A heartwarming Call The Midwife… sparkling new versions of A Christmas Carol and Dracula… enchanting animations The Snail And The Whale and The Tiger Who Came To Tea… Yes, this promises to be a vintage year for Christmas TV.
And here, we’re highlighting the very best 100 shows to make sure you don’t miss a thing. So sit back, switch on and let us guide you through this wonderful time of year…
DRAMA AND THRILLERS
Perennial favourites Call The Midwife and Doctor Who are back, along with a fresh look at the Profumo scandal and a reboot of classic vampire tale Dracula from the team behind Sherlock.
1-3 January, 9pm, BBC1
In their spine-chilling new version of the vampire classic, Mark Gatiss says he and Steven Moffat – the pair behind Sherlock – ‘wanted to make Dracula the hero of his own story for the first time’. Pictured, Claes Bang as Dracula in the new BBC1 adaptation
In their spine-chilling new version of the vampire classic, Mark Gatiss says he and Steven Moffat – the pair behind Sherlock – ‘wanted to make Dracula the hero of his own story for the first time’.
In Bram Stoker’s novel, lawyer Jonathan Harker becomes imprisoned in Dracula’s castle after travelling to Transylvania to help the Count buy land in Britain.
The vampire, meanwhile, has left for England, determined to suck the life force from Harker’s fiancée Mina.
2. Doctor Who
New Year’s Day, 6.55pm, and 5 January, BBC1
Jodie Whittaker returns as the Doctor in a Bond-esque two-parter titled Spyfall that gets the new series under way, with Stephen Fry playing a spymaster who enlists her on a new mission.
‘Short of being picked for a space exploration programme, being in an episode of Doctor Who will do as a very sweet second-place excitement,’ says Stephen.
‘He’s absolutely dreadful,’ says Steven. ‘He just wants to eat people.’
Their Dracula, Danish actor Claes Bang, watched all the classic old films.
‘Mark Gatiss joked that if Christopher Lee and Bela Lugosi, the two most famous Dracula actors, had been a couple and had a child, it would be me,’ he laughs.
‘The fangs were brilliant once I got used to them, but the blood made me want to vomit.
‘We started with syrup and red colouring but the effects team saw I was in trouble so came up with something that contained a lot of beetroot and lemon, which wasn’t so bad.’
Boxing Day, From 8am, Netflix
Critically acclaimed Netflix series You, returns for a second series on Boxing Day. Pictured, Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg
Based on the books by Caroline Kepnes, this disturbing thriller returns for a second series after the first earned huge critical acclaim.
In the first series, brilliant-but-flawed bookstore manager Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) developed a dark obsession with aspiring writer Beck (Elizabeth Lail), with sinister consequences.
Joe has now moved from New York to LA in an attempt to escape his past, but when he meets budding chef Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), his obsessive urges start to emerge once again…
1-3 January, 9pm, ITV
Sarah Parish returns as corrupt cop Elizabeth Bancroft (pictured) in a three-part series of ITV’s Bancroft, as she’s put under pressure from boss Cliff Walker played by Adrian Edmondson
She’s probably the most corrupt cop ever to walk the TV beat – and she’s back on patrol in the New Year.
Sarah Parish returns as Elizabeth Bancroft, whose career continues to flourish despite committing murder.
This new three-parter sees her under pressure from boss Cliff Walker (Adrian Edmondson), who suspects she’s a very bad apple.
‘She’s a cold-blooded killer,’ says Sarah. ‘Now it’s a question of whether her evil deeds will catch up with her.’
5. The trial of Christine Keeler
29-30 December, 9pm, and then continuing on Sundays, BBC1
BBC1 puts Christine and Mandy Rice-Davies centre stage, in their six-part drama The Trial Of Christine Keeler, starring Sophie Cookson as Christine (pictured) and Ellie Bamber as Mandy
The brief but incendiary liaison between balding 46-year-old government minister John Profumo and beautiful 19-year-old model and exotic dancer Christine Keeler was the political and social scandal of the 1960s.
The Profumo Affair involved sex, power, glamour, money, influence – and even, possibly, a Soviet spy.
Unsurprisingly the story has prompted books, a film, a play and a West End musical, but until now it’s a tale that’s been told mainly from a male perspective.
But BBC1’s greatly anticipated six-part drama The Trial Of Christine Keeler finally puts Christine and her friend Mandy Rice-Davies centre stage.
‘Nobody has ever asked what it was like for two 19-year-old girls to be at the heart of that story, but that is what the writer Amanda Coe is doing in our drama,’ says producer Rebecca Ferguson.
‘We wanted to look at it through a different lens.’
Sophie Cookson plays Christine, with Ellie Bamber as Mandy, Ben Miles as Profumo, Emilia Fox as his wife Valerie and James Norton as Christine and Mandy’s osteopath friend Stephen Ward.
Former Grantchester star James says the makers of the series have gone to great lengths to ensure its accuracy.
‘Amanda Coe pulled an entire scene because she couldn’t verify it,’ he says.
‘We’ve done a lot of research into our characters and tried to get as close to the truth of what actually happened as we possibly can.’
6. Call the midwife
Christmas day, 7pm, BBC1
BBC1’s Call The Midwife (pictured) sees the midwives battle the 1964 flu epidemic, while also going to the Outer Hebrides due to a shortage of medical staff
Focusing on kindness and compassion, Call The Midwife has become a staple of Christmas viewing – but there’s never been an episode as spiritual as this year’s offering.
The midwives have gone to the Outer Hebrides due to a shortage of medical staff – a premise based on historic fact.
Mother Superior Mildred (Miriam Margolyes) thinks the fresh air will help them recover from the 1964 flu epidemic – but there’s no time to rest.
Among the cases are a girl with horrific burns, a teenager who’s struggling mentally and a hard birth in a lighthouse.
Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt), who was to stay in Poplar, sneakily makes her way there.
‘She’s determined to go, she’s convinced there’s a white stag waiting for her,’ says Judy. ‘It’s hard to understand her fervour but her faith is complete.
‘The Hebrides have a spiritual quality.’
Dancing On Ice, Dame Edna, Dragons’ Den and a brand new show teaming Holly Willoughby with Bradley Walsh – your favourite stars put some pizazz into primetime
7. Take off with Bradley and Holly
Christmas Eve, 8pm, BBC1
The BBC have cannily paired up Bradley Walsh and Holly Willoughby, two of ITV’s best-loved presenters, for a new festive special Take Off With Bradley And Holly – a smorgasbord of surprises, games and music building up to a showstopping finale… a dream trip to Lapland. Pictured, a schoolboy is surprised by two rugby players on the show
The BBC have cannily paired up Bradley Walsh and Holly Willoughby, two of ITV’s best-loved presenters, for a new festive special.
Take Off With Bradley And Holly is a smorgasbord of surprises, games and music – loosely based around a theme of aeroplanes – building up to a showstopping finale… a dream trip to Lapland.
Live at the Apollo
23 December, 10pm, BBC2
It’s not quite the staple of festive viewing that the Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show became, but this festive special for the programme that celebrates the best in stand-up is now a solid tradition.
Sara Pascoe hosts from the Hammersmith Apollo in west London, and after she’s tickled our festive funnybones there’ll be appearances from blind comedian Chris McCausland and Flo & Joan, the real-life sisters who combine comedy with piano and percussion and recently wowed the audience at the Royal Variety Performance.
Producers have been scouring the nation for people to nominate themselves with their family or friends, or someone they know who could really use a treat to perk them up at this time of year.
‘There will be lots of surprises on the show,’ says Holly.
‘We’ve got lots of recognisable faces, from Strictly’s Johannes Radebe to Curtis Pritchard from Love Island.
‘They’re in charge of serving the drinks and canapés, and we’ve got a plane in the studio.’ There’ll also be music from Jamie Cullum and a flypast from the Red Arrows in what the BBC hopes could be the first in a long-running series.
‘This show is going to be fun, and Christmas is all about the Holly and the Ivy,’ says Bradley, ‘so I’m going to change my name by deed poll to Ivy so we can run every year.’
‘That’s the commitment I’m looking for,’ jokes Holly.
‘Working with Bradley will mean having to be on my toes – I’ll be keeping us both in line. Someone has to take control.
9. Dancing on ice at Christmas
22 December, 7pm, ITV
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, host this year’s Dancing On Ice Christmas special, with judges Ashley Banjo, John Barrowman, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean
There’s plenty to pique the interest in the Dancing On Ice Christmas special, which precedes a new series starting in January.
10. The Jonathan Ross Christmas Show
Christmas Eve, 9pm, ITV
He may have lost some ground to his BBC rival Graham Norton in recent years, but Jonathan’s programme still attracts big names.
He is joined by Sharon Osbourne, actor David Tennant, presenter Rylan Clark-Neal, Hollywood star David Oyelowo, singer Rita Ora and musician Jamie Cullum.
Olympic ice champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean will perform a brand new dance, before taking their place on the panel with Ashley Banjo and new judge John Barrowman.
He replaces Mr Nasty Jason Gardiner, who’s gone following a bitter row with last year’s contestant Gemma Collins.
Gemma is one of the former participants taking part in this show, who also include 2009 winner Ray Quinn.
Hosted again by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, the Christmas special will also introduce the contestants of the 2020 series, who include entertainer Michael Barrymore, presenter Trisha Goddard, singer Ian ‘H’ Watkins, model Caprice and Coronation Street’s Lisa George.
11. Richard Osman’s World Cup of the decade
27 December, 9pm, CH4
Lorraine Kelly is among the guests joining Richard as he reveals what the public have voted as the best movies, shows and songs of the last ten years on Twitter, as well as their choices in quirkier categories such as best celebrity.
Also passing comment are comedian Jon Richardson and The Last Leg’s Alex Brooker.
12. Ball & Boe: A very merry Christmas
This Friday, 9.30pm, ITV
Popular singers Michael Ball and Alfie Boe host a Christmas extravaganza that’s inspired by festive specials from their musical heroes.
Alongside the songs and lively chat, the one-hour show will include appearances from the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey, musical theatre star Luke Evans and jazz singer Gregory Porter.
13. Dame Edna rules the waves
New year’s Eve, 9.05pm, BBC1
After 30 years, Dame Edna Everage is back fronting a Christmas show – a star-studded extravaganza aboard her luxury yacht The Ocean Widow. Pictured, with Nile Rogers and Chic
After 30 years, Dame Edna Everage is back fronting a Christmas show – a star-studded extravaganza aboard her luxury yacht The Ocean Widow.
‘The world needs me,’ she says. Sharon Osbourne is the first to descend its magnificent staircase, but she may regret it.
‘You’ve been to the panelbeaters a few times – and I mean that very nicely,’ Dame Edna tells her. ‘You’ve been landscaped.’
Other guests include Dame Edna’s lawyer, TV judge Rob Rinder, and the yacht’s cook Rick Stein, with music from Nile Rodgers and his band Chic.
Despite her advanced years, Dame Edna is soon up dancing with Nile. Sadly, Dame Edna’s sidekick, morose
Madge Alsopp, is no longer with us. ‘She fell asleep in the arms of Dame Nature,’ says Edna, before scattering her ashes out of a porthole.
But she’s replaced by Madge’s sister Mabel, who’s also miserable.
‘She’s a climate changer,’ reveals Edna. ‘She enters a room and the temperature drops.’
14. Paul O’Grady: For the love of dogs at Christmas
Boxing Day, 6pm, ITV
Paul O’Grady (pictured) meets dogs with behavioural problems at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, in an ITV fixture airing on Boxing Day
Could there be a dog with a more seasonally appropriate name than Sprout? He’s one of the many adorable hounds featured in this year’s one-off special from Paul O’Grady, For The Love Of Dogs At Christmas.
If you’re after a festive show with the ‘aaah’ factor, look no further.
Paul, whose festive specials from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home have become a Christmas fixture since the first in 2012, is busier than ever as he focuses on dogs with behavioural problems.
There’s a crotchety Yorkshire terrier called Teddy who refuses to walk anywhere, and an American bulldog named Cindy who’s lost her joie de vivre after being bitten by another dog.
There’s also tired mum Whisper the Staffie, who is struggling to wean her two puppies, and an Akita called Berry who can’t accept that her owners have left her.
Thank goodness, then, for Sprout.
‘He was scruffy but he was the happiest dog in Battersea,’ says Paul.
‘He was a stray, so he couldn’t believe his luck to be in kennels. It was like The Ritz for him!’
But one of the most heartwarming stories in the show is that of Misty, a shy and retiring mongrel who won’t leave her kennel.
‘Misty was a lovely dog, but she was a recluse,’ says Paul. ‘She wouldn’t come out of her kennel because she missed her owner.
‘None of our usual tricks to coax a dog out worked, so in desperation I had to talk to her in my best old lady voice in order to make her feel secure and encourage her out. I mean, the things you have to do…
15. Top Gear Nepal Special
29 December, 9pm, BBC2
Paddy McGuinness, Chris Harris and Freddie Flintoff (pictured left to right) travel from the Nepalese capital Kathmandu to the ancient city of Lo Manthang in ageing vehicles in Top Gear’s BBC2 Christmas special
Imagine attempting a five-day trip from the Nepalese capital Kathmandu to the ancient city of Lo Manthang along mainly single track roads with giant potholes and prone to falling rocks.
Then imagine doing it in a battered old Peugeot, an even more battered old Renault and an ageing off-road vehicle.
It sounds like the perfect challenge for the Top Gear Christmas special.
16. Dragons’ Den: Pitches to riches?
Christmas Eve, 8pm, BBC2
Presented by Angela Scanlon, this hour-long festive special highlights some of the most memorable businesses showcased during the past 17 series and what became of the people behind them, and tracks down the entrepreneurs who went on to launch very successful businesses despite being rejected by the Dragons.
Angela also recalls those cringeworthy moments when it all went horribly wrong in the heat of the Den, and accompanies the Dragons on a trip down memory lane, treating them to snippets of sometimes awkward footage of themselves in past series.
‘And it was,’ says Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, the former England cricketer who makes the trip with co-hosts Chris Harris and Paddy McGuinness.
The going got tough when Chris’s Renault conked out and needed towing by Freddie’s Nepalese four-wheel drive.
To one side was a drop of several thousand feet. ‘My heart was pounding,’ says Freddie. ‘It was one of the most hair-raising experiences I’ve ever had.’
It got pretty scary for Chris too.
‘At one point I got out of the car to attach a tow rope from Freddie’s vehicle to mine, but the brake failed on my Renault and I turned round to see it rolling backwards down the mountain.’
Viewers will see what followed when they tune in to the show, which has plenty of laughs too, especially when the chaps are working out what to take with them.
Their search for supplies yields three tents, some glass cleaner, toothpaste, a dead chicken that’s been cooked with a blowtorch – and very little else.
‘I don’t think any of us will forget this,’ says Freddie.
17. The Two Ronnies: The unseen sketches
Christmas Day, 9.30pm, Channel 5
Shortly before Ronnie Barker retired from showbusiness in 1987, he and his comedy partner Ronnie Corbett filmed an entire series in Australia, adapting existing sketches for this new audience.
The six-parter has never been seen in the UK before, but this one-off show contains highlights from it, plus contributions from their families.
18. Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas show
Christmas Day, 6pm, BBC1
Expect plenty of giggles in this festive special.
Michael makes Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood the subject of his Midnight Gameshow, waking him up with a snow cannon, and Sharon Osbourne gamely plays Send To All, where Michael hijacks a celebrity’s phone and sends a message to every one of their contacts – leading to her husband Ozzy making a surprise appearance.
19. Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
Christmas Day, 4.40pm, BBC1
Mark Wright, pictured with professional partner Janette Manrara, and other former contestants take part in an all-star Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special on Christmas Day
Strictly features more glitter and sparkle than the average Christmas tree every week, but it’s even glitzier than usual for this all-star seasonal show.
20. The Graham Norton Show
New Year’s Eve, 10.20pm, BBC1
This is a pleasant alternative to the forced jollity of New Year’s Eve – a cosy night in with Britain’s favourite chat show host.
In his now traditional end-of-the-year show, Graham will be talking to double Oscar-winner Tom Hanks and his co-star Matthew Rhys about their heart-tugging new movie A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.
Putting on their glad rags are former contestants Chizzy Akudolu, who’ll be dancing with Graziano Di Prima, Debbie McGee dancing with Kevin Clifton, Gemma Atkinson partnering her real-life boyfriend Gorka Márquez, Joe Sugg with his real-life girlfriend Dianne Buswell, Mark Wright who will be dancing with Janette Manrara and Richard Arnold paired with Luba Mushtuk.
Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman are in tip-top festive form and Shirley Ballas – who’ll be judging with Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse – has some useful advice for the celebrities taking part in the Christmas competition.
‘Trust in your professional!’ says Shirley.
‘Go in there open-minded and put your mobile phone in your bag. Give your professional your full-time focus and just trust in them.
‘The more prepared you are, the less nervous you are – and you just might surprise yourself.’
Ho ho ho – if you fancy a giggle over your sherry and mince pies there’s plenty to choose from, including a Miranda celebration and the long-awaited return of Gavin & Stacey…
21. Miranda: My such fun celebration
New Year’s Day, 5.45pm, BBC1
Miranda Hart (pictured) and the cast of her hit sitcom reunite for a night at the London Palladium, featuring sketches, special guests and discussions about their favourite episodes
It’s ten years since the endearingly awkward figure of Miranda Hart galloped into our lives with her sitcom Miranda.
22. The Goes Wrong Show: The spirit of Christmas
23 December, 7.30pm, BBC1
From the people behind Peter Pan Goes Wrong with David Suchet, The Spirit Of Christmas features the incompetent, fictional Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society as they stage the tale of Santa and his elves trying to bring festive happiness to a sad little girl and her constantly fighting parents.
The jokes centre on Santa, played by Henry Lewis, who says, ‘My character is an actor with a troubled private life who drinks too much and makes an idiot of himself.’
Apart from Santa’s slurred speech and out-of-control toy-making machine, watch out for a tree decorated with turkey and sausages and Santa’s little helper who gets wedged in a chimney.
Now, four years after the final episode, the cast have reunited for a special night at the London Palladium which sees them talking about their favourite episodes, acting out sketches and welcoming special guests – and you can catch it on BBC1.
While Sarah Hadland, who played Miranda’s pint-sized pal Stevie, Patricia Hodge, who appeared as her domineering mother, and Sally
Phillips, who was Miranda’s friend Tilly, are all here, it remains a secret as to whether Tom Ellis, who played her eventual husband Gary and who went on to become a star in American show Lucifer, will be back in person.
Having got the cast together again, Miranda admits she’s now mulling over the possibility of reviving the sitcom.
‘This could be the goodbye forever – so for that reason I really hope people watch it,’ she says.
‘Or it could be the springboard into some specials. I’m very torn. Part of me wants to see Gary and Miranda’s married life, so the answer remains that I don’t know.
‘But I do know I’m incredibly grateful for every supporter of the show and the legacy it’s created.’
23 Not Going Out Christmas Special
Christmas Eve, 10pm, BBC1
Lee and Lucy (pictured) attempt to buy presents on Christmas Eve in Britain’s longest-running sitcom, Not going out Christmas Special
It’s supposed to be a quick trip to the shops on Christmas Eve for Lee and Lucy to buy that all-important gift in this festive outing for Britain’s longest-running sitcom.
But of course things don’t go to plan.
‘They have to deal with a giant inflatable Santa, an aggressive bull in a field and a terrifying truck driver before they can settle down and enjoy Christmas with their children and other family members,’ says Lee Mack, who plays Lee.
Geoffrey Whitehead steals scenes as usual as Lucy’s pompous dad Geoffrey, while Lee’s feckless father Frank (Bobby Ball) has Christmas gifts to hand out – but they may well have fallen off the back of a lorry.
24. In the long run Christmas special
This Friday, 10pm Sky One
The Easmons’ flat threatens to burst when Walter (Idris Elba) invites too many people to the family’s annual party in the festive special of the 80s-set culture clash sitcom.
Neighbour Bagpipes (Bill Bailey) steps in to cater for the masses by providing a feast of British cuisine.
25. The Christmas misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan
22 December, 9PM, BBC2
After last year’s festive special of his fun travelogue, in which comedian Romesh was dispatched to the Arctic, he reluctantly signed up for another this year – on condition he wasn’t sent anywhere freezing cold.
So, almost inevitably, the producers sent him to the Sahara where the mercury can touch 50°C
26 Mrs Brown’s Boys
Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, 10.30PM, BBC1
Mrs Brown’s Boys channels It’s A Wonderful Life in a Christmas Day special, Brendan O’Carroll who plays Mrs Brown (pictured) revealed the character enters a world where her family is someone else’s
The Irish sitcom channels classic Christmas movie It’s A Wonderful Life in its Christmas Day episode when Clyde, an angel, shows Mrs Brown what life would have been like had she never been born.
‘She enters a world where her family is someone else’s,’ says Brendan O’Carroll, who plays Mrs Brown.
In the New Year’s Day show, Buster has to track down a tank Dermot hired for their latest promotion.
27. A Year in the life of a year 2019
New Year’s Day, 11PM, BBC2
This spoof review of important events from the past 12 months, created by The Fast Show’s Rhys Thomas and co-starring Lucy Montgomery, Tony Way and Simon Day, returns for a fourth instalment.
28. Would I lie to you? At Christmas
Boxing Day, 9.30PM, BBC1
David Mitchell and Lee Mack’s teams try to spot their opponents’ fibs.
Liz Bonnin and Stephen Merchant join David, with Dr Ranj Singh and Sharon Osbourne joining Lee.
The comedy is derived from re-editing and re-dubbing footage from the past year – one of the most famous sequences last year was Paddington meets A Very English Scandal.
29. The Last Leg of the Year
New Year’s Eve, 9pm, Channel 4
Alex Brooker, co-host of this comedy chat show, refuses to let his disability stand in the way of his passion for sport.
He was born with hand and arm deformities and a twisted right leg that was amputated when he was a baby, but last year he joined the Leeds Rhinos rugby league disability team, and this year he takes a racing car for a high-speed spin.
30. Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special
Christmas Day, 8.30pm, BBC1
Smithy (James Corden), Stacey (Joanna Page), Gavin (Matthew Horne) and Nessa (Ruth Jones) return to BBC1 for a Christmas Day special of Gavin & Stacey
Matthew Horne (pictured third from left with the cast) admits he was anxious as he read the scripts for the well-loved show, but settled after a day of filming
James Corden and Ruth Jones spent so long telling everyone there would never be a Gavin & Stacey reunion that when it came to getting the cast back together, no one believed them.
Joanna Page, who found fame as sweet Welsh beauty Stacey, admits that she ignored dozens of calls from Ruth.
… EVEN MORE FUNNY MOMENTS
31. The reluctant landlord
23 December, 10pm, Sky One
In this laugh-a-minute sitcom, pub owner Romesh’s plans for a quiet Christmas with his wife Natasha are thwarted when her barmy sister turns up.
32. Dial M for Middlesbrough
Tonight, 9.15pm, Gold
Johnny Vegas and Sian Gibson are reunited in a third outing for coach driver Terry and his fiancée Gemma – and once more there’s a killer on the loose.
Sally Lindsay, Phil Davis, Joanna Page, Annette Crosbie and Jason Donovan are among the suspects.
33. Still open all hours
23 December, 8.30pm, BBC1
Granville (David Jason with Maggie Ollerenshaw as Mavis) tries to put the magic back into Christmas, but things don’t quite go to plan.
He also palms off ‘French custard’ to Eric and Cyril, insisting it’s a seasonal speciality.
But can they persuade their wives to try it
‘She called, emailed, texted, the lot, but because I’ve got three kids and everything, I didn’t reply,’ she recalls.
‘But she kept messaging me saying, “I need to talk to you about something.” So then I thought, “For God’s sake, just phone her!”’
Gavin & Stacey, which ran for three years from 2007, was a word-of-mouth hit that started on BBC3 and ended up on BBC1 at primetime.
It made its stars household names. This one-off festive special is the jewel in the crown of this year’s Christmas Day schedule on BBC1 – and fans will be relieved to know it really is sheer magic.
It takes us straight back into the lives of Stacey, from Barry in Wales, and her Essex boy lover Gavin, now husband, played by Mathew Horne.
They now have a brood of children – all with regal names – and while they’re still desperately in love, things have got a little stale.
Every year Christmas switches between Barry and Essex, and this time it’s in Wales. Gavin’s parents, Mick and Pam Shipman (Larry Lamb and Alison Steadman), will be there but Pam isn’t that keen on eating Stacey’s mum Gwen’s food.
However, Uncle Bryn (Rob Brydon) is in charge and determined to prepare in military style. What could possibly go wrong?
Also making the journey from Essex is Gavin’s best mate Smithy (James Corden) to see the son, Neil, who’s now 12, he had with Stacey’s best mate Nessa (Ruth Jones).
Having asked her not to marry someone else at the end of the last series a decade ago, he has a surprise for all of them.
Mathew Horne admits that bringing back such a well-loved show terrified him. ‘I was very anxious – even after reading the scripts, which were brilliant,’ he says.
‘But after a day of filming everyone settled down because we realised it was going to happen and it was going to happen with all the love it had before.
‘Now, having watched it, I think it’s actually the best episode we’ve ever done. It’s sensational.’
The show ends on a cliff-hanger that will leave fans gawping – and give them hope that the story won’t end there.
‘When asked if there could be more, Ruth gives a coy smile. ‘There is no plan, but there’s obviously room to move it on, so all I’m going to say for now is, “Who knows?”’
‘Tis the season for a ghost story, and this year there are three brilliant spine-chillers – including a very different take on a Christmas carol from the Peaky Blinders creator
34. A Christmas Carol
22-24 December, 9pm (9.05pm, 23 December), BBC1
Spine-chillers this Christmas include Steven Knight’s version of A Christmas Carol, pictured from left: Ali Baba (Kayvan Novak) Scrooge (Guy Pearce) and Marley (Stephen Graham)
Scrooge is one of the few characters so embedded in our psyche that his name has a meaning all of its own – a miser who hates Christmas.
But what made him this way? Understand that and you’ll see Scrooge in a very different light, believes writer Steven Knight, who has created a very different version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol for BBC1.
Steven, the man behind Peaky Blinders, aims to make us feel some sympathy with old Scrooge. And to help, he’s cast Hollywood actor Guy Pearce as the legendary meanie.
‘I think when Dickens was writing, his readers took characters as they were.
But the question of, “Why is he like that?” will appeal to modern audiences,’ says Steven.
35. Martin’s Close
Christmas Eve, 10pm, BBC4
We haven’t seen Peter Capaldi on our TV screens since he quit as Doctor Who in 2017, but he’s making a chilling comeback.
Set in 1684, this ghost story sees Peter as Dolben, the barrister prosecuting John Martin, accused of murdering a young girl, Ann Clark.
But Ann is then seen… after she was supposedly killed.
Is she alive, and John is innocent? Or was it a ghostly representation of her troubled, murdered soul?
Martin’s Close has been adapted by Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss from the MR James short story.
It’s the second Christmas running that Mark will be spooking us, after 2018’s ultra-scary The Dead Room, with Simon Callow.
Peter Capaldi (pictures) returns to screens as Dolben, in 1684 ghost story Martin’s Close. The spooky feature has been adapted by Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss from the MR James short story
‘He has so many flaws that I wanted to find out what had gone on. That’s why Guy was such great casting.
‘I liked the idea that Scrooge could be attractive if he wasn’t the way he is, and Guy has that intangible thing of being able to play someone unsympathetic while keeping the audience on his side.’
This Christmas Carol starts in familiar territory. The Victorian Streets are snowy, the poor are begging and Scrooge is making his clerk Bob Cratchit (Joe Alwyn) work longer than he needs to. But this Scrooge has swagger.
‘There’s something twisted about him in the original, but we wanted somebody far more contemporary,’ says Guy.
‘This is a bullish businessman with bravado. On the surface he isn’t so obviously damaged, but bullies have often been bullied before, and once we delve into his past we utterly crack open the character.’
At the heart of Scrooge’s pain is his ex-business partner Marley(Line Of Duty’s Stephen Graham), and he’s the key to trying to save him.
‘At the start Marley’s in purgatory for his sins and he’s told he can only be set free if Scrooge does the right thing.
‘He has the task of making Scrooge redeem himself and he begins to see the error of his own ways,’ says Stephen Graham.
There to help is the Ghost of Christmas Past, played by Andy Serkis.
‘There have been countless incarnations of this story but this version is unique,’ says Andy.
‘It’s an anatomy of what it is to be selfish.
‘Scrooge believes human beings are selfish so he’s a huge challenge for the Ghost of Christmas Past – but he likes a challenge.’
Snow, ghosts, good and evil, redemption and sin – and storybook characters like Ali Baba come to life… it’s no surprise A Christmas Carol is a perennial favourite, and Guy says he hopes this version will make it even more relevant.
‘All of us have felt hurt, and hurt others along the way.
‘So the idea of a character who’s forced to look at his past, at what’s been done to him and what he’s done to others, will mean a lot to many of us.
‘It’s scary to say, “Please forgive me”, but it’s rewarding.’
36. Susan Hill’s Ghost Story
Boxing Day, 9pm, Channel 5
This tale is especially spooky because it’s based on a real-life experience.
‘A friend was in Egypt and visited a museum,’ says Susan, who wrote The Woman In Black.
‘He was looking at mummies when he felt a small hand slip into his, as if a lost child had taken a stranger’s hand. But the gallery was completely empty.’
Susan turned the story into 2010 book The Small Hand – now it’s been made into a Christmas spine-tingler.
The action has shifted to Scotland with Douglas Henshall playing antique book dealer Adam Snow.
Arriving at a grand country house to meet a client, Adam is led by an unseen child’s hand to a locked gate.
The hand disappears from his grasp, but he sees a mark on his palm.
When he visits the gate again, it’s open and he follows a woman inside, who disappears before he finds himself face down in a fountain.
But when he buys a crumbling mansion in the grounds where he saw the mystery woman, his problems really begin…
Magical adaptations of three beloved books, a 1970s TV gem brought brilliantly back to life and a classic fairy tale with a very clever twist will enchant children and adults alike
37. Worzel Gummidge
Boxing Day, 6.20pm, 27 December, 7pm, BBC1
Worzel Gummidge leads the selection of family films airing on Boxing Day, starring Mackenzie Crook (pictured centre) as the talking scarecrow alongside India Brown as Susana and Thierry Wickens as John
The talking scarecrow in Barbara Euphan Todd’s 1930s children’s books, made famous by Jon Pertwee’s incarnation on BBC1 in the late 70s, has been given a modern update with a strong environmental message by Detectorists creator Mackenzie Crook.
38. The Tiger Who Came To Tea
Christmas Eve, 7.30pm, Channel 4
Judith Kerr’s whimsical tale of a pushy but charming tiger who arrives unannounced one day at a suburban home and eats all the food and drinks all the drink has captured the hearts of millions.
First published in 1968, The Tiger Who Came To Tea has been translated into several languages, enchanting parents and children alike.
This adaptation, boasting the vocal talents of Benedict Cumberbatch, Tamsin Greig and David Oyelowo, was overseen by Judith before she sadly died earlier this year, and you can read the full story of how it was brought to life in next Saturday’s Weekend magazine.
When the harvest doesn’t arrive, it’s up to Worzel and his two new friends – inner-city children John and Susan who’ve come to the countryside for the summer – to find out why and restore some balance.
‘As I was writing it I’d read it to my children,’ says Mackenzie.
‘My son Jude, who’s 16, is a massive fan and my 12-year-old daughter Scout is all about recycling.
‘They don’t find it preachy, so hopefully this will appeal to lots of young people.’
Having come up with the plot, Mackenzie set about finding his cast.
Comedy actress Vicki Pepperdine makes a very different Aunt Sally from Una Stubbs’s rosy-cheeked coquette in the Pertwee version, Steve Pemberton and Rosie Cavaliero play the couple who take in the children to work on their farm, while Zoe Wanamaker is local aristocrat Lady Bloomsbury Barton.
But the real coup was getting Sir Michael Palin to play the mysterious Green Man, a travelling hedge-layer who repairs scarecrows.
‘I’m the mystical spirit of the countryside, which is why I have a green beard and moss in my hair,’ says Michael.
‘The environmental message is deftly woven in, so it won’t bash you on the head. It’s mainly just funny.’
39. Mimi And The Mountain Dragon
Boxing Day, 3.20pm, BBC1
Mimi And The Mountain Dragon is an adaptation of Sir Michael Morpurgo’s book, set in the Alps it sees residents fear a dragon until a baby dragon is found in a shy girl’s shed
We’ve had our hearts melted by Excitable Edgar in the John Lewis Christmas ad, and now we’re about to have them warmed up again by another irresistible little dragon.
40. The Snail And The Whale
Christmas Day, 2.30pm, BBC1
Like Worzel Gummidge, The Snail And The Whale carries an environmental message, although when Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson wrote it in 2003 she wasn’t really thinking about how children could do their bit for the planet.
She’d been asked to write an educational book based on words with the sound ‘ai’ to help kids learn to read, but her idea about a snail who wants to see the world became a bestseller that’s been enjoyed around the globe ever since.
Now it’s the latest of Julia’s stories to be adapted by Magic Light Studios, with Dame Diana Rigg as the narrator, Sally Hawkins as the snail and Rob Brydon as the whale.
It’s about a snail who’s dying to get off the same old rock on the dock as all the other snails and advertises for a lift ‘around the world’.
A humpback whale lifts up his tail, and soon he and the snail are off to ‘towering icebergs and far off lands, with fiery mountains and golden sands’.
But then the whale is beached thanks to speedboats ‘running a race, zigging and zooming all over the place, upsetting the whale with their ear-splitting roar, making him swim too close to the shore’.
Thankfully the snail saves the day by calling on the help of some children, and once again they float away.
‘At its most basic it’s a fable showing how someone unassuming can help someone big and powerful,’ says Julia, who was recently presented with a CBE by Prince William, one of her biggest fans.
‘It’s also about the desire for adventure and escape from conformity.
‘But it’s very timely,’ she says.
‘Children today are terribly aware of the plastic in the ocean and of global warming.
We have a tiny hint of that in the story with the icebergs breaking up, and also the way the snail gets schoolchildren to help save the whale.
‘That feeling that you can do something is an important one.’
Adapted from Sir Michael Morpurgo’s book, Mimi And The Mountain Dragon is set in the Alps where the residents of a village quake in fear of the mighty dragon in her lair above.
Until one winter, when a shy girl called Mimi finds a baby dragon in her shed.
Mimi then takes a perilous journey through a blizzard to return the baby to its mother – the same dragon the villagers fear.
With the exception of Michael’s narration at the beginning, there is no dialogue in the 25-minute tale, which is instead told through a classical music score performed by the Royal Philharmonic with lullaby Mimi’s Song as the centrepiece.
‘Mimi has found the baby dragon in the shed, and because she’s aware the entire village is terrified of the mother dragon she realises the baby’s life is in danger,’ says Owen Sheers, the Welsh poet who has adapted it for the screen.
‘So she feeds the baby and then goes back into the house.
‘The baby dragon thinks Mimi’s abandoned it and flutters up to the window, looking in on Mimi’s mother singing her to sleep. And it’s pining for its own mother.
‘That’s where the lullaby first comes in. Mimi sings it again when there’s a stand-off between the mother dragon and the villagers.
‘What saves the village is the song.’
41. Cinderella After Ever After
Christmas Eve, 8pm, Sky One
The best fairy tales end with the poor girl meeting her prince, getting married and living happily ever after.
But what happens if the happily isn’t ever after? That’s the seam David Walliams has mined with his latest Christmas treat, in which he plays a far from typical Prince Charming, while Car Share’s Sian Gibson is his even less traditional Cinderella.
In the hour-long show, which also stars Tom Courtenay as Charming’s befuddled father the king and Celia Imrie as Cinderella’s evil stepmother, Cinderella starts to wonder whether she’s married the right man almost as soon as the wedding is over.
Perhaps trying on a glass slipper wasn’t the best way to choose a life partner. ‘You just think life’s not like that,’ says David.
‘So I’ve tried to make Prince Charming arrogant and dislikeable. They’ve only just met and all she knows about him is that he’s handsome.’
Sian Gibson’s Cinderella is far removed from the put-upon scullery maid saved from a life of hardship. ‘She’s not a typical Cinderella,’ says Sian.
‘She’s in love with Prince Charming because he’s the sort of equivalent of Take That, but in Fairyland where they live.
‘He’s a bit of a pin-up, but Cinderella is too savvy to fall for all the fawning. She’s got a bit more about her.
‘This Cinderella is much more in keeping with how we want our daughters to be.’
David’s now hoping to look at what happened next in other classic fairy tales.
‘Some characters who haven’t done anything wrong have been unfairly treated,’ he says. ‘It could be interesting.’
Some of the world’s most stunning landscapes – and the stories of the extraordinary creatures that live there – will warm up the winter nights
42. Snow animals
30 December, 7pm, BBC1
BBC has a selection of shows for nature and animal lovers this Christmas, including Snow animals which documents wildlife in some of the harshest winter climates
The Siberian chipmunk stretches its cheeks to three times the width of its face collecting acorns for winter, while the Arctic fox dives into deep snow for prey.
These are just two ways animals in our harshest climates source food in winter.
‘For us winter can be magical, but for other animals it can be the toughest period,’ says Liz Bonnin, who presents this documentary that looks at how animals prepare for winter, deal with sub-zero temperatures and get ready for life after the big freeze.
One star of the show is the polar bear, which has hollow outer hairs on its pelt that trap air to increase its insulation.
‘They have a layer of blubber under their fur too, up to 10cm thick, so they lose almost no heat,’ says Liz.
Sea otters in Alaska are wrapped up, too. They have the thickest coat of any animal, an outer layer of long waterproof hairs coupled with a short dense layer of underfur, which keeps the cold water off their skin.
‘They give birth year round, so a mother has to groom her babies constantly to keep them dry,’ says Liz. ‘She blows air into their coat to keep them warm.’
Deer, penguins, bobcats and owls all feature, but perhaps the strangest behaviour is that of the Ussurian tube-nosed bat of Japan.
‘It lies down and when snow falls it gets buried, moving around to make a cavity to insulate itself,’ says Liz.
‘It then enters a deep sleep to endure the cold.’ As the end of winter approaches, thoughts turn to breeding.
In The Himalayas, a snow leopard scent marks his terrain to attract a mate.
‘It’s difficult to smell in winter, but the snow leopard has 80 million scent receptors – we have five million,’ says Liz.
‘He’ll spray up to 20 times an hour so as not to miss his chance.’
43. Snow Cats & Me
29 December, 8pm, 30 December, 9pm, BBC2
Gordon Buchanan (pictured) films the struggles experienced by two gorgeous lynx kittens in two-part BBC2 documentary Snow Cats & Me
For wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan, the tragedy unfolding before his eyes was unbearable.
Every instinct was telling him to intervene and save two gorgeous lynx kittens – but in doing that he risked ruining vital work.
Filming for his two-part BBC2 documentary Snow Cats & Me, Gordon’s remote-control camera had watched the cubs clinging to their mother in the bitterly cold Ural mountains of Russia.
44. Best of Seven Worlds, One Planet
New Year’s Day, 1.05pm, BBC1
The brilliant recent series, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, highlighted the rich diversity of life on our planet’s seven unique continents formed when forces ripped apart the Earth’s crust millions of years ago.
Over time, each has developed its own remarkable wildlife – from the tool-using chimps of West Africa to 4-tonne elephant seals in frozen Antarctica, where even in the most hostile environments life thrives.
This special edition will feature the most spectacular moments from the series, which revealed that the biggest challenge facing wildlife is the impact of human activity.
But then the rain started, and as Gordon watched with anxiety, the downpour became too much for the mother and she dashed to find shelter.
The two babies lay helpless in puddles, unable to control their body temperature. But if Gordon and big cat expert Dr Victor Lukarevsky rescued the animals, releasing them back into the wild might prove impossible for years.
‘The last thing I wanted to do was bottlefeed them,’ Gordon says. ‘They’d become dependent on humans.’
Their mother, Koshka, had been captured young by a fur trapper who kept her and a male, Miass, in metal cages for four years, breeding kittens for their pelts.
Dr Lukarevsky got the furrier to sell the cats to him and took them to a sanctuary near Moscow, before Gordon helped to transport them to a forest enclosure in the Urals where they could learn to be wild again. But then Koshka gave birth.
All the kittens she’d had before had been taken from her, so the team were worried her maternal instinct wouldn’t be strong enough.
To their huge relief, Koshka came back and carried the tiny kittens away with her – even years in a cramped cage had not been able to stamp out her mothering instincts.
45. Earth’s Tropical Islands
1-3 January, 9pm, BBC2
Prepare to be whisked off to three of the remotest and most fascinating locations on Earth in Earth’s Tropical Islands
Prepare to be whisked off to three of the remotest and most fascinating locations on Earth. This new three-part series takes a forensic look at the unique flora and fauna that exists on Madagascar, Borneo and Hawaii, islands containing animal castaways that have evolved in glorious isolation.
Narrated by Homeland star David Harewood, the series starts in Madagascar off the south-east coast of Africa, an island containing more unique plants and animals than any other on the planet.
Among the species on show are the ring-tailed lemur and the tenrec, a creature that looks like a cute cross between a hedgehog and a shrew.
And as we discover, the tenrec gives birth to more babies than any other mammal – as many as 32 in a single litter.
46. Countryfile Christmas special
22 December, 7pm, BBC1
Tyntesfield, a spectacular Victorian Gothic Revival house in North Somerset, plays host to Ellie Harrison and the team.
From the mid-19th century, four generations of the Gibbs family planted ornamental trees across the garden and Ellie takes a tour of them.
Many came from the most important nurseries of the day, which sponsored intrepid plant-hunting expeditions, often to unexplored regions of the world.
Meanwhile, John Craven meets the staff sprucing up the place for their Victorian-style festivities, Anita Rani tries her hand at making eco Christmas cards and the team join a male voice choir in Victorian outfits.
FOOD & FACTUAL
Go on, indulge yourself with lashings of luscious festive food shows and a feast of fascinating documentaries
47. A Berry Royal Christmas
This Monday, 8.30pm, BBC1
Mary Berry (pictured centre) joins the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they visit a number of charities in A Berry Royal Christmas airing on BBC1
Mary (pictured inspecting the Duchess of Cambridge’s efforts at icing cupcakes) visit the UK’s largest resource centre for the homeless as well as RHS Wisley
OTHER TOP PICKS
48. World’s Most Scenic Railway Journey: Minute By Minute
30 December, 8pm, Channel 5
All aboard for the journey of a lifetime as cutting-edge camera technology lets you experience a steam train ride through the Scottish Highlands from the points of view of both passenger and driver.
The locomotive winds its way past lochs and mountains as it travels from the foothills of Ben Nevis to the port of Mallaig – better known as the route of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express.
49. Hugh Grant: A life on screen
23 December, 9pm, BBC2
Just seven people turned up to see Hugh perform in a comedy trio at the Edinburgh Festival in the mid80s.
This documentary takes us back to those first faltering steps, and reflects on the stellar career that followed, including hits such as Notting Hill with Julia Roberts.
50. The last Igloo
Christmas Eve, 7.30PM, BBC4
Follow an Inuit hunter in Greenland over 24 hours as he travels across the stunning landscape with his dog sled, fishes beneath the sea ice and builds an igloo.
‘He may not be able to do this for much longer though because the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of anywhere else on Earth,’ warns the documentary’s director Christian Collerton.
51. Charles I: Killing a King
This Tuesday-Thursday, 9PM, BBC4
After the critically acclaimed Charles I: Downfall Of A King, which earlier this year examined the collapse of the arrogant, aloof king’s rule at the hands of the Puritans, this new three-part series, presented once again by historian Lisa Hilton, focuses on the king’s imprisonment, trial and eventual execution for treason in January 1649.
In a very special treat for royal fans, A Berry Royal Christmas sees Mary Berry joining the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they visit charities they support.
She then helps them prepare a special feast for staff who’ll be working over the Christmas period.
‘Personally I get a lot out of helping people,’ Prince William tells her.
‘I find that you hear and you learn so much more by giving a bit of your time, a bit of your day, to just be around.
‘Growing up, both my parents were hugely charitable. My father set up The Prince’s Trust and he’s involved in so many different organisations.
‘My mother worked with homelessness, Aids and other charities.
‘I’ve grown up in a household where it has been very much a case of, “Well, we’re very lucky – we must give back.”
‘With my grandmother becoming Queen at a young age when it was a man’s world, it was very difficult for her to make a difference.
‘But she’s done it in her own unique, distinct way. My grandmother and grandfather together are the epitome of public service.’
Mary joins the Duchess of Cambridge in Liverpool, visiting The Brink, the UK’s first dry bar set up by Action On Addiction for alcoholics, before teaming up with the duke for a visit to The Passage, the UK’s largest resource centre for the homeless.
Mary and Kate also visit RHS Wisley, which has a garden inspired by the ‘back to nature’ garden the duchess co-designed for the Chelsea Flower Show specifically for children.
The show culminates in a Christmas party hosted by the duke and duchess which sees former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain joining Mary to create an amazing festive feast for the charities’ volunteers.
‘I’m honoured the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have invited me to join them on four of their royal charity engagements this Christmas,’ says Mary.
‘It’ll be truly special to see the causes so close to their hearts, as well as hear all about the amazing support these charities provide. It’s a Christmas special not to be missed.’
52. Jamie’s Easy Christmas Countdown
Tomorrow, 8pm, Channel 4
Jamie Oliver (pictured) shares advice for a stress-free festive feast in a cookery special airing on Channel 4
Jamie Oliver offers a stress-free guide to your festive feast, starting with a luxurious smoked salmon pâté that can be rustled up in no time.
His menu for Christmas Day includes pork stuffing with silky leeks, sweet peaches and roasted chestnuts, glazed clementine carrots, Brussels sprouts with gnarly sausage and sage, and roast potatoes cooked in goose fat.
53. Masterchef: The Professionals Rematch 2019
23 December, 8pm, BBC2
Judges Gregg Wallace, Monica Galetti and Marcus Wareing catch up with five successful past candidates, whose lives have changed after appearing on the show.
They visit their different restaurants, before the five former competitors return to the MasterChef kitchen to see who comes out on top in a cook-off.
54. Paddington: The Man Behind The Bear
Boxing Day, 9pm, BBC2
A heartwarming documentary airing Boxing Day on BBC 2, recounts the life of Michael Bond (pictured) who died in 2017
Michael Bond, who died in 2017, drew on his wartime encounters with frightened young evacuees to create Paddington, the marmalade-loving bear from the jungles of Peru who finds himself alone in London.
This heartwarming documentary, featuring interviews with Michael’s family, also reveals how his literary agent, who came from a Jewish family that had fled the Nazis, was the inspiration for the bear’s kind antique shop owner friend Mr Gruber.
55. Celebrity Christmas Come Dine With Me
This monday-Thursday, 7.30pm, and Friday, 8pm, E4
Former Strictly finalist Debbie McGee is taking no chances in her bid to win this culinary competition – she entertains her guests with ballroom dancing… inside a giant snow globe!
Her rivals include kids’ TV favourites Dick & Dom, internet prankster Stevo The Madman and the late Les Dawson’s daughter Charlotte.
56. The Repair Shop At Christmas
29 December, 7pm, BBC1
Like a band of Santa’s most committed elves, the country’s most devoted craftspeople apply their skills to restoring more beloved family treasures to their former glory in this Christmas episode.
The items that come into the Repair Shop include some bears in need of urgent care and an adored rocking horse that’s given joy to sick children for decades.
57. A Merry Tudor Christmas with Lucy Worsley
This Friday, 9pm, BBC2
Historian Lucy Worsley (pictured) explores how Tudors celebrated Christmas in a fascinating documentary, as she reveals they would fast in preparation for the religious celebration
There were luxurious feasts of wine, meat, sugar and spices, just as there are today.
But did our Tudor ancestors know more about how to get in shape for the all-important Christmas festivities than us 21st-century seasonal gluttons?
HOPE YOU’RE HUNGRY!
58. The Great Christmas Bake Off
Christmas day, 7.10pm and New Year’s Day, 7.40pm, Channel 4
Prue Leith, Paul Hollywood, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig bring some holiday cheer with two festive episodes of the baking competition.
First off, former contestants Tom and Yan from 2017, and Briony and Terry from 2018, compete in festive-themed challenges for the title of Christmas Star Baker.
A second special show on New Year’s Day will see stars from the hit comedy Derry Girls competing against each other
59. Jamie and Jimmy’s Festive Feast
Christmas day, 8.30pm, Channel 4
Taron Egerton proved he could hold a tune in the Elton John biopic Rocketman, but what’s he like in the kitchen? Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty help Taron prepare his first festive feast at their pop-up bistro on Southend Pier in Essex – the meal includes his mum’s trifle, and Jamie and Jimmy have been on the phone to track down her secret recipe…
60. Heston’s Marvellous menu: Back to the noughties
This Thursday, 9pm, BBC2
Giles Coren challenges Heston Blumenthal to re-create a menu from a seminal year in his career.
He chooses 2001 – a pivotal time for his restaurant The Fat Duck – with dishes such as bacon and egg ice cream, and he also brings back staff and celebrity diners from that time.
Historian Lucy Worsley, in costume as is now her tradition, looks at some of the weird and wonderful dishes eaten by the Tudors in her fascinating documentary, but before she gets into the nitty-gritty of what they ate, she reveals that in Tudor times ‘the Advent’ was a serious time of abstinence ahead of the festivities to come.
‘The Tudors went on a big fast in preparation for the religious celebration of the 12 days of Christmas – no meat and no dairy,’ she reveals.
‘For us, January is all about dieting, whereas the Tudors did it the other way around – strictly enforced by the church.
‘They had a pretty grim four weeks, but while we have our parties throughout December they were humbling themselves in preparation for the parties to come.’
The celebrations started on Christmas Day and lasted a full 12 days – the period from the birth of Jesus to the arrival of the Three Wise Men.
‘The Tudors celebrated Twelfth Night but we don’t,’ says Lucy.
‘For us the end of Christmas is New Year’s Eve.
‘I’d bring back Twelfth Night if I could – it would be a lovely way to cheer up the worst week in January when we’re back at work.’
In the show, Lucy, alongside food historian Annie Gray, prepares a royal feast in the kitchens at Hampton Court Palace, one of King Henry VIII’s favourite palaces, discovering the forerunners of some of the flavours we enjoy today.
‘The spiced scent of Christmas definitely stems from Tudor traditions.
‘They were eating produce from around the world – they had spices from Africa and the Indies, and that lovely aroma of minced pies, mulled wine and Christmas pudding is still the scent of Christmas today.
‘The boar’s head we created for Henry VIII’s dinner was gross though.
‘It was pickled in brine and boiled in wine for hours, with all the insides minced up and stuffed back in again. It was disgusting.’
61. Meet The Street At Christmas
This Monday-Friday, 9.15am, BBC1
Mark De-Lisser, a musical arranger and vocal coach who’s worked with stars including Ariana Grande and Jessie J, assembles mini-choirs made up of people who are lonely or in some way struggling to connect with those around them in this five-part series.
62. James Martin’s Saturday Morning at Christmas
21 December, 9.25am, ITV
James’s guest is none other than his own mum for this festive edition, and she’ll be joined by Chris Evans and Viscountess Emma Weymouth among others
James’s guest is none other than his own mum for this festive edition, and she’ll be joined by Chris Evans and Viscountess Emma Weymouth among others.
James gives a masterclass on preparing vegetables and potatoes for the big day, as well as showing how to make porchetta (roast pork belly) stuffed with chestnuts and cranberries. Plus there’s a surprise musical performance…
63. Make A Wish For Christmas
This Wednesday, 8pm, Channel 5
Make-A-Wish UK grants more than 1,000 wishes a year for seriously ill children.
This heart-warming series goes behind the scenes with the extraordinary dream makers as they sprinkle their magic fairy dust and work like mad to pull off the impossible – from visiting Milan fashion week to sleeping with tigers and heading to Lapland to meet Santa.
64. Gordon, Gino and Fred Christmas Road Trip: 3 Unwise Men
23 December, 9pm, ITV
Gordon Ramsay, Gino d’Acampo and Fred Sirieix (pictured) take a Christmas road trip to an area of the world that doesn’t celebrate the religious holiday
A Christmas road trip with a difference as Gordon Ramsay, Gino d’Acampo and Fred Sirieix stop off in Morocco – where Christmas isn’t celebrated.
But they do have camels and a desert, so our three not very wise men head off to pick saffron and herd goats.
HOW DO THE OTHER HALF LIVE AT CHRISTMAS?
65. Inside Harrods at Christmas
This Tuesday, 8pm, Channel 5
Shopping trends may come and go but Harrods at Christmas is still a rather special occasion.
This documentary charts Christmases past at the famous emporium where presents have included helicopters, lions and crystal-encrusted toy cars, while former Santa’s grotto staff reveal what the super-rich ask Santa for – and how he deals with royalty.
66. The world’s most expensive cruise ship
27 December, 8pm, Channel 5
It may be 30˚C in the Caribbean sunshine, but that doesn’t stop cruise director John donning his Santa costume and singing festive songs for the passengers aboard the Seven Seas Explorer.
After all, nothing’s too much trouble for guests who have paid up to £8,000 a night for a suite aboard this ultra-luxurious vessel.
MUSIC AND MOVIES
Carols, country, choirs.. and Kylie to boot – music fans are in for a treat this year, and there are some fabulous family movies to enjoy too
67. Kylie’s Secret Night
Christmas Day, 10.30pm, channel 4
Alan Carr (pictured left) plays host to a fun evening celebrating Kylie Minogue at BBC Studios
At BBC Studios in west London, a room full of excited Kylie Minogue fans were anticipating a fun evening celebrating their favourite singer.
What they hadn’t expected was an appearance by the superstar herself. ‘It was the best-kept secret in showbusiness,’ says host Alan Carr.
‘These people were expecting to be part of a Kylie-themed extravaganza, but without the presence of the legend herself. And then in she walked. The looks on some of their faces…’
Kylie reveals the favourite tracks from her own back catalogue in a chat with Alan, and there are contributions from fans such as Barnsley music teacher Simon Grainger, who runs Kylie music classes for adults with learning difficulties.
But the highlight for everybody is a barnstorming performance from Kylie. ‘This is very much a thank you to all my fans,’ she says.
‘It was such an incredible show. It made me laugh and it made me cry. It was like time stood still and I was able to hear some amazing fan stories, reminisce and take stock of the journey we’ve been on together.’
68. Jools’ annual hootenanny
New Year’s Eve, 11.15pm, BBC2
Jools Holland (pictured) hosts his annual BBC New Year’s Eve celebrations, with guests including Stormzy, Britanny Howard and Stereophonics
Music trends may have come and gone in the 13 years since Jools Holland started hosting his annual New Year’s Eve celebrations, but the joy of the show is that the fashionable and unfashionable join together to create some incredible music.
‘As time’s gone on more people than ever seem to watch it,’ says Jools. ‘Going out on New Year’s Eve is expensive, so they stay in and watch the Hootenanny. I think they can sense that no one knows what’s going to happen.’
Over the years the occasionally shambolic show has seen notable performances from the likes of Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and Amy Winehouse, and this year will be no different.
Guests include the extremely current grime star Stormzy and newcomer Britanny Howard, alongside old favourites such as Stereophonics and ska band The Selecter.
One of the best bits of the show is when the guests try something new, and this year Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones will be singing a jazz number with Jools’ Big Band, while The Selecter will do a ska version of a Doris Day song.
The show is filmed a few days before Christmas, but straddles midnight, as it does when it airs, which means many drinks are had and things don’t always go according to plan.
‘One year Joss Stone and Kylie Minogue sat on my piano. It was so fantastic I thought I’d join them, but as I got up I banged my knee and had to hobble back to my stool,’ says Jools. ‘But that’s what makes it fun.’
69. Freddie Mercury – A Christmas Story
This Thursday, 9pm, Channel 5
Channel 5 celebrates Freddie Mercury’s (pictured) untold association with Christmas in a fascinating documentary
Bohemian Rhapsody is the only song that’s been the Christmas No 1 twice by the same artist, and this fascinating documentary uses that as a springboard to explore the untold story of lead singer Freddie Mercury’s association with Christmas.
While not a Christian, his generosity of spirit and charitable acts meant he loved the season so much that even at his weakest he had a special Christmas party with his inner circle.
70. Gareth Malone’s Christmas Concert
Christmas Eve, 9pm, BBC2
Every Christmas 400,000 NHS staff spend Christmas Day caring for patients. To salute their efforts, Gareth Malone spent six weeks at Watford General Hospital looking for talent in the most unlikely places.
‘He’s been in every department from neo-natal to A&E finding stories and singers for a special show,’ says Joe Evans, the programme’s executive producer.
‘It’s brought the whole hospital together and it’s very moving indeed.’
MORE MUSICAL FAVOURITES
71. Dolly Parton: Here I Am
Christmas Day, 8.30pm, BBC2
Granted unprecedented access to the singer, this documentary claims to reveal the real Dolly. The Queen of Country talks at length about her life and stellar career, while contributors including Jane Fonda share their view.
72. Romeo and Juliet: Beyond Words
New year’s day, 5.30pm, BBC2
Royal Ballet dancers Francesca Hayward and William Bracewell star in this film version of the ballet set to Prokofiev’s music and shot on location in Hungary.
73. Carols from King’s
Christmas eve, 5pm, BBC2
The magical Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols from the Chapel Of King’s College in Cambridge, led this year for the first time by new musical director Daniel Hyde.
74. Songs of Praise
Tomorrow and 22 December, 1.15pm, BBC1
The Rev Kate Bottley celebrates the Nativity on a Christian-run farm in Devon, before Aled Jones hosts the Christmas Big Sing from The Assembly Hall in Belfast, with guests including Katherine Jenkins.
75. Carols at Christmas
22 December, 5.10pm, CHANNEL 5
The Rev Richard Coles, Josie d’Arby and Aled Jones present this two-hour celebration of Christmas music. It’s a feast of carols sung by choirs including the Military Wives, Only Men Aloud and Chorus UK.
76. Top of the Pops New Year Special
30 December, 4.45pm, BBC1
Performances from some of the biggest names in pop, hosted by Clara Amfo and Fearne Cotton.
77. New Year’s Day Concert Live from Vienna 2020
New Year’s Day, 10.15AM, BBC2
The traditional treat is performed by the Vienna Philharmonic at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. Expect an array of polkas, waltzes and gallops.
78. Britain’s Favourite Christmas carol
21 December, 6.50pm, CHANNEL 5
A 90-minute countdown of the results of a poll, voted for by you, to find our favourite carol. A cast of choirs will be singing, alongside archive footage.
79. INXS: Live Baby Live
28 December, 11pm, BBC2
An incredible remastering of a famous sell-out INXS concert, with frontman Michael Hutchence in electrifying form, at Wembley Stadium on 13 July 1991.
80. Beauty And The Beast
Christmas Eve, 5.30pm, BBC1
Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens is the man behind the beast in this visually splendid live-action version of Disney’s 1991 animated hit. Emma Watson is Belle
Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens is the man behind the beast in this visually splendid live-action version of Disney’s 1991 animated hit. Emma Watson is Belle, who frees the beast’s cursed heart.
Christmas day, 12.55pm, BBC1
Teenager Moana is a plucky adventurer who sets off on a mystical quest to save her Polynesian village.
Drenched in sun and vibrant colour, packed with upbeat songs and adorable characters, this is guaranteed to warm hearts on a wintry Christmas day.
82. Paddington 2
Boxing Day, 7.20pm, BBC1
The kind-hearted bear from darkest Peru returns for a new adventure in one of those rare sequels that is every bit as good as the original film.
83. Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2
28 December, 8.30pm, ITV
The raggle-taggle band of Marvel heroes and thieves return for another lighthearted cosmic adventure, set to a lively retro soundtrack.
Chris Pratt’s Quill is in for a big surprise when he meets his father, a charismatic turn from Kurt Russell, and as danger and devastation loom, the Guardians acquire some unexpected new allies.
Paddington’s continued acts of kindness earn him an enemy in Hugh Grant’s odious character.
Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, the bear is banged up – but even makes the best of this unfavourable situation.
84 Finding Dory
Christmas Day, 3.10pm, BBC1
This follow-up to Pixar’s mesmerising 2003 animation Finding Nemo follows forgetful fish Dory as she embarks on a quest to find her family.
With Nemo and his dad Marlin swimming by her side, the team of loyal friends have many thrilling encounters.
85. Alice Through The Looking Glass
28 December, 6pm, BBC1
Another dizzying concoction from Tim Burton, who returns to the Wonderland of Lewis Carroll’s fantasy novels. Johnny Depp is back as the Mad Hatter, with Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway as warring Red and White Queens.
86. Mary Poppins Returns
Christmas Day, 8pm, Sky Premiere
PL Travers’ much-loved creation returns to the screen 55 years after Julie Andrews sailed to the rescue of the Banks family in the 1965 classic. Emily Blunt does a fine job as the magical nanny, arriving in time to help a new generation of Banks children.
QUIZ SHOWS & SPORT
Thinking caps on as the celebrities come out in force to sprinkle a bit of stardust on your favourite quiz shows – plus the best of the sporting action
87. Celebrity mastermind
27-28 and 31 December, and 2-3 January, various times, BBC1
Since it began in 2002, this quiz – originally supposed to be a one-off – has seen poker-faced John Humphrys grilling the great and the good on everything from Marie Curie (politician Edwina Currie) to Winnie the Pooh (newsreader Julia Somerville).
This Christmas sees the first ever Champion of Champions, featuring four previous winners.
Comedian Tim Vine will be answering questions on the film Jaws, newsreader Alastair Stewart will be grilled on Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, journalist Samira Ahmed has chosen the cult 70s TV series Space: 1999, while writer Hal Cruttenden, amusingly, has gone for Mastermind’s original host, the late Magnus Magnusson.
88. Only Connect Specials
30 December and 1-3 january, 8pm, BBC2
Fans of this very clever lateral thinking-based quiz are in for a festive treat with no fewer than four shows hosted by Victoria Coren Mitchell.
There’s one focusing on education, a battle between travel enthusiasts, past winners going head to head and real ale fans taking on cocktail lovers.
89. The Chase Celebrity Christmas Specials
21 December, 6.25pm, and Christmas day, 6PM, ITV
Host Bradley Walsh (pictured centre) is joined by guests including comedian Lucy Porter and This Morning’s Dr Ranj Singh in Christmas specials of The Chase
The Chasers – in costume for the Christmas Day episode – face down guests such as comedian Lucy Porter and This Morning’s Dr Ranj Singh.
90. Child Genius vs Celebrities Christmas Special
Christmas Eve, 8pm, Channel 4
Comedian Jo Brand, presenter Richard Bacon and radio host Vick Hope take on youngsters including a pair of teenagers with IQs higher than Einstein’s.
91. Big Fat Quiz Of The Year and Big Fat Quiz Of The Decade
Boxing Day and 2 January, 9pm, Channel 4
The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year is a Christmas staple, and this year we’re being treated to a double whammy with a comic look back at both the past year and the past decade.
As always, quizmaster Jimmy Carr asks comedians questions about some of the most outlandish events that have taken place during that time, in subjects ranging from history and music to film, TV and science.
92. Tipping Point: Lucky stars
Christmas day, 5pm, ITV
The festive version of this quiz show hosted by Ben Shephard features a trio of guests.
Comedian Joe Pasquale, TV chef Rustie Lee and actress Nina Wadia are all hoping to win their chosen charities a Christmas gift to remember – a £20,000 jackpot.
93. University Challenge
23-27 and 30-31 December and 1-3 January, various times, BBC2
This year’s celebrity editions feature teams from all walks of stardom – but all must be graduates of the institution they’re representing. Jeremy Paxman is the questioner as usual.
94. Who wants to be a millionaire? Celebrity special
Christmas Day, 9pm, ITV
Contestants Clare Balding, Catherine Tyldesley and Stephen Mangan can, if they’re desperate, ask host Jeremy Clarkson for help with answering a question, but he warns, ‘Unless it’s on 70s prog rock, I may struggle.’
95. A Question of sport Christmas Special
23 December, 7pm, BBC1
There’s a Christmas theme to all the questions posed by host Sue Barker to guests Rebecca Adlington, former superbike champion James Toseland, ex-footballer Darren Bent and Olympic skeleton ace Amy Williams.
96. In For A Christmas Penny
21 December, 7.25pm, ITV
Members of the public have 60 seconds to tape as many items to their bodies as they can, and 100 seconds to get round an ice rink without stopping or touching the sides, in Stephen Mulhern’s fast-moving festive game show.
And the sport!
97. Cricket South Africa v England
Boxing Day, 7am, Sky Cricket & Main Event
Joe Root (pictured centre) and his fellow England cricketers take to South Africa for the first of four test matches
Under their revitalised captain Joe Root, England’s players are in South Africa for this first of four Test matches.
Luckily for England, the management of South African cricket is currently in disarray, but can the visitors take advantage, bat and bowl consistently well, and pull away from South Africa in the Test rankings?
98. Football Premier league
Boxing Day, from 11.30AM, Amazon Prime
All eight Boxing Day games are live on Amazon Prime this year, starting with Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion (KO 12.30pm).
The pick of the crop, though, is the last game of the day (8pm), when the Premier League leaders Liverpool travel to Leicester City.
Striker Jamie Vardy will hope to continue his goal-scoring form, which has put him in a strong position to win this season’s Golden Boot.
99. Horse Racing Live from Kempton
Boxing Day, 12.50pm, ITV
The King George VI Chase sees the Colin Tizzard-trained Lostintranslation set among the favourites for this year’s traditional highlight from Kempton Park.
Paul Nicholls’ Cyrname, last year’s winner Clan Des Obeaux and Nicky Henderson’s Altior are also strong contenders in the three-mile steeplechase
100. Rugby Premiership
21 December, 2.30pm, BT Sport 2, and 29 December, 2.30pm, BT Sport 1
Exeter Chiefs, and their in-form winger Tom O’Flaherty, who are flying high in the European Champions Cup as well as being contenders for the Premiership title, are on TV twice this Christmas.
First up they are away to Leicester Tigers, then their fans can have some added festive fun as they welcome Saracens to Sandy Park.
YOUR 100 UNMISSABLE TV SHOWS AT A GLANCE
This year’s must watch Christmas shows include Paddington 2, Still Open All Hours and Ball & Boe: A Very Berry Christmas
Dial M For Middlesbrough 9.15pm, GOLD
Songs Of Praise 1.15pm, BBC1 (part 2, 22 Dec, 1.15pm)
Jamie’s Easy Christmas Countdown 8pm, Channel 4
Meet The Street At Christmas 9.15am, BBC1 (continues 17-20 Dec, 9.15am)
Celebrity Christmas Come Dine With Me 7.30pm, E4 (continues 17-20 Dec, times vary)
A Berry Royal Christmas 8.30pm, BBC1
Inside Harrods At Christmas 8pm, Channel 5
Charles I: Killing A King 9pm, BBC4 (continues 18-19 Dec, 9pm)
Make A Wish For Christmas 8pm, Channel 5
Freddie Mercury – A Christmas Story 9pm, Ch5
Heston’s Marvellous Menu: Back To The Noughties 9pm, BBC2
A Merry Tudor Christmas With Lucy Worsley 9pm, BBC2
Ball & Boe: A Very Merry Christmas 9.30pm, ITV
In The Long Run Christmas Special 10pm, Sky One
James Martin’s Saturday Morning At Christmas 9.25am, ITV
Rugby: Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 2.30pm, BT Sport 2 (also Exeter Chiefs v Saracens, 29 Dec, 2.30pm, BT Sport 1)
The Chase Celebrity Christmas Specials 6.25pm, ITV (continues Christmas Day, 6pm)
Britain’s Favourite Christmas Carol 6.50pm, Channel 5
In For A Christmas Penny 7.25pm, ITV
Carols At Christmas 5.10pm, Channel 5
Dancing On Ice At Christmas 7pm, ITV
Countryfile Christmas Special 7pm, BBC1
A Christmas Carol 9pm, BBC1 (continues 23-24 Dec, times vary)
The Christmas Misad-ventures Of Romesh Ranganathan 9pm, BBC2
A Question Of Sport Christmas Special 7pm, BBC1
Christmas University Challenge 7.30pm, BBC2 (continues 24-27 Dec, 30-31 Dec, 1-3 Jan, times vary)
The Goes Wrong Show: The Spirit Of Christmas 7.30pm, BBC1
MasterChef: The Professionals Rematch 2019 8pm, BBC2 Still Open All Hours 8.30pm, BBC1
Hugh Grant: A Life On Screen 9pm, BBC2
Gordon, Gino And Fred Christmas Road Trip: 3 Unwise Men 9pm, ITV
Live At The Apollo 10pm, BBC2
The Reluctant Landlord Christmas Special 10pm, Sky One
Carols From King’s 5pm, BBC2
Beauty And The Beast
The Tiger Who Came To Tea 7.30pm, Channel 4
The Last Igloo 7.30pm, BBC4
Take Off With Bradley And Holly 8pm, BBC1
Child Genius Vs Celebrities Christmas Special 8pm, Channel 4
Dragons’ Den: Pitches To Riches? 8pm, BBC2
Cinderella After Ever After 8pm, Sky One
Gareth Malone’s Christmas Concert 9pm, BBC2
The Jonathan Ross Christmas Show 9pm, ITV
Not Going Out Christmas Special 10pm, BBC1
Martin’s Close 10pm, BBC4
Moana 12.55pm, BBC1
The Snail And The Whale 2.30pm, BBC1
Finding Dory 3.10pm, BBC1
Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 4.40pm, BBC1
Tipping Point: Lucky Stars Christmas Special
Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show 6pm, BBC1
Call The Midwife 7pm, BBC1
The Great Christmas Bake Off 7.10pm, Ch4 (continues New Year’s Day, 7.40pm)
Mary Poppins Returns
8pm, Sky Premiere
Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special 8.30pm, BBC1
Dolly Parton: Here I Am 8.30pm, BBC2
Jamie And Jimmy’s Festive Feast 8.30pm, Ch4
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Celebrity Special 9pm, ITV
The Two Ronnies: Unseen Sketches 9.30pm, Ch5
Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special 10.30pm, BBC1 (continues New Year’s Day, 10.30pm)
Kylie’s Secret Night
10.30pm, Channel 4
Cricket: South Africa v England 7am, Sky Cricket and Main Event
You from 8am, Netflix
Football from 11.30am, Amazon Prime
ITV Racing: Live From Kempton 12.50pm, ITV
Mimi & The Mountain Dragon 3.20pm, BBC1
Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs At Christmas 6pm, ITV
Worzel Gummidge 6.20pm, BBC1 (continues 27 Dec, 7pm)
Paddington 2 7.20pm, BBC1
Paddington: The Man Behind The Bear 9pm, BBC2
Big Fat Quiz Of The Year 2019 9pm, Channel 4
Susan Hill’s Ghost Story 9pm, Channel 5
Would I Lie To You? At Christmas 9.30pm, BBC1
Celebrity Mastermind 6.30pm, BBC1 (continues 28 and 31 Dec, 2-3 Jan, times vary)
The World’s Most Expensive Cruise Ship 8pm, Channel 5
Richard Osman’s World Cup Of The Decade 9pm, Channel 4
Alice Through The Looking Glass 6pm, BBC1
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 8.30pm, ITV
INXS: Live Baby Live 11pm, BBC2
The Repair Shop At Christmas 7pm, BBC1
Snow Cats & Me 8pm, BBC2 (continues 30 Dec, 9pm)
The Trial Of Christine Keeler 9pm, BBC1 (continues 30 Dec, 9pm)
Top Gear Nepal Special 9pm, BBC2
Top Of The Pops New Year Special 4.45pm, BBC1
Snow Animals 7pm, BBC1
Only Connect Christmas Special 8pm, BBC2 (continues 1-3 Jan, 8pm)
World’s Most Scenic Railway Journey 8pm, Channel 5
New Year’s Eve
The Last Leg Of The Year 9pm, Channel 4
Dame Edna Rules The Waves 9.05pm, BBC1
The Graham Norton Show 10.20pm, BBC1
Jools’ Hootenanny 11.15pm, BBC2
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day Concert Live From Vienna 10.15am, BBC2
Best Of Seven Worlds, One Planet 1.05pm, BBC1
Romeo And Juliet: Beyond Words 5.30pm, BBC2
Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration 5.45pm, BBC1
Doctor Who 6.55pm, BBC1
Dracula 9pm, BBC1
Earth’s Tropical Islands 9pm, BBC2 (continues 2-3 Jan, 9pm)
Bancroft 9pm, ITV
A Year In The Life Of A Year 11pm, BBC2