The BBC's Christmas TV for 2020 – from Doctor Who to Call the Midwife

Laura Jane Turner
·7-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images - BBC
Photo credit: Getty Images - BBC

From Digital Spy

While 2020 has been a year quite unlike any other, there's one thing you can be sure of – the BBC is going to come through with some festive television treats to see us through the holiday season and give us all the warm and fuzzy feels.

With 2020's Christmas TV listings now confirmed, the Beeb has confirmed what will be on air this holiday season.

Here, we've compiled a list of what's to come. You'll be pleased to know that, despite all the restrictions that have been in place this year, there are some familiar faces in the mix, including a Strictly Come Dancing special (albeit slightly different than usual), a return from The Vicar of Dibley's Dawn French and the eagerly-awaited Doctor Who festive special.

Christmas on BBC One

The Vicar of Dibley: In Lockdown

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airing on the BBC weekly and available on BBC iPlayer.

Marking a return to the BBC for Dawn French, The Vicar of Dibley will be bringing a lockdown-inspired special to screens this Christmas.

Following what might sound an eerily familiar theme, Geraldine Granger has had to adapt to giving sermons via Zoom following a particularly tumultuous year.

Mary Berry Saves Christmas

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, December 23, 6.30pm.

Former star of Bake Off and national treasure Mary Berry helps three kitchen novices to pull together a festive feast. Tom Allen, Jay Blades and TV presenter Angela Scanlon all make a guest appearance too.

Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, December 24, 5.55pm.

Mackenzie Crook returns to the title role as the walking, talking scarecrow. He will be joined by Harry Potter actor Shirley Henderson as Saucy Nancy for a brand-new one-hour film.

Strictly Come Dancing: The Christmas Countdown

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, December 25, 4.45pm.

We may not be getting a traditional Strictly competition this Christmas, but we're pleased to report that the ballroom will be making a return for the festive period.

The show will see hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman revealing which dances the viewers have voted into their top 25 of all time, while the Strictly professionals will be bringing the glitter in a special group performance.

Call the Midwife

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, December 25, 7.40pm.

Filmed after the first UK lockdown, the BBC has confirmed that we will be getting a festive special of the popular show this year.

Christmas 1965 has arrived for Nonnatus House, but when one of the nuns receives an unwanted gift, and another is rushed to hospital, nothing quite goes to plan for their quiet Christmas...

Blankety Blank

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, December 25, 7pm.

Hosted by The Chase's Bradley Walsh, the nostalgic British game show (which aired from the '70s to the early 2000s) will be making a return with this one-off special.

A panel of six celebrities will try to win some very special prizes for some lucky contestants.

Zog and the Flying Doctors

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, December 25, 2.35pm.

This new animation, narrated by Sir Lenny Henry, is an adaptation of the book by the same name written by Julia Donaldson (and illustrated by Axel Scheffler), and a sequel to 2018's Zog.

It boasts an all-star voice cast, including Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey), Patsy Ferran (Darkest Hour, Jamestown), Hugh Skinner (Fleabag, Little Birds), Daniel Ings (The Crown) and Mark Bonnar (Quiz). And from a multi Oscar-nominated production company, this is sure to be a dazzler.

Calling it "magical", Sir Lenny Henry said: "It's a joy to be able to lend my voice to such fun and beautiful animations at Christmas."

Ghosts Christmas special

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, December 23, 8.30pm.

In this standalone special, Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) are visited by his family for the first time over Christmas – and Mike is determined for it to be perfect.

Sir David Attenborough's Meerkat: A Dynasties Special

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, December 28, 7.30pm.

It's always a good time to settle down with some Attenborough.

The much-loved broadcaster will be bringing a festive special to audiences this holiday season, in the form of a spin-off to the hugely successful natural history series from 2018.

It will follow a young meerkat queen called Maghogho, as she attempts to establish her dynasty in the Makgadikgadi salt pans in Botswana.

The Great British Celebrity Sewing Bee

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, December 31, 8pm.

Returning for not one but two festive celebrity specials, host Joe Lycett will introduce us to eight sewers that are hoping to impress judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young with their stitching skills.

In this special, the guest stars will include Drag Race UK's The Vivienne, Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph and presenter Sabrina Grant.

The Wall vs Celebrities

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, December 24, 6.55pm, continuing on December 31 at 6.40pm.

The Danny Dyer-fronted game show (with voice appearance from TV star Angela Rippon) will invite a host of famous faces - including Stacey Dooley and Craig Revel Horwood - for the special episodes.

The Graham Norton show

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, December 31, 10.25pm.

Always one to offer up some excellent Christmas telly moments, the popular TV presenter and talk show host will gather a spectacular lineup of guests for his end of year show.

Multi-Oscar winner Tom Hanks, Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Nish Kumar and Jessica Chastain are among the names on the guest list.

Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC One, January 1, 6.45pm.

With a confirmed return from John Barrowman's Captain Jack, the Doctor Who festive special has been eagerly awaited by fans.

As usual, the show has kept most details tightly under wraps. But we do know that, for this episode, the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) has been imprisoned and that her three best friends will be forced to face the Daleks without her.

Christmas on BBC Two

Upstart Crow Christmas special

Photo credit: BBC/Colin Hutton
Photo credit: BBC/Colin Hutton

Airs on BBC2, December 21, 9pm.

The characters are preparing themselves for a Lockdown Christmas in 1603 thanks to the outbreak of plague in London, in this festive special of the popular comedy show starring David Mitchell and Gemma Whelan.

Being Bridget

Photo credit: NBC Universal
Photo credit: NBC Universal

Airs on BBC2, December 22, 9pm.

Can you believe it's been 25 years since Bridget Jones first strutted, in her bunny costume, into our lives?

This retrospective documentary will look back at the legacy of much-loved character, from page to screen.

Cook, Eat Repeat Christmas special

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC2, December 22, 8pm.

Nigella Lawson is well and truly back, and has been providing many a Gogglebox moment throughout 2020.

We're not sure what's on the menu for this particular culinary Christmas feast, but the BBC has promised us "joy and warmth".

QI Christmas Quiz with Sandi Toksvig

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC2, December 23, 9.30pm.

Although there's a chance that we're all quiz-ed out this year, we're sure that everyone can make a little room for this seasonal special.

The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC2, December 20, 11.10pm.

One of our favourite comedians heads to the Hebrides for his annual Christmas trip, and we'll bet you'll want to tune in.

The Gruffalo and Me: The Magical World of Julia Donaldson

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Airs on BBC2, December 23, 7.30pm.

Celebrating one of Britain's best-selling children's authors, The Gruffalo and Me: The Magical World of Julia Donaldson will be a nostalgic treat for all the family.

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