The Christmas issue of Radio Times magazine: 17-30 December 2011

Our festive issue is packed with the very best TV, film and radio have to offer, including Doctor Who and Downton Abbey

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Along with turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without the bumper issue of Radio Times.

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We may be blowing our own trumpet, but we think this edition lives up to its legendary reputation. At 294 pages it’s an absolute whopper and packed full of stuff to keep you entertained and informed right through the holiday season. We’ve got two weeks’ worth of TV and radio listings, over 4,000 films rated, plus articles and interviews from some of the biggest names in entertainment.

In our festive issue:

As The Gruffalo’s Child reaches our screens, children’s laureate Julia Donaldson praises the power of television for getting kids to read – plus, don’t miss your free Gruffalo book!*

Celebrate Christmas with our exclusive 12 Days of Strictly photoshoot – a dazzling collection of pictures featuring all your favourite contestants and professionals from Strictly Come Dancing

Writing this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special was a huge responsibility. Steven Moffat explains how Sherlock gave him the seasonal inspiration he needed to pull it off – plus Matt Smith shares his thoughts on the big day

Julian Fellowes reveals how his childhood experiences of Christmas inspired the transformation of Downton Abbey into a winter wonderland

Prime Minister David Cameron answers our questions on the burning issues, such as: presents before or after lunch?

Have you ever wondered how Sir David Attenborough spends his Christmas? He talks festive tradition and Christmas television in an exclusive interview

After battling cancer, Jennifer Saunders is back on top form, and as Ab Fab returns to our screens this winter, so are Eddie and Patsy. Read our exclusive interview to find out more

David Jason opens up on fame, family, and what he thinks of modern-day TV and comedians

It’s well known that Charles Dickens had a lot of festive cheer, but as Great Expectations is adapted once more for the BBC, Claire Tomalin uncovers the great novelist’s dark side

What would the actors from Outnumbered give the Brockmans this Christmas?

Leaving the cobbles of Corrie for the stagelights of the National Theatre, Katherine Kelly talks about this exciting new step

It’s 200 years since Jane Austen published her first novel Sense and Sensibility. But why do her stories still enchant women around the world? Amanda Vickery gives her expert opinion

Dancing in their footsteps, Darcey Bussell reveres the Hollywood greats who she finds most inspiring

The Top Gear trio visited India for this year’s Christmas special – but how did that lead to Jeremy Clarkson being mistaken for a god?

We’ve all wondered exactly how Santa gets around the world in just one night. Professor Brian Cox explains the science of how the jolly fat man does it

We chat to Sports Personality of the Year nominee Darren Clarke, who didn’t just win the Open – he touched people’s hearts

Find all the programmes in our big picture quiz to win a bumper prize worth £1,100

* Redeem at Early Learning Centre or Mothercare

Radio Times festive on-sale dates:

10–16 December 2011 (week 50) – on sale from Thursday 1 December to Monday 12 December

*Christmas double issue, 17–30 December 2011 (weeks 51–52) – on sale nationwide by Wednesday 7 December to Monday 26 December

31 December 2011–6 January 2012 (week 1) – on sale Friday 23 December 2011 to Monday 2 January 2012

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7–13 January 2012 (week 2) – on sale Tuesday 3 January 2012 (as normal)