Here’s some really big questions for the festive season:
Did Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas deep pan, crisp and even? If Santa gets stuck up the chimney will he suffer from Claustrophobia? And does anybody actually like eggnog?
But these matters need not detain you because Freeview has the answer to the biggest question of all: What’s on telly this Christmas?
This year, Christmas Day falls on a Monday, so we’ve got a stonking great long weekend of cool yule viewing to look forward to. So, sit back, relax and get ready to enjoy a very telly Christmas!
Friday 22 December
Saturday Night Fever – The Ultimate Disco Movie
9pm on BBC Two
Is it really forty years since John Travolta sashayed his way into our lives? It surely is, and to celebrate, that other delight of the dancefloor, Bruno Tonioli tells the story of how this legendary movie was made. And the night fever continues at 10:10pm with The Joy of the Bee Gees, followed by a Top of the Pops Disco Special at 11:10pm.
Al Murray’s Make Christmas Great Again
9pm on ITV
And now the traditional Christmas message to the Commonwealth from His Majesty, The Pub Landlord: “Christmas is back and so am I. Christmas – everyone’s favourite time of year – needs a boost in these turbulent times. That’s why I have stepped into the breach and offered to Make Christmas Great Again. With songs, guests, and a sack full of Christmas cheer to turbo boost the season. (And a glass of white wine for the ladies).”
The Graham Norton Show
10:40pm on BBC One
Got your chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Well, take your mind off the pain with Graham’s festive guest list: Will Smith will be talking about his new sci-fi movie and Jenna Coleman will let us in on the behind the scenes goss at Victoria. Tom Chaplin from Keane supplies the music, and Jamie Oliver might just rustle up a mince pie or two.
Saturday 23 December
6:15pm on BBC One
‘Twas the day before the night before Christmas, and all through the house there was much shouting and singing after Grandad snaffled the sherry meant for the trifle. Never mind, this Pointless Christmas special has celebrity pairs squaring up in a race to the bottom of the scoreboard. Watch out for the yuletide dream team of Jonah Louie (who gave us 1980’s Christmas evergreen tune Stop the Cavalry) and Mike (Wombling Merry Christmas) Batt.
Blind Date Christmas Special
8pm on Channel 5
In this festive edition of the dating show, Paul O’Grady will be hoping that the space underneath the mistletoe will be occupied by a couple who can see the light of Christmas in each other’s eyes. All together now… aww!
The World’s Best Christmas Lights: From Liverpool to Bethlehem
8pm on Channel 4
For the past five years, a group of Liverpudlians have been making the journey to Bethlehem to help light up the Christmas tree in Manger Square. This feel-good documentary follows “The Christmas Decorators” as they overcome the potential dangers and tensions to help local people prepare Bethlehem for Christmas.
Sunday 24 December – Christmas Eve
6.40pm on ITV
If you’re stuffing the Christmas pudding and setting light to the turkey, that’s probably because you’ll be distracted by West End legend Michael Crawford teaching famous faces how to sing and dance. And if you think Freddie Flintoff’s a random choice as a presenter, think again – he’ll be touring the UK in his very own all-star musical, Fat Friends, in the new year.
Mary, Mel and Sue’s Big Christmas Thank You
7pm on BBC One
For those of you still mourning the passing of the classic Bake-Off team, here they are again (well, three of them), to bring some festive cheer to a community in Wales that’s been down on its luck. Not a dry eye (or a soggy bottom) in the house!
Maigret in Montmartre
8.30pm on ITV
With any luck, the pressies will all be wrapped by the time you settle down for this mystery with a French flavour. Rowan Atkinson plays Georges Simenon’s understated detective investigating the random murders of a countess and a showgirl.
9pm on Channel 4
It’s a little-known fact that Christmas Eve is the night when sheep-minders launder their hosiery. So, while shepherds wash their socks by night, you can have your feet up in front of the telly watching other people with their feet up in front of the telly. Tonight’s Goggleboxers are sharing their thoughts on the biggest shows of the year, from Strictly Come Dancing to The Crystal Maze, The One Show to Doctor Foster.
Monday 25 December – Christmas Day
3.10pm on BBC One
Whomsoever this slipper fits gets the first go at the selection box and an afternoon in front of the telly. Kenneth Branagh puts his own spin on the traditional fairy tale. But don’t worry – there’s still a pretty young girl, a pair of scheming step-sisters and a dashing stranger.
5.30pm on BBC One
Time’s nearly up for the twelfth Doctor, but not before he’s united with the first one. Gives a whole new meaning to the word selfie!
The Great Christmas Bake Off
7.40pm on Channel 4
Join Paul Ho-Ho-Hollywood, Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding with a batch of bakers turning it up to 200 (degrees) in a battle to become this year’s festive Star Baker.
8.25pm on BBC Two
Loosely based on historical fact, tonight’s window on Will’s world finds the Bard of Avon preparing to present his latest comedy to Queen Elizabeth I (aka Emma Thompson). But will Will make Liz laugh?
9pm on ITV
As we all know, Prince Albert invented Christmas, so it’s appropriate that he plays a central role in tonight’s drama, transforming the palace into a winter wonderland. Meanwhile, Victoria is in a melancholy mood as she prepares for her first Christmas without her beloved governess.
The Morecambe and Wise Story: Look Back in Laughter
9pm on Channel 5
Time was when Christmas wasn’t Christmas without them, and they became the most watched comedy act in British TV history. So, if you’re in the mood to wallow in the nostalgia of classic Christmas nights from the past, this documentary celebrating the lives and careers of the greatest comedy double act is for you!
Tuesday 26 December – Boxing Day
Reindeer Family and Me
8pm on BBC Two
There was Prancer and Dancer and Sporty and Baby and Posh and… Well, whatever their names were, these are not those creatures. Instead, join wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan on a journey to meet the Sami people of the Arctic and the animals that are so, um, deer to them.
Travel Man: 48 hours in Hong Kong
8pm on Channel 4
If your thoughts are already turning to holidays in 2018, Richard Ayoade is here to take you on an offbeat city break to Hong Kong. This time, he’s joined by Jon Hamm, jumping on the trams and ferries and cable cars, and setting off on a food tour. And just in case you’ve had your fill of Christmas fare – don’t worry – turkey will not be on the menu!
9pm on BBC One
Based on Jessie Burton’s best-selling book, this atmospheric drama stars Romola Garai and Anya Taylor-Joy. We’re transported to 17th century Amsterdam for a tale of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution. Just the kind of spooky story to curl up and watch with a glass of mulled wine!