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The BBC has unveiled its Christmas TV line-up for the 2021 festive season.
From brand new shows and specials to festive editions of fan favourites, there is plenty of programming on offer across drama, comedy and entertainment.
The biggest highlights this year include A Very British Scandal, a new series from Sarah Phelps (Dublin Murders) starring Claire Foy and Paul Bettany as the Duchess and Duke of Argyll, who were at the centre of one of the most notorious divorce cases of the 20th century.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo and Jessica Plummer will also star in the psychological thriller The Girl Before, adapted from the novel of the same name by JP Delaney. It tells the story of a woman called Jane (Mbatha-Raw) who moves into a strange house designed by an enigmatic architect (Oyelowo).
Around the World in 80 Days is a brand new adaptation of the classic novel from Jules Verne and stars David Tennant, Ibrahim Koma and Leonie Benesch as the intrepid threesome Phileas Fogg, Passepartout and Abigail “Fix” Fortescue.
There’s also a new thriller, The Tourist, starring Jamie Dornan as a man searching for his identity through the Australian outback.
Over on BBC Two, MR James’s haunting tale The Mezzotint, adapted by Mark Gatiss, stars Rory Kinnear, Robert Bathurst, Frances Barber, John Hopkins, Emma Cunniffe, and Nikesh Patel.
The BBC has a lot of entertainment for children lined up, from Aardman Animation’s Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas to an adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s beloved story Superworm, narrated by Olivia Colman, Matt Smith and Rob Brydon. Mackenzie Crook will also be back for Worzel Gummidge.
Christmas specials include Death in Paradise, Call the Midwife and Doctor Who, with the latter featuring Aisling Bea as a guest star. Mrs Brown’s Boys is of course back again, with two visits to Finglas this season.
In EastEnders, Denise and Jack (Diane Parish and Scott Maslen) and Chelsea and Gray (Zaraah Abrahams and Toby-Alexander Smith) head to the registry office for their respective weddings, which don’t exactly go as smoothly as they’d hoped.
For natural history lovers there are two new David Attenborough films: The Wonder of Song and Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard.
Comedy and entertainment specials on offer include – deep breath – The Weakest Link, Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel, Blankety Blank, I Can See Your Voice, Not Going Out, Strictly Come Dancing, Would I Lie to You?, Top Gear: Driving Home for Christmas, The Repair Shop, The Great British Sewing Bee, MasterChef and many, many more.
Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s chief content officer, said: “Christmas 2021 is a time to reunite with friends and family once more, and this year’s line-up of must-see shows will bring everyone together to share the festive season on the BBC. There’s a stocking full of special programmes to enthrall and enchant featuring your favourite stars and characters, whatever your mood. The BBC is the place to be entertained this Christmas and New Year.”