The tree’s up, the mince pies are bought, the presents are (nearly) all wrapped, and Christmas Day is just around the corner — what better time to kick back with a mug of hot chocolate (or well-earned sherry) and enjoy some festive TV?
Here’s our pick of the best shows to watch on Christmas Eve (Monday 24th December)…
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Carols from King’s — 5:50pm BBC2
For some, Christmas doesn’t start properly until the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, pipes out Once in Royal David’s City.
The hymn list also includes more rousing crowd-pleasers for us all to sing along to at home, including Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
David Walliams stars as Jack Barker, a power-mad Prime Minister in Sky’s brand-new royal romp based on Sue Townsend’s beloved book and set in the early 90s. Under Barker, Britain votes to become a republic, forcing the Queen (Downton Abbey’s Samantha Bond) and the royal family out onto the streets.
They then relocate to Hellebore Close — or ‘Hell Close’ — an estate in the north of England, where they must make some major lifestyle adjustments… and try not to annoy their new neighbours.
All Together Now Celebrities — 7:15pm BBC1
Celebs sing for a live studio audience in this festive edition of the fabulously cheesy talent contest fronted by comedian Rob Beckett. A hundred judges are arranged on a giant wall, ready to pass judgement on an array of starry contestants.
The nervous singers include reality TV stars Gemma Collins and Amber Davies, England rugby player Ben Foden, and comedians Sarah Pascoe and Omid Dijalili.
All Aboard: the Great Reindeer Migration— 8pm BBC4
Slow TV doesn’t get much better than this.
If the idea of relaxing in front of a gentle film — without any music or voiceover to distract — sounds appealing, then this one’s for you. We follow a Sami family and their reindeer herd as they embark on a 160-mile-journey through the snowy wastelands of northern Norway, heading for warmer climes.
Stephen Merchant and Asim Chaudry star in this great odd-couple road trip comedy about a stressed-out dad (Merchant) who discovers that he’s failed to buy the one toy his daughter really wants for Christmas (a toy unicorn) — until his lonely neighbour Dev (Chaudry) presents the solution: the pair must embark on a four-and-a-half hour car journey to collect the toy, which is being held in Carlisle under Dev’s name.
Mark Gatiss is bringing back the Christmas ghost story tradition in style with this tense 30-minute drama, starring Simon Callow as Aubrey Judd, old-school actor who’s enlisted to read “tales of terror and unease” in radio show The Dead Room. Of course, Aubrey insists to his producers that “there’s no such thing as the supernatural” — despite a dark and mysterious incident from his past that he’s attempted to forget…
The cast also includes Anjli Mohindra (Bodyguard) and a brilliant Susan Penhaligon (Count Dracula) as a sinister sound effects artist.