Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont are hosting a Christmas getaway for some of their closest friends on Monday 27th December at 9pm on Channel 4. In this one-off seasonal special, Jon and Lucy are joined by comedy pals to eat, drink and get very merry during a night away from the post-Christmas, pre-New Year lull as they look back at the year gone by.
Here, Jon and Lucy tell us about their comedians’ office party, who’s better at gift buying and drinking advocaat with lunch.
Tell us about the Christmas Sleepover and what we can expect from it.
Jon: I think Channel 4 wanted a hard-hitting, topical review of the year but because we haven’t seen anyone, we wanted to have a few drinks with friends. It’s ended up being a sort of hostage situation where we’ve taken Channel 4’s money and locked our friends in a cottage and made them drink with us. I hope people will get a warmth from it, it is almost like watching a family reunion – there’s some tension, some people who are late, people who are angry about the food, people who want to play games and people who don’t. There’s a real traditional family Christmas vibe.
Lucy: That’s a dig at me when he says people who don’t want to play games. His family are like The Waltons, it’s not about presents or whatnot, it’s about them just playing board games with each other. Whereas I want to sit and watch telly on my own. I find it hard how nice they are to each other, that’s not what Christmas is about, you’re meant to be stressed and anxious and drink a lot on Christmas Eve then have a hangover and an argument.
Like Jon says, you very rarely get to do stuff with your mates, so it was like a love-in. We’ve all known each other for a long time, Jon and Roisin used to gig together when they started out and me, Rob and Romesh did. With comedians, you don’t get a works night out, so this was like an office party.
You’re joined by Rob Beckett, Romesh Ranganathan and Roisin Conaty, are they well behaved guests?
L: No, not really. Rob Beckett is naughty and always wanted to lower the tone.
J: Rob Beckett was like the naughty toddler who’d clearly got really excited when he arrived, didn’t want to eat his veg and only wanted to play with his toys. Romesh was sort of the grumpy dad who was trying to keep it all together.
L: Roisin was like the auntie that’s treating it like a night out and wants to let her hair down.
J: I feel like I was the stereotype of the mother who’s running around trying to get everyone’s food ready but everyone was ungrateful so I started having a strop and threw my pinny on the floor.
L: I was a bit like the distant father who was thinking about being somewhere else.
What sort of hosts are you? This wasn’t in your own home so did that pile on the pressure to keep things orderly?
J: I think it’s worse when you’re not in your own house because you’re more paranoid about breaking things. I’m more relaxed in my own house because when guests come round, I only give them cheap crockery or glasses. You can tell how much I respect you by what glass you get given. If certain people ask for a whiskey, they’ll get a cut-glass tumbler and certain people might get an old, plastic Batman mug. In someone else’s house, if someone breaks something it goes on your deposit. I’m very paranoid about my Airbnb reviews, I have to get a good review for being a good guest. I was fairly tense all the way through to be honest.
So you were having his big reunion with your mates, but on camera. Did that change anything?
L: You totally forgot about the cameras, which is not necessarily a good thing.
J: We deliberately didn’t plan a lot as well. There was a comfy lounge and a kitchen and we did just mill about and chat, it has a very natural feel. I kept trying to get people to talk about the news from the year and they didn’t want to.
The show looks back at some of the big moments in 2021. What has this year been like for you both?
J: We’ve been luckier than most, we managed to film our sitcom through the summer when things were a bit more relaxed. Our daughter’s been able to go to school as normal, she’s in reception, we’ve certainly been luckier than most. It is that social side of it you miss, the thing we haven’t done is go for meals with each other or have mates over. I think we’ve all got used to a new system where you don’t do those things and suddenly it feels like quite a big step to have people round for drinks.
L: We’ve done alright, we’ve worked a lot.
J: You can split Covid and lockdowns into people who are lucky enough to have a spare room where the partner who snores and has got on everyone’s tits that day can go and people who don’t have that. We’ve got that and there’s a TV and we’ve got separate Netflix accounts which I would really recommend at this time of the year.
What is a typical Christmas in the Richardson household?
J: We’re still getting to grips with that. We got together and got married the next year, then we had our daughter the year after that and we’ve moved house twice since we got together and every Christmas sort of feels different. This Christmas, we’ve moved again and this was going to be our big National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We invited all of Lucy’s family and all of my family and it turns out a lot of them don’t want to come, so it’s going to be quieter than we thought. But there’ll be the ongoing tension, I’ll just want to play Boggle all the time and Lucy will want to have a snowball then fall asleep in front of Scrooged. You’ve gone mad on Christmas lights though…
L: I was wanting that Hygge thing. When it started to get dark nights, I was feeling a bit down… Tell you what, they’re expensive fairy lights. And I’ve bought the ones with batteries… It takes about an hour now before we go to bed to turn them all off. If I feel tired, I have to start getting ready for bed then. I’ve also put a lot outside, I want the neighbours to say your lights look nice but they haven’t so I keep buying more.
Have you planned what you’re getting each other for Christmas or are presents a surprise?
J: That’s a tension that comes up in this show, we discuss what I got Lucy for her birthday, which was exactly what she wanted but she still wanted to send it back. I’ve done the same thing again, I’ve bought Lucy the thing she texted me so if it goes back this time, this will literally be the last time I ever buy her a gift. And I just want darts toys, it’s like buying for a 14-year-old boy.
L: I’ve bought Jon everything he wants, there’s nothing left to do. I’ve bought him everything to do with beer and Leeds United and he wants to buy his own pile cream. I’ve bought him toe-nail clippers. I’ve run out of things to buy him.
J: I always thought I’d dread getting to that age where people buy you a few beers and a pair of socks but, actually, if someone gets me a few nice beers and some new socks, I’ll be delighted.
Are you difficult to buy for, Lucy?
L: I like something to open, but it’s just easier if I buy my own things really. The thing is… Yeah, I am hard to buy for. But I’m good at buying for other people.
J: She buys good Christmas presents which makes it all the more annoying. You buy her something and it’s wrong but she’ll buy you something amazing.
The show is airing on December 27th, what is that sort of dead time between Christmas and New Year usually like for you?
J: That’s the bit I’m looking forward to this year. We’re visiting my family before Christmas, we’ve got a few people coming here for Christmas Day then we’re going to Lucy’s family on Boxing Day. So the 27th will be the first day we’re at home. I love that bit when you’ve got to eat all the food. It goes from not opening things and saving it for Christmas to suddenly on the 27th having to eat it all before everyone goes back to work, so you start having stilton and sausages on toast for breakfast. That’s when I really come to life, when there’s a deadline. I’ll be having eight advocaats with my lunch.
Do you ever argue over what to watch on TV at Christmas?
L: It’s the only thing we don’t argue over, we’ve got the same tastes. Anything that’s working class we like. We like Bargain Brits in Blackpool and Bargain Brits Abroad, Gogglebox because it reminds us of people we know.
J: We don’t argue but we don’t watch the things we want to watch. If it was up to me I’d watch sport every night and Lucy would watch Selling Sunset is it called? You would watch exclusively property and lifestyle programmes and I would watch sport - it’s the true meaning of marriage. We watch a lot of Gogglebox and First Dates.
We’re expecting to see a bit of piss up with your mates in the Christmas Sleepover. Does it get messy?
L: It does get messy, I’m drunk from the beginning. They all catch up. Roisin doesn’t drink but you’d probably think she’s the most drunk out of everybody, she doesn’t really need to drink. I properly treated it as my end of year…
J: Roisin doesn’t drink and everyone else has young kids so there became a kind of mania to it quite early one. Romesh made some cocktails when we arrived and that combination of booze and sugar and tired parents is lethal. We have a sugar high, then a booze high, then we have some food and by then it’s sort of madness.
Jon & Lucy’s Christmas Sleepover, Monday 27th December, 9pm, Channel 4 & All 4