There’s always one house in every town that goes the extra mile in their bid to bring some extra festive cheer to the neighbourhood, or show-off, depending on your point of view. But that bungalow down the end of your road with a Santa Claus sitting on the chimney pot is a mere pocket torch compared to the displays on King of Christmas Lights. Thirty-six year-old Paul Toole from Wells in Somerset spends up to £15,000 on decorations and still lives at home with his mum, yet by the end of the programme you can’t help but like the bloke. “I know some people will just say ‘Get a life Paul!’ But I just love Christmas..” How cute is that? Unfortunately his neighbours aren’t feeling quite as festive and nor might you be if you lived next to the neon obelisk he creates. When he says that people in this country are to “set in their ways” I couldn’t help but agree.
Facing off against him and his mate Chris are the Brailsford brothers from Bristol, who began their gargantuan light display after their dad passed away when they were young. To be fair to them they also answer the local kids letters to Santa.. Bless. With hundreds of people coming to watch both switching on ceremonies, there’s not much to choose between the two houses, but in the entertainment stakes, there’s only one winner.
The surrealism of Joe and Chris’s journey (they start thinking about this stuff in July!) comes from the comical way they try to get the edge on their rivals. First off they ask everyone else in their street if they’d like them to do (and pay for) their Christmas lights for them, yet things really get heated when the topic of a celebrity guest comes up. “Hmmm.. Micahel Eavis would be good,” says Chris “but I’d still quite like Nic Cage.” We later hear that the A-Lister does actually own a house in the area, so they’re not completely delusional. It turns out that Chris just isn’t keen on Eavis at all (“he opens anything that’s going!”) and he continues to work tirelessly to get a big name down to Pete’s cul-de-sac. Despite showing some interest David Hasselhoff eventually declines, the pair turn down local ‘sleb Grotbags and they end up with the bloke who played Boycie in Only Fools and Horses, which in all honesty, is still quite impressive..