ITV has announced the highlights of its Christmas and winter 2021 schedule – and it’s packed full of returning favourites, one-off specials and new twists on familiar formats.
The Story of SM:TV Live will air this Christmas on ITV and sees original hosts Ant & Dec and Cat Deeley reunited on a recreation of the original set for a nostalgic look back at the ground-breaking Saturday morning kids show.
Ant & Dec will also be back for Britain’s Got Talent at Christmas – welcoming to the stage the most memorable and talented acts from the past 14 years – with a new series of Saturday Night Takeaway following in spring 2021.
For fans of The Chase, it’s going to be a very happy Christmas – not only is the popular quiz airing special Christmas Day and Boxing Day episodes, but spin-off Beat The Chasers is returning for a second series and a new show, The Chasers’ Road Trip: Trains, Brains and Automobiles, will see Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett, Anne ‘The Governess’ Hegerty and Shaun ‘The Dark Destroyer’ Wallace travel the globe to pit their wits against child geniuses, great apes and even robots!
All that, and there’s Paul Sinha’s TV Showdown, a new quiz which will see ‘The Sinnerman’ test contestants’ knowledge of telly history.
Lee Mack will host new primetime quiz The 1% Show while Jeremy Clarkson will front a TV review of the year show called It’s Clarkson On TV as well as new Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, which joins returning game shows The Cube, Tenable, In For a Penny (with Stephen Mulhern) and Alan Carr’s Epic Gameshow, with the latter also airing a The Price Is Right special over the festive period.
Viewers can also look forward to new series of The Masked Singer, Long Lost Family and Bradley Walsh & Son: Breaking Dad, while Anne-Marie will join The Voice UK for a new series that will also feature a new gimmick, ‘The Block’, allowing each Coach a one-off opportunity to stop a fellow Coach from adding a singer to his or her team.
Alongside the return of Dancing on Ice, a documentary special Dancing on Thin Ice with Torvill & Dean will see the pair travel to Alaska to achieve a life-long dream of skating in the great outdoors, while also examining the impact of climate change.
Other entertainment highlights include The Real Full Monty On Ice, variety special Gary Barlow’s Night at the Museum and Gordon, Gino and Fred: Desperately Seeking Santa, which will see the trio embark on a culinary Christmas adventure, while ITV will also be celebrating two very different comedy legends with the documentary films Happy Birthday Mr Bean and Billy Connolly: It’s Been A Pleasure.
Classic sitcom Birds of a Feather is returning for a festive special, while new drama offerings will include true crime series The Pembrokeshire Murders starring Luke Evans, the blackly comic drama Finding Alice with Keeley Hawes and psychological thriller Too Close starring Emily Watson. Crime dramas Grace (with John Simm) and Viewpoint (starring Noel Clarke), will also debut, alongside returning favourites The Bay, Unforgotten and Innocent.
Alongside the return of Piers Morgan’s Life Stories and The Savoy, Stephen Fry’s 21st Century Firsts will see its host look back at the greatest achievements of the last two decades and The Year That Changed Britain will see Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald document the second wave of COVID-19.
Other factual highlights include Dunblane: 25 Years on with Lorraine Kelly, a new (as yet untitled) travelogue series fronted by Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders’ Memory Lane, which will see Saunders slip behind the wheel of a classic red Jaguar E-Type to take guest star Michael Sheen on an emotional journey through his own past.
For foodies, there’s James Martin’s Christmas Day and Ainsley’s Festive Food We Love specials, while the 60th anniversary of Coronation Street will be marked by an hour-long special, Queens of the Street, honouring the remarkable women who have walked the cobbles over the years, as well as the annual Big Quiz face-off between the casts of Corrie and Emmerdale.
ITV2 will also be joining in the festive fun, with highlights including new cookery/dating series Love Bites hosted by Scarlett Moffatt, and a Celebrity Juice Christmas special.
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