This was the year of Obama, the Irish pork crisis, and talks on North Korea’s nuclear programme (again). Come the twelfth month, we said our goodbyes to Woolworths, Eartha Kitt and Oliver Postgate. Muntadhar al Zaidi threw his shoes at George Bush, and the year was rounded out by the discovery of a huge cache of dinosaur fossils in China (and an even bigger one in the UK charts).
It was also the last year that bloody X-Factor enjoyed an unchallenged reign at the top, and predictably it was with a cover version. Alexander Burke came from Islington, and her mother had been the lead singer for Soul II Soul, so she had an impressive pedigree, and had been trying to win the programme for four years. Her choice of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah was a canny one, as this appealed to believers and agnostics alike, but got under the nose of those (me included) who were already royally pissed off with talent shows and their domination of the festive top spot.
As a result, there was the first (I think) concerted attempt to prevent Cowell’s juggernaut from pulling into the loading bay. Fans of Jeff Buckley’s considerably less overstated (and per se more effective) version attempted to propel it to pole position and very nearly succeeded (it got to number two). The following year was a coup d’etat, but for now we had to eat our porridge lukewarm.
TV highlights for Christmas Day 2008:
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit / Shrek The Halls / The Royle Family: The New Sofa
By now there was so much choice on our screens that a feature like this seems redundant.
Alexandra Burke, Hallelujah