Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (Mon 23, BBC2) gets a suitably windswept rendition, complete with rolling moors, Mia Wasikowska as the demure heroine and Michael Fassbender as a lean, mean Rochester. Torrid literary classics abound with David Lean’s epic Doctor Zhivago (Fri 3, C5), the evergreen Gone with the Wind (Christmas Day, C5) and the glossy 1956 rendition of War and Peace (Fri 27, BBC2) starring Audrey Hepburn. For modern romantics, there’s Bridget Jones’s Diary (Fri 27, ITV).
The highest-grossing movie of 2013, Iron Man 3 (from Christmas Day, Sky Premiere), has maximum bang to match its buck. For an old-fashioned Saturday-morning cinema experience, the Indiana Jones saga is showing over four nights: Raiders of the Lost Ark (Christmas Eve, BBC3); The Temple of Doom (Christmas Day, BBC3); The Last Crusade (Boxing Day, BBC3); and belated comeback The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Fri 27, BBC1).
It’s not exactly tin suits and spaceships, but Never Let Me Go (Sun 22, C4) nonetheless presents a dystopian alternative future, populated by a cast including Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield. For more of a heavy-metal racket, Star Trek into Darkness (from Fri 3, Sky Premiere) sees JJ Abrams boldly going further with his rebooted franchise, and there’s the classic Xenomorph trio of Alien, Aliens and Alien3 showing nightly from New Year’s Day on C4.
There’s music in the air from singalong perennials Singin’ in the Rain (Christmas Day, BBC2) and The Sound of Music (New Year’s Day, BBC1) to the more up-to-date moonwalking memorial Michael Jackson’s This Is It (Sat 28, C5). Channel 5 is particularly in the mood with Meet Me in St Louis (Boxing Day) and Oklahoma! (Sat 28 Dec), before a New Year’s Eve triple bill of Fiddler on the Roof, Pal Joey and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. BBC2 are en pointe with The Red Shoes (Christmas Day).
BBC4’s Ealing season opens a stopcock of gentle laughter with Whisky Galore! (Sun 22), The Titfield Thunderbolt (Christmas Eve) and Kind Hearts and Coronets (New Year’s Eve). But if it’s black comedy you crave, Sightseers (Boxing Day, Film4) is like Nuts in May meets Natural Born Killers. For a happier holiday, try Shirley Valentine (Sun 29, C5).
Costumes to die for with Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette (Sat 21, 5*), an American tourist’s version of a dream British period piece The King’s Speech (Thu 2, Film4) and war-movie thrills courtesy of The Dam Busters (New Year’s, Day C5).
And something festive…
Fear not, those cornerstones of every yule, White Christmas (Mon 23, C4) and It’s a Wonderful Life (Christmas Eve, C4), are present and correct, and guaranteed to give you a seasonal glow.