Paul, a primary school teacher, is asked to produce the year’s nativity play. Hilarity ensues when Paul lies to his opponent that a Hollywood producer will be turning the play into a movie.
Martin Freeman…Paul Maddens
Marc Wootton …Mr. Poppy
Jason Watkins …Gordon Shakespeare
Ashley Jensen …Jennifer Lore
Pam Ferris…Mrs. Bevan
Alan Carr…The Critic
Ricky Tomlinson…Lord Mayor
Rosie Cavaliero…Miss Rye
John Sessions …Mr. Lore
Phyllis Logan…Mrs. Lore
Clarke Peters…Studio Boss
I mean it has to be Bob right? That little kid is the funniest in the whole film, probably the whole series. His thick Walsall accent is so funny and it reminds me of home. Well, I’m not from Walsall but my boyfriend’s family are.
That little dude really feels the music, pure passion from Bob.
Best Supporting/Obscure Character
For some reason I never remember there being a dog in this, but I’m going to give the best supporting/obscure title to Cracker the dog. He’s only in the film for about 30 seconds, but they are a good 30 seconds. My favourite part is when Mr Maddens makes him toast for his breakfast and sits there watching the news. Truly a good boy.
Shame Mr Poppy wanted to blow him up though. Poor Cracker.
Any Nativity film would not be complete without an audition scene. Don’t even mention the third one, in my mind it doesn’t exist. I really like to think with the auditions follow the rest of the film in being improvised. It’s a lot funnier if these kids decided what to do in these performances on their own.
The performance of Herod by Oakmoor will always be funny. Screaming children, a baby doll being pulled apart, and dramatic lighting, it’s all absolutely absurd but hilarious at the same time.
I would love to include the entire nativity play, but there aren’t any clips of it online. It’s completely outrageous, which is what makes it so good. I’d love to know how they got away with lowering a child from a cathedral spire. True madness.
MR MADDENS: Tell us, clearly, what happened at Christmas, if you think you’re so clever.
OLI: Joseph got together with Mary and then Mary went to Bethlehem to have a baby. She has a baby, Jesus. A couple of years later, about 30 years later, he dies on the cross and then…
MR MADDENS: Go and sit down. That was almost blasphemy, what you’ve just done.
I always thought this scene was funny, but now I know it is improvised, it is hilarious. The fact that these kids have never acted before and they come out with such great comedy is quite impressive.
MR MADDENS: This man is an idiot. He’s an actual village idiot. lf this was a village, he would be the idiot. He’s not a classroom assistant. He’s an absolute calamitous fool.
I generally don’t like Mr Maddens that much or even find him funny, but the absolute savagery of this line. I can’t decide if it’s a bit too mean or overly funny.
MR MADDENS: l don’t think the health and safety of children will involve the death slide in a nativity play.
He wasn’t even trying to be funny with this line, anyone could have said this and it would have been funny. There’s something about ‘the death slide in a nativity play’ that makes it one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.
JENNIFER’S DAD: l’ve heard of some things in my life, Paul, but to take a dog called Cracker and then to put explosives in it and blow it apart like a cracker…
This wouldn’t be funny if it wasn’t for Mr Poppy sitting next to Jennifer’s mom looking both guilty and awkward at the same time. It’s quite a violent image to put in the heads of people who are watching a kid’s film. Still funny though.
SHAKESPEARE: You thought you were here to see Hollywood. You’re here to meet them. Not to see this substandard chav fest!
Can’t be a film set in Birmingham/Coventry if it doesn’t involve the word chav.
MR POPPY: The four kings saw the beautiful shining star rising from the east side. They thought she looked… Rrrr!
This one doesn’t really work in written form, but it’s funny in the way that it’s massively inappropriate for a nativity play.
OLI: She’s my shining star from above. She twinkles and she sprinkles and l want to be her love. l want to squeeze her, please her. Share a slice of pizza. Extra spicy!
The lyrics of ‘She’s The Brightest Star’ has to be mentioned. Just a bit inappropriate for a child to be singing but so funny. Especially the ‘extra spicy’ part.
Best Musical Moment
Want You Back by the Jackson 5 playing whilst Mr Poppy does his ridiculous warm up dance. Sadly, I can’t find a clip of this, but trust me when I was it was far too funny.
As I mentioned in the favourite scenes section, I would love to include the nativity play here but there are no videos of it.
The best song in the whole nativity has to be Sparkle and Shine. It’s way too catchy for my liking, it always gets stuck in my head.
Final Thoughts and Fun Facts
It’s always slightly weird for me to watch this film as I know a few of the kids, I was in the same form group as Sydney who plays Sadie in college.
The majority of this film is actually improvised, the adults were told the basics of what the scene needed to be but the majority of the ‘script’ is made up. This is one of the best things about this film, it’s one of the only film with kids in that actually act like real children. Not going to lie though, the kids completely steal the spotlight. Forget the famous adult actors.
I can’t believe they sneak into a hospital to see a baby being born. It’s so outrageous it’s actually hilarious. Surely they need the parent’s permission to take the kids out of school?
I’ve never thought of this until now, but why on earth did they do the nativity in the cathedral? That would have been absolutely freezing.
Something else I’ve never noticed before is in the song at the beginning of the nativity they have multiple pairs of Mary and Joseph, but there’s one pair of two Marys. That’s quite progressive for a film about kids in 2009.
This isn’t even my favourite film in this series, it’s actually the second one. I thought it would be weird to start with the second one though.
Check out Young Creative Press on all socials
You can also check out my StoryGraph here
Like this post? Why not read this one too: Christmas Classics: The Santa Clause