Christmas 2013: best films on TV today, Christmas Day

Gone with the Wind, Chicken Run, Singin' in the Rain, Casablanca, Toy Story 3, Home Alone 2, Madagascar, Love Actually, Dead Poets Society and Anchorman

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Gone with the Wind – 10:15am, Channel 5

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If you’ve got some time on your hands, this near-four hour, Oscar-winning epic follows the romance between roguish Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and wilful southern belle Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), set against the bloody backdrop of the American Civil War.

Chicken Run – 11:00am, BBC1

Rocky, a “lone free-ranger” rooster pledges his support to the hens of Mr and Mrs Tweedy’s high-security egg farm in their bid for freedom after their avaricious owners who decide to switch their focus to meat pies. This pastiche of PoW classics The Great Escape and Stalag 17 packs in both humour and pathos as the threatened hens, led by Ginger, plot their escape. 

Singin’ in the Rain – 2:05pm, More4

A timeless product of the height of MGM’s success, starring Gene Kelly as the silent heart-throb forced to co-operate with his grating leading lady before the emergence of talkies in Hollywood paves the way for rising star Debbie Reynolds.

Casablanca – 2:35pm, Channel 5

A timeless love story wrapped within a gripping wartime thriller, this Oscar-winning classic stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid, set against the backdrop of Rick’s Café in wartime Casablanca. Nightclub owner Rick is only interested in himself, that is until the appearance of former flame Isla Lund and her husband Victor who are desperate to flee America. 

Toy Story 3 – 3:20pm, BBC1

The third film in a franchise rarely hits the right note, but this second sequel serves up an expert blend of slapstick fun and heartfelt adventure. When Andy goes to college, our beloved gang are accidentally among the toys who are donated to a day-care centre – cue a daring and dangerous mission to escape, led by our favourite cowboy Woody, of course. 

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – 6:15pm, Channel 4

Losing your kid once is unfortunate – the second time is just plain ditzy. But Kevin McCallister has a habit of escaping his family’s clutches come Christmas and this time he ends up alone in New York City. Armed with his dad’s wallet, he enjoys all the luxuries on hand at the Plaza hotel but it isn’t long before he runs into a pair of familiar foes…

Madagascar – 7:10pm, BBC3

Good old family entertainment from Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and David Schwimmer who voice Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra and Melman the Giraffe. They reside in Central Park Zoo, but when Marty masterminds a daring escape plan, a hilarious chain of events ensues… including an appearance from Sacha Baron Cohen’s mad-cap King of the Lemars. 

Love Actually – 10:45pm, ITV

What’s Christmas Day without a dose of Love Actually? Richard Curtis’s multi-narrative festive film boasts a star-studded ensemble including Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy, Keira Knightley and Martin Freeman. Set in London and following everyone from the new Prime Minister to an over-the-hill rocker with a novelty record, it’s unashamedly saccharine but nevertheless enjoyable. 

Dead Poets Society – 12:20am, BBC2

Robin Williams stars in this coming-of-age drama set in 1959 and following Professor John Keating who arrives to teach English at his former New England school. But when his extraordinary methods inspire several pupils to revive the forbidden “Dead Poets Society”, controversy and tragedy soon follow.

Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy – 12:40am, BBC1

If you are yet to see the Anchorman sequel, this counts as essential research. Stay classy with Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy – the top newsreader at a San Diego TV station in the 1970s whose dominance comes under threat from ambitious new reporter Veronica Corningstone. It’s a big ol’ glass case of emotion. 


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