The best kids’ TV this Christmas

From Watership Down to Zog and The Midnight Gang, here's everything you need to know about the best television for children and families over Christmas 2018

Programme Name: Zog - TX: 25/12/2018 - Episode: Zog - Early Release Pic (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Zog (voiced by Hugh Skinner) with Princess Pearl (voiced by Patsy Ferran) - (C) Orange Eyes Ltd - Photographer: Magic Light Pictures Ltd

They may be dreaming of unwrapping Christmas presents, but there are some great gifts for kids (of all ages) on TV this festive season, ranging from the animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Zog, to BBC1’s highly-anticipated Watership Down featuring a starry voice cast.

Advertisement

Here’s everything you need to know about the best children’s TV on this Christmas period.


Watership Down

Hazel (James McAvoy), Blackberry (Miles Jupp), Bigwig (John Boyega), Fiver (Nicholas Hoult), Dandelion (Daniel Rigby) and Hawkbit (Mackenzie Crook) in Watership Down

Who’s in the Watership Down cast? X-Men’s Nicholas Hoult and James McAvoy, Star Wars’ John Boyega, Olivia Colman and Gemma Arterton.

What’s Watership Down about? For those worried that this adaptation might have the same traumatising effect on kids that the 1978 version had, never fear. This BBC/Netflix adaptation of the much-loved novel has toned down the gore, producing a version that all the family should be able to enjoy.

Hoult is Fiver, a sensitive rabbit who foresees “something foul and fierce” and convinces his brother, Hazel (McAvoy) to lead a rebel band of bunnies on a quest on for a new home.

When is Watership Down on TV? The series airs on BBC1 on Saturday 22nd December at 7pm, and on Sunday 23rd December at 7.20pm.


Zog

ZOG (BBC)

Who’s in the Zog cast? Lenny Henry, Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington, Hugh Skinner, Tracey Ullman, Patsy Ferran

What’s Zog about? The team behind The Highway Rat, Stickman and The Gruffalo are returning with another animated festive family treat, adapting Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Zog, about an accident-prone dragon and a princess who longs to ditch her title and be a doctor instead.

W1A’s Hugh Skinner plays the title role, a young dragon who’s attempting to finish his training at Dragon School under the stern eye of Madam Dragon.

When is Zog on TV? Zog will air on BBC1 on Christmas Day (Tuesday 25th December) at 4.50pm.


The Midnight Gang

The Midnight Gang - First Look

Who’s in The Midnight Gang cast?  David Walliams, QI’s Alan Davies, Haydn Gwynne, Mark Heap,  Jocelyn Jee Esien and Amit Shah.

What’s The Midnight Gang about? David Walliams’ best-selling children’s book is getting the small screen treatment this Christmas. The story follows Tom, a young boy who’s brought into hospital after he sustains a cricket injury — only to discover The Midnight Gang, a group of children who sneak out of their beds at the stroke of 12 and go on adventures in the hospital corridors.

When is The Midnight Gang on TV? The Midnight Gang will air on BBC1 on Boxing Day (Wednesday 26th December) at 7.30pm.

If you want even more David Walliams, he’ll be starring in The Queen and I on Sky1 this Christmas Eve at 6pm. Find out more here.


Blue Peter: 2018 review

BLUE PETER (BBC)

Presenters Lindsey Russell and Radzi Chinyanganya look back over the past 12 months of Blue Peter shows, as the children’s series celebrated its 60th anniversary.

Tune in for the year’s big stars, amazing competitions and epic challenges.

When is Blue Peter on TV? The Doctor Who review will air Thursday 27th December at 5.30pm on CBBC.


Doctor Who: New Year’s Day Special

Jodie Whittaker in the Doctor Who New Year special (BBC)

Who’s in the Doctor Who cast? Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill, Nikesh Patel, Daniel Adegboyega, Charlotte Ritchie

What’s the Doctor Who special about? The Doctor (in a fab-u-lous Tom Baker-style scarf), the Tardis team and some new allies encounter a terrifying archaeological evil on present-day Earth.

The special is a break with the usual Christmas Day episode, but hopefully Who Year’s Day will be just what viewers need to kick off 2019.

Advertisement

When is the Doctor Who special on TV? The episode airs on New Year’s Day (Tuesday 1st January 2019) at 7pm on BBC1.