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

Christmas TV, BBC Pictures and ITV Pictures

Push aside your turkey and crackers, we all know Christmas is about one thing only: TV. And the best TV too, whether you’re looking for drama, entertainment, comedy or even a spot of sci-fi.


So, what presents have we got waiting for us on screen this year? Here’s everything we know so far…


Doctor Who 

Tosin Cole, Jodie Whittaker and Mandip Gill in a Doctor Who series 11 promotional picture (BBC, HF)

Who’s in the Doctor Who special’s cast?

Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill

What will happen in the Doctor Who Christmas special?

Following on from Jodie Whittaker’s first series of adventures across time and space, Whovians can expect an additional story in the form of a Christmas New Year’s Day special

When can I watch it and on what channel?

7pm New Year’s Day 2019 on BBC1.

The ABC Murders

John Malkovich will star as famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot – although he will sport a neat goatee beard rather than the waxed moustache made famous by David Suchet (BBC)

Who’s in The ABC Murders cast?

John Malkovich, Rupert Grint, Tara Fitzgerald, Andrew Buchan and Jack Farthing

What will happen in The ABC Murders? 

Nothing says Christmas like watching a horrific murder being solved on TV, with the BBC serving up this classic Hercule Poirot story.

Not only can we expect an intriguing plot from this three-part Agatha Christie adaptation, but an all-star cast too: Hollywood legend John Malkovich will play the super sleuth and Rupert Grint the role of Inspector Crome.

When can I watch it and on what channel?

Starts Boxing Day at 9pm on BBC1

Torvill and Dean

Torvill and Dean

Who’s in the cast of Torvill and Dean?

Game of Thrones actor Will Tudor will take on the role of Christopher Dean, while Ackley Bridge’s Poppy Lee Friar will play Jayne Torvill.

What is Torvill and Dean about?

Written by Made in Dagenham’s William Ivory, Torvill and Dean traces the early story of the Dancing on Ice figure skaters who captured the public’s imagination with their stunning gold medal-winning dance to Boléro at the 1984 Winter Olympics.

When can I watch it and on which channel?

Torvill and Dean will air on Christmas Day (Tuesday 25th December) at 9.15pm on ITV. It is a two-hour special.


Luther (BBC, EH)

Who’s in the cast of Luther?

Idris Elba is reunited with his overcoat for brooding detective’s return with Wunmi Mosaku joining the show as new recruit DS Catherine Halliday. But will Ruth Wilson make her heavily rumoured return as fan favourite Alice Morgan?

What is the new series of Luther about?

The eponymous detective is called upon to investigate another tangle of monstrous murders with a mass of different leads seemingly designed to protect an untouchable corruption. Can Luther solve the puzzle? And how will he cope when forced to face demons from his own recent past?

When can I watch it and on which channel?

Luther starts on New Year’s Day 2019 at 9pm on BBC1.

Les Misérables

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 22:00:00 on 15/10/2018 - Programme Name: Les Miserables - TX: 13/07/2018 - Episode: Les Miserables - First Look (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: **EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 22:00 HRS ON MONDAY 15TH OCTOBER 2018** Madame Thenardier (OLIVIA COLMAN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Robert Viglasky TL

Who’s in the cast of Les Misérables?

A fine crop of acting talent includes Dominic West as Jean Valjean, David Oyelowo (playing Javert), Lily Collins (Fantine), Adeel Akhtar and Olivia Colman (Monsieur and Madame Thénardier), Ellie Bamber (Cosette) Josh O’Connor (Marius) and Elin Kellyman (Éponine).

How is the BBC’s Les Misérables different to the musical?

It’s the story we all know – but without the songs. Pride and Prejudice and War and Peace writer Andrew Davies has adapted Victor Hugo’s epic into a six-part drama without its famous musical score.

When can I watch it and on which channel?

Les Misérables will begin airing on Sunday 30th December at 9pm

The Midnight Gang

Who’s in The Midnight Gang cast?

David Walliams, with more names to follow…

What will happen in The Midnight Gang?

Good news if you enjoyed last Christmas’ Grandpa’s Great Escape: the BBC are adapting another hit children’s book from comedian David Walliams. The Midnight Gang follows the story of a gang of children at Lord Funt Hospital on the quest for adventure as their fellow patients sleep.

When can I watch it and on what channel?

7.30pm on Boxing Day, BBC1

Call the Midwife

Programme Name: Call the Midwife S8 - TX: n/a - Episode: Call the Midwife S8 - Iconics (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Back row: Helen George (Trixie Franklin), Jennifer Kirby (Valerie Dyer), Annabelle Apsion (Violet Buckle) In front: (grey coat) Georgie Glen (Miss Higgins) In front: Fenella Woolgar (Sister Hilda), Daniel Laurie (Reggie) In front: Laura Main (Shelagh Turner), Stephen McGann (Dr. Turner), Max Macmillan (Timothy Turner) In front: Miriam Margolyes (Sister Mildred), Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne) - (C) Neal Street - Photographer: Nicky Johnston TL

Who’s in the Call the Midwife Christmas cast?

Miriam Margolyes joins regulars Jenny Agutter (Sister Julienne), Linda Bassett (Nurse Crane), Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan), Helen George (Trixie), Laura Main (Shelagh Turner), Victoria Yeates (Sister Winifred), Jennifer Kirby (Valerie), Leonie Elliott (Lucille) and Stephen McGann (Dr Turner)

What will happen in the Call the Midwife Christmas special?

The now-traditional special of the midwifery drama welcomes Miriam Margoyles as Sister Mildred, a forthright nun who arrives at Nonnatus House with her hands full with four Chinese orphan refugees. As the BBC say, “these unexpected visitors cause joy and chaos in equal measure”.

When is it on TV?

Christmas Day, BBC1 at 7.45pm

The Dead Room

The Dead Room, BBC Pictures

Who’s in the cast of The Dead Room?

Simon Callow stars as Aubrey Judd alongside Anjil Mohindra (who played Nadia in Bodyguard), Susan Penhaligon and Joshua Oakes-Rogers.

What is The Dead Room about?

Writer Mark Gatiss follows up 2013’s The Tractate Middoth with another Christmas ghost story, this time telling the tale of a long-running radio series whose presenter finds that all is not quiet in his eerie radio studio.

When can I watch it and on which channel?

Christmas Eve, 10pm, BBC4



Who’s in the cast?

Vincent Regan is set to join regulars Dawn French, Emilia Fox and Aaron Anthony.

What’s it about?

The Cornish sex ’n’ seabass drama kickstarts its third series with Gina and Sam finally working well together. But a new rapacious restaurateur is set to split their newly-formed friendship…

When can I watch it and on which channel?

Delicious is on 9pm, Friday 28th December, Sky1


Other dramas you can expect this Christmas…