Christmas is finally upon us and bringing with it an incredible line up of Christmas TV. Take a look at our definitive guide to what’s on to plan your viewing.
Monday 20th December
9:30pm, Two Doors Down Christmas Special, BBC Two
Michelle and Alan are back on home turf in Latimer Crescent, having been in the Highlands last Christmas. It's all merry and bright as they welcome the neighbours for a wee pre-Christmas get together… but the festive atmosphere soon turns a little fraught.
10:00pm, We Wish You a Mandy Christmas, BBC Two
What is the true essence of Christmas? Is it the glimmer in a schoolboy’s expectant eye as he opens his pillowcase on Christmas morning and tucks into a delicious walnut and a bruised tangerine? Is it the wide smile on a publican’s face as he welcomes merry revellers with a vat of warm mulled wine he’s made in a sort of electric keg he normally puts oxtail soup in? Is it the haunting harmony of a choir respecting the current Covid protocols? Or, is it a Christmas episode of a TV show that is slightly longer than usual to make it appear 'special'? Find out the answer in this Christmas episode of Mandy, starring Diane Morgan as our eponymous heroine. It is slightly longer than usual.
Wednesday 22nd December
8:00pm The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special, BBC One
Brand new host Sara Pascoe throws a Christmas Sewing Bee extravaganza. To help her get into the festive spirit, she welcomes celebrity sewer Rev Kate Bottley, actors Antony Cotton and Kiell Smith-Bynoe, plus presenter Anneka Rice into the Sewing Room. Under the watchful eye of judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant, the four brave celebrities follow a pattern for a Christmas jumper, they transform a charity shop bundle into fancy dress outfit and create dresses from Christmas past.
9:00pm, First Dates at Christmas, Channel 4
Fred and the team return once again for another festive edition of First Dates - and after last year’s Christmas was cut short for so many of us, they are going all out to give this new crop of festive singletons a Christmas to remember. Now more than ever, First Dates at Christmas is about bringing people together in the name of love. At the heart of First Dates has always been people’s stories, and this merry edition is no exception - even more so after the year we have all had.
10:00pm, Mummy’s Big Christmas Do!, Channel 4
Joe Lycett is hosting a big queer Christmas house party – live from his Birmingham hometown. The festive spectacular will see the comedian and consumer warrior celebrate the return of Christmas as only Joe knows how. He will get the yuletide party started in sparkling style complete with a large dose of Joe’s trademark wit and a side order of tinsel. Packed to the rafters with special guests, musical performances and stand-up comedy, the live show will celebrate all things queer. The specially invited audience will be the real stars of the show – made up of LGBTQ+ icons, allies of the LGBTQ+ community, and local heroes in addition to some people who may well be in for some devilish surprises from Joe. Expect presents, snow, a veritable feast of shimmering seasonal goodies and lots of laughs as Joe becomes the angel atop Channel 4’s Christmas Tree.
New: Live at The Apollo Christmas Special, BBC Two
In this special festive edition of the award-winning Live at the Apollo, the fabulous Jason Manford is your host as he introduces Maisie Adam and Nabil Abdulrashid to the stage
Thursday 23rd December
8:30pm, Ghosts, BBC One
The critically acclaimed and much-loved sitcom Ghosts will be back for a special Christmas episode this December. In the run up to the festive season, Kitty becomes convinced that Santa has made an early stop at Button House when Mike and Alison discover a man living in a tent on their grounds. The ghosts' advice on how to deal with him leaves much to be desired, but eventually Mike and Alison learn that they have more to offer this Christmas than they realised.
6:30pm, Gino’s Italian Family Adventure: A Festive Feast, ITV
Gino D'Acampo prepares a sumptuous Italian Christmas feast for his wife Jessica, his children and his in-laws Elizabeth and Malcolm De Friend after a boat trip to the stunning Maddalena islands for lunch.
7:00pm, The Repair Shop, BBC One
Christmas is just around the corner, and tucked away in a frosty corner of the British countryside, the Repair Shop barn is already bustling as the dedicated team of Christmas craftspeople prepare for their biggest and busiest ever holiday season.
In the Repair Shop this Christmas, the team takes on a very special mechanical doll, a traditional German decoration, an ageing harmonium, and a train set all the way from Kenya
8:00pm, The Greatest Snowman, Channel 4
Hosted by Sue Perkins The Greatest Snowman follows the Alpine adventure of a band of celebrities who will compete in an epic snow building competition.
9:00pm, All Creatures Great and Small, Channel 5
In the Christmas special of this family favourite, it’s Christmas in Darrowby, and Helen and James realise they haven’t agreed on where they’re spending Christmas Day. Mrs Hall is expecting them at Skeldale and Jenny is expecting them at Heston Grange, and the pair are reluctant to disappoint either of them.
5:10pm, Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, BBC One
Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman host a special festive edition of the show, which sees Jay Blades, Fred Sirieix, Mel Giedroyc, Moira Stuart, Anne-Marie and Adrian Chiles taking to the floor to impress judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke. The contestants will also be taking part in a group routine alongside the professional dancers, and there will be musical performances from guests Jamie Cullum, Gary Barlow and Sheridan Smith.
5:00pm, Alternative Christmas Message, Channel 4
The alternative message is a tradition that started in 1993 and has since featured illustrious and varied speakers such as Danny Dyer, John Bercow and whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
6:00pm, The Masked Singalong, ITV
Joel Dommett hosts a one-off special of TV's most surreal guessing game. Across two series, 24 celebrities disguised in extravagant costumes have taken to the stage, competing to keep their identities hidden. Now some of the favourite characters return, including Queen Bee, Badger, Duck, Robin, Hedgehog, Blob and Sausage, performing ballads, bangers and all the very best singalong tunes. With Rita Ora, Ken Jeong, Davina McCall, Jonathan Ross and Mo Gilligan.
7:30pm, Terry Pratchett’s The Abominable Snow Baby, Channel 4
The magic of Terry Pratchett, the legendary national treasure and maverick British author who sold over 100 million books worldwide, comes to life in this half-hour animation. The Abominable Snow Baby, starring Julie Walters, Hugh Dancy, and David Harewood, tells the story of a quintessentially English town which is thrown into disarray by a huge snowfall and the dramatic appearance of a 14-foot tall Abominable Snow Baby. Shunned and feared by the local townsfolk, Snow Baby is rescued by the indomitable Granny (Julie Waters) who along with grandson Albert (Hugh Dancy) and narration by David Harewood, welcomes him into her home, showering her new pet with love and affection, changing the town’s perception and helping the community overcome their initial prejudices.
8:00pm, Call the Midwife, BBC One
The Christmas of 1966 promises to be a memorable one at Nonnatus House as Lucille and Cyril prepare for their upcoming winter wedding. The midwives are faced with their busiest Christmas Day ever as the Maternity Home is filled with expectant mums to be, each with their own challenging case, but, luckily, Mother Mildred is on hand to support them.
8:00pm, The Great British Bake Off Festive Special, Channel 4
The cast of Channel 4’s award-winning hit show It’s A Sin will be reuniting this Christmas for a seasonal special of The Great British Bake Off. Swapping the Pink Palace for an equally iconic erection, Olly Alexander; Lydia West; Nathaniel Curtis; and Shaun Dooley will enter the Bake Off tent to try their hand at some festive themed bakes. Judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood and hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas will preside over the hotly contested competition to see who on the cast knows their sieves from their spatulas in the first of two festive episodes airing on Channel 4 over the holiday period.
9:00pm, The Larkins Christmas Special, ITV
5:50pm, Around The World In 80 Days, BBC One
Gentleman adventurer Phileas Fogg, played by David Tenant, sets out on a quest to travel around the world and back home in a period of 80 days.
8:00pm, All Star Musicals, ITV
Six celebrities per episode of All Star Musicals will take centre stage as they embark on the ultimate musical theatre masterclass, each hoping to steal the show with their spectacular performance and be voted All Star Musicals Champion. Equipped with world-class mentoring from the returning panel, musical theatre powerhouses; Elaine Paige OBE, Samantha Barks (Frozen, Les Miserables) and Trevor Dion Nicholas (Hamilton, Aladdin), the celebrities will be supported by a full West End ensemble and, in the lead up to their big performance, also receive training from esteemed West End choreographers and vocal coaches. The musical numbers performed will be from a range of famous musicals, both contemporary and traditional.
9:00pm, A Very British Scandal, BBC One
Considered the most beautiful debutante of the 1930s, heiress Margaret Sweeny (Claire Foy) is in the midst of a divorce when she meets the dashing - and married - Ian Campbell, future Duke of Argyll (Paul Bettany). Three part series, with the finale on the 28th December.
Monday 27th December
9:00pm, The Richardson’s Christmas Sleepover, Channel 4
Joining Jon and Lucy for this rollicking knees-up are Roisin Conaty, Romesh Ranganathan and Rob Beckett. There’ll also be a few surprise guests along the way as the gang reflect on the highs and lows of 2021 and enjoy a boozy festive feast guaranteed to lead to misbehaving and chaos.
Thursday 30th December
8:00pm, Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard, BBC One
Sir David Attenborough joins Ben Garrod and a team of investigators at a mammoth graveyard near Swindon, to explore whether Neanderthals might have killed the ice age beasts.
9:00pm, The Great British Sewing Bee, Celebrity New Year Special, BBC One
Sara Pascoe celebrates the new year by inviting Lawrence Chaney, Rose Matafeo, Claire Richards and Kirsty Wark into the Sewing Room to try their hand at creating party clothes.
New Years Eve
11:25pm, The Big New Years & Years Eve Party with Kylie and Pet Shop Boys, BBC One
Years & Years singer Olly Alexander throws a spectacular New Year's Eve Party as we build up to the midnight moment.
New Years Day
7:00pm, Doctor Who, BBC One
New Year’s Eve. Sarah (Aisling Bea) is working - again. Nick (Adjani Salmon) is her only customer - again. Same old same old. Except this year, their countdown to midnight will be the strangest and deadliest they’ve ever known.
9:00pm, The Tourist, BBC One
Jamie Dornan stars in this gripping drama as a man desperately searching for his identity in the glowing red heart of the Australian outback. The Tourist also stars Danielle Macdonald and Shalom Brune-Franklin.