A dramatisation of this year’s London riots looks set to be one of the highlights of Channel 4’s Christmas television schedule.
London’s Burning (Thursday 22 December, 9pm) will star David Morrissey and Samantha Bond as police officers trying to deal with a night of violence and looting in Clapham Junction in August.
Using witness testimonies and interviews, the hour-long drama will “weave together” more than half-a-dozen narratives based on the accounts of shopkeepers and locals who were in the vicinity as the violence broke out. The programme, which promises “vivid testimonies to the enduring values of humanity: courage, compassion, determination, kindness and tolerance”, is directed by Justin Hardy and written by Mark Hayhurst.
Elsewhere on 4 this yuletide, documentary and current affairs programmes include King of Christmas Lights (Monday 19 December, 9pm), a Cutting Edge investigation into extreme Christmas decorators, The Year the Earth Went Wild (Monday 19 December, 8pm), a look back at 12 months of natural disasters, and Jon Snow’s 2011 (Wednesday 28 December, 8pm), the Channel 4 News presenter’s personal reflections on the year’s current affairs stories.
Catherine Tate and Ben Elton, respectively, present a pair of nostalgia-fests in the form of Laughing at the Noughties (Saturday 17 December, 10pm) and Laughing at the 80s (Wednesday 28 December, 11:35pm), while Alan Carr’s Chatty Man show gets a seasonal special on Christmas Day (9pm).
Later that evening, So This Is Christmas (11:05pm) sees comics reliving the best and worst of the festive period, while the channel’s latest Comedy Showcase (Friday 30 December, 9pm) is a dedicated outing for Shooting Stars score-keeper Angelos Neil Epithemiou.
New entertainment series Home for the Holidays (starting Sunday 18 December) sees a soon-to-be-married couple bringing their extended families together for the first time over a Christmas week in an attempt to win a cash prize of up to half a million pounds.
Meanwhile, survivalist Bear Grylls takes comedian Miranda Hart on a testing snowbound expedition in his Wild Weekends (Monday 26 December, 9pm).
Foodies can get unusual Christmas dinner ideas in Jamie Oliver’s Christmas with Bells On (Tuesday 20 December, 9pm) while on Christmas Day they can follow Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas Cookalong Live (from 10am). And there’s a chance to watch some amateurs at work in the kitchen, too, in a couple of Come Dine with Me seasonal celebrity specials (Friday 23 December, 8pm; Monday 26 December, 6:35pm).