In Review

Christmas TV guide 2017: 10 shows you won’t want to miss

Doctor Who, Call the Midwife and the first ever Channel 4 Bake-Off Christmas special

It’s a Christmas ritual familiar in homes up and down the country. After a day of festive gorging on turkey, pigs in blankets, cheese and chocolate - to say nothing of wine and beer - there’s nothing better than chilling out in front of the telly.

Luckily, there’s plenty to choose from this year, and we’ve compiled this helpful round-up of the best TV shows and movies on the box over Christmas:

But those in hope of settling down for a festive snooze, be warned - these top picks are more likely to have you on the edge of your sofa rather than snoring under your paper hat.

Christmas Eve

Mary, Mel and Sue’s Big Christmas Thank You - BBC One, 7pm

After what feels like an eternity to Bake-Off fans, Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins are together on screen again - it’s a Christmas miracle!

The trio are back in the kitchen for this one-off special, in which they will prepare a festive feast to surprise volunteers at a hard-pressed South Wales community centre, while a BBC team carries out secret renovations. Awww.

Christmas Day

Doctor Who - BBC One, 5.30pm

There’s no shortage of white Christmas , with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor lost in a snowy tundra, alongside the first Doctor (played by David Bradley) and an errant First World War captain (Mark Gatiss).

The final scenes of the festive special will give us the moment we’ve been waiting for - Capaldi’s regeneration into the form of Broadchurch actor Jodie Whittaker, the first ever female Doctor.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special - BBC One, 6.30pm

Just in time for your post-turkey slump, the Strictly ballroom comes alive with the ghosts of contestants past, all competing to be crowned king or queen of Christmas. This year’s roll-call includes Judy Murray, Colin Jackson, Katie Derham and Jeremy Vine.

Call the Midwife - BBC One, 7.40pm

It’s not just 2017 Britain experiencing a December cold snap - there’s one in 1960s Poplar, too, in the Christmas installment of the midwifery drama. The plummeting temperatures mean the hardworking midwives of Nonnatus House face even more danger and drama than usual on their rounds. We’re sure it will all come out right in the end - it’s Christmas after all.

The Great Christmas Bake-Off - Channel 4, 7.40pm

Fire up the space heaters - the Bake-Off tent is welcoming back eight former contestants for the first ever Channel 4 version of the show’s annual yuletide special.

The good news for fans is that baking banker Selasi, the indisputable breakout star of 2016, is one of those returning for the first of the two-part installment, alongside fellow class-of-2016 alum Val and prison governor Paul Jagger.

In the second part, which will air at the same time on New Year’s Day, it will be the turn of four other former contestants - including series 7 quarter-finalist Benjamina and fan favourite Rav - will be hoping to impress judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood.

Eastenders - BBC One, 9pm

Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit to the death and despair of Albert Square, would it?

With the Queen Vic on the verge of falling prey to gentrification, Mick and Linda Carter prepare to throw one last Cockney knees-up. But with an increasingly unhinged Max Branning gunning for Ian Beale, we doubt the party spirit will last.

300 Years of French and Saunders - BBC One, 10.30pm

Has it really been 30 years? Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders celebrate three decades of tickling the nation’s funny-bone with a special that features brand new material - including spoofs of Gogglebox and The Handmaid’s Tale - alongside classic sketches from the archive and never-before-seen footage.

Boxing Day

Little Women - BBC One, 8pm

Call the Midwife scribe Heidi Thomas has penned this three-part retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, which follows the fortunes of four sisters in 19th century New England. Maya Hawke - daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman - stars as headstrong sister Jo, with a supporting cast that includes Emily Watson, Angela Lansbury and Michael Gambon.

If part one enchants you, the second and third installments will be shown at the same time on the 27 and 28 December.

27 December

Alan Partridge: Why, When, Where, How and Whom? - BBC Two 9pm

Ah-ha! Partridge fans rejoice. Ahead of Norfolk’s finest broadcaster’s return to screens for a new series in 2018, this documentary about the comedy icon features contributions from his creators, Steve Coogan and Armando Iannucci, and I’m Alan Partridge cast members.

New Year’s Eve

The Graham Norton Show - BBC One, 10.20pm

The king of the chat show has outdone himself this year, with a New Year’s Eve special absolutely groaning with top-drawer guests.

With Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Gary Oldman and Suranne Jones joining Graham on the sofa for what is guaranteed to be a raucous affair, you might just be tempted to give New Year’s Eve parties a miss.

Jools’ Annual Hootenanny - BBC Two, 11.20pm

Jools Holland’s Hootenanny, the NYE staple of reformed ravers, is back for its 24th instalment of music, chat and that all-important midnight countdown.

Even the show’s other key audience - sullen teenagers just that little bit too young to be allowed out on the town - might be won over by its headline act this year, the ubiquitous Ed Sheeran.

Other musical guests joining Jools for the two-hour extravaganza include Jessie Ware, Beth Ditto and Hootenanny stalwart Ruby Turner.

New Year’s Day

Grandpa's Great Escape - BBC One, 6.55pm

David Walliams co-stars in this adaptation of his children’s book. The heartwarming tale follows a young boy’s scheme to help his Alzheimers-stricken grandfather (Tom Courtnay) escape the clutches of an unscrupulous care home matron (a villainous Jennifer Saunders) and relive his adventures as a Second World War flying ace.


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