The BBC has unveiled its Christmas line-up with a raft of programmes and personalities ranging from Doctor Who to David Walliams.
With Doctor Who a centrepiece drama for Christmas Day, the Corporation has also revealed new plot details for the Yuletide special which features as its guest stars the comedians Greg Davies and Matt Lucas and finds Peter Capaldi’s Doctor “hiding from Christmas Carols and Comedy Antlers”.
“But when a crashed spaceship calls upon the Doctor for help, he finds himself recruited into River Song’s squad and hurled into a fast and frantic chase across the galaxy,” adds the teaser.
Other highlights include Charles Dickens-mash-up Dickensian, an animated version of the children’s favourite Stick Man and an adaptation of David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy in which the author plays a dinner lady.
And you can find our expert guide to the Christmas treats in this week’s Radio Times magazine, which is published today.
Here are the main highlights..
Scrooge, Fagin and Miss Havisham are among the Victorian novelist’s characters who come together in one story set in 19th century London. Stars Stephen Rea (The Honourable Women, Utopia), Pauline Collins (Upstairs Downstairs, Bleak House), Caroline Quentin (Men Behaving Badly, Life Of Riley) and Peter Firth.
Starring David Walliams in a TV version of his own book, it tells the story of 12-year-old Joe who has everything he could ever want from his billionaire father Len except for a friend. The cast includes John Thomson (The Fast Show, Cold Feet) as Len and Catherine Tate (Doctor Who, The Catherine Tate Show) as Sapphire Diamond, a 40-something hand model who still likes to pretend she’s 21 and is dating Len for his money. Playing Joe’s shy and very nervous head teacher is James Fleet (Vicar Of Dibley, Partners In Crime) while Rebecca Front (The Thick Of It) has been cast as Joe’s firm but fair, opera-loving teacher. Walliams (Little Britain, Big School, Britain’s Got Talent) plays Mrs Trafe, a dinner lady at Joe’s school who is described as “dirty and old and dreadful at cooking”.
And Then There Were None
Starring Poldark heartthrob Aidan Turner as the mysterious Philip Lombard this new three-part BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel is set in 1939 and focuses on a group of people who come to an isolated Devon island…and get bumped off one by one. Also features the acting talents of Douglas Booth (Great Expectations, The Riot Club) as rich and reckless playboy Anthony Marston, with Game of Thrones star Charles Dance cast as the cold and commanding retired judge Justice Lawrence Wargrave.
Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
Sherlock goes back in time to 1895… or does he? The Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman drama returns for Christmas with a twist. As the BBC statement has it: “We’ve been here before – but what if this wasn’t the modern day but the late Victorian period? What if the world’s most famous consulting detective and his best friend lived in a Baker Street of steam trains, hansom cabs, top hats and frock-coats? Welcome to ‘Sherlock’ in 1895!
“Some things, though, remain reassuringly the same. Friendship, adventure and especially, MURDER…
“Why is Thomas Ricoletti a little surprised to see his wife dressed in her old wedding gown? Because, just a few hours before, she took her own life…
“Mrs Ricoletti’s ghost now appears to be prowling the streets with an unslakeable thirst for revenge. From fog-shrouded Limehouse to the bowels of a ruined church, Holmes, Watson and their friends must use all their cunning to combat an enemy seemingly from beyond the grave and the final, shocking truth about…the Abominable Bride!”
The taster for the Christmas special is as follows: “It’s Christmas Day on a remote human colony and the Doctor is hiding from Christmas Carols and Comedy Antlers. But when a crashed spaceship calls upon the Doctor for help, he finds himself recruited into River Song’s squad and hurled into a fast and frantic chase across the galaxy. King Hydroflax (Greg Davies) is furious, and his giant Robot bodyguard is out-of-control and coming for them all! Will Nardole (Matt Lucas) survive? And when will River Song work out who the Doctor is?
“All will be revealed on a starliner full of galactic super-villains and a destination the Doctor has been avoiding for a very long time.”
The animated version of the children’s classic by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler stars Martin Freeman as Stick Man, Hugh Bonneville as Santa with Jennifer Saunders narrating. Russell Tovey, Rob Brydon and Sally Hawkins complete the cast in the story about daddy Stick Man’s perilous voyage home for Christmas to be with his Stick wife and stick children.
Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas
Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas, is the first ever Shaun the Sheep half-hour special on BBC 1 The stop-frame animated special will chronicle another of family favourite Shaun’s adventures and introduce a mischievous pack of llamas…
Call the Midwife Christmas Special
As Poplar readies itself for Christmas 1960, Nonnatus House is rocked when Sister Monica Joan goes missing in the traditional seasonal special…
Christmas on Albert Square is set to be one of the most explosive yet, we are told. Families at war will lead to tragedy and the worlds of some Walford residents will come crashing down around them. “The Beales and Mitchells reach breaking point which leads to life changing consequences and the Mick and Linda’s wedding finally arrives, but will it be a happy new year?” Will it heck…
The Further Adventures of Professor Branestawm
Harry Hill returns to the quintessential English village of Great Pagwell in the role of the mad prof who faces money problems and needs to out-invent the self-professed greatest inventor in the world, Professor Algebrain? Steve Pemberton (Inside No 9) stars as Professor Algebrain, Dame Diana Rigg (Game Of Thrones) as Lady Pagwell and Matt Berry (Toast of London) as Professor Awfulshirt.
Catherine Tate’s Nan specials
Following the successful BAFTA-nominated one-off special that was broadcast on BBC1 in 2014, Catherine Tate is bringing Britain’s best-loved OAP back to screens for two further half-hour episodes, First up is ‘Nanger Management’ – in which the pensioner has to undergo anger management classes – and ‘Knees Up Wilmott-Brown’ in which she fights a ruthless property developer.
Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special
The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2015 returns to BBC1 on Christmas Day with Abbey Clancy, Alison Hammond, Cassidy Little, Harry Judd, Lisa Snowdon and Tom Chambers guest-dancing.
The Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough
The veteran naturalist revisits the Great Barrier Reef in a personal journey that promises to give a fresh perspective on the Great Barrier Reef and unprecedented access to some of the most remote parts of the Reef and it’s magical fishy residents.
CBeebies Christmas Show: Alice in Wonderland
The CBeebies Christmas Show will return to BBC1 with an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, starring CBeebies favourites Cat Sandion as Alice and Justin Fletcher as the Queen of Hearts along with a host of other much-loved CBeebies presenters. Pan-Wales youth choir Only Kids Allowed will also have a starring role.
To find out more about the Christmas line-up and to read our expert guide to the best of the seasonal TV read this week’s Radio Times magazine available in stores and on the Apple Newsstand from Tuesday 24th November