The best kids’ movies on TV this Christmas

All you need to know about the best films for children and families over Christmas 2018, including The Greatest Showman, Mary Poppins and Inside Out

The Greatest Showman

There’s nothing like flicking through the channels over Christmas (mince pie in hand) and discovering old childhood film favourites — alongside some brilliant newcomers.


This year proves no exception, with some brilliant children’s films staggered over the festive period to keep everyone entertained, ranging from classics like Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz, to modern Pixar and Disney films like Up and Inside Out.

Family movie hit The Greatest Showman also makes its debut on TV for the first time this Christmas.

Here’s everything you need to know about the best children’s films to watch on TV each day this Christmas.

Saturday 22nd December

The Wizard of Oz

Who stars in The Wizard of Oz? Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr.

What’s The Wizard of Oz about? “There’s no place like home” — even if it’s a Technicolour Oz, complete with dancing munchkins, the Emerald City, talking lions and big dance numbers.

This classic family favourite has some moments that might be a little scary for younger children — namely a cackling Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys — but at its core lies the importance of family and friendship.

What time is The Wizard of Oz on TV? Saturday 22nd December on ITV3 at 1pm.

The Muppets

Who stars in The Muppets? Amy Adams, Jason Segel

What’s The Muppets about? Three friends band together along with Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy in order to raise enough money to save The Muppets Studio.

What time is The Muppets on TV? The Muppets airs Saturday 22nd December at 10am on BBC2.

Sunday 23rd December


Who stars in Up?  Pete Docter, Ed Asner, Jordan Nagai.

What’s Up about? We defy anyone not to get the sniffles during the musical sequence that shows balloon salesman Carl and his wife Ellie grow old together.

This heartwarming tale follows the curmudgeonly Carl as he sets off on an epic journey to South America after tying thousands of balloons to his chimney — only to discover a stowaway, a little boy named Russell.

What time is Up on TV? Sunday 23rd December on BBC1 at 3.25pm.

Christmas Eve

The Greatest Showman

Who stars in The Greatest Showman? Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya.

What’s The Greatest Showman about? Inspired by the real-life story of P. T. Barnum, Hugh Jackman plays the charismatic founder of a traveling circus, featuring live “freaks”.

Zac Efron plays a rich investor who falls for circus performer Zendaya, while Michelle Williams plays Barnum’s long-suffering wife.

What time is The Greatest Showman on TV? The Greatest Showman is available to watch now via Sky Store.

Mary Poppins

Who stars in Mary Poppins? Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson.

What’s Mary Poppins about? Smart scheduling from BBC1, with the chance to look back at the original Disney classic ahead of the Mary Poppins Returns premiere on 19th December 2018.

Julie Andrews is the titular flying nanny, who comes to save the naughty Banks children — and bring a little more love into the family home.

What time is Mary Poppins on TV? Christmas Eve on BBC1 at 5pm.

Peter Rabbit

Who stars in Peter Rabbit? James Corden, Domhnall Gleeson

What’s Peter Rabbit about? The animated adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s classic children’s book, which sees all-out war break out between animal and man after the bunnies’ grumpy new neighbour, Thomas McGregor, refuses to allow the local wildlife to keep on plundering the house’s rich vegetable garden.

What time is Peter Rabbit on TV? Airs 6.15pm on Sky Cinema Premiere on Christmas Eve. Also available on Sky on Demand.


Who stars in Zootropolis? Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Bonnie Hunt, Shakira.

What’s Zootropolis about? Judy Hopps is an ambitious rabbit from Bunnyburrow, who finally achieves her childhood dream of becoming a police officer in metropolis Zootopia.

When mysterious incidents begin plaguing the city, Judy is forced to team up with Nick Wilde, a fox — and foxes always turn out to be the bad guys… right?

What time is Zootropolis on TV? Christmas Eve on BBC1 at 2.55pm.

The Lego Movie

Who stars in The Lego Movie? Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett.

What’s The Lego Movie about? An Average Joe LEGO minifigure called Emmett is mistaken for an extraordinary ‘saviour’ and must battle to prove his worth.

What time is The Lego Movie on TV? 7.05pm on ITV2 on Christmas Eve.


Who stars in The Gremlins? Zach Galligan,Phoebe Cates.

What’s The Gremlins about? A teenage boy is given a furry new pet for Christmas — but he’s under strict instructions not to feed it after midnight, otherwise things might start to go wrong…

What time is The Gremlins on? 9.30pm, ITV on Christmas Eve

Christmas Day

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Who stars in Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit? Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes

What’s Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit about? Beloved heroes Wallace and Gromit make their feature-length debut in this rollicking mystery, which sees a monster stalk the vegetable gardens.

What time is Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit on TV? 11am, BBC1 on Christmas Day

Mr Popper’s Penguins

Who stars in Mr Popper’s Penguins? Jim Carrey, Angela Lansbury, Carla Gugino.

What’s Mr Popper’s Penguins about? A successful businessman inherits six naughty penguins that turn his once-predictable life upside down.

What time is Mr Popper’s Penguins on? 1.05pm, E4 on Christmas Day.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Who stars in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Dick Van Dyke, Lionel Jeffries.

What’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang about? An eccentric inventor and his new beau Truly must brave peril in order to save his two young children.

What time is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on TV? 3.10pm, Channel 5 on Christmas Day.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Who stars in The Muppet Christmas Carol? Michael Caine, Dave Goelz.

What’s The Muppet Christmas Carol about? A Muppet retelling of the acclaimed Charles Dickens tale about a miserly money-lender who’s visited by three supernatural beings.

What time is The Muppet Christmas Carol on TV? 4pm, Channel 4 on Christmas Day.

The Good Dinosaur

Who stars in The Good Dinosaur? Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, Raymond Ochoa.

What’s The Good Dinosaur about? What would have happened if the world’s dinosaurs weren’t wiped out 65 million years ago — and continued to live alongside humans?

Arlo is a young dinosaur who becomes separated from his parents and siblings following a freak rainstorm. His unexpected saviour is Spot, a Neanderthal boy who helps Arlo find his way home.

What time is The Good Dinosaur on TV? Christmas Day on BBC1 at 1.30pm.

The Princess and the Frog

Who stars in The Princess and the Frog?  Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Oprah Winfrey.

What’s The Princess and the Frog about? When a waitress from New Orleans kisses a frog claiming to be a prince, she too turns into a frog, and must find a way to turn back into a human…

What time is The Princess and the Frog on TV? 10.30am on BBC1 on Christmas Day.

Boxing Day


Who stars in Trolls? Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick.

What’s Trolls about? Poppy, the leader — and happiest — of the Trolls must team up with the most miserable in order to save her family after they’re kidnapped by dreaded Bergens.

What time is Trolls on TV? 3.50pm on BBC1 on Boxing Day.

Saving Mr Banks

Who stars in Saving Mr Banks? Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson.

What’s Saving Mr Banks about? Hanks is Walt Disney, who’s attempting to honour a 20-year-old promise made to his daughters, and adapt PL Travers’ Mary Poppins into a movie musical.

The grumpy Ms Travers has always remained fiercely opposed to the idea, but as her books stop selling, she’s forced to reconsider…

What time is Saving Mr Banks on TV? Boxing Day on BBC2 at 2.30pm.


Who stars in The BFG? Mark Rylance, Penelope Wilton, Rebecca Hall.

What’s The BFG about? Ten-year-old orphan Sophie is desperately lonely — until she meets the Big Friendly Giant (BFG for short), who’s actually on the short side for a giant.

In Giant Country, Sophie’s presence attracts the attention of the nine man-eating giants, including Bloodbottler and Fleshlumpeater, and Sophie and her new companion must head to Buckingham Palace to convince the Queen to rid the world of the other giants once and for all.

What time is the BFG on TV? Boxing Day on BBC1 at 5.40pm.

Mrs Doubtfire

Who stars in Mrs Doubtfire? Robin Williams, Sally Field, Harvey Fierstein.

What’s Mrs Doubtfire about? A down-and-out divorced father of three dresses up as a woman in order to masquerade as his ex-wife’s housekeeper and spend some more time with his children.

What time is Mrs Doubtfire on TV? Boxing Day at 5.45pm on Channel 4.

Thursday 27th December

The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists

Who stars in The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientist? Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey.

What’s The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientist about? Hugh Grant is Pirate Captain, an enthusiastic but largely unsuccessful terror of the High Seas who, along with his motley crew, plans to pull off a spectacular treasure hunt and enter the Pirate Of The Year Award.

What time is The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientist on TV? 9.25am on BBC1 on Thursday 27th December.

Friday 28th December

Wreck-It Ralph

Who stars in Wreck-It Ralph? John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch.

What’s Wreck-It Ralph about? An arcade game villain dreams of being more than just a ‘bad guy’, and decides to abandon his game and set off on a quest to discover his inner hero.

What time is Wreck-It Ralph on TV? 4.10pm on BBC1 on Friday 28th December.

Saturday 29th December

Chicken Run

Who stars in Chicken Run? Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, Phil Daniels, Tony Haygarth.

What’s Chicken Run about? This stop motion animation follows plucky chicken Ginger who enlists a showy American rooster to help save her and her band of chickens from being turned into pies.

What time is Chicken Run on TV? 1.15pm on BBC1 on Saturday 29th December.

Sunday 30th December


Who stars in Cinderella? Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Holliday Grainger, Helena Bonham-Carter, Richard Madden.

What’s Cinderella about? This live-action remake of the Disney classic follows a young woman who has been force to act as a servant for her odious stepmother ever since her beloved father died. However, when she meets a handsome stranger out riding in the woods, everything changes.

What time is Cinderella on TV? 2.25pm on BBC1 on Sunday 30th December.


Who stars in Paddington? Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Ben Whishaw.

What’s Paddington about? A young Peruvian bear and marmalade-enthusiast travels to London in search of a new life — and is taken in by the kindly Brown family. However, trouble brews when a museum taxidermist spots this very unusual bear…

What time is Paddington on TV? 5.40pm on Channel 4 on Sunday 30th December.

New Year’s Eve

Home Alone

Who stars in Home Alone? Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern.

What’s Home Alone about? A classic festive choice follows a precocious eight-year-old who, on the night before he and his family set off on holiday to France, wishes that he could spend Christmas home alone — only to find it comes true after his parents forget him.

What time is Home Alone on TV? 4.50pm on Film4 on Monday 31st December.

New Year’s Day

The Railway Children

Who stars in The Railway Children? Jenny Agutter, Bernard Cribbins.

What’s The Railway Children about? Based on E. Nesbit’s much-loved children’s bestseller, this film classic follows three Edwardian children who are forced to move to the country — only to discover they live a stone’s throw from a local railway.

What time is The Railway Children on TV? 1pm on BBC1 on New Year’s Day (Tuesday 1st January 2019).


Who stars in Oliver! ? Ron Moody, Oliver Reed, Shani Wallis, Harry Secombe.

What’s Oliver! about? Winner of six Academy Awards, this 1968 film based on the musical of the same name follows Oliver, a young orphan living in a workhouse who is offered a more glamorous life out on the streets as a pick pocket.

What time is Oliver! on TV? 2.25pm on Channel 5 on New Year’s Day.

The Jungle Book

Who stars in The Jungle Book? Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, George Sanders, Sterling Holloway, J. Pat O’Malley.

What’s The Jungle Book about? A feral boy, Mowgli, is raised by wolves and counts a bear and a black panther among his best friends.

However, the deadly tiger Shere Khan has learnt of the ‘man-cub’ living in the jungle and plans to hunt his down.

What time is The Jungle Book on TV? The films airs at 3.45pm on BBC1 on New Year’s Day.

Inside Out

Who stars in Inside Out? Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader.

What’s Inside Out about? What if we could see inside our own heads? Riley is a fun-loving, hockey-playing 11-year-old whose life is turned upside down when she and her parents move to San Francisco.

And all that turmoil means that her emotions, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, are working overtime…


What time is Inside Out on TV? The film airs on New Year’s Day on BBC1 at 5pm.