20 December 2005
The Film: Joyeux Noel
'Joyeux Noel', from French director Christian Carion, tells the true story of a Christmas truce called during World War I. Brought together by music and the spirit of the season, French, Scottish and German soldiers took a break from killing each other and provided everyone from Paul McCartney to Parish priests with a Christmas story to be repeated, one way or another, ever since. 'Joyeux Noel' stars Gary Lewis, Diane Kruger, Danny Boon and Daniel Brun. 'Joyeux Noel' opens at the IFI this Friday.

The Film: The Producers
In 1968 Mel Brooks had a huge hit with his movie 'The Producers'. It then went on to be a long running Broadway show. Brooks has just released a brand new version - a musical comedy starring Will Ferrell, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick and Uma Thruman. The director is Susan Stroman, who also directed and choreographed the stage show. 'The Producers' opens nationwide this weekend.

The Book: Christmas Books
And so to our very own Christmas productions - the shopping, the panic buying, the giving and the receiving. For those of you who are by this stage in thorough despair, we thought we might help with a few suggestions for books to leave under the tree. Tonight we've asked our Panel to each choose two books that they particularly enjoyed in 2005. Details of the books discussed tonight are available here.

The Play: The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett's 'The Secret Garden' gets a seasonal outing this Christmas at the Helix in Dublin. Dramatised by Neil Duffield and directed by Michael Caven, it tells the story of Mary Lennox - a child whose parents have just died in India and who is sent to live in her uncle's bleak house on the Yorkshire Moors. She finds it hard to fit in, mainly because she has no manners, but after finally making friends and discovering her green fingers she becomes a constant gardener. She perks up - and ultimately brings a little happiness to the miserable manor. 'The Secret Garden' runs at the Helix until the New Year.

The Performance: Paul Casey
County Derry's Paul Casey has been getting plenty of airplay for his debut album 'Songs in Open Tuning'. He heads off early in the New Year to guest on the farewell tour of fellow slide guitarist Chris Rea - one of many who have been championing his skills. Paul Casey sings a track from his album, 'Thanks for Letting me Crash'.

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