Stephen Fry’s Alternative Christmas Message 2023

Stephen Fry’s alternative Christmas message 2023. Photo courtesy of Channel 4

The alternative Christmas message is a message broadcast by Channel 4 since 1993, as a sometimes humorous and sometimes serious alternative to the traditional Royal Christmas Message. Usually featuring a contemporary, often controversial celebrity delivering a message in the manner of Queen Elizabeth II (and now King Charles III), the tradition started by accident when, running a series of programs on “Christmas in New York”, whereby the channel invited Quentin Crisp (The Naked Civil Servant) to give an alternative message.

While the alternative message usually lasts only three to five minutes, the concept seems to date back to a sketch in a Christmas special of The Two Ronnies, where Ronnie Barker delivered a mid-80s Christmas message from “Your Local Milkman”.

Stephen Fry has long been considered a national treasure in the UK. Well-known to a majority of the PBS audience in the U.S. for his consistently brilliant roles in the likes of Jeeves and Wooster, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Blackadder and Absolute Power, Stephen Fry’s laundry list of BFF’s range from Hugh Laurie (whom he met while at Cambridge) to King Charles III whom he became friends with while Charles was Prince of Wales, through his work with The Prince’s Trust.

Besides possessing, perhaps, the quickest wit on Planet Earth, Fry proudly jokes that he has never encountered a smartphone that he has not purchased and claims to have bought the third Macintosh computer sold in the UK with his late-friend Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) possessing the first two.

Stephen Fry has an important message for the British public during the holidays. In this deeply personal speech, Fry celebrates how far Britain has come in accepting and tolerating difference since his youth. He reveals that growing up he feared he would not be accepted for his sexuality but that he never suspected it would be his Jewish heritage that would make him afraid of how others behaved.

Alternative or official, Happy Christmas from Tellyspotting.

In: Odds & Sods