WITH this winter set to be one of the coldest yet, staying in and watching the telly will be a Christmas past time for many this year. The plethora of seasonal films, shows and specials is one of the things that make Christmas special. So, accordingly, here is our list of the must see programmes during this holiday season.
On the BBC
Doctor Who – The Day of the Doctor has come and gone, Gallifrey falls no more, but the Time of the Doctor is coming in the annual Christmas Day special. With current incumbent Matt Smith set to leave, and new Doctor Peter Capaldi set to take the reins of the Tardis, this is essential TV viewing.
Eastenders – Christmas is always a bad time for the residents of Walford. If it isn’t murder, it’s another Christmas disaster. This year, Janine’s lies look set to be exposed and The Queen Victoria pub finds itself under the new management of Mick and Linda Carter.
Sherlock – How did he survive the fall in season two’s finale showdown with arch nemesis Moriarty? Nobody knows, yet. Sherlock is back from the dead on New Year’s Day, when all the answers will be provided for one of the most talked about moments in recent TV history.
Notable mentions – The Great British Bake Off Christmas Special, Mrs Brown’s Boys (plus New Year’s special), Still Open all Hours, Call the Midwife, Death Comes to Pemberly, Gangsta Granny and the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.
Films on the BBC: Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Gnomeo and Juliet, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Little Fockers, Megamind and Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom.
On BBC Two
QI XL Christmas Special – Stephen Fry hosts his witty and intelligent quiz show, but with a seasonal twist in this Christmas Special. If you fancy learning lots of new things on Christmas Eve, this is the show to watch.
An Adventure in Space and Time – This excellent drama based on the beginnings of Doctor Who, written by Whovian Mark Gatiss, is one that all Doctor Who fans should not miss this Christmas.
Idris Elba: King of Speed – Luther star Idris Elba hosts this documentary which sees him get behind the wheel of some of the world’s fastest cars.
Notable mentions – Victoria Wood’s Mid-Life Christmas, Doctor Who at the Proms, Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, M.R James: Ghost Writer and the Christmas University Challenge.
Downton Abbey – Following the furore over that rape scene and other shocking events during this season, fans will be hoping for something a little more cheery for the Downton Abbey Christmas Special.Viewers will be treated to a royal scandal coming to the Abbey and it is unlikely it will disappoint.
Coronation Street – Do soap families ever have a good Christmas? This year it is the turn of the Tilsleys to have a horrid festive season as Nick, who viewers have watched get progressively worse since his head injury, strike wife Leanne in a moment of rage.
Birds of a Feather – The once BBC show will be making its return in January ahead of a full-series return in the spring. Fans will see old favourites Sharon and Tracey attending the book launch of their man-eater friend Dorien’s book, Fifty Shades of Green. It has been 15 years since viewers have seen the trio, how have their lives changed since then? Tune in to find out.
Notable mentions – Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs at Christmas, Emmerdale, Vicious (a one-off special return) specials for Miss Marple and Midsomer murders and of course the yearly Queen’s Speech.
Films on ITV: Tangled and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1&2.
The Snowman and The Snowdog – The sequel to the family favourite, The Snowman, will return on Christmas Eve again this year. This is a Christmas cracker for all the family.
Alan Carr: Chatty Man – The bespectacled comedian usually has something special up his sleeve for his seasonal shows, especially his New Year’s Eve party. Christmas will not be any different.
Big Fat Quiz of the Year – What better way to spend Boxing Day than reviewing all of the talking points of 2013 with host Jimmy Carr and his three teams of various guests?
Notable mentions – Various IT Crowd specials, Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message, Man Down Christmas Special and Bear’s Wild Weekend with Stephen Fry.
Films on Channel 4 – Machete
Greatest Christmas TV Moments – Everybody loves a countdown show, so counting down the nation’s favourite Christmas TV moments, and there have been many, is something not to miss.
Lady Gaga & The Muppets Holiday Spectacular – Lady Gaga is often strange enough on her own, so adding everybody’s favourite puppets, The Muppets, into the mix promises something special in this Christmas Eve offering.
Michael Bublé’s Christmas Special – After your annual Boxing Day lunch of Christmas Day leftovers, who better to swoon over than Canadian singer Michael Buble?
Notable mentions – Eddie Stobart: 12 Days of Christmas, Greatest Ever Christmas Movies, World’s Strongest Man
Films on Channel 5 – The Wizard of OZ and Michael Jackson’s This Is It.
For all of your TV needs, including Christmas schedules and times, visit http://www.digitalspy.co.uk.
Chester Intelligencer reporter, Sean Lunt
- Mark Gatiss, Idris Elba lead BBC Two Christmas, New Year listings (digitalspy.co.uk)
- Christmas TV: guide to this season’s must-see specials (hellomagazine.com)
- Sherlock, Doctor Who and Bake Off in BBC’s Christmas TV lineup (theguardian.com)
- Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale: Christmas details confirmed (digitalspy.co.uk)
- Sneak peak at TV crackers ; The Christmas telly schedules have been announced and there are plenty of specials, from Doctor Who to Downton, that… (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Downton Abbey Christmas special: a royal scandal (telegraph.co.uk)
- Christmas Day schedule updates reveal EastEnders’ Danny Dyer to take on Downton Abbey at 8.30pm (mirror.co.uk)
- Doctor Who to go head-to-head with Coronation Street in Christmas Day TV schedules (dailymail.co.uk)
- What Your Favorite Christmas Special Says About You (thegloss.com)