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Richard Curtis explains secret to Christmas movies and dashes hopes for Blackadder return

The director of new Christmas movie Genie has no desire to return to his historical Rowan Atkinson comedy series.

Watch: Richard Curtis explains his love of the festive deadline

Richard Curtis, the mastermind behind festive favourites Love Actually, Bridget Jones' Diary, and new Sky film Genie, has explained why he finds Christmas to be a fertile setting for movies

“I love the Christmas deadline!” Curtis tells Yahoo UK.

“If you’ve got a problem in May, you can solve it in July or August, but if you’ve got a problem on the first of December, you’d better get your act together.

"I love that, and I felt that I hadn’t quite investigated the issue of friendship [in my other movies], which is what Genie is about, and family, and that what matters are the least complicated things.

"The best thing in the world is having dinner just with your family and laughing.”

Marc Maron and Melissa McCarthy star in Richard Curtis' new Christmas film Genie. (Sky)
Marc Maron and Melissa McCarthy star in Richard Curtis' new Christmas film Genie. (Sky)

For 67-year-old Curtis, who has four children with wife Emma Freud, Christmas involves about 35 people.

“About 35 of us in the village have been getting together for the past ten years so, on Christmas Day. I just wander into a room filled with 30 or so people that I really like in there.

I really like Christmas. I like it getting dark and I really like switching on the telly and watching happy movies.Richard Curtis

They also have a tradition, which calls Xmas X Factor.

“Not everybody volunteers,” he admits. “And some of the worst sounds that have ever been created by the human mouth have emerged during that.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Richard Curtis attends the
Richard Curtis returns with another festive film - a remake of his own TV special - Genie. (Kate Green/Getty Images)

Aside from his festive films, Curtis has a strong track record with small screen festive specials too including Mr Bean, The Vicar of Dibley, and, of course, Blackadder. 1988's memorable Blackadder's Christmas Carol came between the third and fourth series of the historical Rowan Atkinson comedy, and was a hilarious take on the Dickens classic with a genial Ebenezer Blackadder being persuaded by ghosts to follow his ancestors’ uncharitable ways.

However, despite that standalone special remaining a huge TV hit for Curtis, he has no intentions of revisiting that ghost of Christmas past.

Actors Tony Robinson and Rowan Atkinson in a scene from the BBC television sitcom special 'Blackadder's Christmas Carol', December 1st 1988. (Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times/Getty Images)
Blackadder's Christmas Carol saw Ebeneezer Blackadder visiting his forefathers, including Baldrick and Edmund Blackadder (Tony Robinson and Rowan Atkinson) in the Elizabethan court. (Don Smith/Radio Times/Getty Images)

Curtis has decided that the 35-year-old show, complete with the likes of Baldrick, Melchett and Nursie, has well and truly been retired.

“My Christmas wish is to not make another Blackadder Special,” he said. “It was such a complicated show to make and everyone who made it is in their early 70s now.”

Set in a Christmassy New York, Genie is a re-working of his 1991 festive TV comedy, Bernard And The Genie, which starred Rowan Atkinson (again) and Lenny Henry.

This time round, Melissa McCarthy uses her magical powers to help Paapa Essediu (The Lazarus Project) find happiness again.

Watch a trailer for Genie

Away from our screens, Curtis is starting his favourite time of year by putting together Christmas Actually, a seasonal variety show in London in early December. Christmas stories, music and comedy, all performed by a starry cast, will kick off the season in cracking style.

The show, of course, takes its name from 2003’s Love Actually, the film that single-handedly turned Bill Nighy into a rock star and balanced romantic sugar with some seasonal, sharper spice. Curtis both wrote and directed the ensemble piece which has become both a holiday must-see and an essential on all those lists of favourite Christmas movies.

Sky Original, Genie, is available on Sky Cinema and streaming service NOW from 1 December.

Christmas Actually is at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall from 7 – 11 December.


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