There’s nothing better than sitting down in front of the TV on Christmas Day evening while tucking into a sandwich packed full of Christmas dinner leftovers.
This year we’re being treated a host of festive specials from the likes of The Great British Bake Off, Mrs. Brown’s Boys, Victoria and Doctor Who, as well as hard-hitting drama McMafia, and the usual death and destruction in our soaps, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks.
Mrs. Brown’s Boys
One of the mostly hotly-anticipated Christmas specials returns for a double bill this year. The episodes feature matriarch Agnes (Brendan O’Carroll) refusing to buy a Christmas tree, and Cathy (Jennifer Gibney) has an internet date. What could possibly go wrong?
Christmas Day, 10pm
Peter Capaldi will depart Doctor Who in the festive special. Copyright [BBC]
This year’s Doctor Who festive special will see Peter Capaldi bow out of the sci-fi series as his Twelfth Doctor regenerates into the Thirteenth Doctor, who will be played by Jodie Whittaker, the first female to take on the role. Behind the scenes, showrunner Steven Moffat will also make way for Jodie’s Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall.
Christmas Day, 5.30pm
Call the Midwife
It’ll be a cold one for the midwives of Poplar this Christmas as the festive special focuses on 1963’s Big Freeze. The episode will also feature a special cameo from legendary EastEnders actress Anita Dobson.
Christmas Day, 7.40pm.
300 Years of French and Saunders
Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders will team up for the first time in 10 years to mark their 30th anniversary on screen together for a whole new episode of hilarious sketches, as well as previously unseen footage from their back catalogue. Lulu is among their special guests.
Christmas Day, 10.35pm.
Grandpa’s Great Escape
A David Walliams children’s book being transformed onto the small screen is about as traditional as mince pies being left out for Santa these days. This year sees the comedian’s Grandpa’s Great Escape heading to the box with Tom Courtenay set to portray the titular character.
New Year’s Day, 6.55pm.
Strictly Come Dancing
A Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special will return over the festive period with the likes of Judy Murray, Robbie Savage, Jeremy Vine and Kimberley Walsh donning their sequins once again on the dance floor. But that’s not until the winner of this year’s Glitterball Trophy will be decided in the final of the current series.
Christmas Day, 6.30pm
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a few BBC dramas on the box and one of the most hotly-anticipated is the James Norton-led McMafia. The eight-part drama – which also stars Faye Marsay – is inspired by the book by Misha Glenny, which tells the story of a British-raised son of a Russian mafia boss trying to escape his family’s ties.
New Year’s Day, 9pm.
With the BBC’s Agatha Christie Christmas special Ordeal By Innocence pulled due to allegations made against Ed Westwick, The Miniaturist steps in to be one of their main period dramas. Adapted from Jessie Burton’s best-selling novel, the programme follows the story of 18-year-old Nella Oortman (Anya Taylor-Joy) in Amsterdam in 1686. Romola Garai and Emily Berrington also feature.
Boxing Day and part two December 27, 9pm.
If you like Call the Midwife then you could well be a fan of BBC’s Little Women as it was also created by Heidi Thomas. The three-part period drama, based on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved book, tells the story of four sisters who learn what it’s like to go from childhood to womanhood. Michael Gambon and Angela Lansbury will star.
Boxing Day and December 27, 8pm.
The Highway Rat
David Tennant and Rob Brydon lend their vocal talents to this animated Christmas special, which tells the story of the titular bandit who constantly craves calorific treats. Tom Hollander, Nina Sosanya and Frances de le Tour also lend their voices to this festive treat of a show.
Christmas Day, 4,45pm.
Judi Dench: A Passion for Trees
What more could you want for Christmas than a Dame Judi Dench documentary about trees? The James Bond actress has a penchant for the perennial plants and in the doc she uses scientific technology to undercover some of their mysteries.
December 20, 8pm.
Max Branning is out for revenge in Albert Square this Christmas. Copyright [BBC]
The BBC’s Christmas TV schedule couldn’t be complete without a festive helping of EastEnders. This year’s episodes looks set to be a dark affair as Max Branning (Jake Wood) is out to wreak revenge on Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden). But things could back-fire as we already know his daughters Lauren and Abi Branning – Jacqueline Jossa and Lorna Fitzgerald – are departing the series. Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid) is also set to leave Albert Square.
Christmas Day, 9pm (hour long special)
— Official Victoria (@VictoriaSeries) October 15, 2017
Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes will reprise their roles as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for the show’s first-ever festive special. Seeing as Albert is the one credited with bringing the Christmas tree to England in 1840 it looks set to be a very festive affair indeed.
Christmas Day, 9pm.
Written and directed by The Syndicate’s Kay Mellor, the drama tells the story of three friends who struggle with the responsibility of being a modern woman of a certain age. Miranda Richardson, Zoe Wanamaker and Phyllis Logan play the main characters and the likes of Anthony Head and Chris Fountain will also star.
January 3, 9pm.
The Only Way Is Essexmas
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a traditional trip to Essex on ITVBe. The TOWIE stars have been shooting the show in Suffolk this year but the questions on everyone’s lips are: Will Gemma Collins and James ‘Arg’ Argent have a cheeky smooch under the mistletoe? And how many bust-ups will there be?
December 17, 10pm.
Birds of a Feather
Birds of a Feather is to return for a festive special. Copyright [ITV]
Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph will be back in Chigwell as Sharon, Tracey and Dorien for a Christmas special of the popular sitcom. ITV are keeping details on the down-low but the ladies are expected to remain in Essex, unlike last year when they headed off to Turkey.
December 18, 9pm.
Maigret in Montmartre
Rowan Atkinson reprises his role as fictional French detective Jules Maigret for this special festive treat. As the title suggests, he will be in the French area of Montmartre, where he will investigate the murder of a stripper. Mark Heap and Lucy Cohu also star.
Christmas Eve, 8.30pm.
Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Great Christmas Roast
If you’re in need of some Christmas cooking tips then this might be right up your street as celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo do battle to cook up the ultimate festive menu with First Dates star Fred Sirieix providing some front of house glamour. Their feasts will be consumed by 100 members of the public and emergency services who risked their lives during tragic events of 2017.
December 21, 9pm.
There’s more destruction in Emmerdale this Christmas as Emma Barton’s (Gillian Kearney) killer will finally be revealed, and there is hope that Cain (Jeff Hordley) and Moira (Natalie J. Robb) might reunite, which could spell tragedy for Harriet (Katherine Dow Blyton).
Over in Corrie, poor Gary Windass (Mikey North), who is to be killed off in shocking scenes next week, looks set to rise from the dead on Christmas Day. Carla Connor (Alison King) will also be returning to the cobbles, and could Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) and Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford) reunite?
The Great British Bake Off
The cherry on the top of the cake for Channel 4’s Christmas line-up is the return of The Great British Bake Off. It’s not just the show which is returning to our screens though as several bakers will also be back for a festive double-header. They include Selasi Gbormittah, Paul Jagger and Val Stones.
Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, 7.40pm.
Miranda Does Christmas
Miranda used to pop up in the Call the Midwife festive specials back in the day, but this year she is on Channel 4 hosting a show which basically involves her being in charge of a Christmas party with numerous guests.
December 27, 9pm.
The Price is Right
Alan Carr is bringing The Price is Right back to our screens. Copyright [Channel 4]
Alan Carr will be dominating Channel 4 over the festive period as he will host a pilot of legendary programme The Price is Right, and he will also be seen fronting his Chatty Man Christmas special.
December 30, 8pm.
Travel Man: 48 Hours in Hong Kong
Richard Ayoade returns for a festive edition of his popular Travel Man show with none other than Mad Men’s Jon Hamm by his side for a jaunt to Hong Kong. He’s previously been to Rome with Matt Lucas and Florence with Rebel Wilson.
December 19, 8pm.
DC Armstrong (Andrew Hayden-Smith) is set to return to Hollyoaks village and get in contact with Milo Entwistle (Nathan Morris) as he looks set to target the Cunningham family. One character could well meet his or her maker this Christmas and some fans believe it is Mac Nightingale (David Easter) who might not be seeing in 2018.
One of the most eagerly-anticipated Sky shows of the festive period is another adaptation of a David Walliams children’s book. David appears as a “shifty burger man” called Burt, while Sheridan Smith plays the stepmother of youngster Zoe (Talia Barnett) who befriends the titular rat, Armitage.
Christmas Eve, 6pm.
A second series of this popular Sky drama is on the Christmas menu for this year as Dawn French and Emilia Fox reprise their roles as Gina and Sam respectively.
December 29, 9pm.
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