What is on TV this Christmas 2018?

From Doctor Who to Strictly Come Dancing and Watership Down, here are the festive highlights from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky

Documentary


Take That: We’ve Come A Long Way

Take That, circa 1992. Left to right: Robbie Williams, Mark Owen, Gary Barlow, Jason Orange and Howard Donald.
Take That, circa 1992. Left to right: Robbie Williams, Mark Owen, Gary Barlow, Jason Orange and Howard Donald.

What is Take That: We’ve Come A Long Way?

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A new documentary to mark Take That’s 30th(!) anniversary, the film will feature fans from all over the country, sharing stories of how the band touched their lives. The band will reunite with Robbie Williams to discuss their favourite memories, and the documentary will also bring together their biggest supporters – the five Take That mums.

How can I watch and on which channel?

Friday 28th December, 7pm, BBC1


Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland

Sky pics (Sky, TL)

What is Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland about?

Promising to show Billy “as you’ve never seen him before”, Made in Scotland weaves interviews with the celebrated comedian together with contributions from some of the biggest names in comedy across two hour-long specials.

How to watch and on which channel?

The two episodes will go out on BBC2 on Friday 28th December and Friday 4th January – both at 9pm


The Christmas Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan: The Arctic

The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan, BBC Pictures

What will happen in The Christmas Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan Christmas special?

The comedian and TV presenter is jetting to the Arctic for this festive special, heading to Canada where he travels across frozen wasteland, guided by Johnny Issaluk, and encounters the local inuit community.

How can I watch and on which channel?

Romesh Ranganathan’s trip to the Arctic will air on BBC2 on Thursday 20th December at 9pm.


The Secret World of Emily Bronte

Lily Cole on the Brontes

What is The Secret World of Emily Bronte?

The show will see Bronte superfan Lily Cole visit the writer’s former home in West Yorkshire, as well as speak to experts about the social radicalism at the heart of the author.

How can I watch and on which channel?

The Secret World of Emily Bronte is on 6.05pm, Saturday 29th December, C4


Spy in the Snow

Spy in the Snow, BBC Pictures

What is Spy in the Snow?

How do animals cope with living in the snow? A spy parrot and spy wallaby – rigged with hidden cameras – will follow wildlife in extreme conditions and reveal their fascinating coping mechanisms from far flung places including the snowy mountains of New Zealand, Tasmania and the North and South Pole.

How can I watch and on which channel?

Sunday 30th December, 7pm, BBC1


Inside the Christmas Factory

Inside the Christmas Factory, BBC Pictures

What is Inside the Christmas Factory?

The popular series gets a Christmas special, which sees MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace pay a visit to the Quality Street factory, while Cherry Healey travels to Germany to meet a crew of 35 ornament decorators, and goes behind the scenes of the Royal Mail factory to see how Christmas stamps are produced.

How can I watch and on which channel?

Inside the Christmas Factory will air on BBC2 on Monday 17th December at 9pm


Andrew Davies: Rewriting the Classics

Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in the BBC's classic Pride and Prejudice (BBC)

What is Andrew Davies: Rewriting the Classics?

Andrew Davies is the creator of some of the most iconic TV series of the past half century, from Pride and Prejudice to War and Peace. This Christmas his adaptation of Les Misérables makes it onto screens with this documentary marking its arrival with an hour-long look at Davies’ illustrious body of work.

How can I watch and on which channel?

Sunday 30th December, 10.05pm, BBC4


Ken Dodd: How Tickled We Were

Ken Dodd: How Tickled We Were, BBC Pictures

What is Ken Dodd: How Tickled We Were about?

This new documentary charts the late comedian’s 60-year career, from his first appearance on stage in September 1954 to his final performance in his home city of Liverpool in December 2017. The one-off also features an interview with Sir Ken’s wife, Lady Anne Dodd.

How can I watch it and on which channel?

Ken Dodd: How Tickled We Were is to air on Wednesday 26th December at 9pm on BBC2


The Snow-Wolf: A Winter’s Tale

Snow-Wolf, BBC Pictures

What is The Snow-Wolf: A Winter’s Tale?

This remarkable film follows the journey of one mother wolf through the frozen Alps in search of a new territory and a new life, giving birth to six cubs on the way. Can she protect her new offspring?

How can I watch and on which channel?

Snow-Wolf will go out on Thursday 27th December at 9pm on BBC2


Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas

Irving Berlin, Getty

What is Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas about?

This musical documentary tells of how a group of Jewish songwriters penned much of the soundtrack to Christianity’s most musical holiday – from White Christmas to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

How to watch and on which channel?

Saturday 22nd December, 11.35pm, BBC4


Christmas Sky with Chris and Michaela

Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan, BBC Pictures

What is Christmas Sky with Chris and Michaela?

Nature broadcasters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan head to some spellbinding winter landscapes to look at some of the natural phenomena unique to this time of year – from the Arabian desert in Jordan to Norway’s frozen wilderness.

How can I watch and on which channel?

Christmas Sky with Chris and Michaela is due to broadcast on BBC2 on Sunday 23rd December at 9pm.


Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen & Milkmen

The Snowman

What is Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen & Milkmen about?

Illustrator Raymond Briggs first created The Snowman 40 years ago and it’s still regarded a Christmas classic. This hour-long film will celebrate Briggs and his timeless story of friendship between a young boy and a Snowman, as well as the author’s other stories including Ethel & Ernest – a moving tribute to his parents. Nick Park and Andy Serkis are both contributors.

How to watch and on which channel?

Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen & Milkmen will go out on BBC2 on New Year’s Eve at 9pm

The Secret Life of the Zoo at Christmas

THE SECRET LIFE OF THE ZOO IV

What’s will happen in The Secret Life of the Zoo at Christmas?

The camera returns to Chester Zoo for a special festive show featuring animals from meerkats to miniature monkeys. We’re set to see the birth of the UK’s first ever sun bear cub and a life-long turf war between otters and babirusa yielding a yuletide ceasefire.

When can I watch The Secret Life of the Zoo at Christmas and on what channel?

The Secret Life of the Zoo at Christmas will be shown on C4 on Thursday 20th December at 8pm

The Secret Life of 5 Year-Olds on Holiday

 

The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds on holiday

The show exploring the fascinating behaviour of kids is headed to Turkey, the first time many of the children have gone abroad. Their antics – from visiting a Turkish mud bath, to attempting to teach each other to snorkel – will be once again observed by experts Dr Elizabeth Kilbey and Professor Paul Howard-Jones.

How can I watch and on which channel?

The one-off special will be shown on C4 on Thursday 27th December at 7pm


Radio


Norse Mythology

Radio 4 - Norse Mythology - Nathaniel Martello-White - Colin Morgan - Diana Rigg - Derek Jacobi - Natalie Dormer

Who stars in Norse Mythology?

Adapted for Radio 4 by Lucy Catherine, Norse Mythology is set to star an ensemble cast of actors including Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer, Merlin’s Colin Morgan and legendary thesp Derek Jacobi, as well as Diana Rigg, Nonso Anozie and In the Flesh’s Luke Newberry.

What is Norse Mythology about?

The hour-and-a-half production of Neil Gaiman’s classic work, which retold old Norse myths, is set to invite listeners to “a world of gods and monsters, fiery endings and new beginnings, tricks and trust.”

When is it on the radio?

Neil Gaiman’s Norse mythology airs on Radio 4 on Wednesday 26th December from 3.00-4.30pm


Three Wise Women: Diane Morgan, Courtney Barnett and Zawe Ashton

Three Wise Women (BBC Radio)

Who stars in Three Wise Women?

Comedic actor Diane Morgan (better known as Philomena Cunk), Fresh Meat’s own Zawe Ashton and plain-speaking Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett are all heading to BBC 6 Music to bear their gifts of imparting knowledge to the nation. Last year the series welcomed new Doctor Jodie Whittaker – who this year will be on Radio 2, interviewed by Jo Whiley.

What is Three Wise Women about?

The Three Wise Women look to give the gifts of wit, wonder and wisdom by presenting three hours of their favourite music as well as an evening of programmes from the 6 Music archives.

When is it on the radio?

Three Wise Women airs on BBC 6 Music from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, from 4pm-2am


The Archers perform Canterbury Tales

BBC-Radio-4-The-Canterbury-Tales-credit-BBC-Tricia-Yourkevich-6-46bb1e6

Who stars in The Archers perform Canterbury Tales?

It seems Lynda Snell has roped in half of the residents of sleepy Ambridge into her amateur theatrics, with all our favourites taking to the hypothetical stage to perform Chaucer’s classic stories. Headed up by Carole Boyd’s Lynda, Felicity Finch (Ruth Archer), John Rowe (Jim Lloyd) and Annabelle Dowler (Kirsty Miller) are among just a few releasing their inner classic thespian.

The cast are expected to be joined by a mystery guest, teased only as an unexpected Ambridge resident…

What’s it about?

This being Lynda Snell, the cast of The Archers will be bringing Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to life in a thrilling new adaptation of the classic stories.

When is it on the radio?

The Archers perform The Canterbury Tales airs on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 29th December and Saturday 5th of January, 2.30pm-3.30pm.


The Hartlepool Spy

Radio 4 The Hartlepool Spy_credit BBC

Who stars in The Hartlepool Spy?

Ian Martin’s original comedy-drama boasts an ensemble cast, including Monty Python’s Michael Palin, Jim Moir, Toby Jones and Bodyguard‘s Gina McKee, as well as Monica Dolan and Jason Forbes.

What is The Hartlepool Spy about?

Based in 1804 during the Napoleonic Wars, tensions between the residents of Hartlepool have reached breaking point. With the corrupt mayor and the narcissistic vicar almost coming the blows, things come to a head when a French ship is spotted heading their way – with many suspecting it to contain a spy.

When is The Hartlepool Spy on the radio?

The Hartlepool Spy airs on Radio 4 on 25th December between 2.15pm-3pm


Matt Lucas Live on Christmas Day

Matt Lucas (Getty)

Who stars in Matt Lucas Live on Christmas Day?

Matt Lucas hosts a festive extravaganza from the comfort of his own house, joined by a series of mystery celebrity guests, friends, and of course, his mum.

What’s it about?

Lucas’s Christmas Day offering is a very special take on the festive day, including treats such as a ‘live Christmas Dinner watch’, a Christmas quiz and a ‘Lack of Gratitude’ top 10, where he details the most unpopular presents opened that day.

The show will also include a series of classic Christmas tunes alongside some quirky alternatives, as well as Lucas performing his own Hanukkah song.

Discussing his festive special, Lucas explained, “I’m really excited to be live on Radio 2 on Christmas Day with a big show. Please don’t rob my house.”

When is Matt Lucas on the radio?

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Matt Lucas’ Christmas special airs on 25th December from 11am-2pm on Radio 2


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