Christmas Eve TV: Tamsin Greig and Simon Callow revel in festive fantasy

The Amazing Mr Blunden

7pm, Sky Max

Tamsin Greig and Simon Callow star in this TV special based on Antonia Barber’s fantasy novel. The ghost story with a time-travel twist follows what happens when a mysterious old man enters the lives of teenagers Jamie and Lucy, offering their mum the opportunity to be the caretaker of a suspiciously haunted country house. Perfectly festive family fun for the night before Christmas, with Callow revelling in his eccentric role. Hollie Richardson

Carols from King’s

6.15pm, BBC Two

The last word in traditional Christmas Eve ambience as you get the mince pies ready and the squeaky-voiced Cambridge choirboys bust out the festive bangers. Expect excitement to peak with a showstopping rendition of O Come All Ye Faithful. Time to crack out the mulled wine. Phil Harrison

A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Mezzotint

10.30pm, BBC Two

Williams (Rory Kinnear), Nisbet (Nikesh Patel) and Garwood (Robert Bathurst) in The Mezzotint
Creepy Christmas ... Williams (Rory Kinnear), Nisbet (Nikesh Patel) and Garwood (Robert Bathurst) in The Mezzotint. Photograph: Michael Carlo/BBC/Adorable Media

In the mood for something a bit spooky? MR James’s classic ghost story is brought to life by Mark Gatiss in a chilling half-hour adaptation boasting a cast of Rory Kinnear, Robert Bathurst and Frances Barber. In 1922, Edward Williams receives a curious engraving of an unknown country house … but what exactly is it? HR

Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas

6pm, BBC One

Hard-to-resist family fun with a familiar, friendly face from the makers of Wallace and Gromit. In this year’s festive adventure, Shaun needs to rescue little cousin Timmy after he is taken away accidentally. HR

The Greatest Snowman

8pm, Channel 4

A simple and silly format that, surprisingly, hasn’t been done before: celebrities in a snowman-building contest. Sue Perkins presents, while Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Johnny Vegas, Dani Dyer and Liam Charles get grafting. HR

Christmas Comedy Club With Lost Voice Guy

10.30pm, ITV

Better known as Lost Voice Guy, the uniquely talented Lee Ridley (who this year found a new voice courtesy of a geordie voiceover artist) hosts a beautifully diverse and inclusive comedy bonanza. It features some of the best British standup acts: Bill Bailey, Rosie Jones, Omid Djalili and the future Masked Singer live-show host Joel Dommett. Ali Catterall

Film choices

Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) in Encanto
Bursting with colour ... Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz) in Encanto. Photograph: Disney/AP

Encanto (Jared Bush and Byron Howard, 2021), Disney+
Featuring songs by composer-of-the-moment Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jared Bush and Byron Howard’s Colombia-set animated musical fantasy has built-in family appeal and a rainbow of colours bursting from every frame. Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) voices Mirabel, the only member of the Madrigal clan without a special ability (and that includes their house). However, she discovers that the magical home – created after the family escaped armed conflict – is under threat of destruction. Simon Wardell

Frozen (Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, 2013), 1.30pm, BBC One
One of the highest-grossing films of all time, Disney’s animated feature is a fantastical triumph. It moves traditional fairytale material such as The Snow Queen into new territory: the relationship between two sisters, Elsa (Idina Menzel), who can turn things to ice, but fears her powers will alienate those she loves, and the naive Anna (Kristen Bell). Add in the songs (including Let It Go, of course), a beautifully created frosty world and Josh Gad’s comic snowman, Olaf, and what’s not to love? SW

Home Alone (Chris Columbus, 1990), 6pm, Channel 4
Forget the fun but mostly forgettable recent reboot, Home Sweet Home Alone, and return to the source for all your Christmas slapstick needs. Chris Columbus’s 1990 comedy, scripted by John Hughes, takes the routines of silent comedy greats Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and gives them to a scarily sadistic small boy, Kevin (Macaulay Culkin), and the two bungling robbers (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) trying to get into his home when he is left behind by mistake on Christmas Eve. SW

Amazing Grace (Alan Elliott, 2018), 11pm, BBC Two
Aretha Franklin’s 1972 live gospel album, Amazing Grace, recorded at a Baptist church in Los Angeles, was meant to be accompanied by a concert film. But technical difficulties with the sound, and Franklin’s reluctance, meant that only in 2018 did the remarkable footage get released as this documentary. Any footage of the great soul singer is to be treasured, but here she is in her pomp, wringing out every emotion, her brow beaded in sweat. She is in thrall to the religious message in the songs, but also the power of the music to move us. SW