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The best hidden gems on TV this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 11:08 21 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:16 21 December 2018

Bradley Walsh: When Dummies Took Over The World - Bob Carolgees and Spit The Dog, Richard Cadell and Sooty and Sweep and Roger De Courcey and Nookie Bear. Front row: Bradley Walsh (C) Over The Top Productions

Bradley Walsh: When Dummies Took Over The World - Bob Carolgees and Spit The Dog, Richard Cadell and Sooty and Sweep and Roger De Courcey and Nookie Bear. Front row: Bradley Walsh (C) Over The Top Productions

ITV

Christmas can be a stressful time of year what with all those rows to fit in with your family, arguments over who gets the last chocolate in the tin and that’s without having to navigate the festive TV schedules. Here are some hidden gems which are buried in the listings.

Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland  -(C) 7Wonder - Photographer: Jaimie GramstonBilly Connolly: Made in Scotland -(C) 7Wonder - Photographer: Jaimie Gramston

Christmas can be a stressful time of year what with all those rows to fit in with your family, arguments over who gets the last chocolate in the tin and that’s without having to navigate the festive TV schedules. With more choice than ever, it’s easy to miss some of the hidden gems which are buried in the listings – so here are a few to consider.

Agatha and the Truth of Murder

December 23, Channel 5, 9pm

Cities: Nature's New Wild - Firefighters in Bangkok, Thailand rescue a reticulated python from a residential area, to be released into a wild area  - (C) Matt BrandonCities: Nature's New Wild - Firefighters in Bangkok, Thailand rescue a reticulated python from a residential area, to be released into a wild area - (C) Matt Brandon

It may sound like the plot of one of her murder mystery novels, but this drama explores what happens when Agatha Christie herself went missing for 11 days. In 1926, the writer kissed her sleeping seven-year-old daughter Rosalind goodbye and walked out of her home in Berkshire and wasn’t seen until almost two weeks later. When she was found, she was in a hotel in North Yorkshire and claimed not to remember a thing. Did she go missing while trying to solve a real-life murder?

Escape to the Chateau at Christmas

December 23, Channel 4, 8pm

Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen & Milkmen (C) BBC - Photographer: Louise LockwoodRaymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen & Milkmen (C) BBC - Photographer: Louise Lockwood

Dick Strawbridge and his wife Angel are preparing for a magical Christmas at the chateau. The kitchen is bursting with Strawbridge festive family food, including Dick’s Joyeux Noel pudding and his home-made walnut wine. Angel is sprinkling her stylish stardust across everything - from the table to the super-sized chateau Christmas tree.

The Crystal Maze: Celebrity Christmas Special

December 26, Channel 4, 8pm

In this festive special, a bemused Richard Ayoade guides a celebrity team of haplessly enthusiastic adventurers around a special panto-themed Maze. Captaining the team is Christopher Biggins, leading Deborah Meaden, Jamie Laing, Frankie Bridge and Chris Kamara with some surprising celebrity cameos and a pantomime cow along the way.

A Year in the Life of a Year

December 27, BBC2, 10.40pm

Emmy Award-winning director Rhys Thomas is back to seamlessly re-edit film and television footage from the last 12 months to create a spoof take on the year’s cultural events, entertainment smashes and, let’s face it, Brexit.

Billy Connolly: Made In Scotland

December 28, BBC2, 9pm

Before he found fame on an international level, British comedy was an end of the pier kind of affair. But through sheer talent and force of personality Connolly ploughed a different, and deeply personal yet universal, approach to comedy - and in doing so he changed the face of British comedy forever.

Bradley Walsh: When Dummies Took Over The World

December 29, ITV, 9pm

Bradley Walsh tells the story of Britain’s most famous puppet stars including Orville, Emu, Sooty, Lord Charles, Dicky Mint, Spit the Dog, and Nookie Bear. They were once the stars of Saturday night TV, but what happened when the limelight faded? Bradley Walsh discovers where they are now and brings together some of them for a very special (or very creepy?) reunion.

Cities: Nature’s New Wild

December 30, BBC2, 8pm

From humpback whales beaching in New York’s Hudson Bay to huge colonies of mega-bats in Adelaide; from African penguins nesting in Cape Town to Burmese Pythons living on the streets of Bangkok, experience our most-loved and familiar cities through fresh eyes - those of the animals that live in them - and discover a wilder side to a world we think we know.

Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen and Milkmen

December 31, BBC2, 9pm

Forty years ago Raymond

Briggs used a pot of coloured pencils to create The Snowman, a wordless book of illustrations which would inspire the film enjoyed by millions of British households every Christmas. This playful, moving and often emotional portrait is told through interviews with Raymond, specially commissioned animation illustrated by Chris Riddell, and contributions from friends, colleagues and admirers.

The Inbetweeners: Fwends Reunited

January 1, Channel 4, 9pm

Together again for the first

time in four years, Simon Bird, James Buckley, Blake Harrison and Joe Thomas, aka Will, Jay, Neil and Simon are all on board for an action-packed, fun-filled celebration of 10 years of The Inbetweeners. The show celebrates the huge cultural phenomenon of our four favourite teenagers, and

features a succession of much loved faces from the cast of the massively successful TV series and films.

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