What’s on TV on Christmas Eve?

What will you be watching on TV this Christmas Eve to get you in festive spirits for the big day?

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

By Kelly Anne Taylor


On Christmas Eve the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 (and more!) are all serving up some exciting telly treats to get you in festive spirits for the big day!

If you’re planning your Christmas viewing in advance, check out the best shows to watch on Christmas Eve!

Frozen – 3pm BBC One

Released on Thanksgiving 2013, Walt Disney has been giving thanks for Frozen ever since; it’s the highest-grossing animated film of all time (threatened only by Frozen II). Elsa and Ana have been hard to “let go” in this fabulously wintry Disney musical celebrating sisterhood.

Elsa’s kingdom is cursed into an eternal winter, whereby her heart must be thawed by an “act of true love”. There’s buckets of humour in the shape of snowman Olaf and it’s a great film to sing along to.

Carols from King’s – 5pm BBC Two

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 27/11/2018 - Programme Name: Carols from King's 2018 - TX: 24/12/2018 - Episode: Carols from King's 2018 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: **STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 HOURS ON TUESDAY 27TH NOVEMBER 2018 ** Carols from King’s Boys Choir conducted by Stephen Cleobury - (C) King’s college - Photographer: King’s college

When the chorister fills the ancient walls and vaults of King’s College, Cambridge with the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City, it feels like a punctuation point of the year – and the real start of Christmas.

Introduced in 1918 to bring a more imaginative approach to worship, ‘A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols’ is now broadcast to millions of people around the world. The line-up includes: O Little Town of Bethlehem and Away in a Manager alongside lessons that recount the radical mystery of Christmas. There is always a new, specially commissioned carol, too!

Christmas University Challenge – 7:30pm BBC Two

Christmas University Challenge
BBC / ITV Studios / Rachel Joseph

A Christmas-themed quiz for distinguished university alumni. Tune in to watch Birmingham City University graduates (actor, Carol Boyd and gardener, Bunny Guinness) play Wadham College, Oxford graduates (journalists, Anne McElvoy and Jonathan Freedland) for a place in the semi-finals.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea – 7:30pm, Channel 4

The characters and animals in this animation have been brought to life in the film’s illustrations with respectful simplicity. Benedict Cumberbatch and David Oyelowo are among the stars lending their voices to the festive TV adaptation of Judith Kerr’s beloved children book. In this tale Sophie and her Mummy who receive a rather unexpected visit from a ravenous feline. Unsurprisingly, Kerr loved what she saw of the film before she died in May; it acts as a glowing tribute to the legacy that she has left behind. A definite must-watch for families.

Cinderella: After Ever After – 8pm Sky One

Was it happily ever after or a monumental fail? David Walliams co-writes and stars in a fairy-tale sequel aimed at children who love his books and for the adults who have enjoyed reading along. Exploring life for Cinderella post-slipper-fitting, Walliams stars as Prince Charming and Sian Gibson as Cinderella. The plot thickens as we reunite with Cinder’s wicked stepmother who schemes to take over Fairyland.

Not Going Out – 10pm BBC One

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

Fans of the hit British sitcom Not Going Out can expect gags, one lines and mayhem in this year’s Christmas special ‘Driving Home for Christmas’. Tune in to watch Lee (Lee Mack) and Lucy (Sally Bretton) pop out for some last-minute Christmas Eve shopping. As expected, things don’t quite go to plan for Lee, with a theft, an unexpected trip deep into the countryside and a magnificent car chase.

QI: Quizmas – 10pm BBC Two

Sandi Toksvig (BBC)
Sandi Toksvig (BBC)

If you’re the sort of person who prefers a trivia fact to a joke in your Christmas cracker, you’ll love this festive edition of QI.

Sandi Toksvig will host the “Quizmas” celebrations. Guests include: Josh Widdicombe, Johnny Vegas and Sarah Pascoe. Expect straight questions, panellists to go off on a tangent and some pub quiz disagreements sent in by viewers. The episode kicks off with a “gift” of a question to regular panellist, Alan Davies, which will be an absolute treat for long-time viewers.

The Vicar of Dibley—10:40pm BBC One

Vicar of Dibley - Winter
Vicar of Dibley – Winter

The award-winning sitcom starring Dawn French as the Vicar of the rural parish of Dibley, is back for a Christmas special in which Alice suggests an unconventional Nativity play. Written by Paul Mayhew Archer and Richard Curtis, viewers can expect hilarity, one-liners and a festive blast from the past.