guests instead.Miles' wife Diane discovers what her husband has been up to, and begins hitting the bottle. Miles tracks down Vanessa, and tries to persuade her to leave, but she reminds him he got her into bed by saying her his marriage is over...Previewing this in the 'Radio Times', Alison 'Scrooge' Graham sniffed that it was 'full of clichés'. Well, so what? Loads of classic comedies have been full of clichés. Even 'Fawlty Towers' was not a fresh concept in 1975, as anyone who remembers Ronnie Barker's 'His Lordship Entertains' will testify. The mission is what's done with the clichés. Writers and directors Tag Bussell and Justin Sbresni have constructed a flawless farce. One disaster leading to another, without ever appearing forced or artificial. 'Riviera' reminded me of the perfect 'The Flint Road Nativity' from a several years back. That also wrung each possible permutation on the theme of something going wrong at a Christmas event.How nice to see again a comedy featuring likable characters. The cast turn in unbelievable performances, from Warren Clarke's moaning northerner to Pam Ferris' Welsh nympho to Alexander Armstrong as what gotta be the funniest tv priest since 'Father Ted'. I was surprised to search myself even liking Reece Shearsmith, who played 'Ashley'. As 'Diane', Anna Chancellor was so sexy I wondered why Miles wanted to hack on her.Pathos is well integrated into the comedy mix, particularly when Avril's secret is finally revealed ( she is recovering from radiation therapy ).At the climax, the hotel catches fire, the guests escape with their lives intact ( Ashley redeems himself by saving Maurice ), and seem to have noticeably changed for the better as a effect of their stay at the Riviera.This was not 'cutting edge' comedy, and didn't attempt to be. It borrowed comedy styles from 'Fawlty Towers' and 'Duty Free', and the Neil Simon film 'California Suite'. Who cares? It worked! It won't be to everyone's taste ( no wisecracking moons or lunatics in top hats singing about eels ). Allow us hope that we see more of this sort of humour on our screens in the not-too distant future.A fun Christmas treat.


Christmas at the Riviera was one of ITV's offerings over the Christmas season for 2007. In newest years, ITV has failed to offer tiny enjoyment from this kind of programming. It is rare for a two hour comedy to sustain your interest and you quickly realise why episodes of another comedy is limited to one hour.The programme centred about the Riviera, a seaside hotel with faults designed to make some comedy moments. The dis-functionality of the guests was also designed to add more comedy.In summary, the entire thing was rather weak. The laugh out loud moments were non-existent and the farce which a comedy of this nature could portray was simply lacking.


I remember when it was first aired at Christmas time in 2007, when I wasn't sure I wanted to see it. I was attracted to it because of the cast, but I also remember a bit of negativity towards it, including Radio Times dismissing it as clichéd I believe.If my memory is correct, I will tell this. Those who tell Christmas at the Riviera is clichéd are in a method correct. The characters and storyline lines hardly break any fresh ground, though when it comes to the characters some are more so than others.However, being clichéd is not necessarily a terrible thing, I think it depends on how the programme/film and characters are written. If they are written not very well, that is something to criticise, if they are then not so much, again that's just my opinion. The characters in terms of how they're developed are a mixed bag, Miles, Diane and Maurice are developed quite nicely, but there are others like Reece Shearsmith's hero that suffer from being under developed or a storyline that isn't as interesting as the rest.That said, Christmas at the Riviera is beautifully filmed, with skilled photography and striking zone work. The pace is fine as well, it is neither too quick or too slow, considering how many characters and stories there are that's an achievement. The script has powerful moments where it is funny and poignant, and out of the stories Miles/Diane's, Maurice/Rita's and Tim/Dennis's, the latter being the most touching, are the greatest realised. The cast do very well, Alexander Armstrong, Anna Chancellor and Warren Clarke are particularly excellent, and Pam Ferris is quite nice as well with the reveal of her secret having some surprising pathos to it.All in all, perhaps not must-see television, but I found it surprisingly good. 8/10 Bethany Cox



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