It may be two more sleeps until the big day but there’s no need to wait for the very best Christmas TV.
There’s well over a week of great festive telly to enjoy in perhaps a more indoors Christmas than usual, and 23rd December is when the themed specials really start pouring in.
From sitcoms such as Ghosts and King Gary to culinary fare such as Snackmasters and Mary Berry, it really will be a night of good food and big belly laughs.
Here are our picks of what to watch.
Finding Dory – 3:40pm, BBC One
Christmas is the perfect time for a family film – and few studios do them better than Pixar. This long-awaited sequel to 2003 classic Finding Nemo focuses on breakout star Dory, who sets out on a mission to find her parents and has a few adventures along the way. Will the amnesiac blue tang be reunited with her family? Surely if she just keeps swimming…
Mary Berry Saves Christmas – 6:30pm, BBC One
For those still missing her presence in Bake Off, Mary Berry returns to save Christmas food once and for all in this special in which she teaches three novices how to whip up a festive feast. We really mean “novices” too – Mary’s three pupils have never cooked in their lives, and will now be preparing a surprise dish for those closest to them. With help from celebrity guest Jay Blades, Tom Allen, and Angela Scanlon as sous chefs, will all go without a hitch?
Snackmasters: Quality Street Festive Special – 8pm, Channel 4
Fred Sirieix takes over our screens yet again tonight as he explores the origins of an iconic UK festive snack – Quality Street. A top chocolatier and a virtuoso pastry chef must work out the recipe of one of the classic chocolates and present a replica to a panel of Quality Street experts. The big question will be, however – which colour will they be making?
Ghosts: The Ghost of Christmas – 8:30pm, BBC One
Christmas ghost stories are something of a tradition in the UK, and BBC sitcom Ghosts is putting their own comedic spin on things. Hosting the family at Christmas can be stressful at the best of times – and Alison and Mike are determined to deliver the best Christmas for both the living and the dead.
Jennifer Saunders’ Memory Lane – 9pm, ITV
Perhaps not Christmassy, but this talkshow/road trip hybrid makes suitably emotional and wholesome festive viewing. Jenifer Saunders takes Hollywood actor Michael Sheen quite literally down memory lane – in a classic red Jaguar E-Type no less – as the two visit Sheen’s childhood home of Port Talbot and reminisce on how it shaped the Hollywood star we know today.
First Dates at Christmas – 9pm, Channel 4
Fred Sirieix is back to entice more couples under the mistletoe this Christmas – but this time he’s swapping out the iconic First Dates restaurant for a cosy country pub. Could we see some real-life festive romcoms play out in front of our eyes?
Motherland Christmas Special – 9pm, BBC Two
It’s a good night for sitcom specials as Motherland too broadcast its seasonal edition, exploring not only the stresses of motherhood over the festive period but also the delicate politics of Christmas parties. The Motherland Christmas special sees Julia, Kevin, Liz, and Meg attempt to fit in at Amanda’s annual Christmas soiree – and it’s safe to say a few things go wrong…
QI: Rejoice! A Christmas Special – 9:30pm, BBC Two
QI can be disorderly/riotous at the best of times, so there’s no imagining the merry mayhem that will occur in this Christmas special. Justin Moorhouse, Chris McCausland, and Holly Walsh (also a writer on Motherland) will be joining Sandi Toksvig and Alan Davies as they unearth yet more little-known facts about Christmas, under the rather vague theme of “Rejoice”. Expect Christmas costumes, comedy and maybe even a little bit of learning.
King Gary Christmas Special – 10pm, BBC One
“Geezer diva” Gary King is determined to turn suburban Essex into a winter wonderland in the sitcom’s first-ever Christmas special, with sees the return of a great cast including Tom Davis, Laura Checkley, Romesh Ranganathan, and Simon Day. Gary wants the biggest and best Christmas lights display ever, despite his neighbours wanting to keep the ‘leccy bills low. Can Gary save Christmas for Butterchurn Crescent, or will celebrations be limited to a low-key Secret Santa?
Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.