What’s on TV this Christmas 2019?

There's lots of great telly already confirmed for the festive period

A CHRISTMAS CAROL -- Pictured: Guy Pearce as Ebenezer Scrooge. CR: Robert Viglasky/FX

It’s shaping up to be a great Christmas in front of the TV, with a schedule full of reimagined classics, exciting new adaptations and specials of the country’s most beloved shows already announced, and lots more still to come.

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Here’s the pick of what we can reveal so far – watch this space for more festive goodies as we add them…

Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special – BBC One

Airs: Christmas Day at 8:30pm

An entire decade has passed since we were last treated to a new episode of Gavin & Stacey, so the return of the beloved English-Welsh sitcom for a one-off Christmas special is an undisputed highlight of the festive TV calendar.

Original cast members Ruth Jones, James Corden, Matthew Horne, Joanna Page, Rob Brydon, Larry Lamb, Melanie Walters and Alison Steadman all return for the hour-long special, which has been confirmed for BBC One’s Christmas Day line-up.

A Christmas Carol – BBC One

Airs: 22nd-24th December at 9pm

Few literary works have been adapted with quite as much regularity as Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and with good reason – the 19th century fable remains the king of all Christmas stories.

This time it’s Guy Pearce’s turn to follow in the footsteps of Albert Finney, Patrick Stewart and Michael Caine and declare “Bah, humbug!” The Australian actor is joined in this three-part special by Charlotte Riley, Stephen Graham, Andy Serkis and Vinette Robinson.

Worzel Gummidge – BBC One

Thierry Wickens (John), India Brown (Susan) and Mackenzie Crook (Worzel) in BBC1's Worzel Gummidge

Airs: Boxing Day at 6:20pm, 27th December at 7pm

The classic children’s sitcom is set for a festive reboot, with Mackenzie Crook replacing Jon Pertwee as the eponymous scarecrow who comes to life. Based on the classic children’s books by Barbara Euphan Todd, it will consist of two hour-long episodes.

Both were written by Detectorists star Crook himself, with a slew of comedy legends – including Michael Palin, Zoë Wanamaker, Steve Pemberton and Vicki Pepperdine – joining him in the cast.

Call The Midwife – BBC One

Call the Midwife xmas special 2019

Airs: Christmas Day at 7pm

The period drama has become a staple of the Christmas Day viewing schedule, and this year’s festive special – which finished filming as long ago as May – will mark the start of the ninth season of the hit show.

Miriam Margoyles returns to the cast following her Call the Midwife debut in 2018’s Christmas special, as the team travel to an idyllic Scottish island to provide much needed support for the residents. Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne), Linda Bassett (Nurse Crane), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan) and Fenella Woolgar (Sister Hilda) also star.

Don’t forget! Your full two week double issue guide to Christmas and New Year TV and radio are in the legendary Christmas RADIO TIMES – on sale from Saturday 7 December and fully nationwide by Tuesday 10 December

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Mimi and the Mountain Dragon – BBC One

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon

Airs: Boxing Day at 3:20pm

Based on a popular Michael Morpurgo book, this animated children’s Christmas adventure looks set to be a real treat – and possibly something that could be mentioned in the same breath as The Snowman in years to come.

Featuring a score by Oscar award-winning composer Rachel Portman and based on original illustrations by Emily Gravett, the 25-minute program tells the story of a shy girl who discovers a baby dragon in her family woodshed, and the journey she subsequently embarks on to return it to its mother.

Not Going Out Christmas Special – BBC One 

Not Going Out Christmas special 2019
BBC/Avalon/Mark Johnson

Airs: Christmas Eve, 10pm

Lee Mack’s comedy series – which has now run for 10 series – follows up its successful Halloween special with a festive edition, with Lee (Lee Mack) and Lucy (Sally Bretton) popping out on a last-minute Christmas Eve mission for the kids, leading to an unexpected trip into the deepest, darkest countryside…

Mrs Brown’s Boys – BBC One

Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas
Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas
BBC

Airs: Christmas Day at 10:30pm, New Year’s Day at 10:30pm

A regular series of Mrs Brown’s Boys hasn’t aired since 2013, but the sitcom is another show which has firmly established its place on the Christmas Day schedule – and there’s no change this year. We’re yet to hear more details about this year’s special, but we’ll let you know as soon as we do.

The Great Christmas Bake Off – Channel 4

Derry Girls cast, l-r: Dylan (James Maguire), Erin (Saoirse Monica-Jackson), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O'Donnell), Clare (Nicola Coughlan). Above: Orla McCool (Louisa Clare Harland)

Airs: Christmas Day at 8pm, New Year’s Day at 7:40pm

Prue, Paul, Noel and Sandy return to the tent not once but twice over the festive period with two exciting specials.

The first sees favourites from previous seasons – including 2017’s Yan and Tom as well as Briony and Terry from 2018 – return to the tent, and will apparently feature a performance from Status Quo.

The second festive edition will form part of New Year’s Day’s TV offering, and will see the cast of hit sitcom Derry Girls put their baking skills to the test. 

The Snail And The Whale – BBC One

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 20/09/2019 - Programme Name: The Snail and the Whale - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: The Snail (Sally Hawkins) looks out across the ocean in awe. - (C) Magic Light - Photographer: Magic Light

Airs: Christmas Day at 2:30pm

The BBC has forged a modern Christmas tradition of airing children’s stories written by The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson, and brought to life with animation from Magic Light Pictures.

Boasting an excellent voice cast that includes Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey) and Cariad Lloyd (Peep Show), The Snail and the Whale tells the story of a tiny snail with huge ambition who hitches a ride on the tail of a humpback whale.

The Trial of Christine Keeler – BBC One

CKEELER

Airs: 29th-30th December at 9pm

The Christmas period wouldn’t be complete without a new prestige drama from the BBC – and this year we’ll be treated to a historical series based on an infamous 1960’s scandal.

The six-parter, which boasts an impressive cast including Sophie Cookson, James Norton, Ellie Bamber and Ben Miles, focuses on the woman at the heart of the Profumo Affair – Christine Keeler. It tells a human story about the sexual and cultural politics of an iconic moment in history.   

Bancroft – ITV

Bancroft, ITV Pictures, SL

Airs: New Year’s Day at 9pm

The festive period also marks the return of murder detective DCI Elizabeth Bancroft, for a second three-part series. Sarah Parish is back in the lead role, while the supporting cast includes Charlotte Hope, David Avery and Jacqueline Boatswain.

Cinderella: After Ever After – Sky One

Cinderella: After Ever After

Sky’s big Christmas special this year is an original drama starring David Walliams, Sian Gibson, Celia Imrie and Sir Tom Courtenay.

Picking up where the classic Cinderella story takes off, the show explores Cinderella’s post-marriage distress – as she comes to terms with the annoying habits of Prince Charming and begins to question if selecting a life-partner based on the size of a shoe was such a great idea after all.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special – BBC One

Joe Sugg Strictly Come Dancing

Airs: Christmas Day at 4:40pm

It’s hard to imagine a BBC One Christmas Day schedule that doesn’t include Strictly, and you don’t have to as Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman return to host another festive extravaganza this year.

Six famous faces from previous series – including Joe Sugg and Gemma Atkinson – will pull their dancing shoes on one more time as they bid to impress the studio audience and take home the special Christmas trophy.

It’s Not the Robbie Williams Christmas Show – ITV

Attitude Awards 2016 - Inside

Airs: 8th December, 8pm

Robbie Williams, takes to the stage for a brand-new entertainment special, treating the audience to a night of music and entertainment as he performs a selection of his hits and some Christmas classics – with help from some celebrity guests.

Filmed at the newly restored Alexandra Palace Theatre, it also promises new songs from Robbie’s Christmas album The Christmas Present.

Ball and Boe: A Very Merry Christmas – ITV

(ITV, TL)

The two singing heavyweights, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball, return for a one off special as they perform festive favourites alongside some brand new material – complete with an array of celebrity guests.

Michael Ball said of the show, “It feels like Christmas has come early! Back together for our third TV special, this time celebrating the season of good will with some amazing guests and the best music. All with a sprinkling of tinsel and fairy dust. It’s the recipe for a perfect pre-Christmas snuggle…and that’s just me and Alfie!” 

Martin’s Close – BBC Four

Martin's Close

Airs: Christmas Eve at 10pm

Written and directed by Mark Gatiss, this ghost story is based on a short story by MR James and follows a court case in which the accused seems to have been visited by the ghost of his victim.

If follows Gatiss’s festive supernatural drama The Dead Room, which aired on the channel on Christmas Eve 2014, and another MR James adaptation by Gatiss, The Tractate Middoth, in 2013.

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This time, the cast is headlined by Peter Capaldi, with Wilf Scolding (Game of Thrones) and Elliot Levey (Murder on the Orient Express) also starring.