Call The Midwife Christmas

Christmas television to start getting excited about: the best festive picks from BBC, Channel 4 and more

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While the TV may be packed with festive re-runs right now, there’s plenty of amazing new television to catch over the festive period, too. Below, find all the best shows to see you through Christmas and into the new year.

Christmas TV can generally be a mixed bag of nostalgic movies, re-runs of old sitcoms or festive one-off specials. Happily, this year’s lineup is the perfect mix of drama, joy and general Christmas-related fun. 

Including the run-up to the big day itself – and, of course, that lull period that’s usually filled with reworking Christmas dinner leftovers, board games and little more – we’ve rounded up some of the best television to get stuck into from before 25 December, right through to after New Year’s Day.

As well as the yearly Great British Bake Off Christmas special, there are some great dramas like BBC One’s Call The Midwife and Netflix’s Stay Close. The BBC has also recently announced that they will make more than 1,000 box sets available on BBC iPlayer this Christmas. 

Charlotte Moore, BBC chief content officer, said: “For many of us, those precious days over the Christmas break are all about being curled up on the sofa with a box set. And this is a truly outstanding part of the BBC’s festive season.

“We’ve got over a thousand box sets ready to stream – more than ever before. So always something to watch, whoever you are and whatever you’re into.”

Films like Mary Poppins Returns and Last Christmas will be available to stream as well as boxsets of some of BBC’s most beloved series like Time, The Outlaws and Vigil.

ITV has also announced a big change to their Christmas TV schedule which means that if you’re eagerly anticipating the festive programming, you can get ahead of the action by streaming shows on ITV Hub ahead of their evening broadcast. So if you’re in the mood for a 7am watch of The Masked Singalong, The Larkins or Gino’s Italian Family Adventure, your Christmas wishes have been granted.

With that in mind, scroll ahead for some of the best telly to keep you company over the Christmas period – alongside your chocolate selection box of choice, of course…

BBC

Call The Midwife Christmas Special

BBC Call The Midwife
Miriam Margolyes’s Mother Mildred is back for this year's Call The Midwife Christmas special.

The hit drama is back for its annual Christmas special and this time round, Call The Midwife is welcoming back one of its beloved characters: Miriam Margolyes’s Mother Mildred. Following her absence from the tenth series, she’ll be joining the special alongside Helen George as nurse Trixie Franklin and Leonie Elliott as Lucille Anderson.

Not many details are currently released about the special but judging from the first look images, it looks to be a festive, feel-good affair.

The Christmas special comes after its shortened 10th series, which began airing in March due to a Covid-related delay. However, Call the Midwife season 11 will follow soon after its Christmas special, as a brand new batch of episodes is rumoured to land in January 2022.

Call The Midwife’s Christmas Special will air on BBC One at 8pm on Christmas Day (25 December).

BBC Sports Personality Of The Year

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu's historic triumphs this year will be highlighted at the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Awards.

BBC Sports Personality of the Year award ceremony will be held at Salford’s MediaCity on 19 December and broadcast on BBC One on the same date. The 68th award ceremony will be presented by Gary Lineker, Clare Balding, Gabby Logan and Stylist cover star Alex Scott in front of a studio audience.

The show will be a hit among any sports fans and with the incredible sporting action we’ve seen in the last 12 months, including the Olympics and Paralympics, there will be a lot to celebrate.

BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said: “With sporting events getting back to some normality and our teams and athletes achieving great things, this year has been one of the most memorable for many reasons.

“The awards ceremony in Salford will have a lot to reflect on and it’s something the whole BBC Sport team are looking forward to delivering.”

BBC Sports Personality of the Year will air on BBC One on 19 December.

A Very British Scandal

Claire Foy A Very British Scandal
A Very British Scandal: Claire Foy will portray Margaret, Duchess of Argyll.

BBC’s hotly anticipated historical drama is likely to air sometime over the Christmas period and with Claire Foy taking a central role, we can guarantee this three-episode series will be the perfect show to get stuck into over the festive period. 

Written by Sarah Phelps (Dublin Murders), A Very British Scandal focuses on the divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, played by Foy and WandaVision actor Paul Bettany, which was one of the most notorious and brutal legal cases of the 20th century.

The official synopsis reads: “Famed for her charisma, beauty and style, Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, dominated the front pages as a divorce featuring accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug-taking, secret recording, bribery and an explicit polaroid picture all played out in the white-hot glare of the 1960s media.

A Very British Scandal turns this scandal inside out in order to explore the social and political climate of post-war Britain, looking at attitudes towards women, and asking whether institutional misogyny was widespread at the time.”

A Very British Scandal will air on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 26 December.

Doctor Who New Year’s Day Special

With the latest series of Doctor Who having just launched on BBC One, fans are eagerly awaiting its Christmas special already. Titled Flux, the new series marks the end of an era for Jodie Whittaker, as she recently announced her exit from the series.

Christmas is usually signposted by a Doctor Who special and last year saw Whittaker’s Doctor come up against some familiar foes in Revolution Of The Daleks. This year, the schedule is slightly different with the action-packed Doctor Who special airing on New Year’s Day instead of Christmas this year.

This festive special is the first of three Doctor Who Specials airing in 2022 and will feature guest stars Aisling Bea (This Way Up, Living With Yourself), Adjani Salmon (Dreaming Whilst Black, Enterprice) and Pauline McLynn (Father Ted, Shameless).

The synopsis reads: “Sarah (Bea) owns and runs ELF storage, and Nick (Salmon) is a customer who visits his unit every year on New Year’s Eve. This year, however, their night turns out to be a little different than planned…”

The second Special airs in Spring and Jodie’s final feature-length Special (in where the Thirteenth Doctor will regenerate), will transmit in autumn 2022 as part of the BBC’s Centenary celebrations.

Doctor Who’s New Year’s Day special will air on BBC One on New Year’s Day.

The Girl Before

The Girl Before BBC
The Girl Before stars The Morning Show’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Selma’s David Oyelowo.

BBC’s newest psychological thriller has just been confirmed to be released as part of the channel’s Christmas schedule and we’re very, very excited. Based on the novel of the same name by JP Delaney, the series stars The Morning Show’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Selma’s David Oyelowo.

The synopsis reads: “The Girl Before tells the story of Jane (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who gets the chance to move into a beautiful, ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect (played by David Oyelowo). There’s just one catch: occupants have to abide by his list of exacting rules. 

“Jane starts to feel the house changing her in unexpected ways, but when she makes the shocking discovery about her predecessor Emma (played by Jessica Plummer), she’s forced to confront unnerving similarities. As the two women’s timelines interweave, Jane begins to question if her fate will be the same as the girl before…”

The Girl Before will air on BBC One at 9pm on 19 December.

Around The World In 80 Days

Around The World In 80 Days
The eight-part series stars David Tennant, Ibrahim Koma and Leonie Benesch as Phileas Fogg, Passepartout and Abigail ‘Fix’ Fortescue.

The epic adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in 80 Days is coming to BBC One and iPlayer this Christmas. 

The eight-part series stars David Tennant (Inside Man, Des) as the intrepid explorer Phileas Fogg, Ibrahim Koma (As Far As I Can Walk) as the mercurial Passepartout and Leonie Benesch (Spy City) as young journalist Abigail ‘Fix’ Fortescue.

The official synopsis reads: “Following an outrageous bet, Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, take on the legendary challenge of circumnavigating the globe in just 80 days, swiftly joined by aspiring journalist Abigail ‘Fix’ Fortescue, who seizes the chance to report on this extraordinary story.”

The series has been adapted by a team of renowned writers led by Ashley Pharoah (Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes, The Living And The Dead) and Caleb Ranson (Child Of Mine, Heartless).

Around the World in 80 Days will air on BBC One at 5:50pm on Boxing Day (26 December).

The Tourist

Jamie Dornan in The Tourist
Jamie Dornan will star in The Tourist, BBC One’s new thriller.

While we’ve been eagerly awaiting a release date, it looks as though we don’t have long to wait until The Tourist is the next thriller we spend our winter nights obsessing over.

The Tourist throws us straight into the Australian outback where Jamie Dornan (The Fall) stars as a British man being pursued by a vast tank truck trying to drive him off the road. It’s set to be an epic cat and mouse chase that leaves the man waking up hurt in hospital, but somehow alive. 

The twist? He has no idea who he is. With merciless figures from his past pursuing him, The Man’s search for answers propels him through the vast and unforgiving outback. As the synopsis says: “Will he unlock the secrets of his identify before those who are trying to kill him catch up with him?”

The Tourist will air on BBC One on New Year’s day (1 January 2022).

Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard

Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard
David Attenborough will be releasing a new BBC documentary in time for the festive period.

There’s something about watching Attenborough over the festive period that just feels so very right and that’s why we’re excited by BBC’s most recent announcement. 

The synopsis reads: “Four years ago, a couple walking round a freshly dug gravel pit just outside Swindon noticed something unusual protruding from the mud. It was the top of a huge fossilised leg bone of a mammoth. Sally and Neville Hollingworth, both keen amateur fossil hunters, had stumbled across the discovery of a lifetime – a mammoth graveyard in the old prehistoric riverbed of the Thames.”

Exploring this discovery will be Attenborough and a team of archaeologists and palaeontologists as they carefully excavate the quarry where the bones were found. 

Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard will air on BBC One as part of their Christmas schedule, date TBC.

Andi Oliver’s A Taste Of Home Christmas Special

Andi Oliver Christmas Special
Andi Oliver will be bringing us A Taste Of Home Christmas Special.

Andi Oliver is the chef and foodie we’re all a little obsessed with. Now, she’s bringing her passion to a new Christmas-themed programme where three families will share “treasured family recipes and traditions with Andi, and demonstrate how a simple meal can help tell the story of a whole city - it’s culture, its spirit and its history.”

The synopsis goes on: “As Andi rolls up her sleeves to help the families shop and prep for the food that matters most to them at Christmas time, we’ll get a rich and varied picture of how different families celebrate the festive season. Some of the dishes will be the classics Andi knows and loves, others will be an entirely new experience – but all will give her and BBC Two viewers a real taste of Glasgow and of home.”

Andi Oliver’s A Taste Of Home At Christmas will air on BBC Two as part of their Christmas schedule, date TBC.

Mary Berry’s Festive Feasts

Mary Berry's Festive Feasts
Mary Berry's Festive Feasts will be coming to BBC this Christmas.

The nation’s favourite, Mary Berry, will be gracing our screens soon as she prepares to teach three hapless cooks how to create a fantastic Christmas Feast to surprise someone special.

In this heartfelt Christmas-themed cookery show, the kitchen novices are invited to Mary’s home to share their ambitions for the feast and tell her all about the deserving person they want to spoil. It’s set to be a hilarious watch as Berry enlists the help of two celebrity Elves, Alex Jones and Patrick Grant.

Mary Berry’s Festive Feasts will air on BBC as part of their Christmas schedule, date TBC.

The Great British Christmas Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee
The Great British Sewing Bee returns for a Christmas extravaganza.

Brand new host Sara Pascoe will be throwing a Christmas Sewing Bee extravaganza. As she gets into the festive spirit, she welcomes celebrity sewer Rev Kate Bottley, actors Antony Cotton and Kiell Smith-Bynoe, plus presenter Anneka Rice into the Sewing Room. 

Under the watchful eyes of judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant, the four brave celebrities follow a pattern for a Christmas jumper, transform a charity shop bundle into the perfect fancy dress outfit and create dresses from Christmas past. With only one celebrity able to win the Christmas Sewing Bee award before, who will take home the coveted prize?

As well as a Christmas special of Sewing Bee, we’re being treated to a New Year Sewing Bee also. The four celebrities battling it out will be winner of Drag Race UK Lawrence Chaney, comedian and writer Rose Matafeo, singer Claire Richards from Steps and journalist Kirsty Wark.

They will have to rustle up a festive waistcoat, transform some old clothes into children’s party dresses and fit a food-themed fancy dress outfit to a model. Finally they’ll all hit the dance floor with Claire performing an eighties disco classic and we can’t wait.

The Great British Christmas Sewing Bee will air on BBC One as part of their Christmas schedule, date TBC.

Quentin Blake: The Drawing Of My Life

Quentin Blake BBC documentary
BBC Two will celebrate one of Britain's best loved artists in Quentin Blake: The Drawing Of My Life.

Quentin Blake’s work is synonymous with many people’s childhoods and while famously collaborating with author Roald Dahl, his legacy and work is more far-reaching than many may realise.

In this BBC Two documentary, the illustrator and author Sir Quentin Blake will tell the story of his creative life in his own words, alongside his own pictures. He’ll create a major new work exclusively for this film and viewers will be able to see him fill a thirty foot long canvas with classic characters and key moments from his career.

Quentin Blake: The Drawing Of My Life will air on BBC Two as part of their Christmas schedule, date TBC.

Mrs Brown’s Boys

Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special
Mrs Brown's Boys will hitting our screens for a Christmas and New Year's special this year.

For fans of Mrs Brown’s Boys there are two visits to Finglas this season. 

At Christmas, Agnes (Brendan O’Carroll) has become a non-singing member of the choir, and Dermot (Paddy Houlihan) and Buster (Danny O’Carroll) have organised a benefit night for a rather unusual cause; while New Year brings about fresh starts in the Brown house, and an unexpected visitor has a unique investment opportunity.

Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas special will air on BBC One at 10:20pm on Christmas Day (25 December). Details for the New Year’s special are TBC.

Ghosts

The much-loved sitcom Ghosts will be back for a special Christmas episode this December.

The synopsis reads: “In the run up to the festive season, Kitty becomes convinced that Santa has made an early stop at Button House when Mike and Alison discover a man living in a tent on their grounds. The ghosts’ advice on how to deal with him leaves much to be desired, but eventually Mike and Alison learn that they have more to offer this Christmas than they realised.”

Ghosts will air on BBC One at 8:30pm on 23 December.

Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas

Everyone loves a good animation – especially at Christmas time – and the world’s favourite sheep returns to BBC this year for a festive 30-minute special.

The synopsis reads: “The Flight Before Christmas sees Shaun’s seasonal excitement turn to dismay when a farmhouse raid to get bigger stockings for the Flock inadvertently leads to Timmy going missing. Can Shaun get Timmy back before he becomes someone else’s present? Prepare for a ‘Santastic’ adventure as everyone learns the true value of Christmas!”

Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas will air on BBC One at 11:35am on Christmas Day (25 December).

Superworm

BBC's Superworm
BBC's Superworm will be headlined by Oscar winner Olivia Colman as Narrator.

Another BBC animation that will be coming to our screens is Superworm, the thoughtful comic hero with a difference.

If a well-meaning and hilarious animation isn’t enough to win you over, perhaps its all-star cast will. Superworm will be narrated by Oscar winner Olivia Colman and Emmy nominee Matt Smith will be playing the hero, Superworm. 

They are joined by Patricia Allison (Sex Education) as Butterfly, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Mary Poppins Returns) as Wizard Lizard and Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey) as the Crow, with comedian Cariad Lloyd as Mama Toad.

Superworm will air on BBC One at 2:30pm on Christmas Day (25 December).

Beauty and the Beast: A Comic Relief Pantomime for Christmas

Cinderella Pantomime BBC
Last year’s Cinderella starred Regé-Jean Page, Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, Guz Khan, Anya Taylor Joy and Daniel Craig.

“Oh no it isn’t”, “Oh, yes, it is.” 

The world’s funniest and most star-studded pantomime is back after last year’s Cinderella raised nearly £900,000 for Comic Relief.  The return of the popular Comic Relief Pantomime, written by Ben Crocker and The Dawson Bros, will include an exciting new stellar cast for this year’s Beauty And The Beast.

Last year’s Cinderella starred Regé-Jean Page, Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, Guz Khan, Anya Taylor Joy and Daniel Craig as the horse Wheezy Jeff. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for this years panto treat.

Beauty and the Beast: A Comic Relief Pantomime for Christmas will air on BBC Two as part of their Christmas schedule, date TBC.

The Mezzotint

The Mezzotint
BBC's Mezzotint will be a chilling drama to add to your Christmas watchlist.

The BBC sure are treating us when it comes to the drama offerings this year. The Mezzotint is the dark 1920s-based drama that will likely leave you on the edge of your seat this Christmas. 

The synopsis reads: “It’s 1922 and in the heart of an old English college, Edward Williams receives an engraving of an unknown country house. An imposing facade. A sweeping lawn. And, just perhaps, something else…? Laced with M. R. James’ trademark terror, The Mezzotint will guarantee a chill in the air for viewers this Christmas. Rory Kinnear (Years & Years, No Time To Die) stars as Williams, alongside Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, Downton Abbey) as Garwood, and Frances Barber (Doctor Who, Semi-Detached) as Mrs Ambrigail.”

The Mezzotint also stars John Hopkins (Poldark, Lucky Man), Emma Cunniffe (Roadkill, Unforgotten), Nikesh Patel (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Indian Summers), and Tommaso Di Vincenzo (Dracula).

The Mezzotint will air on BBC Two at 10:30pm on Christmas Eve (24 December).

Death In Paradise

Death In Paradise BBC
Ralf Little and Joséphine Jobert will return in the first ever feature length Christmas special of BBC One’s Death In Paradise.

For the first time, BBC One are airing a Death In Paradise Christmas special. The 90-minute episode will conclude the series’ tenth anniversary celebrations before series 11 airs in the new year.

As the synopsis states: “It’s Christmas time on Saint Marie and Neville is preparing to head to Manchester to spend the holiday with his family. But his plans are abruptly changed when a billionaire shipping magnate dies in mysterious circumstances.

“Things only get stranger when a minicab driver in London receives a Christmas card with an ominous message inside that turns the entire case on its head. For Neville and the team, will this be a case they can crack together?

“Following the series ten cliff-hanger that left everybody swinging in suspense, Florence is jetting off for Christmas, leaving the team a member down. So, the Commissioner decides to enlist the help of retired officer, Dwayne Myers (Danny John-Jules). Alongside Marlon, Dwayne employs his unique style of policing to help investigate the case. Left to their own devices, the pair struggle on the best plan of action for apprehending a suspect. As rain falls, tensions rise - but as Christmas Day approaches, will they realise they’re more like one another than they originally thought?”

Death In Paradise will air on BBC One at 7:30pm on Boxing Day (26 December).

Channel 4

Joe Lycett: Mummy’s Big Christmas Do! 

Joe Lycett Christmas do
Joe Lycett will be hosting his very own "big queer Christmas house party" on Channel 4 this year.

Joe Lycett, the British comedian many of us love from 8 Out Of 10 Cats and BBC Two’s The Great British Sewing Bee, is throwing a yuletide party of epic proportions. Coming to Channel 4 for the festive season, Lycett is hosting “a big queer Christmas house party – live from his Birmingham hometown”.

The live 90-minute show will see the comedian celebrate the return of Christmas. With his trademark wit, lots of tinsel, special guests, musical performances and stand-up comedy, Lycett will be bringing us a brilliant Birmingham-based celebration of “all things queer”.

The fun doesn’t stop there though as the official synopsis also states: “The specially invited audience will be the real stars of the show – made up of LGBTQ+ icons, allies of the LGBTQ+ community, and local heroes in addition to some people who may well be in for some devilish surprises from Joe.”

Joe Lycett: Mummy’s Big Christmas Do! will air on Channel 4, date TBC.

The Great Christmas Bake Off 

Never have we been so excited to see two Channel 4 shows collide as we were when the It’s A Sin cast was announced to be joining The Great British Bake Off’s festive special.

After being one of the standout dramas of the year, It’s A Sin’s Olly Alexander, Lydia West, Nathaniel Curtis and Shaun Dooley will all be vying for the title of Star Baker this Christmas. Of course, regular hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas will be featuring alongside judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood. We wonder which star will get the enviable handshake and which one will be left shaken by the technical challenge?

All we do know is that this is guaranteed to be a dose of lighthearted fun to tune into if the Christmas stress proves a little too much.

The Great Christmas Bake Off will air on Channel 4 on Christmas Day at 8pm.

Terry Pratchett’s The Abominable Snow Baby 

Julie Walters
Julie Walters will be starring in Channel 4’s upcoming adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s The Abominable Snow Baby.

Channel 4 is renowned for its animated Christmas offerings, and this year, Terry Pratchett fans are in luck. Joining the likes of past commissioned animations including The Snowman, The Tiger Who Came To Tea and Quentin Blake’s Clown, this year will see one of Pratchett’s short stories being adapted with an all-star cast.

Based on the story of the same name, The Abominable Snow Baby follows the titular 14ft tall monster who arrives in a small English town and is immediately shunned by the local residents.

In true Christmas-time spirit, a grandmother (Julie Walters) and her grandson Albert (voiced by Downton Abbey A New Era’s Hugh Dancy) decide to rescue the Snow Baby, “showering her new pet with love and affection, changing the town’s perception and helping the community overcome their initial prejudices”, according to the synopsis.

It seems like a heartfelt watch with an overarching positive message – what more could you want from a Christmas animation?

Terry Pratchett’s The Abominable Snow Baby will be available to watch on Channel 4 on Christmas Day at 7:30pm. 

Netflix

Emily In Paris season two

With the new official trailer having just dropped, Emily In Paris is set to be the binge-worthy Netflix drama we all need to lose ourselves in at the end of the year. Coming to the streaming platform on 22 December, the second series promises complicated romances for Emily and could be the perfect antidote to any post-Christmas blues.

Emily In Paris season two will be available to stream on Netflix on 22 December.

Don’t Look Up 

Don’t Look Up already boasts an incredible cast of familiar faces and is due to land on the streaming platform on Christmas Eve. The movie “tells the story of two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet earth”, according to the official Netflix synopsis.

The two astronomers, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, struggle to convince everyone of the magnitude of the situation and trying to mention it to the president (played by Meryl Streep) seems to be an insurmountable task. This looks like a hilarious (and very realistic) take on misinformation and expert knowledge.

Don’t Look Up will be available to stream on Netflix on 24 December.

Stay Close 

Harlan Coben Stay Close Netflix
The Good Wife's Cush Jumbo will star in Netflix's latest thriller drama, Stay Close.

It seems as though Harlan Coben and Netflix know exactly when to pair up and drop a winter-worthy TV thriller for us all to get stuck into. Like The Stranger and Safe, this eight-episode series will see trademark thrills, suspense and secrets rise to the surface.

According to the synopsis:

Stay Close questions how much you really know someone. Four people each conceal dark secrets from those closest to them: Megan (Cush Jumbo) a working mother of three; Ray (Richard Armitage), a once-promising documentary photographer; Broome (James Nesbitt) a detective unable to let go of a missing person’s cold case; and Lorraine (Sarah Parish), an old friend of Megan’s. As the past comes back to haunt them, threatening to ruin their lives and the lives of those around them, what will be their next move?”

Stay Close will be available to stream on Netflix on 31 December.

The Lost Daughter 

The Lost Daughter is Maggie Gyllenhaal’s upcoming directorial debut and has already been awarded Best Screenplay at this year’s Venice Film Festival. The movie, which stars Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Paul Mescal and Jessie Buckley, follows a woman (Colman) on an idyllic beach vacation that soon takes a dark turn.

Her obsession with a young mother forces her to confront the secrets of her past, and from the look of the trailer, it is suitably tense.

The Lost Daughter will be released in cinemas on 17 December and on Netflix from 31 December.

Queer Eye season six

The Fab Five are back for season six and we couldn’t be happier to see them back on our screens. This time round, the Emmy award-winning bunch are going to Austin, Texas, where they’ll be working their magic, and from the look of their fabulous Netflix date announcement (see above), it’ll be nothing but good vibes.

Queer Eye season six will be available to stream on Netflix on 31 December.

ITV

The Downton Abbey movie

Downton Abbey Lady Edith
Downton Abbey: Lady Edith (Laura Cormichael) and Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern) return to the screen.

For fans of Downton Abbey, there’s great news: the first movie will be premiering on ITV over the Christmas period. If you missed it in the cinemas last year or just want a refresh in time for the upcoming release of Downton Abbey: A New Era, you’re in luck.

Mostly filmed in Hampshire at Highclere Castle, ITV’s Downton Abbey has been a regular fixture during the festive period over the past decade: between 2011 and 2015, five Christmas specials aired on Christmas Day. Hopefully, the TV premiere of the movie will fill the Downton-shaped hole in our hearts this year.

The Downton Abbey movie will air on ITV One, date TBC.

The Masked Singalong

The Masked Singer enraptured Saturday night audiences with its family-friendly fun – and now, it’s returning to our screens for a special Christmas edition. After you’ve finished your Christmas dinner, ITV are airing a special spin-off, The Masked Singalong, with never-before-seen holiday performances and guaranteed good times.

The Masked Singalong will air on ITV One on Christmas Day at 6pm but will be available to stream on ITV Hub from 7am the same day.

All Star Musicals At Christmas

All Star Musicals At Christmas ITV
Anita Rani will be joining the line-up of familiar faces for the Christmas edition of All Star Musicals.

Ever dreamt of being on the West End stage? Well, this Christmas, ITV are granting that wish to a select group of UK celebrities in a festive special of All Star Musicals. The one-off episode will follow presenter Fern Britton, actor Ben Miller, broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, presenter Anita Rani, actress Catherine Tyldesley and sports presenter Radzi Chinyanganya as they take the stage for a night of pure entertainment.

“They’ll embark on the ultimate musical theatre masterclass, each hoping to steal the show with their spectacular performance and be voted All Star Musicals Champion,” reads the official synopsis.

“Equipped with world-class mentoring from the returning panel, musical theatre powerhouses; Elaine Paige OBE, Samantha Barks (Frozen, Les Miserables) and Trevor Dion Nicholas (Hamilton, Aladdin), the celebrities will be supported by a full West End ensemble, a live orchestra, and, in the lead up to their big performance, also receive training from esteemed West End choreographers and vocal coaches.”

All Star Musicals At Christmas will air on ITV One on Boxing Day at 8pm but will be available to stream on ITV Hub from 7am the same day.

Gino’s Italian Family Adventure: A Festive Feast

Gino's Italian Family Adventure
Gino D’Acampo is back in his beloved Italy for a Christmas special.

Celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo will be cooking up a veritable storm in the Christmas edition of his Italian Family Adventure series. Returning back to Italy, he’s on a mission to educate his family about their Italian roots – all through the very delectable medium of food.

If you’re still struggling for festive food inspiration before the big day, you can stream this festive episode on Christmas Eve morning too.

Gino’s Italian Family Adventure: A Festive Feast will air on ITV One on Christmas Eve at 6:30pm but will be available to stream on ITV Hub from 7am the same day.

The Larkins Christmas Special

The Larkins Christmas special ITV
The Larkins Christmas Special will air on ITV One on Christmas Day.

The ITV adaptation of H. E. Bates’s 1958 novel The Darling Buds of May will return for a Christmas special this year. Following the success of the first series, the festive episode will return us to the idyllic Kent countryside village where the family live in the 1950s.

“In the village all the talk is of the pantomime and an ongoing spate of burglaries – Miss Pilchester, the Normans and Johnny Delamere are amongst the victims,” reads the official synopsis.

“Pop and Ma are overjoyed to have the pair back for Christmas, but when Charley’s parents arrive to meet the Larkin clan, and the entire village is left without lighting and heating following a power cut, chaos descends on the Larkins farm.”

The Larkins Christmas Special will air on ITV One on Christmas Day at 9pm but will be available to stream on ITV Hub from 7am the same day.

Sky

Last Train To Christmas 

Last Train To Christmas

Michael Sheen (The Twilight Saga, The Queen) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones, Fast & Furious 7) have joined forces in the brand new Sky Original film, Last Train To Christmas. The time travel Christmas-themed film looks like a fun take on the traditional festive movie and we’re here for it.

According to the synopsis: “Tony Towers (Sheen) is about to take the trip of a lifetime. It’s 1985 and he’s a successful nightclub manager, a local celebrity and engaged to a much younger woman, Sue (Emmanuel). Things are going great. But when he embarks upon the 3:17 to Nottingham for a Christmas family reunion, things get a little strange. Moving up a carriage to the buffet car lands him in 1995, where he finds his clubs have failed and his life has fallen apart. 

“Tony discovers that by moving up and down this fateful train, he can transport himself forward and backward to various stages of his life. Not only that, but the actions he takes in one carriage directly affect his life in the next. The question is, can Tony change his life – and the lives of the people he loves – for the better, or will he just make things worse?”

Last Train To Christmas will be available to watch on Sky Cinema and NOW from 18 December.

A Christmas Number One

Joining the modern Christmas film ranks is Sky’s A Christmas Number One which is pinned to be a “comedic and heartfelt new take on the holiday movie.”

As the synopsis reads:

“Fresh from a breakup with the world’s hottest popstar, music manager Meg Rai (Frieda Pinto) leaves New York for London to manage a boyband, Five Together, who are desperate for a Christmas hit after their latest self-written album flopped. 

“Meanwhile, Blake Cutter (Iwan Rheon), persuaded by his Christmas obsessive and terminally ill niece, Nina Cutter (Helena Zengel), puts his thrash metal band, Scurve, to one side to write Nina the ultimate Christmas song. When Meg discovers the hit in the making, will this be the Christmas number one the boy band desperately needs or will Blake, the song, and Nina show Meg what truly matters?”

A Christmas Number One will be available to watch on Sky Cinema and streaming service NOW from 10 December.

Apple TV+

Swan Song

This beautifully, emotive film is already drumming up Oscar award buzz due to Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris’ superb acting.

According to Apple TV+’s official synopsis, the film is:

“Set in the near future, Swan Song is a powerful, emotional journey told through the eyes of Cameron (Ali), a loving husband and father diagnosed with a terminal illness, who is presented with an alternative solution by his doctor (Glenn Close) to shield his family from grief. As Cam grapples with whether or not to alter his family’s fate, he learns more about life and love than he ever imagined.

Swan Song explores how far we will go, and how much we’re willing to sacrifice, to make a happier life for the people we love.”

Swan Song will be available to watch on Apple TV+ on 17 December.

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Image: BBC

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