The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey, Star Trek, Notting Hill, The Nightmare before Christmas: films on TV today

Martin jumps in hairy feet first, Chris boldly goes where someone went before, Hugh gets starstruck, and Tim spooks Christmas: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today


The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey ★★★
6.35-9.45pm ITV 


Director Peter Jackson has stretched one novel into three films, which does seem a touch excessive. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit as a single adventure and it would have been more exciting if filmed as one. Still, there is much to commend in this first episode, as an older Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) remembers how his younger self (Martin Freeman) helped a band of dwarves, led by Richard Armitage, to win back their kingdom, which had been snatched from them by the dragon Smaug. Jackson’s visual flair and use of computer magic, so well employed in his Lord of the Rings trilogy, are strongly in evidence. There is humour, too – for instance, Bilbo’s dislike of adventures because “they make you late for dinner” – along with comfortably familiar figures such as Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Gollum (Andy Serkis). But what might have been a thrilling, light-hearted romp rather takes its time because, hey, there are two more films yet to come.

Star Trek ★★★★
8.00-10.30pm C4 

The crew of the Enterprise boldly goes back to the very beginning with director JJ Abrams at the helm and Chris Pine as a young Kirk in command.

Notting Hill ★★★★
11.05pm-1.20am ITV 

Never mind the carnival – a media circus comes to town when Hollywood star Julia Roberts falls for humble bookseller Hugh Grant. Is a happy ending guaranteed?

The Nightmare before Christmas ★★★★★
7.25-9.00pm ITV2 

There’s a surprise in store for every child after Jack Skellington hijacks Christmas, in a warped yuletide offering created by Tim Burton.

Enemy of the State ★★★★
9.00-11.05pm BBC3 

The Fugitive meets The Conversation in an exciting action adventure that sees Will Smith pursued by Jon Voight and his posse of electronic tricksters.


The perfect gift for Christmas! Buy your copy of the Radio Times Guide to Films 2016