Saturday Flashback: Paul Holt – Fifty Grand For Christmas

“It works better as a Christmas song than as a novelty song.”

Tim: It’s the X Factor final tonight! So let’s celebrate with this. I’d fill you in on the backstory, but Paul, a contestant on the first series who didn’t get further than his first audition, is happy to fill you in himself.

Tim: Believe it or not, it never actually got to number one, peaking at the disappointing for Paul, but not remotely surprising for anybody else, position of 35.

Tom: Believe it or not, I actually smiled. I didn’t expect that. For the first verse and chorus.

Tim: I’m to glad to hear that, and I reckon I can guess your reasoning: weirdly, it works better as a Christmas song than as the novelty song it was designed to be. Christmas-wise, it sounds exactly right to fit on a compilation between Wizzard and Elton John without causing offence – but as a novelty? It falls into the trap that so many do, which is not knowing when to stop.

Tom: You are exactly right. This is a brilliant one-minute sketch. It’s the sort of thing that should have gone over the end of an episode of TV Burp, or something like that. The retro-Christmas-music pastiche is perfect, his voice is actually pretty reasonable, and even the lingerie-elves are forgivable as taking the mickey out of the past, rather than actually revelling in it.

But then he just keeps going. And it’s the same joke. For more than three minutes.

Tim: Ironically, then, this could have been a mildly decent performing single – they just needed sensible lyrics.