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The Ultimate Guide to this year’s Christmas TV

Posted December 20, 2018 - Blog Posts,News and Blog

This Christmas even if you’re disappointed with what’s beneath the Christmas tree, you’re sure to enjoy what’s on the telly. Here’s our pick of the best viewing for the festive season, starting on Friday night and taking you right the way up to the New Year.

Friday 21 December

Victoria and Albert: The Royal Wedding
BBC Two at 8:30pm

There’s a sumptuous start to the festivities, with historian Lucy Worsley restaging the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. With the help of a team of experts, Lucy reveals how attention was paid to every detail, from the wedding dress to the music and the food. We’ll also discover how important this marriage was to the monarchy and its wider political significance.


Cake Wars: Christmas
ITV Be at 6pm
Edible snow globes and the ultimate gingerbread house.

Celebrity Mastermind
BBC One at 8:30pm
Contestants include Australian drag superstar Courtney Act.

Not Going Out: Live
BBC One at 9pm
It’s a live episode, so anything can happen!

Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast
Channel 4 at 9pm
With special guest Danny DeVito.


Saturday 22 December

Watership Down
BBC One at 7pm

This adaptation of Richard Adams’ novel is something special for all the family. Beautifully animated, and with A-list actors voicing the characters (including James McAvoy, Rosamund Pike and John Boyega), it’s an unforgettable odyssey. Part 2 is on Sunday at 7:20pm.



Christmas Night with the Two Ronnies
Drama at 7:20pm
Classic comedy with a special yuletide show.

Gino’s Wish Your Christmas List
Channel 5 at 8pm
The Partridge family from Folkestone are hoping for a great Christmas.

The Jonathan Ross Christmas Show
ITV at 9pm
A starry line-up, including Gillian Anderson, Rob Lowe and Sheridan Smith.



Sunday 23 December

Eight out of Ten Cats Does Countdown Christmas Special
Channel 4 at 9pm

Two teams of witty wordsmiths line up in a battle of letters and numbers.  Sean Lock and Kathy Burke take on Jon Richardson and David Mitchell, with Jimmy Carr hosting as only he can.

8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown Christmas Special



The Grinch
ITV2 at 7pm
Jim Carrey stars as the cantankerous hermit.

Chris and Michaela: Under the Christmas Sky
BBC Two at 9pm
Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan set out in search of stunning night skies.

King Gary
BBC One at 9:30pm
Tom Davis (Murder in Successville) plays a man in search of suburban nirvana.



Christmas Eve

Click and Collect
BBC One at 9:30pm

Just the thing to watch while finishing off wrapping the presents. Stephen Merchant stars in this one-off comedy as a stressed parent looking desperately for the toy unicorn his little daughter wants for Christmas.


The World’s Most Extraordinary Christmas Dinners
More4 at 6:50pm
Some festive feasts to remember.

All Aboard: The Great Reindeer Migration
BBC Four at 8pm
Slow TV at its best, as cameras follow a reindeer herd across Norway.

Bad Move: Festive Cheer
ITV at 8:30pm Jack Dee is trying to avoid the Christmas jollity.



Christmas Day

Torvill and Dean
ITV at 9:15pm

From their first steps on the Nottingham ice rink to the top of the Olympic podium, this biographical drama tells the story of the pair who ice danced their way to glory. Starring Poppy Lee Friar and Will Tudor.


Call the Midwife
BBC One at 7:45pm
Laughter and tears at Nonnatus House.

The Great Christmas Bake Off
Channel 4 at 8pm
A festive special, including the return of four Bake Off veterans.

Greatest Christmas TV Moments
Channel 5 at 11:15pm
Fondly remembered Christmas friends, from Morecambe and Wise to the Royle Family.



Boxing Day

The ABC Murders
BBC One at 9pm

John Malkovich dons the mantle of Hercule Poirot. In this three-part drama, the great detective appears to be in decline. But a serial killer is about to challenge his little grey cells. This new adaptation of the great Agatha Christie novel is very different from previous versions, and has the added bonus of Rupert Grint playing Inspector Crome. Parts 2 and 3 are on Thursday and Friday.


Agatha and the Truth of Murder
Channel 5 at 6:10pm
Continuing the Agatha Christie theme: what happened when the author disappeared for 11 days in 1926?

The Crystal Maze: Celebrity Christmas Special
Channel 4 at 8pm
A panto-themed edition, with Christopher Biggins and Deborah Meaden.

The Life of Pi
E4 at 8pm
Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning adventure story, starring a tiger called Richard Parker.



Thursday 27 December

2018: A Year in the Life of a Year
BBC Two at 10:40pm

It’s time to look back in laughter, as Rhys Thomas cleverly cuts and pastes TV clips to create a bizarre review of 2018. If you’ve always wanted to see Sir Derek Jacobi reading Trainspotting as a bedtime story, your Christmas wish is about to come true.



ITV at 8pm
Hidden secrets from James Bond’s past are finally uncovered.

Bob Monkhouse: The Last Stand
BBC Four at 10pm
A legendary performance from a comedy great.

Courage Under Fire
Paramount Network at 9pm War drama starring Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan.



Friday 28 December

Take That: We’ve Come a Long Way
BBC One at 7pm

Can it really be thirty years since Gary, Mark, Howard and Robbie first got together? It surely can, and this film revisits the band’s favourite memories, with video messages to their fans.

Take That: We've Come A Long Way


World’s Strongest Man
Channel 5 at 8pm
New series heralds the return of the men with the mighty muscles.

Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland
BBC Two at 9pm
The Big Yin reflects on a sparkling career in comedy.

Re-Play 2018 with Richard Osman
ITV at 9pm
Scarlett Moffatt joins Richard for an end-of-the-year celebrity quiz.


And not forgetting the TV highlights taking us into 2019…

Saturday 29 December: An evening with Dame Judi Dench from 6:40pm on BBC Two, a look back at some of TV’s most loved programmes on ITV at 8pm, and a new Scandi-noir thriller on BBC Four at 9pm.

Sunday 30 December: A new adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables on BBC One at 9pm, and the search for Britain’s favourite chocolate bar on Channel 5 at 9pm.

Monday 31 December: A suitably titled movie called New Year’s Eve on ITV2 at 6:40pm, and The Last Leg of the Year on Channel 4 at 9pm.

Tuesday 1 January: Dr Who’s yuletide special on BBC One at 7pm, Luther’s return to BBC One at 9pm and a new series of Who Wants to be a Millionaire on ITV at 9pm.


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