One of the best things about the Yuletide period is the range of festive telly treats it throws up. Old films that aren't avaiable on DVD, cheesy Christmas specials, and excellent TV dramas. "The Fattest Man in Britain" falls neatly into the latter category.
Topping off a fine year for himself (he played the long-suffering Peter Taylor in The Damned United and Wormtail in HPVI, not to mention a stint in the gruesome Heartless), Timothy Spall stars as Georgie Godwin, a man residing in Rochdale, who is so fat that he can barely stand up. Having not left the house in 23 years, he makes a living by being an attraction - people on holiday come to visit him - from which his nefarious manager Morris Morrissey (played with appropriate sleaze by Bobby Ball) reaps the benefits. One day, from his seat in front of Jeremy Kyle, Georgie spots pretty young Amy, tending to his garden. She herself is in some kind of an abusive relationship - with her drug addict boyfriend, who, on discovering that she is pregnant with his child, threatens to "kick the baby out" of her. Georgie and Amy form an unlikely friendship that in lesser hands would have instantly becoming a sexual attraction. As it is - partly owing, perhaps, to Georgie's repugnant physical state - it is a moving, slight tale of friendship.
There's laughs aplenty in the show, manly owing due to the sheer farcical element of Georgie's life. This is intercut with moments of genuine sadness - I defy anyone who did not shed a tear when Georgie reads Amy's letter. We discover that Georgie didn't get to the situation he is in by sheer greed - following his mother's funeral, he ate to fill the void that her passing away left. Writers Jeff Pope and Caroline Aherne have moulded a clever little piece here, and one that leaves the audience with a warm, glowing sensation long after the credits have rolled.