Ian Breakwell’s Christmas Diary

1 December, 2021
– 15 December, 2021

1 December 2021 – 15 January 2022

This Christmas we are proud to present artist Ian Breakwell’s Christmas Diary, produced for and screened on national television in the UK on Channel 4 in December 1984 and produced by Anna Ridley. [closed captions available on video]

Ian Breakwell (1943-2005) was a unique figure in the development of art in the UK, in the latter part of the twentieth century. Born into a working-class family in Derbyshire in 1943, Ian Breakwell drew on a range of cultural influences, including vaudeville and variety acts (he had performed as a stage magician as a child), as well as conceptual art practices. His work was created through a range of media, including performance, film, television broadcasts, and writing, as well as painting, collage and drawing. Running through it all is a recurrent focus on everyday life, approached through overlooked, humorous or surreal perspectives. Buy the book Ian Breakwell’s Diary 1964-1985 and a DVD of Ian Breakwell’s collected films 1973-2007 from the LUX Shop

‘The grisly bloody Christmas reality of the city covered in vomit’ is just one of the seasonal tableaux presented through Ian Breakwell’s ‘Christmas Diary’, eight nightly sorties into Channel 4’s Xmas programming, the first this Wednesday. The fact that Christmas viewing figures tend to drop indicates that the major companies’ no-escape programming drives viewers away. And so, following the favourable response to last Summer’s transmission of some two dozen programmes derived from Ian Breakwell’s ‘Continuous Diary’, ‘Christmas Diary’ caters for that large minority (majority!) for whom Christmas is a grotesque parody. Each programme takes familiar images – the turkey, the office party, the Circus, the Queen’s speech – and refracts it through Breakwell’s surrealist humour, his penchant for finding the marvellous and the profane in the everyday. The series builds to an attempt to recapture a genuinely festival occasion through its celebration of the ‘Monarchs of Misrule’ – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins to Tommy Cooper…’ Nick Kimberley, City Limits, 1984

Ian Breakwell’s Christmas Diary

Ian Breakwell

1984
1 hour 9 minutes

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