New Doctor Who adventures and finale of Ghosts among BBC festive line-up

Ncuti Gatwa’s first Doctor Who outing and the finale of sitcom Ghosts are among the highly anticipated TV specials lined up on the BBC over the festive period.

Christmas editions of Strictly Come Dancing, Call The Midwife and Beyond Paradise are also set to entertain the family.

Entertainment favourites including The Graham Norton Show, The Weakest Link, Blankety Blank and Would I Lie To You are also on the festive schedule as well as network film premieres, documentaries and religious programmes.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special
Dan Snow who is among the six celebrities who will compete on the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special (BBC/PA)

Sex Education star Gatwa will have his debut adventure as the 15th Time Lord after Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary celebration episodes, starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate.

Comedy series Ghosts, which follows a young couple who inherit an abandoned country house inhabited by a group of spirits, will come to an end after five series.

In the world of drama, soap opera EastEnders will reveal which Walford male will meet his demise, while hit thriller The Tourist returns starring Jamie Dornan and Danielle Macdonald.

A Call The Midwife Christmas special will take viewers back to 1968 when Apollo 8 was poised to circle the moon.

Death In Paradise will also get a feature-length special while its spin-off, Beyond Paradise, will air its first Christmas edition.

Kit Harington and Freddie Fox will star in Mark Gatiss’s adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Ghost Story for Christmas: Lot No 249.

In the factual world, Attenborough And The Giant Sea Monster will follow Sir David Attenborough as he investigates the discovery of a lifetime.

Charles III: The Coronation Year
The King during the rehearsal for his coronation, as seen in the new documentary Charles III: The Coronation Year (Christopher Openshaw/BBC/PA)

Charles III: The Coronation Year will offer a unique behind-the-scenes insight into the life of the King and Queen in the first year of his reign.

The Strictly festive episode will see broadcaster Dan Snow, BBC Breakfast host Sally Nugent, EastEnders actor Jamie Borthwick, actress Tillie Amartey, rugby player Danny Cipriani and Sugababes singer Keisha Buchanan compete to be crowned the Christmas champion.

There will also be a festive edition of Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel featuring Rylan Clark, Peter Crouch and Nicole Scherzinger as the celebrity contestants hoping to answer their way to a prize pot for their chosen charities.

The Repair Shop with Jay Blades will also open its barn doors for magical festive fixes.

Elsewhere in the schedule, for the first time in MasterChef history, the tables will be turned on five of the country’s top food critics in MasterChef: Battle Of The Critics 2023.

MasterChef judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode will also welcome back four of the most memorable celebrities from past series in Celebrity MasterChef: Christmas Cook-Off 2023.

Chelsea Flower Show 2022
Dame Mary Berry (Yui Mok/PA)

Nigella Lawson will show off her love of Dutch food and culture in Nigella’s Amsterdam Christmas, Dame Mary Berry will head to her mother’s homeland of Scotland for Mary Berry’s Highland Christmas, and the Hairy Bikers return after a pause with The Hairy Bikers: Coming Home For Christmas.

Christmas staple Mrs Brown’s Boys will return with two episodes and Bad Education will be back for a musical-themed festive episode starring Layton Williams, Charlie Wernham, Mathew Horne and Vicki Pepperdine.

January 1 will see broadcaster Petroc Trelawny present the New Year’s Day Concert Live from Vienna 2024, while hit stage show Peaky Blinders: The Redemption Of Thomas Shelby, inspired by the TV series, will debut.

Among the religious programming will be Midnight Mass from Portsmouth Cathedral, Christmas Morning from Manchester Cathedral, a second series of My Life At Christmas, Carols From Kings and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message.

There will also be network premieres of hit films including Toy Story 4, The Addams Family 2, The Witches, House Of Gucci and the live action version of The Lion King.

BBC chief content officer Charlotte Moore said: “This year’s Christmas line-up on the BBC is an extravaganza of must-watch shows.

“Join us as we welcome a brand new Doctor and wave goodbye to our beloved sitcom Ghosts. Alongside a spectacular range of entertainment, drama, comedy and factual programming across the festive fortnight.

“It’s essential viewing for everyone as we bring friends and families together across the UK.”