What are the Christmas TV highlights for 2019?
PUBLISHED: 08:55 06 December 2019
Who doesn’t love a bit of Christmas TV? There are some real treats in store this year. Here’s our round-up, from Strictly, to the BBC’s long-awaited festive drama.
With Guy Fawkes night now just a sparkling memory, with the nights drawing in and the clocks turned back, the big question on everyone's mind is: "What's on telly this Christmas?"
Although there are bound to be some tasty treats reserved for a late announcement closer to the big day, surprisingly, there is a lot we know all ready.
So what are the big Christmas Telly moments for 2019?
Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special - BBC One
This is the big one of the year. It's one classic sitcom we never thought we'd see again. To mark the tenth anniversary since the last episode was broadcast, actor-writers James Corden and Ruth Jones have put their transatlantic heads to together to move the story of our favourite south Essex and Barry Island families ahead, to see where everyone is now.
Expect it to be touching and wonderfully funny as the Grade A cast reunite for what promises to be a piece of television magic. Ruth Jones, James Corden, Matthew Horne, Joanna Page, Rob Brydon, Larry Lamb, Melanie Walters and Alison Steadman will all be returning for the hour-long special, which will form a major attraction on BBC1 on Christmas Day.
Call The Midwife - BBC One
The Call The Midwife Christmas Special is as much of the Christmas TV landscape as Morecambe and Wise were 50 years ago.
The very nature of the plot is Christmasy with a baby being born on Christmas Day in dramatic circumstances. This year's seasonal offering marks the start of the ninth season of the show and sees the delightfull eccentric Miriam Margoyles return to the cast.
The team travel to an idyllic Scottish island to provide much needed support for the residents. Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne), Linda Bassett (Nurse Crane), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan) and Fenella Woolgar (Sister Hilda) also star.
Worzel Gummidge - BBC One
For many Jon Pertwee was the ultimate Worzel Gummidge, the scatty scarecrow who spent his time trying to do good deeds and trying to woo Aunt Sally just to see everything end in disaster.
The classic children's sitcom, based on the classic children's books by Barbara Euphan Todd, has been
scripted by Detectorists star Mackenzie Crook who will also play the role of the eponymous scarecrow.
The story will be broadcast in two hour-long episodes and who knows it may spawn more family-friendly adventures.
Mackenzie Crook has recruited a wealth of star talent to appear alongside him in this festive reboot including: Michael Palin, Zoë Wanamaker, Steve Pemberton and Vicki Pepperdine.
Cinderella: After Ever After - Sky
Sky's big Christmas special this year is an original drama starring David Walliams, Sian Gibson, Celia Imrie and Sir Tom Courtenay.
Picking up where the classic Cinderella story takes off, the family-friendly TV movie begins with the wedding of Prince Charming and his bride Cinderella - but she soon realises that their married life might be somewhat trickier than she'd hoped. And what will her Wicked Stepmother do next?
She finds that she has to come to terms with the annoying habits of Prince Charming (Walliams) and begins to question if selecting a life-partner based on the size of a shoe was such a great idea after all.
A Christmas Carol - BBC One
It's a good job, it's a good atmospheric story because Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol must be one of the most adapted tales in English literature. No matter how many versions there are - with Alistair Sim's Scrooge and The Muppet's Christmas Carol being particularly good - we will always come back for another fine retelling of this seasonal favourite.
Let's face it, this tale of the miser and the ghosts, is an integral part of Christmas and has been every since it was first penned mid-way through the 19th century. The story of Scrooge is the epitome of a traditional Victorian Christmas.
This time it's Guy Pearce's turn to follow in the footsteps of Albert Finney, Patrick Stewart and Michael Caine and declare "Bah, humbug!" The Hollywood actor is joined in this three-part special by Charlotte Riley, Stephen Graham, Andy Serkis and Vinette Robinson.
Martin's Close - BBC Four
The other great ghost story writer was Edwardian novellist and frequent Suffolk visitor MR James. League of Gentlemen, Dr Who and Sherlock writer-actor Mark Gatiss has adapted and directed a ghostly MR James short story for Christmas which follows a court case where the accused seems to have been visited by the ghost of his victim.
The cast is headlined by Peter Capaldi, with Wilf Scolding (Game of Thrones) and Elliot Levey (Murder on the Orient Express).
You may also want to watch:
Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special - BBC One
Strictly, as it has become affectionately known, is another stable of the Christmas Day schedule. It's hard to resist the glitz and the glamour as Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman return to host another festive extravaganza. Even the harsh but fair Craig Revel Horwood has been known to crack a smile on Christmas Day.
This year six famous faces from previous series - including Joe Sugg and Gemma Atkinson - will pull their dancing shoes on one more time as they bid to impress the studio audience and take home the special Christmas trophy.
The Great Christmas Bake Off - Channel 4
The transfer of the Great British Bake-Off from the BBC to Channel 4 has been one of the big success stories of recent years and this Christmas Prue, Paul, Noel and Sandy return to the tent not once but twice over the festive period with two very different specials.
The first sees the return of favourites from previous seasons - including 2017's Yan and Tom as well as Briony and Terry from 2018 - and will feature a festive performance from Status Quo.
The second seasonal special will form part of New Year's Day's TV offering, and will see the cast of hit sitcom Derry Girls put their baking skills to the test.
The Trial of Christine Keeler - BBC One
Every year the BBC delivers a wonderful piece of prestige drama during the festive season. In the last couple of years they have tended to be all-star whodunnits from the pen of Agatha Christie featuring such star names as Glenn Close, Gillian Anderson, James McAvoy and Charles Dance.
This year they are trying something a little different and opting for a six-part adult drama exploring the duplicitous intrigues surrounding the 1960s Profumo scandal.
The Trial of Christine Keeler boasts an impressive cast including Sophie Cookson, James Norton, Ellie Bamber and Ben Miles and focuses on the woman at the heart of the Profumo Affair - Christine Keeler. It tells a human story about the sexual and cultural politics of an iconic moment in history.
Mimi and the Mountain Dragon - BBC One
Based on a popular Michael Morpurgo book, this animated children's Christmas adventure looks set to be a real treat. Featuring a score by Oscar award-winning composer Rachel Portman and based on original illustrations by Emily Gravett, and this is something that could be compared with The Snowman in years to come.
This 25 minute short film tells the story of a shy girl who discovers a baby dragon in her family woodshed, and their adventure together as seeks to return it to its mother.
The Snail And The Whale - BBC One
The BBC has quietly developed a modern Christmas tradition of airing children's stories written by The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson, and brought to life with animation from Magic Light Pictures.
Boasting an excellent voice cast that includes Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey) and Cariad Lloyd (Peep Show), The Snail and the Whale tells the story of a tiny snail with huge ambition who hitches a ride on the tail of a humpback whale.
It's Not the Robbie Williams Christmas Show - ITV
Cultural icon Robbie Williams, takes to the stage for a brand-new entertainment extravaganza treating the audience to a night of music old and new as he performs a selection of his hits and some Christmas classics - with help from some celebrity guests.
Filmed at the newly restored Alexandra Palace Theatre, it also promises new songs from Robbie's latest album The Christmas Present.
Ball and Boe: A Very Merry Christmas - ITV
The two mighty singing heavyweights, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball, return for a one off special to mark their latest collaboration as they perform festive favourites alongside some brand new material - complete with an array of celebrity guests.
Bancroft - ITV
The festive period also marks the return of murder detective DCI Elizabeth Bancroft, for a second three-part series. Sarah Parish is back in the lead role, while the supporting cast includes Charlotte Hope, David Avery and Jacqueline Boatswain.
Not Going Out Christmas Special - BBC One
Ot will be specials galore this year as Lee Mack's comedy series - which has just celebrated its tenth series - follows up a successful Halloween special with this new festive edition. Expect series 11 early in the New Year.
Mrs Brown's Boys - BBC One
Despite the fact that Mrs Brown doesn't appear to have been off our screen for years, there hasn't been a regular series of Mrs Brown's Boys since 2013, but the sitcom is another favourite which has firmly established its place on the Christmas Day schedule. There's bound to be plenty of mayhem and maybe a new series for 2020?
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