Roald & Beatrix: The Tail Of The Curious Mouse is inspired by the true story of when a six-year old boy set off on a big adventure to meet his favourite author, Beatrix Potter. The story follows Dawn French as Beatrix Potter, Harry Tayler as the young Roald Dahl, Jessica Hynes as Roald’s mother Sofie, Rob Brydon as Beatrix’s husband William Heelis, Nina Sosanya as publisher Anne Landy, Bill Bailey as a Bona Fide Gent, as well as Alison Steadman and Nick Mohammed.
Cinderella: A Comic Relief Pantomime for Christmas, BBC2
The worlds of theatre, film, comedy and music collide as Comic Relief presents a ‘stay at home’ adaptation of the pantomime Cinderella. The timeless classic, rewritten by the award-winning Dawson Brothers and produced by Richard Curtis, sees a host of A-list stars take on some of the most iconic roles in panto. The stellar cast includes Olivia Colman as the Fairy Godmother, Guz Khan as Buttons, Helena Bonham Carter as Devilia, Tom Hollander as Baron Hardup and real-life sister and brother Daisy May and Charlie Cooper as the Evil Stepsisters. This virtual script-read guarantees big laughs while also raising money to fight loneliness, hunger and cold at home and abroad, both during Christmas and beyond.
Exclusively on Disney+ from Christmas Day, Pixar’s latest creation is Soul. Meet Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx) – a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. If this is like anything Pixar has done before, Christmas Day is set to be better than ever.
Call The Midwife, BBC1
The circus comes to Poplar, putting a magical spell on its residents. A delighted Shelagh is reacquainted with an old friend, and Trixie receives an unusual gift. The 90-minute special will see former Doctor Who actor Peter Davison joins the cast as circus ringmaster Mr Percival.
Strictly: The Christmas Countdown, BBC1
Strictly: The Christmas Countdown will reveal the 25 most memorable dances of all time voted for by the viewers. From the perfect 40s, the trophy-winning routines, dances that have made us laugh, and perhaps some that are remembered for other reasons, this show promised to have it all. Presented by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, join the judges and professional dancers as they count down to see which will be voted the most memorable Strictly dance of all time.
Bridgerton follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family as she makes her debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market. Hoping to follow in her parent’s footsteps and find a match sparked by true love, Daphne’s prospects initially seem to be unrivalled. But as her older brother begins to rule out her potential suitors, the high society scandal sheet written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown casts aspersions on Daphne. Enter the highly desirable and rebellious Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), committed bachelor and the catch of the season for the debutantes’ mothers. Despite proclaiming that they want nothing the other has to offer, their attraction is undeniable, and sparks fly as they find themselves engaged in an increasing battle of wits while navigating society’s expectations for their future.
NEW YEAR’S DAY
The Serpent, BBC1
Inspired by real events, The Serpent tells the remarkable story of how the conman and murderer Charles Sobhraj (Tahar Rahim) was brought to justice. Posing as a gem dealer, Sobhraj and his girlfriend Marie-Andrée Leclerc (Jenna Coleman) travelled across Thailand, Nepal and India in 1975 and 1976, carrying out a spree of crimes on the Asian ‘Hippie Trail’ and becoming the chief suspects in a series of murders of young Western travellers. As Sobhraj repeatedly slips from the grasp of authorities around the world, Herman Knippenberg (Billy Howle), a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, unwittingly walks into his intricate web of crime.
Dancing on Thin Ice with Torvill and Dean, ITV
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean travel to Alaska on an extraordinary quest to fulfil a lifelong dream. The Olympic champions have spent a remarkable 45 years on the ice together – but astonishingly they’ve never skated in the great outdoors. But luck is against them – in Alaska’s hottest year on record there is not a lot of ice to be found. So Jayne and Chris’s travels into the remote wilderness become a hunt for wild ice, skating wherever they can. From train to husky sled, from frozen lakes to glaciers, it’s a spectacular journey. Stephen Fry narrates.
THE BEST OF THE REST…
Black Narcissus, BBC1
When the young nuns of St Faith attempt to establish a mission at a remote clifftop palace once known as the ‘House of Women’, its haunting mysteries awaken forbidden desires that seem destined to repeat a terrible tragedy. In this first episode of three, Sister Clodagh (Gemma Arterton) and her group of Anglo-Catholic nuns travel from Darjeeling on a mission to the palace of Mopu in the Himalayas. With the help of Mr Dean, the agent of General Toda Rai, they start to repair the palace and open a school. But the unsettling atmosphere of their surroundings, the distracting presence of Mr Dean and stories of the palace’s previous occupants weigh heavily on them all, reawakening memories in Clodagh that she thought she had suppressed.
Available to watch on 27th December
Little Women, Amazon
Writer-director Greta Gerwig helmed this latest adaptation of Little Women, a winter classic that draws on both the novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott. An unconventional timeline unfolds as Jo March reflects back and forth on her life and decisions. In Gerwig’s take, the story of the March sisters is given a new lease of life, with the help of a talented cast including Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet and Meryl Streep.
Yes, this was panned by critics last year, but the end of 2020 seems like the perfect time to see this bonkers adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Helmed by award-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Les Misérables), the film stars James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and Francesca Hayward.
Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star in this remake of the Swedish/French production, Force Majeure. After barely escaping an avalanche during a ski holiday in the Alps, a family is thrown into chaos as they are forced to re-evaluate everything they hold dear, as well as their true feelings for one another.
On Pointe, Disney+
This six-part docu-series captures a season in the School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York City. Featuring unprecedented access to the famous ballet institution, the series follows the lives of the students – aged 8 to 18 – as they pursue their dreams to become ballet dancers.
The Midnight Sky, Netflix
This post-apocalyptic tale follows Augustine (George Clooney), a lonely scientist in the Arctic, as he races to stop Sully (Felicity Jones) and her fellow astronauts from returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe. Clooney directs the adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton’s acclaimed novel Good Morning, Midnight, co-starring David Oyelowo, Kyle Chandler, Demián Bichir and Tiffany Boone.
Available to watch on 23rd December