Christmas TV Guide 2019 – Here Are The 50 Best Shows To Feast Your Eyes On

(Photo: BBC)

With just days to go until the big day, we could not be more ready to plonk ourselves down on the sofa with a glass of mulled wine (or three) and dive into this year’s Christmas telly. 

There are treats galore, with the long-awaited return of some all-time favourites, some gripping new dramas, the climax of EastEnders’ biggest storyline and some very special one-offs. 

With the full listings having now been revealed, we’ve trawled through them all to pick out the 50 best shows you won’t want to miss. 

Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special

Christmas Day, 8.30pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC)

It’s been nearly 10 years since we said goodbye to the Shipmans and the Wests, but the cast is back for this long-awaited Christmas special. 

As we catch up with Gavin, Stacey and the gang, they’re all off to Barry for the festivities, where Uncle Bryn’s cooking dinner – much to Pam’s annoyance, who would much rather be spending Christmas in Essex.

For Gavin and Stacey, parenthood continues to present them with several challenges 10 years on from the birth of their baby. Smithy continues to commit to his fatherly role, making the journey to Barry at weekends and every second Wednesday to see 12-year-old Neil “The Baby”, while Nessa has her own unique brand of mothering.

Meanwhile, Christmas Eve sees Dawn makes a shocking discovery about Pete that jeopardises their marriage (again). 

Doctor Who

New Year’s Day, 6.55pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC )

While Doctor Who is not getting a Christmas special this year, the brand new series is set to kick off very early in 2020 with more adventures packed full of scares and surprises.

Jodie Whittaker is back as The Doctor, while Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry will be among those featured as guest stars, alongside returning companions Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole.

A Christmas Carol

Sunday 22, Monday 23 December and Christmas Eve, 9pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC/FX/Robert Viglasky)

Guy Pearce takes on the role of Scrooge in this brand new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. 

The three-part special stays true to the original story, following the miserly cold-hearted boss, as he is visited by ghosts from the past, present and future, on a freezing Christmas Eve. 

Andy Serkis, Stephen Graham, Charlotte Riley, Joe Alwyn and Vinette Ro also star. 

Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration

New Year’s Day, 5.45pm, BBC One

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(Photo: BBC)

This year marks 10 years since Miranda Hart’s eponymous sitcom first galloped on to our screens and to celebrate, the cast are all coming together for a what-I-call reunion.

This special show, filmed at The London Palladium, will feature a host of treats and surprises as Miranda and friends look back over a decade of “such fun”. 

Bancroft

New Year’s Day, Thursday 2 and Friday 3 January, 9pm, ITV 

(Photo: ITV)

Sarah Parish returns as Detective Chief Superintendent Elizabeth Bancroft for the second series of Bancroft, which will air across three consecutive nights.

Having just been promoted, Bancroft is riding a professional high, but she’s estranged from her beloved son Joe and facing increasing pressure from her dangerous pact with crime boss Daanish Kamara (Ryan McKen). 

It is not long before her personal and professional life crash together after a disturbing double murder, which sees her forced to confront a chilling new enemy and face the repercussions of her past actions.

The Trial Of Christine Keeler

Sunday 29 and Monday 30 December, 9pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC)

This new six-part drama takes us behind the headlines of one of the most infamous British stories of the 20th century: the chain of events in the 1960s that came to be known as the Profumo Affair.

At the centre of the storm was 19-year-old Christine Keeler – a young woman whom the powerful, male-dominated establishment sought to silence and exploit, but who refused to play by their rules.

Sophie Cookson, James Norton, Ellie Bamber, Ben Miles and Emilia Fox lead a stellar cast in this tale of sexual and cultural politics. 

Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show

Christmas Day, 6pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC)

After becoming the most watched show on Christmas Day last year, Michael McIntyre is back with another festive version of his Big Show. 

Sharon Osbourne hands over her phone as she plays Send To All, while Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood might not be feeling quite so fab-u-lous as Michael wakes him up in the middle of the night for a special edition of the Midnight Gameshow.

Dracula

New Year’s Day, Thursday 2 and Friday 3 January, 9pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC/Hartswood Films/Netflix/Robert Viglasky)

Penned by Sherlock co-creators, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, this three-part mini series re-introduces the world of Dracula.

In Transylvania in 1897, the blood-drinking Count is drawing his plans against Victorian London. And be warned: the dead travel fast.

Award-winning Danish actor Claes Bang takes on the role of Dracula in this BBC and Netflix co-production.

Take Off With Bradley And Holly

Christmas Eve, 8pm, BBC One

(Photo: S Meddle/ITV/Shutterstock)

Holly Willoughby ditches her usual co-presenter Phillip Schofield to team up with The Chase’s Bradley Walsh for this one-off festive extravaganza.

The hosts will be spreading some Christmas cheer as they give lucky audience members the chance to win the trip of a lifetime to Lapland, alongside plenty of surprises, games and celebrity appearances.  

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

Christmas Day, 4.40pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC/David Oldham)

Just days after this year’s Strictly winner lifts the Glitterball trophy, the doors to the ballroom will be flung open once again as Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman welcome back a host of former contestants who will be vying to be crowned Christmas 2019 champion. 

Those returning are Debbie McGee, Chizzy Akudolu, Mark Wright and Richard Arnold, plus Gemma Atkinson and Joe Sugg who will be dancing with their respective real-life partners Gorka Marquez and Dianne Buswell. 

Dancing On Ice At Christmas

Sunday 22 December, 7pm, ITV

(Photo: ITV)

In this festive special, the 12 new celebrities who will be competing in next year’s series take their first tentative steps on the ice and also find out which professional skater they’ve been partnered with.

Meanwhile, there’s a festive routine from Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, while former contestants Gemma Collins and Ray Quinn also take to the ice for a very special performance.

Celebrity Crystal Maze: Christmas Special

Monday 23 December, 10pm, Channel 4

(Photo: Channel 4)

Catherine Tyldesley captains an all-star line-up featuring Shirley Ballas, Gareth Malone, Scarlett Moffatt and Nish Kumar round the Maze, which includes a Santa’s Grotto installed in the Aztec zone where Richard Wilson is playing Father Christmas.

Kylie’s Secret Night

Christmas Day, 10.30pm, Channel 4

(Photo: Ray Burmiston)

Filmed in front of an intimate audience and hosted by Alan Carr, this 90-minute extravaganza reveals Kylie like never before, in an evening full of secrets and surprises.

In a hilarious hidden camera prank, Kylie shares a cab with some very surprised people who have no idea that her every move is being directed by Alan via a hidden earpiece. She also pays a surprise visit to a theatre group of adults with learning difficulties who regularly perform Kylie songs.

There’s also some faces from Kylie’s past who will be making an appearance, and of course there’s performances with some reworked versions of her classic hits.

The show is followed by the TV premiere of her 2018 Golden arena tour.

The Snail And The Whale

Christmas Day, 2.30pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC / Magic Light)

From the creators of The Gruffalo comes the empowering tale of a tiny snail who longs to see the world and manages to hitch a ride on the tail of a huge humpback whale.

This half-hour adaptation is voiced by Gavin & Stacey’s Rob Brydon as the whale, Sally Hawkins as the snail and Dame Diana Rigg as the narrator.

First Dates At Christmas

Christmas Day, 9.30pm, Channel 4

(Photo: Dave King)

Fred and the gang are back to matchmake some singletons who are looking for love this Christmas. 

Among them are former bodybuilding champion and social media influencer Kieran who’s 25 and has never been in love. While determined to pull more than a cracker this Christmas is 67-year-old divorcee Suzy, who has a soft spot for Fred.

Call The Midwife

Christmas Day, 7pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC)

As Christmas approaches, a bout of influenza sweeps through Nonnatus House prompting the nurses to decamp to the Outer Hebrides where there is a nursing and doctor shortage.

As the team set about establishing an antenatal clinic and treating the local population, they must battle not only the weather and bleak terrain, but the suspicions of some of the islanders.

Meanwhile, back in Poplar, Reggie has come home for Christmas and finds a hidden present, The Guinness Book of World Records, and soon decides to try and break one himself. 

Joe Lycett : I’m About to Lose Control and I Think Joe Lycett

Sunday 29 December, 10pm, Channel 4

(Photo: Ian West - PA Images via Getty Images)

You’ve probably seen Joe on the likes of 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown and QI, but this show was recorded during his stand-up tour last year and sees him discuss the likes of breaking into banks, selling art for 12.5 million quid and taking on bronze medal winning Olympians. 

Coronation Street

Various times, ITV

(Photo: ITV)

Christmas Day celebrations take a sinister turn when a Winter Wonderland attraction becomes the scene of a dramatic armed siege as Derek Milligan seeks revenge on Gary Windass. 

After terrifying the locals in the pub with a gun, Derek chases Gary out onto the cobbles and the pair end up battling it out on the top of the Helter Skelter at the funfair. Fists and bullets start flying with fatal consequences that will see one much-loved character leaving the show.

EastEnders

Various times, BBC one

(Photo: BBC / Kieron McCarron)

The secret of Sharon Mitchell and Keanu Taylor’s affair has been a ticking timebomb – one that is set to go off in spectacular fashion this Christmas. 

As their lies begin to unravel, it’s only a matter of time until Phil finds out that his wife is carrying another man’s child, and when he does, revenge will be the only thing on his mind. 

Meanwhile, over at The Vic, Linda Carter’s drinking spirals out of control, leaving her in a desperate situation.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, as across the Square a guardian angel is watching over one family, as their fortunes change for the better.

The Last Leg Of The Year

New Year’s Eve, 9pm, Channel 4

(Photo: Photographer Ian Derry)

In this special look-back at another crazy year, Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker recall their most memorable moments of the last 12 months and take a punt at what 2020 could have in store for us all.

The Great Christmas Bake Off

Christmas Day, 7.10pm & New Year’s Day 7.40pm, Channel 4

(Photo: Channel 4)

Noel, Sandi, Prue and Paul are back in the tent for their traditional Christmas get-together. Joining them for the celebrations are Tom and Yan from 2017 and Briony and Terry from 2018, who compete in festive-themed challenges for the title of Christmas Star Baker. 

Meanwhile, on New Year’s Day, the cast of hit sitcom Derry Girls will be putting their baking skills to the test. 

Hugh Grant: A Life On Screen

Monday 23 December, 9pm, BBC Two

(Photo: BBC/BAFTA/Debra Hurford Brown)

Hugh Grant celebrates his long-standing film and TV career in this new documentary, which sees him tell the story behind his success in his own words.

The actor looks back over some of his biggest hits, including his breakthrough role as Charles in Four Weddings And A Funeral and other films such as Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually, Notting Hill and About A Boy.

The programme also includes interviews from friends and former co-stars including Andie MacDowell, Richard Curtis, Sandra Bullock, Colin Firth and Nicholas Hoult.

The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year

Boxing Day, 9pm, Channel 4

(Photo: Channel 4)

Question master Jimmy Carr hosts, as celebrity quizzers including Richard Ayoade, Noel Fielding, Roisin Conaty, Maya Jama and Dara O’Briain compete to see who can remember the most about the last 12 months.

Worzel Gummidge

Boxing Day 6.20pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC/Leopard Pictures/Amanda Searle)

This new adaptation of Barbara Euphan Todd’s books is a modern take on the classic story, beloved by generations of children and adults alike.

Mackenzie Crook, who writes, directs and stars as Worzel Gummidge, has gathered an impressive cast including Sir Michael Palin as The Green Man, Zoë Wanamaker as Lady Bloomsbury Barton, Steve Pemberton as Mr Braithwaite and Rosie Cavaliero as Mrs Braithwaite. 

Mimi And The Mountain Dragon

Boxing Day, 3.20pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC/Leopard Pictures)

A special animated adaptation of Sir Michael Morpurgo’s children’s book tells the story about a village that quakes in fear of the mighty Mountain Dragon.

One winter, a shy little girl called Mimi finds a baby dragon asleep in her family woodshed and takes the perilous journey through the blizzard and darkness to return the baby dragon to her mother, who all the villagers fear.

Emmerdale

Various times, ITV

(Photo: Rex)

On Christmas Day, as The Tates gather to carve the turkey at Home Farm, there is pandemonium when Graham walks in and delivers a devastating revelation, shattering relationships.

Elsewhere, David receives a festive surprise that will set tongues wagging and change lives forever and as the bells ring in for the New Year, we see Victoria go into labour with her baby.

Take Me Out: Emergency Services special

Saturday 28 December, 5.30pm, ITV

(Photo: ITV / Thames / Fremantle)

Paddy McGuinness returns for a one-off special to help find 30 single girls who work in the emergency services a date on the Isle of Fernando’s. Tonight in the love lift are fire-fighter John, Doctor Iman, and paramedic Johnny.

Top Of The Pops

Christmas Day, 11.35am and Monday 30 December 4.45pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC)

Hosts Clara Amfo and Fearne Cotton are back for the two annual specials – one at Christmas and one at New Year – which celebrate another year in pop with performances from some of the year’s hottest names in music.

Gogglesprogs At Christmas

Monday 23 December, 8pm, Channel 4

Eli and Orin. (Photo: Jude Edginton)

The pint-sized TV critics are back to give their verdict on shows including Flirty Dancing, X Factor: Celebrity, The Day We Walked The Moon, BBC Three’s Extinction Rebellion documentary and much-loved Christmas movie classic Elf.

Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs at Christmas

Boxing Day, 6pm, ITV

(Photo: ITV)

Paul O’Grady returns once again to Battersea Dogs and Home, this year helping a reclusive mongrel called Misty who refuses to leave her kennel, a grumpy Yorkshire terrier called Teddy who refuses to walk and an American bulldog who’s lost her mojo.

Paul is also back with the street vet team to bring festive joy to London’s homeless and their dogs.

Mrs Brown’s Boys

Christmas Day, 10.30pm and New Year’s Day, 10.30pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC Studios/Alan Peebles)

Love it or loathe it, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a bit of Mrs Brown’s Boys.

In the festive special, a series of family rows lead to Agnes wishing she’d never been born – a wish that is inadvertently granted by a mysterious man named Clyde and leaves her coming to terms with a life she doesn’t know. 

Meanwhile, at New Year there’s bad news for Winnie when Agnes discovers Peggy Piper the Pernod poisoner is out on appeal and could be coming back to Finglas...

Richard Osman’s World Cup Of The Decade

Friday 27 December, 9pm, Channel 4

(Photo: Channel 4)

Richard takes a nostalgic trip down memory lane as he celebrates the very best of the past 10 years across various categories including: film, TV show, song, celebrity and new thing. 

He is joined by celebrity guests Jon Richardson, Lorraine Kelly, Alex Brooker and Rhianna Dhillon to discuss the potential winners in each category, before revealing the ultimate winner in each group.

Alan Carr’s Celebrity Re-Play 2019

Monday 30 December, 9pm, ITV

(Photo: Jeff Spicer via Getty Images)

From Stormzy smashing Glastonbury to Drag Race UK, Alan Carr looks back on 2019 in the world of celebrity with a fun-filled games night that sees six stars relive the good, the cringe and the unbelievable.

Expect hilarious clips, comedy moments, surprise guests and one celebrity couple having the chance to win £25,000 for charity.

The Christmas Misadventures Of Romesh Ranganathan: The Sahara

Sunday 22 December, 9pm, BBC Two

(Photo: BBC/Rumpus Media Ltd)

After last year saw Romesh visit the Arctic to film a Christmas special, he’s vowed never to go anywhere near cold again, so has ended up travelling to the Sahara desert for this year’s festive edition of his travel show.

However, he may soon start to regret that decision when temperatures start to rise to a sweltering 50 degrees Celsius. 

Shining a light on one of the most overlit places on earth, Romesh will discover a place that is vast and inhospitable, as well as impossibly beautiful. 

Catchphrase Celebrity Special 

Sunday 22 December, 6pm, ITV

(Photo: ITV)

Davina McCall, Jarvis Cocker and Jo Brand will be ‘saying what they see’, as they attempt to guess the well-known phrases hidden in animated clues and win the £50,000 jackpot for their chosen charity.

The Jonathan Ross Christmas Show

Christmas Eve, 9pm, ITV

(Photo: ITV)

Jonathan is joined on his festive couch by David Tennant, Rita Ora, Jamie Cullum, Sharon Osbourne, Rylan Clark-Neal, David Oyelowo and exciting new comedian Bec Hill.

Cruising At Christmas With Jane McDonald

Christmas Eve, 9pm, Channel 5

Jane McDonald (Photo: Channel 5)

The nation’s favourite cruiser Jane goes in search for a Nordic Crimbo onboard the Norwegian institution the Coastal Express.

Starting in Bergen, our Jane feasts her eyes on the world’s largest Gingerbread City then continues her cruise to visit Scandinavia’s biggest natural aquarium for an encounter with a swimming Santa, no less.

She heads deeper into the Arctic Circle to swig mead with Vikings at a midwinter banquet in the world’s largest replica Longhouse. After enjoying the sublime Christmas setting of the stunning Arctic Cathedral Jane has an invigorating snow mobile ride in the Winter Wonderlands bordering Russia, rounding off a true Advent Arctic Adventure.   

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Celebrity Special

Christmas Day, 9pm, ITV

(Photo: Stellify Media)

Clare Balding, Stephen Mangan and Catherine Tyldesley sit in the hot seat to try and win £1 million for their chosen charities in a very special Christmas edition of the world’s biggest quiz.

Dame Edna Rules The Waves

New Year’s Eve, 9.05pm, BBC One

(Photo: Studio 13 Entertainment Ltd/Blake Ezra Cole)

Following her emotional farewell tour, Dame Edna has been enjoying some downtime onboard her luxury yacht, sailing the seas without a care in the world – but now she’s back.

The legendary Aussie star will host a very exclusive evening direct from her enormous boat, which is staffed by some familiar faces, while celebrity guests include Sharon Osbourne, Rob Rinder and Emily Atack, with music from Nile Rodgers and Chic. 

Liam Gallagher: As It Was

Saturday 29 December, 10.15pm, BBC Two

(Photo: Shirlaine Forrest via Getty Images)

This no-holds-barred documentary invites us backstage for a look at the life of Liam Gallagher and how he became one of the most talked-about artists of his generation.

Charting the dizzying heights of his champagne supernova years in Oasis to living on the edge, ostracised and lost in the musical wilderness of booze, notoriety and bitter legal battles, we’ll see Liam putting everything on the line as he prepares for his big comeback. 

Quizmaster

Sunday 29 December, 6pm, ITV

(Photo: BBC)

This ultimate quiz show sees 15 previous contestants from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Mastermind, The Chase, Fifteen To One and University Challenge compete in a high-stakes battle across a series of rounds, each one designed to test a different aspect of their knowledge. 

Among the familiar faces competing are Egghead Pat Gibson who won £1 million on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and beloved University Challenge duo Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull.

Would I Lie To You At Christmas? 

Boxing Day, 9.30pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC/Zeppotron, an Endemol Shine Company/Brian Ritchie)

Rob Brydon is back in the host’s chair for a festive edition of comedy panel show Would I Lie To You?.

Team captains David Mitchell and Lee Mack welcome team mates Liz Bonnin, Stephen Merchant, Sharon Osbourne (yes, Sharon Osbourne again!) and Dr Ranj Singh as they reveal amazing stories about themselves. But are they telling the truth, or making it all up?

Not Going Out: Driving Home For Christmas

Christmas Eve, 10pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC/Avalon/Mark Johnson)

After last year’s live Christmas special, the Not Going Out gang are back for a more traditional episode that sees Lee and Lucy pop out on a last-minute Christmas Eve mission for the kids.

But as ever, things don’t quite go to plan with a theft and unexpected trip into deep countryside – not to mention an aggressive bull and a terrifying truck driver.

The Goes Wrong Show: The Spirit Of Christmas

Monday 23 December, 7.30pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC)

The Cornley Drama Society present a festive edition of their anarchic comedy, as Santa and his elves try to bring festive happiness to a sad little girl and her constantly-fighting parents.

But as a surly Santa indulges in one too many sherries, an elf gets trapped and the toy machine attempts to eat the snowman alive, will it end up being a happy Christmas?

The Hit List

Saturday 21 December, 7.35pm, BBC One

(Photo: BBC/ Tuesdays Child/ Alan Peebles)

Marvin and Rochelle Humes put the music knowledge of six celebrities to the test in a festive edition of their pop quiz. 

Teaming up to play are comedian Susan Calman with Radio 1 DJ Melvin Odoom; former Footballer and rap star John Barnes with Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills and football pundit and presenter Chris Kamara with Capital Radio DJ Vick Hope – but who will win £10,000 for their chosen charities?

Dolly Parton: Here I Am

Christmas Day, 8.30pm, BBC Two

(Photo: SIPA USA/PA Images)

This feature-length documentary is the latest film from Bafta winning producer/director, Francis Whately who had unprecedented access to the iconic country singer. 

Known for being fiercely private, the show reveals the woman behind the rhinestones, showing a different Dolly that is no less extraordinary, but far more authentic and surprising.

Contributors to the film include Kylie Minogue and Jane Fonda.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

Christmas Eve, 7.30pm, Channel 4

(Photo: Lupus Films)

From the makers of The Snowman, The Snowdog and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt comes this new charming animation based on the classic picture book, written and illustrated by Judith Kerr. 

The Tiger Who Came to Tea follows a tea-guzzling tiger, who turns up unannounced and eats and drinks Sophie and Mummy out of house, home and bath water before disappearing into the night.

Coronation Street At Christmas 

Friday 20 December, 8.30pm, ITV

(Photo: ITV)

Former Corris cast member Sue Johnston narrates a special one-off celebration of almost six decades of Christmas on t’cobbles, featuring a host of fan favourite characters both old and new. 

From weddings and babies to flings and fights, relive some of the most memorable Christmas storylines since 1960.

Ball and Boe: A Very Merry Christmas 

Friday 20 December, 9.30pm, ITV

(Photo: ITV)

Michael Ball and Alfie Boe return for a festive night of music, as they take to the stage to perform Christmas favourites old and new, as well as revealing some new material. 

Special guests include the Dame Shirley Bassey, Luke Evans and Gregory Porter. 

Top Gear

Sunday 29 December, 9pm, BBC Two 

(Photo: BBC Studios/Alexander Rhind)

Freddie, Paddy and Chris set out on perhaps Top Gear’s toughest road-trip ever – a high-altitude voyage from Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, to the Forbidden City of Lo Manthang, a secretive kingdom perched high on the Tibetan plateau, on the far side of the Himalayas.

The five-day expedition takes them through the highest mountains, deepest gorges and harshest terrain on the planet.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.