TV Review: Hannah Waddingham – Home for Christmas

Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas is a short and sweet festive treat

“If we fit in another song, it’ll run too long”

As with the TV show that springboarded her to her current level of fame, Ted Lasso, Hannah Waddingham’s festive TV special – Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas – is showing on AppleTV+ and so in the UK, is doomed to be barely seen. Which is a real shame as it is the kind of old-school variety special that you could easily see taking pride of place on the BBC on a much more high-profile date, rather than ushered onto a streaming platform in late November.

At 45 minutes it really is a bite-sized treat, perhaps even a little too much as it squeezes in numerous special guests, personal anecdotes and a handful of mercifully short comedy bits alongside its array of Christmas-themed music. You might also get whiplash at the variety in the songs Waddingham has selected, managing to deploy operatic highs and rock-inspired growls alongside her customary showmanship, well-honed over her years in musical theatre.

It takes place in the London Coliseum, a theatre she knows well as her mother sang there as part of the ENO chorus (who also pop up), with a troupe of dancers dipping in and out for a bit of added pizazz as if it were needed. For when you have Leslie Odom Jr, Sam Fender and Luke Evans to sing with, along with Phil Dunster and a few more of the Ted Lasso gang hoofing along, plus the London Gay Men’s Chorus and the Fabulous Lounge Swingers, the Christmas cornucopia here is overflowing.

My highlight – aside from Brett Goldstein in a hot tub – is the glorious rendition of ‘O Holy Night’, not least because for those who have been in for the long haul, it calls back to the Christmas in New York album and concert series from the late noughties when she felt like our own special secret. You can’t begrudge her this well-earned success now though, especially in such a breakout year, and this festive special rounds it off in a beautiful way.

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