Advertisement

The best Christmas 2023 TV to watch on ITV, BBC, C4 and more

The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have an array of festive specials airing this December

The Christmas TV 2023 schedule will see an array of shows and specials airing on BBC, ITV and Channel 4. (BBC/ITV/Channel 4)
The Christmas TV 2023 schedule will see an array of shows and specials airing on BBC, ITV and Channel 4. (BBC/ITV/Channel 4)

Wondering what Christmas TV has to offer in 2023? The festive season is the perfect time to curl up on the sofa and enjoy a show or film with all the family.

As per usual, BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and more have a lot to offer viewers during the lead up to Christmas, as well as on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Read more: The best TV box sets to stream over Christmas

But the question is what will be available to watch on TV? Here is everything you need to know.


Friday, 22 November 2023

The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special | BBC Two | 1.25pm

Jessica Knappett, Patrick Grant, Toyah Willcox, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Esme Young, Hammed Animashaun, Kerry Godliman on The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special 2023. (BBC)
Jessica Knappett, Patrick Grant, Toyah Willcox, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Esme Young, Hammed Animashaun, Kerry Godliman on The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special 2023. (BBC)

The Great British Sewing Bee is back for a festive special, and the new episode will see Kiell Smith-Bynoe will make his debut as host after taking over the role from Sarah Pascoe.

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol | BBC Two | 5.45pm

Can Edmond Blackadder turn his life around and think of anyone else besides himself? Probably not - but that doesn’t stop a handful of Christmas Eve ghosts from trying in his classic British comedy that turns 35 years old this year.

Would I Lie To You At Christmas | BBC One | 8pm

Rob Brydon, David Mitchell and Lee Mack are back as regulars on the Would I Lie to You? festive special, which will see them be joined by different comedians who will tell stories that are either fibs or truths in a bid to fool their competitors.

Richard Osmond’s Festive House of Games | BBC Two | 8.30pm

Richard Osmond's popular quiz show gets a festive special with special guests Richie Anderson, Simon Gregson, Jessica Knappett and Debbie McGee.

The Last Leg of Christmas | Channel 4 | 9pm

Hosts Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Booker help viewers get into the festive spirit alongside special guests Tom Davis and Alison Hammond.

Celebrity I Literally Just Told You That With Jimmy Carr | Channel 4 | 10pm

Questions are written live based on things that have literally just happened in Jimmy Carr's new game show. With Christmas looming, he's joined by guests AJ Odudu, Ben Shephard, Bill Bailey and Sarah Millican.


Saturday, 23 December

The Hit List Christmas Special | BBC One | 6pm

Marvin and Rochelle Humes' musical quiz show gets a celebrity Christmas addition with guests Una Healy, Kimberly Wyatt, Gregg Wallace, Kate Thornton, George Shelley and Kitty Scott-Claus.

The Hairy Bikers Coming Home For Christmas | BBC Two | 4.35pm (Repeat)

The Hairy Bikers: Coming Home for Christmas,19-12-2023,Si King, Dave Myers,South Shore Productions,Screengrab
The Hairy Bikers: Coming Home for Christmas. (BBC)

12 months ago Dave received a cancer diagnosis that left him facing an uncertain future. But now, reunited with his best mate Si, the boys are back on the road, searching for wonderful seasonal ingredients to create a festive banquet to thank all those who’ve helped Dave throughout his recent struggles.

The Weakest Link Christmas Special | BBC One | 8.10pm

The Weakest Link Christmas Special: Dane Baptiste, Coleen Nolan, Mel Schilling, Cliff Parisi, Romesh Ranganathan, Paul Zerdin, Danny Beard, Meryl Williams, Alex Jones. (BBC)
The Weakest Link Christmas Special: Dane Baptiste, Coleen Nolan, Mel Schilling, Cliff Parisi, Romesh Ranganathan, Paul Zerdin, Danny Beard, Meryl Williams, Alex Jones. (BBC)

Alex Jones, Cliff Parisi, Coleen Nolan, Dane Baptiste, Mel Schilling, Danny Beard, Paul Zerdin and Meryl Williams join host Romesh Ranganathan for a festive edition of The Weakest Link.

The Unofficial Science of Die Hard | Sky Max | 9.30pm

Chris Ramsey Paul Chowdry, and engineer Zoe Laughlin are ready to test whether the science behind classic films Die Hard

Blankety Blank Christmas Special | BBC One | 9pm

Host Bradley Walsh invites celebrity guests to fill in the blanks in a Christmas special for this long-running game show. Guests include Ainsley Harriott, Brian Blessed, AJ Odudu, Katherine Ryan, Rob Beckett and Gemma Collins.


Christmas Eve, Sunday, 24 December

The Snowman (TVC London Productions)
The Snowman (TVC London Productions)

The Snowman | Channel 4 | 4.40pm

Is it Christmas if you haven’t watched a young boy befriend a flying snowman? We certainly don’t think so. Start your Christmas right by revisiting this touching animated classic.

Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway Presents: Murder at Bigwig Manor | ITV1 | 4.50pm

A Saturday Night Takeaway with a difference, Ant and Dec head to their ITV bosses Manor House with some special guests. But when their famous pals start getting offed, the duo must work together to try and figure out who the killer is.

Countryfile: A Cumbrian Christmas | BBC One | 6pm

This quaint Christmas special follows a young Shepherdess and her family in the picturesque Cumbrian fells. Join them as they prepare for the festive season on the farm.

Antiques Roadshow at Christmas | BBC One | 7pm

Fiona Bruce heads to Uppark House in West Sussex to present a special Christmas edition of a classic telly fave. Will any of tonight's guest be able to flip their tat for big money? Now that would be a Christmas miracle.

Mog’s Christmas | Channel 4 | 7.45pm

Mog's Christmas (Channel 4)
Mog's Christmas (Channel 4)

Mog's Christmas is one for the whole family, with the likes of Claire Foy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Adjoa Andoh, and Miriam Margolyes lending their voices to the animated special.

The Repair Shop Christmas Special | BBC One | 8pm

BBC viewers will be treated to a festive special of The Repair Shop, where Jay Blades and his team will continue to help restore special items for members of the public.

The Great Christmas Bake Off 2023 | Channel 4 | 8.15pm

Sophie, George, Dan, Amelia, Linda, Carole: The Great Birtish Bake Off Christmas Special 2023 (Channel 4)
Sophie, George, Dan, Amelia, Linda, Carole: The Great Birtish Bake Off Christmas Special 2023 (Channel 4)

You can't escape cooking at Christmas - especially in the Bake Off tent. Judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are once again joined by hosts Noel Fielding and Alison Hammond, this time welcoming back a selection of familiar faces for a Christmas baking competition.

Britain Get Singing | ITV1 | 9pm

The Christmas extravaganza returns, with a new series of stars giving it their all on stage in a bid to impress the Super Panel and studio audience with their performance.

Gogglebox 2023 | Channel 4 | 9.30pm

Get comfy and join the Goggleboxers as they offer their thoughts on some of the year's best telly, including Planet Earth III, Strictly Come Dancing, First Dates and more.

Beyond Paradise | BBC One | 9pm

The detective drama is back for a new festive special, with Kris Marshall once again playing DI Humphrey Goodman as he tackles a new case in Devon.

The Heist Before Christmas | Sky and NOW | 9pm

Timothy Spall as Santa Claus, Bamber Todd as Mikey, Joshua McLees as Sean, James Nesbitt as Bank Robber in The Heist Before Christmas. (Sky)
Timothy Spall as Santa Claus, Bamber Todd as Mikey, Joshua McLees as Sean, James Nesbitt as Bank Robber in The Heist Before Christmas. (Sky)

In this Sky original Christmas special 12-year-old Mickey finds two Santa Clauses in the woods, one just committed a bank heist and is running with the cash and the other claims they fell out of their sleigh. Rather than focus on the latter, Mickey decides to hang out with the former in order to get rich quick.

Not Going Out Christmas Special | BBC One | 10pm

The BBC's long-running sitcom returns for another Christmas one-off, with Lee trying his best to create the perfect family Christmas despite the fact everything keeps going wrong around him.

A Ghost Story For Christmas: Lot 249 | BBC Two | 10pm

Colin Ryan, Kit Harington and Freddie Fox in Mark Gatiss' A Ghost Story for Christmas: Lot No. 249. (BBC)
Colin Ryan, Kit Harington and Freddie Fox in Mark Gatiss' A Ghost Story for Christmas: Lot No. 249. (BBC)

Mark Gatiss’ adaptation of the Arthur Conan Doyle short story comes to BBC Two this Christmas, starring Kit Harington and Freddie Fox.

The Jonathan Ross Christmas Show | ITV1 | 10.15pm

Jonathan Ross is back with a festive version of his chat show which will see him talk with acting legend Willem Dafoe, Oscar-winning star Ariana DeBose, superstar model Claudia Schiffer, Opera star Katherine Jenkins, pop icon Boy George plus comedians Kevin Bridges and Romesh Ranganathan.


Christmas Day, Monday 25 December

Father Christmas | Channel 4 | 8.05am

Another addition that’s far from brand new content but still a Christmas must-watch - comedian Mel Smith lends his gruff voice to the man in the big red suit as he tries his best to take a well-deserved break.

The Gruffalo | BBC One | 8.50am

At this point, Magic Light Studios’ adaptations of Julia Donaldson’s work have become as synonymous with Christmas as mistletoe and mince pies. The Gruffalo is where it all started though - so why not stick it on one more time this year?

Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave | BBC Two | 10.40am

Once our presents are opened, grab yourself a plate of cheese and crackers and revisit a staple instalment of British Christmas telly. A friendly sheep and a sinister robot dog join Wallace and Gromit on their third animated adventure.

Tabby McTat | BBC One | 2.30pm

Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù and Rob Brydon voice Tabby and Fred in Tabby McTat. (BBC)
Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù and Rob Brydon voice Tabby and Fred in Tabby McTat. (BBC)

The BBC's Julia Donaldson animation from Magic Light Pictures is a story about a friendship between a musical cat and a busker, featuring the voices of Rob Brydon, Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísú, and Jodie Whittaker.

The King | BBC One & BBC Two | 3pm

As is tradition on Christmas Day, tune into BBC One or BBC Two at 3pm to hear the annual message from our head Monarch, King Charles III.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special | BBC One | 4.40pm

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2023,25-12-2023,Christmas Special 2023,Danny Cipriani, Jowita Przystal,BBC,Guy Levy
Danny Cipriani and Jowita Przystal performing on the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special. (BBC)

As is tradition, Strictly Come Dancing will have a festive special where six celebrities take to the ballroom floor for a one-off performance in a bid to win the Glitterball Trophy as the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas champion 2023. The celebs taking part are Tillie Amarty, Danny Cipriani, Keisha Buchanan, Dan Snow, Sally Nugent, and Jamie Borthwick.

Sam Ryder will also be performing in the Ballroom and there are two group routines guaranteed to bring Christmas cheer.

Stephen Fry’s Alternative Christmas Message | Channel 4 | 5.10pm

Not big on the Royals? Fear not - Stephen Fry has his own Christmas message for you. Hear what this pillar of British comedy has to say at tea time on Christmas Day.

Doctor Who | BBC One | 5.55pm

Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor makes his full debut in The Church on Ruby Road on Christmas Day. (BBC)
Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor makes his full debut in The Church on Ruby Road on Christmas Day. (BBC)

Ncuti Gatwa makes his official debut as the Fifteenth Doctor in this years Doctor Who Christmas Special, which will see the Time Lord meet his companion Ruby Sunday (Mollie Gibson) for the first time.

Ghosts | BBC One | 7.45pm

Christmas is just around the corner and Mike’s mum, Betty is staying. Although she is just trying to be helpful, Mike and Alison soon lose patience with her interfering ways. There’s no easy way to ask her to go home so the couple (and the Ghosts) struggle on, with Button House feeling fuller than ever.

The Masked Singer Christmas Special | ITV1 | 7.30pm

A new batch of mystery guests try to fool the judges on The Masked Singer.
A new batch of mystery guests try to fool the judges on The Masked Singer. (ITV)

A festive one-off special for The Masked Singer will be airing at Christmas with judges Jonathan Ross, Rita Ora, Davina McCall and Mo Gilligan hoping to guess the celebrities hiding underneath festive costumes.

The Festive Pottery Throw Down | Channel 4 | 7.30pm

Hugh Dennis, Sophie Duker, Alice Levine and Joe Swash all try their hand at pottery in this festive edition of Channel 4's popular craft show. Will any of them create work that brings judge Keith Brymer Jones to tears? Tune in and find out.

Call The Midwife | BBC One | 8.15pm

The BBC favourite will be airing a new Christmas special which will kickstart the 13th season of the series, with cast members like Helen George and Olly Rix returning.

Ricky Tomlinson Remembers… The Royal Family | BBC Two | 9pm

The Royle Family’s on-screen patriarch Ricky Tomlinson takes a stroll down memory lane to remember the best bits of playing Jim Royle whilst remembering the life, career and legacy of its co-creator and writer Caroline Aherne.

1% Club Christmas Special | ITV1 | 9pm

Lee Mack is set to host a festive special of quiz show The 1% Club where 100 contestants try to win £100,000 by answering Christmas-themed questions.

EastEnders | BBC One | 9.45pm

Steve McFadden will appear in this year's EastEnders Christmas special. (BBC)
Steve McFadden will appear in this year's EastEnders Christmas special. (BBC)

The BBC soap is continuing with tradition by airing a Christmas special, with the episode set to feature a whodunnit-type mystery for viewers.

Barry Humphries: The Last Laugh | ITV1 | 10pm

ITV will be releasing a new documentary in honour of the late Barry Humphries after his passing in April, the show will give viewers a closer look at the comedian's impact on the industry from his signature characters like Dame Edna to other classic moments from his career.

Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy | BBC Two | 10.25pm

It's still quite hard to believe that a comedic voice as strong as Caroline Aherne is sadly no longer with us. In this celebratory show, the late star's friends and colleagues - including Steve Coogan, John Thomson and her Royle Family co-creator Craig Cash, revisit key moments from her life and career.

Mrs. Brown’s Boys Christmas - Mammy’s Mare | BBC One | 10.45pm

All Mrs Brown wants is a nice, peaceful Christmas, but the family have other ideas! Cathy’s decided to cook Christmas dinner for the first time ever, a sentimental decoration has gone missing and a surprise dinner guest all have the potential to ruin Agnes’ quiet Christmas.


Boxing Day, Tuesday 26 December

Tipping Point: Lucky Stars Christmas Special | ITV1 | 5.45pm

Ben Shephard with Julian Clary, Jamie Laing and Stephanie Beacham: Tipping Point: Lucky Stars Christmas Special (ITV)
Ben Shephard with Julian Clary, Jamie Laing and Stephanie Beacham: Tipping Point: Lucky Stars Christmas Special (ITV)

Tipping Point returns for a celebrity special this Christmas with Ben Shephard putting Julian Clary, Stephanie Beacham and Jamie Laing through their paces to win money for their chosen charities.

Charles III: The Coronation Year | BBC One | 6.50pm

The film will offer a unique insight into the life of King Charles III and Queen Camilla and take viewers behind the scenes of the first year of the reign of King Charles. Narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, it will air this December as part of the BBC’s Christmas offering.

Vera: The Rising Tide | ITV1 | 8pm

Ann Cleaves' detective Vera Stanhope is back, with the sleuth being put through her paces in a new feature-length episode that charts a mystery that takes place in the run up to Christmas.

The 2023 Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution | BBC Four | Tue 26 - Thu 28 Dec | 8pm

Prof. Michael Wooldridge - Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Future of AI: Dream or a Nightmare? (BBC)
Prof. Michael Wooldridge - Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The Future of AI: Dream or a Nightmare? (BBC)

The truth about artificial intelligence, the most important and rapidly evolving field of science in the world today, will be revealed in the 2023 Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution.

Christmas University Challenge | Channel 4 | 8.30pm

Are you smart enough to guess any of the answers during the University Challenge Christmas Special? If so, you're brighter than most. Find this festive episode on Boxing Day evening.

Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2023 | Channel 4 | 9pm

Jimmy Carr is back as host of the 2023 edition of The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, he will be testing the knowledge of several celebrity teams.

Death In Paradise Christmas Special | BBC One | 9pm

Blow off the festive cobwebs by returning to sunny Saint Marie and joining the police for a feature-length special.

Agatha Christie’s Murder is Easy | BBC One | 9pm

David Jonsson as Luke Fitzwilliam in Agatha Christie's Murder Is Easy. (BBC)
David Jonsson as Luke Fitzwilliam in Agatha Christie's Murder Is Easy. (BBC)

A new murder mystery based on the works of Agatha Christie is coming to BBC in December, with retired policeman Luke Fitzwilliam (David Jonsson) investigating a case after meeting a mysterious woman named Miss Pinkerton (Penelope Wilton)

Imagine: French & Saunders - Pointy, Bitchy, Bitter | BBC One | 10.30pm

Imagine… French & Saunders: Pointed, Bitchy, Bitter explores a brand of comedy based on satire, silliness and above all friendship - of the UK’s most successful double act of the last 40 years, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.


The best UK TV beyond Christmas

​The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan Christmas Special | Tue 27 Dec | Channel 4 | 10pm

Comedian Mo Gilligan returns for a festive edition of his chat show The Lateish Show, which will see him speak with a variety of guests.

MasterChef: Battle of the Critics 2023 | Thu 28 Dec | BBC One | 8pm

For the first time in MasterChef history, after years of tasting and critiquing contestants’ dishes, the tables will be turned on five of the country’s top food critics. Competing are Grace Dent, Leyla Kazim, William Sitwell, Jay Rayner, and Jimi Famurewa.

Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing Christmas Special | Fri 29 Dec | BBC Two | 9pm

Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse's feel-good series Gone Fishing is being given a new Christmas special, where the comedians will be enjoying a trip together.

Men Up | Fri 29 Dec | BBC One | 9pm

Aneurin Barnard and Iwan Rheon in Men Up. (BBC)
Aneurin Barnard and Iwan Rheon in Men Up. (BBC)

Men Up explores the lives of five ordinary Welshmen who embark on an extraordinary journey when they take part in the trial of a new drug which would later become Viagra.

The Kemps: All Gold | Fri 29 Dec | BBC Two | 10pm

Spandau Ballet’s Gary and Martin Kemp are back with more television Gold with a follow up to their to the hit 2020 mockumentary The Kemps: All True.

National Lottery NYE Concert | New Year’s Eve 31 Dec | ITV1 | 6pm

ITV1 will be celebrating New Year's Eve in style with a night of music and entertainment hosted by Alesha Dixon and Jason Manford, the event will be taking place at the OVO Arena Wembley.

The Graham Norton Show New Year’s Eve | New Year’s Eve 31 Dec | BBC One | 10.25pm

Sparkling chat, jokes and music as Graham Norton is joined by Hollywood stars Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo, Strictly host Claudia Winkleman, and comedy great Rob Brydon. With music from Mercury Prize-winner Ezra Collective and end-of-the-year stories in the world-famous Big Red Chair.

Jools’ Annual Hootenanny | New Year’s Eve 31 Dec | BBC Two | 11.30pm

Jools will be ringing in 2024 in fine style. He’ll be bringing viewers the very best music from an eclectic mix of the biggest stars, as well as the brightest new talent and will be joined by special guests.

Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster | New Year’s Day 1 Jan | BBC One | 8pm

Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster will combine ground-breaking science, fascinating natural history with gripping storytelling, and state-of-the-art CGI to explore the tale of the most formidable predator of the Jurassic world.

Mr Bates vs The Post Office | New Year’s Day 1 Jan | ITV1 | 9pm

Mr Bates Vs the Post Office starts in early 2024. (ITV)
Mr Bates Vs the Post Office starts in early 2024. (ITV)

Toby Jones stars in a new four-part series about a real-life miscarriage of justice that saw hundreds of innocent subpostmasters and postmistresses who were wrongly accused of theft, fraud and false accounting because of a defective IT system.

The Unofficial Science of Indiana Jones | New Year’s Day 1 Jan | Sky Max | 9pm

Could Indiana Jones really pull off all of those whip-tricks? Would he be able to survive so much action and adventures? Do the Sankara Stones actually bring fortune and glory? This show aims to find out.

The Tourist S2 | New Year's Day 1 Jan | BBC One | 9pm

Elliot (Jamie Dornan) and Helen (Danielle Macdonald) travel to Ireland to find answers about Elliot’s identity, but instead they are forced to face the dangerous consequences of his past actions.

Mrs. Brown’s Boys New Year’s - New Year, New Mammy | New Year's Day 1 Jan | BBC One | 10pm

Mrs Brown and the gang start the New Year by attempting a tough new health and fitness regime. New year, new Agnes! But while Maria and Cathy work hard to get the gang into shape, a mysterious visitor to Finglas raises some difficult questions from Agnes and Winne’s past.

Taskmaster New Year Treat | Tue 2 Jan | Channel 4 | 9pm

Greg Davies and Alex Horne return for a New Year edition of Taskmaster, which will see a new group of celebrities take on fun challenges to win the special.

Watch a trailer for The Tourist