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Christmas 2016: Stylist’s pick of what to watch on TV

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Tis the season to watch telly – and, boy, have we picked out some serious humdingers for you to sink your teeth into this Christmas and New Year. Grab a stack of mince pies, a glass (or two) of Prosecco, and your remote control; it’s time to unleash your inner TV addict.


What to watch on Christmas Eve

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – ITV, 1.30pm

So what if we’ve all seen it a million times before? Nothing can beat the magic of Harry Potter, so clamber aboard the Hogwarts Express and join a very, very, very young Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint attempt to get to grips with their new school. Which isn’t easy, when you consider that there are killer trolls, three-headed dogs, and more on the loose…


We’re Going On A Bear Hunt – Channel 4, 7.30pm

The classic Michael Rosen tale has been brought to life by the makers of 2012’s The Snowman and the Snow Dog, and they’ve pulled out all the stops. Starring the likes of Olivia Colman and Pam Ferris, the tale follows an adventurous family head outdoors for a Christmas walk – but not just any Christmas walk. Oh no. Instead, they’re out to look for bears… although they haven’t really considered what they’ll do if they find one.

Gogglesprogs Christmas Special – Channel 4, 8pm

Love Gogglebox? Then you’re obviously going to be a fan of Gogglesprogs; instead of watching adults watching television, you get to watch kids watching television – and their reactions often prove surprising, heart-warming, and downright hilarious, depending on the show. Trust us when we say it’s well worth the watch.


What to watch on Christmas Day 

The Great Christmas Bake Off – BBC One, 4.45pm

It’s the end of an era (as we’ve been telling you for months), as this is the very last time that Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc, and Sue Perkins will join Paul Hollywood in the GBBO tent before the show moves to Channel 4 in 2017. Expect plenty of familiar faces (all eight contestants have previously appeared on the show), delicious-looking bakes, cheating accusations, innuendos, and soggy bottoms. Just be sure to tune into the second half of the show on Boxing Day (it’s set to air at 7pm).

The Last Dragonslayer – Sky 1, 5.45pm

2016 has proven, once and for all, that we have an insatiable appetite for all things fantastical, so it makes sense that Sky 1’s big festive treat is based in an alternate reality where magic is the norm. Based on the novels by Jason Fforde, the series follows badass 15-year-old Jennifer Strange (Ellise Chappell) as she fights to save the world's last surviving dragon. We reckon if anyone’s got a chance of doing it, it’s Jennifer – she’s basically the personification of #girlpower. 


Call the Midwife – BBC One, 8pm

We love Call the Midwife, for so many reasons, not least of all because it’s one of the best feminist shows on the box. Think about it; we’ve got women discussing women’s issues, forging strong female friendships, and absolutely owning their careers – not to mention a dazzling wardrobe of gorgeous period costumes. And, this Christmas, things are set to be even more compelling as the midwives and nuns of Nonnatus House travel to a tiny mission hospital in South Africa. Can they overcome the dangerously low water supply and rising tensions in the community (it’s the height of the apartheid) to save Hope Clinic?


What to watch on Boxing Day

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes – BBC One, 6.30pm

Roald Dahl holds a very special place in the hearts of adults and children alike, so we’re sure that this two-part animation is sure to go down a treat with the entire family on Boxing Day. Rose Leslie, Gemma Chan, and Dominic West lead the cast as they bring Dahl’s nightmarish reimaginings of classic children’s tales to life – and we’re particularly looking forward to his version of Cinderella (aka Cindy).

The Big Fat Quiz of the Year – Channel 4, 9pm

2016 has been a right stinker of the year, what with Brexit and Trump reigning supreme in the headlines – but how much of it do you really remember? Once again, Jimmy Carr is set to host Channel 4’s annual end-of-year comedy quiz, with Richard Ayoade, Sarah Millican, Mel Geidroyc, David Mitchell, Romesh Ranganathan, and Rob Delaney all competing to be crowned the winner. You can play along at home from the comfort of your own sofa.


The Witness for the Prosecution – BBC One, 9pm

Kim Cattrall (as in, yes, SATC’s Samantha Jones) stars in this fresh Agatha Christie adaptation, alongside the likes of Billy Howle and Toby Jones. Set in 1920s London, it weaves a tale of murder most foul, as a man stands accused of murdering his wealthy lover – who, incidentally, just so happens to have left her entire fortune to him. Too bad the only person who can save him from being found guilty is his glamorous showgirl wife, eh?


And what to watch for the rest of the holidays...

To Walk Invisible – BBC One, 9pm, 29 December

Now that Downton Abbey is done and dusted with, we’ve been desperately searching for a new costume drama to fall in love with. Enter To Walk Invisible, which follows the real-life Brontë sisters as they struggle to make a name for themselves as literary icons. Starring Chloe Pirrie, Finn Atkins, and Charlie Murphy as Emily, Charlotte, and Anne respectively, it promises to be a complex and captivating family drama – with a hefty dose of awesome feminism to boot.

Delicious – Sky 1, 9pm, 30 December

This four-part black comedy has gotten us incredibly excited, not least of all because it stars Dawn French and Emilia Fox. Set in the idyllic Cornish countryside, it follows hotel entrepreneur (Iain Glen) as he falls back in love with his ex… and begins an illicit affair with her, behind the back of the younger woman he left her for. It’s a love triangle with one love rat and two ‘Other Women’, and we have a feeling it’s going to be delightfully naughty. Especially as the former Vicar of Dibley is involved.

Gilmore Girls: A Day in the Life – Netflix

If you haven’t caught up with the Gilmore Girls revival episodes yet, now’s your chance; they’re all on Netflix for you to get stuck into as and when you want to. So, if you find yourself with a few hours to spare over the Christmas break, you can join Lorelai (Lauren Graham), Rory (Alexis Bledel), and the gang for a trip back to Stars Hollow. If it seals the deal, the very first episode opens on a snowy wintry day in Connecticut…

Peter Pan Goes Wrong – BBC One, 6.20pm, 31 December

As in, yes, the Olivier-nominated comedy play that has taken by the West End by storm. The Beeb is hosting a specially adapted television version of the side-splitting stage show, which sees a team of am-dram actors attempt to give the performance of their lives – and, as the title suggests, things don’t run smoothly. At all. Expect your face to hurt from smiling too much come the end of it all.


The Crown – Netflix

We already figured that Queen Elizabeth II is a total badass, but we never quite realised the extent of her awesomeness until this glittering series came along. The 10-part drama follows a young Liz (Claire Foy) as she rises to the throne and comes to terms with her newfound responsibilities, the effect it has on her relationship with Prince Phillip (Matt Smith), and her role within the governance of the UK. From her absolute refusal to let anyone belittle her, to her wisdom beyond her years, there’s no denying that ours is a queen to be reckoned with. However, as each episode is a whopping 90 minutes long, you’ll definitely need to get to work ASAP if you want to squeeze them all in before you go back to work in 2017….

Sherlock – BBC One, 9pm, 1 January

Yup, you read that right; Sherlock is finally back for a three-part series. Very little is known about the plot of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s latest outing, although we do know that Freeman’s Watson is a new dad – and that we’ll get to see Cumberbatch fulfilling babysitting duties as Uncle Sherlock. But if you think it’s going to be a fun family-friendly outing, think again; there’s plenty of mentions of Moriarty, a sinister new villain in the form of Toby Jones, and a big shock in store for long-term fans of the show… concerning Watson. Eep.


Barry – Netflix

In a bid to emotionally prepare us for President Obama’s departure from the White House in 2017 (or, you know, make us even more sad about it), Netflix have dropped an incredible new drama in the form of Barry. And, yeah, you guessed it; it’s ll about Obama’s days as a young college student – and allows us a closer look at the determined and driven politician. It’s the autumn of 1981, the winds of change are in the air, and our future Prez is about to begin his junior year at Columbia University. Fresh, inspiring, and downright awesome, we’ve genuinely cancelled our NYE plans to watch this instead.


Basically, we’ve all got a lot to be getting on with over the next week and a bit.

To your televisions, everyone!

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