A parrot with a tasty tipple and tempting food with a difference ... Christmas in Hartlepool was extra special 20 years ago.

Camerons whose Ruby Red beer was a hit in 1997.
Camerons whose Ruby Red beer was a hit in 1997.

It’s not unusual for boozy characters to make the news at Christmas.

But back in 1997, plonky parrot Charlie was getting the headlines for his love of Hartlepool tipple Ruby Red.

HMS Trincomalee.

HMS Trincomalee.

In fact, the bird loved oit so much, Camerons Brewery sent him a four-pack of the good stuff.

It all started after Charlie fled his owner’s home and headed for his local for a swift jar. The difference this time was, he went without his owner and flew their on his own.

Camerons bosses got to hear about the story and decided to send supplies to the three-year-old Conure.

Head brewer Martin Dutoy said at the time: “He’s the prettiest parrot I have ever seen and has excellent tase in beer.”

But Charlie wasn’t the only one making the festive headlines in 1997.

The same year, Hartlepool’s Asda store got in on the act by producing its own Yuletide pizza. Anyone fancy a taste of pizza topped with chicken and sage and onion stuffing.

The meal with a difference came after a 1997 survey showed that the average Brit was tucking into not one but three Christmas dinners during the course of the festive season.

But it also showed there was an increasing demand for some different meal ideas over the Christmas period.

Louise Coxson was the counters manager at Asda at the time and, in an interview just days before Christmas Day, said: “The pizzas have been on sale for two weeks and have proved very popular.”

Other options on offer at Asda that year included a cracker sausage which contained pork, turkey, carrots, sprouts, potato, parsnip and sage and onion.

In other news, there were plans to start solemnising weddings on board HMS Trincomalee for the first time.

The must-have presents that year included Teletubby characters and if you were settling in front of the box, there were some great aofferings.

Genial host Noel Edmonds was making Christmas dreams come true in his BBC1 show Noel’s Christmas Presents.

The Flintstones movie was also on BBC1 and later on Christmas Day, the channel had Men Behaving Badly, They Think It’s All Over, Airplane! and Carry On Loving.

Over on BBC2, Val Doonican was looking at Cardigans at Christmas and Shooting Stars had guests including Mark Owen and Melvyn Hayes.

On ITV, Christmas Day films included The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Home Alone 2; Lost In New York.

There was a Countdown special on Channel 4.

But what are your memories of Christmas in the late 1990s? Get in touch and tell us more.

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk.