Bernard and the Genie – a holiday classic


It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)…Miracle on 34th Street (1947)…How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) and A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965). All holiday classics. For my money, another holiday must see was born just over 20 years ago when the BBC broadcast, Bernard and the Genie. The relative new kid on the block of holiday classics was written by the brilliant Richard Curtis and starred Alan Cumming, Rowan Atkinson and Lenny Henry.

Bernard Bottle (Alan Cumming) is not experiencing the greatest of days, having just been sacked by his boss (Rowan Atkinson) and dumped by his girlfriend. But, things begin to look up as he unintentionally discovers an antique lamp he was given one Christmas which contains Josephus (Lenny Henry), a real life genie, imprisoned for the last 2000 years for accidentally killing an evil wizard’s daughter while moonlighting as a knife-thrower.

You know the rest of the story. Man rubs lamp. Genie is released from lamp and grants unlimited wishes. That’s where the trouble begins as the genie quickly embraces the modern world. Being an art buyer by trade, Bernard decides to wish for one of the most famous paintings in the world. Unfortunately, the police think he has stolen it. That’s just the beginning….

There are numerous other Christmas classics from the British comedy world that I could watch over and over. Another is the Richard Curtis and Ben Elton 1988 classic, Blackadder’s Christmas Carol. Anyone else have a classic that signals the beginning the holiday season? In the meantime…check out Josephus the Genie and/or Ebenezer Blackadder if you get a chance. Well worth the time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rCo5Fx-nlI

  • Lisa C

    One fun thing about “Bernard and the Genie” (and British tv in general) is recognizing people from other shows, in this case “Blackadder,” “Chef,” “Mapp and Lucia,” “Ballykissangel,” and, I think, “Thin Blue Line.”
    Christmas episodes of “The Good Neighbors,” “To the Manor Born,” “Mr. Bean,” “Keeping Up Appearances,” and “Are You Being Served” are also favorites, as well as the Victorian “Blackadder” episode with its hysterical line “Don’t you realize that this is the Victorian Age where apart from Queen Piglet Features Herself, women and children are to be seen and not heard?” (I’m Victorian in interest and scholarship, but that’s still a funny line.)