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What's on TV on Christmas Eve?

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, the TV was blaring...

Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy
BBC/Leopard Pictures/Amanda Searle/Matt Burlem
Published: Thursday, 24th December 2020 at 6:00 am

It arguably feels more festive than Christmas Day – but either way, there's always a section of the best Christmas TV on 24th December.


We have all the classic telly revivals you could hope for, from a Birds of a Feather Christmas special to Worzel Gummidge and even The Price is Right, as well as newer fare including a very 2020 virtual pantomime.

So as you're waiting for the big man to arrive on his sleigh, here's what to watch in the meantime.

Paddington 2 – 4:15pm, BBC One


There are few warmer or kind-hearted films than the acclaimed Paddington 2, which sees the iconic bear take on odd jobs to afford the perfect gift for Aunt Lucy, only for the present to get stolen. Look out (and listen out) for a star-studded British cast, including Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, and Hugh Grant in a rare villain role.

Carols from King's – 5:30pm, BBC Two

Carols from King's
BBC/Leon Hargreaves/King's college

For a truly magical and Christmassy start to your evening, you can't go wrong with the century-old tradition that is Carols From King's. There may be no congregation this year but the show will go on, with a socially distanced choir singing carols such as In the Bleak Mid-Winter, Still, Still, Still, O Come All Ye Faithful, and, of course, Once In Royal David’s City.

Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy – 5:55pm, BBC One

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

After a successful revival last year, Mackenzie Crook returns as titular scarecrow Worzel Gummidge to bring back yet another classic character from the original Jon Pertwee series. Ship's figurehead Saucy Nancy – memorably played by the late Barbara Windsor in the 1979-81 series – will be reunited with old friend Worzel who, together with Susan and John, attempts to reunite Nancy with the sea. Bridget Jones and Harry Potter actress Shirley Henderson will play Nancy this time, while acting legend Vanessa Redgrave has also bagged herself a role as Peg.

The Great Christmas Bake Off – 7:40pm, Channel 4

Great British Bake Off Christmas special
Channel 4

Perfect Christmas viewing, this festive special of the Great British Bake Off Christmas special will see 2019's Jamie Finn and Rosie Brandreth-Poynter, 2018 finalist Ruby Bhogal and 2017 contestant James Hillery battle for the honour of Christmas Star Baker. Tom Allen, no stranger to Bake Off as host of Extra Slice and The Professionals edition, will be taking over hosting duties as Noel Fielding is on paternity leave, and Alexandra Burke will also be joining for a suitably festive rendition of Silent Night.

Cinderella: A Comic Relief Pantomime for Christmas – 8:15pm, BBC Two

Cinderalla 10

With pantomimes closed across the country, BBC2 is here to save the day with a very special virtual panto performance of Cinderella, all in aid of Comic Relief. It's a truly star-studded cast – Anya Taylor-Joy, Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Hollander, Guz Khan, and more. If that wasn't enough, the online action will be lovingly brought to life by famed illustrator Quentin Blake.

Alan Carr's Epic Gameshow Christmas Special – 8:15pm, ITV

Alan Carr's Epic Gameshow

Another '80s revival airing tonight, Alan Carr resurrects The Price is Right for a Christmas special of his Epic Gameshow series. Lucky contestants will be invited to "come on down" to, you guessed it, see whether the price is indeed right on what we imagine are Christmas goodies. Correct contestants will then be able to spin the wheel and take on the epic showcase for more prizes.

One Night in Hamley's – 9pm, Channel 4

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: People walk by Hamleys retail toy store on October 22, 2015 in London, England. Chinese footwear retailer, C.Banner International Holdings, is expected to confirm a 100 million GBP deal to buy the 255 year old toy merchant. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

While the title may well sound like one of Channel 4's documentaries, it couldn't be further from the truth. One Night in Hamley's sees comedians Romesh Ranganathan, Rob Beckett, and Tom Allen live out every child's dream of being locked in the iconic toy shop, free to do as they like so long as everything is back in place by morning. With no sleep allowed, expect toy trouble, daft games, and a funny festive story or two.

Birds of a Feather – 9:15pm, ITV

Birds of a Feather

Over 30 years on from its first broadcast and Birds of a Feather is still gracing our TV screens. Sadly, Pauline Quirke ruled herself out of this new special, meaning Sharon will be absent as Tracey and Dorien drive each other crazy in isolation. Joining the fray instead is none other than Les Dennis, playing Dorien's new man Graeme, who is sure to experience an Essex Christmas like no other.

Miranda's Games with Showbiz Names – 9:45pm, BBC One

Mirands's Games with Showbiz Names
BBC/Monkey Kingdom

Miranda Hart has become a bit of a regular on Christmas TV recently, and returns this year with a one-off special called Miranda's Games with Showbiz Names. As the title suggests, Miranda will be playing some silly (virtual) games with some very big names – singer Robbie Williams, Strictly judge Shirley Ballas, and football pundit Jermaine Jenas to be precise.

The Jonathan Ross Christmas Show – 10pm, ITV

The Jonathan Ross Show

Somewhat of a Christmas tradition now, Jonathan Ross returns for a festive edition with an extra special guest line-up. Breaking Dad father-son duo Bradley and Barney Walsh will be in the socially distanced seats, along with Our Girl star Michelle Keegan, comedian Kevin Bridges, chart-topping singer Jess Glynne as well as Mo Farah, fresh from his stint in the I'm A Celeb castle.


Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.


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