With Christmas right around the corner, it’s time to sprinkle a bit of festive cheer into your binge-watching schedule.
There’s quite a bit to choose from, since any good TV show worth its salt has tried its hand at bottling the holiday season, so we’ve compiled a list of our favourites from over the years, which are all available to watch on demand.
From Father Ted to Call the Midwife via weird Black Mirror and wonderful Alan Partridge, here are our favourite Christmas TV specials available online right now.
Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol
Stephen Moffat’s madcap ode to the Dickens classic finds 11th Doctor Matt Smith at his brilliant best as he endeavours to save newlywed companions Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) from a crashing space liner. Watch on Netflix
Call the Midwife: Christmas special 2014
If you like your Christmas specials weepy, then Call The Midwife is the one for you. The 2014 episode is genuinely special as it features a touching tribute to the woman whose memoirs brought us Jenny, Trixie, Chummy and co – with Vanessa Redgrave appearing on-screen as Mature Jennifer Worth for the first time.
One of the darkest Christmas specials you’re likely to see. Charlie Brooker’s dystopian drama pulled out all the stops for this Christmas special in 2014, drafting in former Mad Men star Jon Hamm to string together three intertwining narratives into a typically unsettling tale. Watch on Netflix
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Amends
Buffy and Giles endeavour to save Angel from himself, leading to an intense final showdown on Christmas Day. Watch on Amazon
Peep Show: Seasonal Beatings
Is it really Christmas if there isn’t a flaming row over the turkey? Years of suppressed rage come bubbling to the surface when Mark thinks that Jeremy has forgotten to buy the primary ingredient of their Christmas dinner… thankfully, it was just a “Christmas joke”. Watch on Netflix and All4
Father Ted: A Christmassy Ted
The sight of Father Ted heroically leading a group of nervous priests out of the largest lingerie section in Ireland alone makes this one of the funniest Christmas specials in years. Watch on All4
The Office: Christmas special parts 1 & 2
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant wrapped a neat little bow on their much beloved series with a festive special for the ages. Watch on Netflix
Frasier: Miracle on 3rd or 4th Street
Frasier’s lonely Christmas, which has an It’s A Wonderful Life inspired finale, will make you feel all fuzzy inside. Buy on Amazon
The OC: The best Chrismukkah Ever
This iconic teen drama will be remembered for two things: Seth Cohen, the nerdy, lovable protagonist, and the platform it provided for rising indie artists in the mid ’00s, helping bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Rooney and The Walkmen breach the mainstream. Both are abundantly present in this special, which spawned a massively popular album of indie Christmas tunes. Watch on Amazon
Only Fools and Horses
David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst were regular Christmas BBC fixtures for decades, with 16 Only Fools and Horses Christmas specials in total. Sir David is still turning out these days in the BBC’s festive revival Still Open All Hours, but it’s Fools we really want to spend Christmas with. Watch on Netflix
Alan Partridge: Knowing Me Knowing Yule
Alan Partridge’s desperate attempt to get commissioned for a second series on the BBC: a rip-roaring Christmas special. Watch on Netflix
Blackadder’s Christmas Carol
A typically off-kilter parody with Rowan Atkinson and brimming with guest stars including Jim Broadbent, Robbie Coltrane and Miriam Margolyes. Watch on Netflix
Gavin and Stacey: Christmas special 2008
One of those warm and fuzzy British comedies that blends seamlessly into any Christmas TV line-up. In the special, the titular lovebirds cause havoc on Christmas Day when Gavin announces to his family that he plans on moving to Wales. Watch on BBC iPlayer
EastEnders: Christmas special 1986
One of the the show’s most iconic couples shared arguably the best Christmas moment in Eastenders history when Dirty Den served Angie divorce papers for Christmas.
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