BBC Christmas TV guide: All the 2018 highlights

Morgan Jeffery
Photo credit: BBC

From Digital Spy

Put the highlighter pens away. Digital Spy is here with your definitive guide to Christmas telly – beginning with the BBC's line-up.

These are the highlights from the 2018 schedule. (If you're more of an ITV sort of person, we've got their top listings here. Or if all you want for Christmas is Channel 4, that's covered here.)

Saturday, December 15

Strictly Come Dancing – The Final - 6.30pm on BBC One - After 13 weeks of glitter, glamour and sensational performances, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman present the Strictly final live.

Sunday 16 December

Sports Personality of the Year 2018 - 7pm on BBC One - Celebrating a sensational year of sport in style as Gabby Logan, Clare Balding and Gary Lineker present the annual bash live from Birmingham.

The Apprentice: the Final - 9pm on BBC One – Which budding entrepreneur will become Lord Sugar's new... *dramatic pause*... business partner?

Monday, December 17

Mary Berry's Christmas Party - 8.30pm on BBC One - Newsreader Huw Edwards, sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, Poldark star Eleanor Tomlinson and comedian Joe Lycett join Mary to prepare dishes for a festive get-together.

Inside the Christmas Factory - 9pm on BBC Two - Gregg Wallace visits a factory that produces 2 million tins of festive chocolate assortments a year, with 5,500 individual sweets packaged and dropped into containers every minute.

Tuesday, December 18

Only Connect Champion of Champions Special - 7.30pm on BBC Two - Series nine champions the Europhiles take on series 11 winners, the String Section.

The Long Song - 9pm on BBC One (continues 9pm on Wednesday, December 19 and Thursday, December 20) - Adapted from the award-winning novel, The Long Song follows the trials, tribulations and survival of a strong-willed slave July (Tamara Lawrance) on a plantation owned by her odious mistress Caroline Mortimer (Hayley Atwell).

Photo credit: Heyday Television/Carlos Rodriguez

Thursday, December 20

The "Christmas" Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan - 9pm on BBC Two - Romesh is in the Canadian Arctic for this festive special of the travelogue in which he explores countries rarely visited by tourists.

Mark Kermode's Christmas Cinema Secrets - 9pm on BBC Four - In a special seasonal edition of his acclaimed series, film critic Mark Kermode celebrates one of the most perennial of all genres: the Christmas movie.

Friday, December 21

100 Years of King's Carols - 7pm on BBC Two - The BBC shares the magic of the world's most famous choir through a special year of music in the centenary year of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King's.

Fleetwood Mac: A Musical History - 8pm on BBC Four - Fellow musicians, journalists and fans celebrate Fleetwood Mac with a selection of their best loved songs.

Victoria & Albert: The Royal Wedding - 8.30pm on BBC Two - In this special film, Lucy Worsley will oversee an authentic re-staging of the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Not Going Out: Live - 9pm on BBC One - With no room for slip-ups or mistakes (no pressure then) we join Lee (Lee Mack) and Lucy (Sally Bretton) live from their festively decorated living room.

Saturday, December 22

Watership Down - 7pm on BBC One (concludes 7.20pm on Sunday, December 23) - Airing as two feature-length episodes, BBC One's star-studded new adaptation of Watership Down uses Richard Adams' bestselling novel as its source to bring an innovative interpretation to the much-loved classic.

Goodness Gracious Me - 20 years innit! - 10.15pm on BBC Two - Looking back at the ten most memorable sketches, with exclusive interviews with the stars and creators alongside other comedians who are fans of the series.

Sunday, December 23

Hold the Sunset - 6.20pm on BBC One - Festive edition of the sitcom: it's the last Christmas that Edith (Alison Steadman) will have with her family before she and Phil (John Cleese) set off for their dream retirement in the Mediterranean, but Edith's son Roger (Jason Watkins) enlists her one-time flame, Bob The Burglar, to give Christmas its proper flavour.

Still Open All Hours - 6.50pm on BBC One - Granville (David Jason) has to shift a large consignment of mistletoe mince pies in this year's festive special.

Chris and Michaela - Under the Christmas Sky - 9pm on BBC Two - Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan take viewers on a Christmas adventure to explore some of nature’s greatest celestial wonders and winter wildlife.

King Gary - 9.30pm on BBC One - Tom Davis (Murder in Successville) stars as Gary King in this new comedy, a "geezer diva" working to escape the shadow of his dad Big Gary (Simon Day).

The Young Offenders Christmas Special - 11.15pm on BBC One - It's Christmas week and when Mairead (Hilary Rose) is taken ill, the lads set off on a chaotic adventure to try to make her wish come true, which involves some accidental interaction with a local film crew – and a movie star.

Monday, December 24

Carols from King's - 5.50pm on BBC Two - Carols from King’s returns to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, in the glorious setting of the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge.

Click & Collect - 9pm on BBC One - Stephen Merchant and Asim Chaudhry (People Just Do Nothing) star as two mismatched neighbours driving across the country to pick up the one toy that will make a little girl’s Christmas dreams come true.

Would I Lie To You at Christmas? - 10pm on BBC One - David Mitchell is joined by Lily Allen and Noddy Holder while Lee Mack is joined by James Acaster and Sian Gibson for a festive edition.

The Dead Room – 10pm on BBC Four - Mark Gatiss brings the Christmas ghost story tradition back to life with a chilling new tale set in an eerie radio studio and starring Simon Callow and Bodyguard's Anjli Mohindra.

Photo credit: Adorable Media / Steve Schofield - BBC

Christmas Day (Tuesday, December 25)

Top of the Pops Christmas special - 12.30pm on BBC One - Fearne Cotton and Clara Amfo host, with performances from Anne-Marie, Clean Bandit, George Ezra, Rita Ora, Sigrid and Zara Larsson.

The Queen's Christmas Broadcast - 3pm on BBC One - Her Maj addresses the nation, as she tends to this time of year.

Zog - 4.50pm on BBC One - An animated special about a keen but accident-prone dragon, from the makers of The Gruffalo and featuring the voices of Sir Lenny Henry, Tracey Ullman and Kit Harington.

Photo credit: BBC

Strictly Come Dancing: Christmas special - 5.30pm on BBC One - Anita Rani, Ann Widdecombe, Caroline Flack, Aston Merrygold, EastEnders' Jake Wood and cricketer Michael Vaughan are all returning to the dance floor.

Michael McIntyre's Big Christmas Show - 6.45pm on BBC One - There's live music from Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins, Chris 'Kammy' Kamara plays Send To All (what responses will he get to his unusual Christmas wish list?) and there's a festive surprise or two.

Call the Midwife Christmas special - 7.45pm on BBC One - Miriam Margolyes makes a guest appearance as forthright Sister Mildred, who arrives unexpectedly at Nonnatus House with four Chinese orphans, while Trixie (Helen George) return to Poplar.

Upstart Crow - 8.35pm on BBC Two - It’s a bleak midwinter in the Shakespeare household as the family comes to terms with a cruel loss. But when a mysterious stranger (Kenneth Branagh) offers to share with Will (David Mitchell) a tale of redemption he becomes filled anew with love and light and hope.

Mrs. Brown's Boys - 10.15pm on BBC One - Father Damian (Conor Moloney) has organised a Christmas decoration contest to support the local football team and Agnes (Brendan O'Carroll) is keen to enter, especially as it might mean getting one over her old nemesis Hilary Nicholson.

Boxing Day (Wednesday, December 26)

The Midnight Gang - 7.30pm on BBC One - Based on the original book by David Walliams, this one-off drama tells the tale of a young boy who ends up in hospital, where he discovers The Midnight Gang, a secret gang of children who go on midnight adventures making dreams come true.

The Morecambe And Wise Show: The Lost Tapes - 7.50pm on BBC Two - For the first time since their original broadcast in 1968, two episodes of Morecambe and Wise will be played on BBC Two this Christmas after the original colour tapes were lost for 50 years.

The ABC Murders - 9pm on BBC One - John Malkovich leads the cast as Hercule Poirot in the BBC's latest Agatha Christie outing. It's 1933 and a killer travels the length and breadth of Britain via the railway network. The killer uses the alias ABC, and strikes in a methodical pattern, leaving a copy of the ABC railway guide at the scene of each murder. But as Poirot attempts to investigate, he is thwarted on every front.

Thursday, December 27

The Snow Wolf: A Winter’s Tale - 9pm on BBC Two - A dramatised natural history special, following the odyssey of an extraordinary mother wolf through the frozen heart of Europe.

A Year in the Life of a Year, 2018 - 10.40PM on BBC Two - Brian Pern creator Rhys Thomas re-edits film and television footage from 2018 to create a hilarious, spoof take on the year’s cultural events.

Friday, December 28

Take That: We've Come A Long Way - 7pm on BBC One - As Take That mark their 30th anniversary, one of Britain’s most successful and best-loved bands will be celebrated in a special one-off programme.

Billy Connolly: Made In Scotland - 9pm on BBC Two (concludes 9pm on Friday, January 4) - This two-part series is built around intimate interviews with Connolly and provides a unique insight into the early influences and motivations that made this comedy legend the man he is today.

Saturday, December 29

Top of the Pops New Year Special - 5.10pm on BBC One - Fearne Cotton and Clara Amfo welcome Jess Glynne, Years & Years and Clean Bandit to perform the biggest hits of 2018.

Sunday, December 30

Spy in the Snow - 7pm on BBC One - This Christmas, the Spy Creatures are back to take us on a journey across the globe and reveal how living in the snow tests animals to the limit.

Les Misérables - 9pm on BBC One - Dominic West is Jean Valjean and David Oyelowo is Javert in this ambitious six-part adaptation of the original novel, also starring Olivia Colman and Lily Collins. No songs, though!

New Year's Eve (Monday, December 31)

Match of the Day: the 2018 World Cup Story - 2.10pm on BBC One - Reliving this summer's World Cup in Russia, including the incredible run from Gareth Southgate's young England squad.

Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen & Milkmen - 9pm on BBC Two - Exploring the life and works of the man behind The Snowman, When the Wind Blows, Fungus the Bogeyman and more.

The Graham Norton Show - 10.40pm on BBC One - Olivia Colman, Nicholas Hoult, Keira Knightley and Guy Pearce are on Graham's sofa for NYE.

Jools's Annual Hootenanny - 11.15pm on BBC Two - Nile Rodgers, Marc Almond, Michael Bublé and more join Jools in the studio.

Madness Rocks Big Ben Live - 11.35pm on BBC One - Suggs and the gang will be having fun and playing fools to ring in the New Year.

New Year's Day (Tuesday, January 1)

Doctor Who - 7pm on BBC One - As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring from across the centuries of Earth's history. As the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Ryan (Tosin Cole), Graham (Bradley Walsh) and Yaz (Mandip Gill) return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?

Luther - 9pm on BBC One (parts 2-4 air 9pm on January 2-4) - A new spate of nightmarish murders brings DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) to once again face the depths of human depravity on the streets of London. But where the f**k is Alice?

Photo credit: BBC

Mrs Brown's Boys: New Year Special - 10pm on BBC One - Mrs Brown offers Winnie (Eilish O'Carroll) and Sharon (Fiona Gibney) a roof over their heads while repairs are carried out on their home. However, it's not long before there's a storm brewing in the Brown household too, when Agnes and Cathy (Jennifer Gibney) discover living with best friends isn't the picnic they'd imagined.

Thursday, January 3

Island of Dreams - 10pm on BBC Two - Harry Enfield plays Sir Richard Branson in this comedy spoof, hosting a gang of celebrities on his private island. But does Branson have a sinister motivation?

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