Christmas is almost upon us once more, a time where families across the country come together for a special festive celebration. But don’t worry, you’ve now got the perfect reason to ignore yours – the BBC has just announced they’re soon dropping over 100 box sets on iPlayer.
From 12th December a variety of drama, factual, comedy and kids shows from the BBC vaults will be available to watch.
And that means a lot of choice. So, to make things easier you can see our best picks from each genre first or scroll on down for the full (and very long) list.
House of Cards
No, not that one. This is the 1990 miniseries that inspired the Netflix hit, a UK-set political thriller that follows Francis Urquhart, a fictional Tory Chief Whip as he attempts to grab power.
A show packed with twists, it was written by Andrew Davies, the man behind BBC’s upcoming Les Misérables adaptation.
Never taking itself too seriously, this drama set on the streets of 17th-century Paris gives a fun, contemporary and sometimes brilliantly silly take on Alexandre Dumas’ classic story of the fighting trio.
Stars Tom Burke (who went on to play the lead in Strike) and Luke Pasqualino (Our Girl).
Life and Death Row
Okay, it’s hardly a show packed with festive cheer, but this critically-applauded BBC3 doc-series explores America’s murky capital punishment process through the eyes of young people whose lives have been shaped by it.
It’s a gloriously unflinching guide to a nation’s moral maze.
The Blue Planet
David Attenborough managed to launch a war against plastic after Blue Planet II aired in 2017, but we forget this feat was built on the achievements on the show’s predecessor, 2001’s The Blue Planet.
Although the eight-part series is light on the environmental dangers facing the ocean, it still explores the hardships and wonders of water life in everything from frozen seas to the unknown depths of the ocean.
This under-appreciated sitcom starring Nick Helm follows unemployed sloucher and musician Andy after he’s forced to babysit his nephew Errol, a socially-awkward and nerdy 12-year-old – imagine a cross between Nicholas Hoult’s character from About a Boy and a laugh-track-free version of Sheldon from Big Bang.
Angry, embittered and slightly smug, stand-up comedian Stewart Lee (well, Stewart Lee’s apparent on-stage persona) delivers doses of spot-on scepticism about the unquestioned mediocrity of modern life. Particularly modern comedy: Lee brilliantly takes aims at many Mock The Week stars in his sets, deconstructing and playing on the nuts and bolts of their stand-up.
Unmissable comedy – if you can handle his penchant for uncomfortable repitition.
With The Midnight Gang making its way on the box this Christmas, the BBC are giving viewers the chance to catch another adaptation of David Walliams’ best-selling kid’s books. First broadcast in 2013, this film follows Ben, a young boy who discovers his seemingly boring Granny is – would you believe it – a secret gangster.
This charming story of a wooden stick who becomes separated from his family home was one of the biggest shows of Christmas 2015. An adaptation of Julia Donaldson children’s book of the same name, it features the voices of Martin Freeman, Jennifer Saunders and Rob Brydon
The complete list of box sets available on BBC iPlayer this Christmas