The Best TV To Watch Over The Christmas Break

The Best TV To Watch Over The Christmas Break

Monday 22nd December

A Christmas Carol, 9pm, BBC1

It's Guy Pearce’s chance to play Ebenezer Scrooge, the cold-hearted miser at the heart of Charles Dickens’s festive classic. The BBC’s newest adaption of the story is directed by Nick Murphy and also stars Andy Serkis, Charlotte Riley and Joe Alwyn. The film, which spans three episodes, stays true to the original story and follows Scrooge as he revisits his past in the dark, haunted streets of Victorian London. Continues at the same time on 23rd and 24th December.

Tuesday 24th December

Hugh Grant: A Life On Screen, 9pm, BBC2 

Hugh Grant tells the story behind his success. From his early days starting out in comedy troupe The Jockeys of Norfolk to his breakthrough role as Charles in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Hugh Grant has become one of Britain’s best-loved film stars. The documentary also includes interviews from those who have helped shape Grant’s career, such as Andie MacDowell, Richard Curtis, Sandra Bullock, Colin Firth and Nicholas Hoult.

Christmas Eve

The Tiger Who Came To Tea, 7pm, Channel 4 

Judith Kerr’s tale of the tea-guzzling tiger, who turns up unannounced and eats and drinks Sophie and mummy out of house and home before disappearing into the night, has been delighting children and parents for generations. In fact, it’s never been out of print since it was published in 1968. Channel 4’s new hand-drawn animated special will air as a festive treat on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, 4:40pm, BBC1

Strictly Come Dancing returns for an all-star Christmas special as six former Strictly stars return to the dancefloor for the annual one-off. Hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, the show will include dances from celebrities Chizzy Akudolu, Debbie McGee, Gemma Atkinson, Joe Sugg, Mark Wright and Richard Arnold, plus a new song from Liam Payne.

The Great Christmas Bake Off, 8pm, Channel 4 

Noel, Sandi, Prue and Paul gather for their traditional festive get-together, welcoming former contestants for Yule-themed challenges and special guests Status Quo.Former bakers taking part this year include Tom Hetherington from 2017’s series, Chuen-Yan from 2017, Briony Williams from 2018 and – our favourite – Terry Hartill from 2018.

Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special, 8:30pm, BBC1

Gavin & Stacey will return for a one-off Christmas special. The Bafta-winning sitcom, about a long-distance relationship between a girl from south Wales and an Essex boy, was last screened in the UK in 2010, when its New Year’s Day finale attracted more than 10m viewers. James Corden and Ruth Jones – who play characters Smithy and Nessa – will be joined in the new episode by castmates Mathew Horne and Joanna Page, who play the titular couple, plus Rob Brydon, Larry Lamb, Melanie Walters and Alison Steadman. We can’t wait to find out what’s happened to the gang over the last nine years.

Dolly Parton: Here I Am, 8:30pm, BBC2 

Dolly Parton: Here I Am is the latest film from Bafta-winning producer and director Francis Whately. With unprecedented access, it reveals the genius songwriter behind the rhinestones, the private individual who reveals almost everything if you take the time to explore the lyrics and the modern feminist who doesn’t want to be called a feminist. Talking about her on camera for the first time are Dolly’s musicians, co-writers and producers, in an exploration of why she is seen as one of the greatest songwriters of modern times.

Boxing Day

Paddington 2, TBC, BBC1 

The wonderful sequel to the hit family film finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington spots a pop-up book in Mr Gruber’s antique shop and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief.

Big Fat Quiz Of The Year 2019, 9pm, Channel 4 

Everyone loves a quiz at Christmas to break up the continuous stream of eating. This festive period, Jimmy Carr is hosting two quizzes to challenge teams of celebrities with plenty of tricky questions. Big Fat Quiz of The Year 2019 will see Dara O’Briain, Maya Jama, Asim Chaudhry, Roisin Conaty, Richard Ayoade and Noel Fielding put to the test. On 2nd January, guests including Claudia Winkleman and Jonathan Ross will grace Big Fat Quiz Of The Decade.

28th December

Richard Osman’s World Cup Of The Decade, 9:50pm, Channel 4
As the 2010s draw to a close, Richard Osman is taking viewers down memory lane with a look back at the decade’s highlights in film, TV, celebrity and many more categories. Joined by celebrity guests, Osman will weigh in on the many noteworthy moments before revealing the ultimate winners in each category. With questions having been voted on via public Twitter polls, this is bound to be a funny and irreverent summary of the last ten years. 

29th December

The Trial of Christine Keeler, 9pm, BBC1

Sophie Cookson, James Norton, Ellie Bamber, Ben Miles and Emilia Fox lead a stellar cast in The Trial Of Christine Keeler, written by Bafta Award-winning screenwriter and novelist Amanda Coe. The Trial Of Christine Keeler takes a fresh look at one of the most infamous British stories of the 20th century: the chain of events in the 1960s that came to be known as the Profumo Affair. At the centre of the storm was 19-year-old Christine Keeler, a young woman whom the powerful, male-dominated establishment sought to silence and exploit, but who refused to play by their rules.

New Year's Day

Seven Worlds, One Planet: Continents Of Wonder, 1:05pm, BBC1

In a look back at the highlights of the 2019 BBC series, David Attenborough takes viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions as he explores the wonders of the seven continents, highlighting the impact of human activity on the planet’s wildlife. Given the show’s environmental message, this is sure to be a great nudge when it comes to setting resolutions for 2020.

Dracula, 9pm, BBC1

Dracula has been developed by Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, based on the 1897 novel by Bram Stoker. The three-episode series, made in collaboration with the BBC and Netflix, stars Danish actor Claes Bang (The Square, The Girl In The Spider’s Web) as the title character. Moffat has said of Bang: “He has it all. Brilliant, gorgeous, charismatic, lethal. Tall, dark and gruesome all at once. Hell has a new boss.” We can’t wait.

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