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Christmas TV 2019: all the incredible film and TV specials we’re looking forward to this festive season

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Lauren Geall
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Best Christmas TV: Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special 2019.

2019’s Christmas TV is really something special: from the hotly anticipated return of Gavin & Stacey to a new offering from Miranda Hart, there’s something for everyone to look forward to this December.

With less than two weeks until 25 December, it truly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

While there’s something uniquely exciting about the whole buzz of Christmas time in pubs, restaurants and shops up and down the country, there’s also something special about sitting down to catch some of the Christmas TV shows and specials on offer across the main channels. From now onwards, TV is getting festive – and we can’t wait.

The main event of the season has to be the return of Gavin & Stacey with the one-off Christmas special on BBC One, which will see the cast unite after ten years away from our screens. But that’s not all we’ve got to look forward to: from a festive Bake Off starring the cast of Derry Girls to the start of new BBC drama The Trial Of Christine Keeler, there’s something for everyone to watch this Christmas. 

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That’s why this list of all the best Christmas TV will be your shining light throughout the festive period, giving you all the information you need to catch the best films, TV and specials of Christmas 2019. Get ready for some serious festive vibes. 

Best Christmas TV on the BBC

  • A Christmas Carol

    Who is in A Christmas Carol?

    Guy Pearce, Charlotte Riley, Stephen Graham, Andy Serkis and Vinette Robinson.

    Where and when can I watch A Christmas Carol?

    The three-part drama will air across three nights at 9pm on the 22, 23 and 24 December on BBC One.

    What do we know about A Christmas Carol so far?

    A Christmas Carol has been adapted for television many times before, but the BBC has assured viewers that this three-part series will be a “unique and original take on Charles Dickens’ iconic ghost story” and a “haunting, hallucinatory, spine-tingling immersion into Scrooge’s dark night of the soul”. This latest adaptation of the classic Christmas story was also written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight.

  • The Trial Of Christine Keeler

    Best Christmas TV: The Trial Of Christine Keeler.
    Best Christmas TV: Sophie Cookson as Christine Keeler in The Trial Of Christine Keeler.

    Who is in The Trial Of Christine Keeler?

    Sophie Cookson, James Norton, Ben Miles, Emilia Fox, Ellie Bamber.

    When and where can I watch The Trial Of Christine Keeler?

    Part one of the six-part series will air on BBC One on 29 December at 9pm.

    What do we know about The Trial of Christine Keeler so far?

    The Trial Of Christine Keeler is based on the story behind the Profumo affair of 1963, a scandal involving Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old model, and the then secretary of state for war, John Profumo. You can find out more about the new BBC drama here.

  • A Merry Tudor Christmas with Lucy Worsley

    A Merry Tudor Christmas with Lucy Worsley
    Best Christmas TV: A Merry Tudor Christmas with Lucy Worsley.

    Where and when can I watch A Merry Tudor Christmas with Lucy Worsley?

    The hour-long special will air on BBC One at 9pm on 20 December.

    What do we know about A Merry Tudor Christmas with Lucy Worsley so far?

    Historian Lucy Worsley is taking to BBC One this festive season to recreate how Christmas was celebrated during the age of Henry III, taking a look at the fashions, food and traditions which formed the festivities 500 years ago. Learn more about the history of Christmas and what the Tudors considered ‘the perfect gift’ back in 1532 – it’s sure to be eye-opening.

  • Martin’s Close

    Peter Capaldi in Martin's Close on BBC Four.
    Best Christmas TV: Peter Capaldi in Martin's Close on BBC Four.

    Who is in Martin’s Close?

    Peter Capaldi, Wilf Scolding, Sara Crowe, James Holmes, Simon Williams, Elliot Levey and Fisayo Akinade.

    Where and when can I watch Martin’s Close?

    The one-off 30-minute drama will air on BBC Four at 10pm on Christmas Eve (24 December).

    What do we know about Martin’s Close?

    Martin’s Close is an adaptation of the book of the same name by M.R. James. The chilling ghost story follows the story of John Martin (Wilf Scolding) who has been accused of murdering a young girl. The hitch? She’s been seen since her so-called ‘death’…

  • Call The Midwife Christmas Special

    Call The Midwife
    Best Christmas TV: Call The Midwife comes back to the BBC with a Christmas special before season nine begins in early 2020.

    Who is in Call The Midwife Christmas Special?

    Miriam Margolyes, Jenny Agutter, Linda Bassett, Judy Parfitt, Fenella Woolgar, Ella Bruccoleri, Helen George, Laura Main, Leonie Elliot, Stephen McGann, Jennifer Kirby, Cliff Parisi, Annabelle Apsion, Max Macmillan, Trevor Cooper, Georgia Glen and Daniel Laurie.

    Where and when can I watch Call The Midwife Christmas Special?

    The Christmas special will air at 7pm on 25 December on BBC One, with the remaining seven episodes of series nine airing in early 2020.

    What do we know about Call The Midwife Christmas Special so far?

    This year’s episode will follow the midwives as they take a journey to the Outer Hebrides to help the region’s isolated residents.

  • Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special

    Who is in the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special?

    Ruth Jones, James Corden, Mathew Horne, Joanna Page, Rob Brydon, Larry Lamb, Melanie Walters and Alison Steadman.

    Where and when can I watch the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special?

    The Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special will be broadcast on Christmas Day at 8:30pm on BBC One.

    What do we know about the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special so far?

    One thing’s for certain: we’re extremely excited, and have been ever since the special was announced in May earlier this year. The cast were pictured filming in Wales in July, and last month we got the trailer we’d all been waiting for. 

    Speaking to The Telegraph after a screening of the special episode, Jones explained what’s in store for fans: “Gavin and Stacey are at the heart of this show - they’re the only reason these people all met - so we needed something solid and chunky for them. It’s about their story ten years on. They so capture what a lot of couples with kids feel, that sometimes there’s no time for romance. That’s what we realised was the heart of the show.”

  • Mimi And The Mountain Dragon

    Best Christmas TV: Mimi And The Mountain Dragon
    Best Christmas TV: Mimi And The Mountain Dragon

    Who is in Mimi And The Mountain Dragon?

    Mimi And The Mountain Dragon will feature an introductory narration by Sir Michael Morpurgo.

    Where and when can I watch Mimi And The Mountain Dragon?

    The one-off special will air on BBC One at 3:20pm on 26 December.

    What do we know about Mimi And The Mountain Dragon so far?

    The 2D animated adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s children book has been described as an “enchanting mix of music and storytelling” by the director of BBC content Charlotte Moore. The story follows a young girl called Mimi who travels through a blizzard to return a baby dragon to it’s mother, and will be accompanied by classical music in an original score by Oscar award-winning composer Rachel Portman.

  • Worzel Gummidge

    Worzel Gummidge
    Best Christmas TV: Mackenzie Crook, Thierry Wickens and India Brown in Worzel Gummidge.

    Who is in Worzel Gummidge?

    Mackenzie Crook, Michael Palin, Zoë Wanamaker, Steve Pemberton, Vicki Pepperdine, Thierry Wickens and India Brown.

    Where and when can I watch Worzel Gummidge?

    The two hour-long films will be broadcast at 6:20pm and 7pm on the 26 and 27 December respectively on BBC One.

    What do we know about Worzel Gummidge so far?

    2019’s Worzel Gummidge is a reboot of the classic Jon Pertwee children’s sitcom about a scarecrow who comes to life and befriends the local children. The third adaptation of the classic children’s books by Barbara Euphan Todd, the latest series will follow the story of lively scarecrow Worzel Gummidge as he comes to life and gains the trust of local children Susan and John.

  • The Snail And The Whale

    Julia Donaldson's The Snail And The Whale
    Best Christmas TV: Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's children's book The Snail And The Whale is being adapted for TV on the BBC.

    Who is in The Snail And The Whale?

    Rob Brydon, Sally Hawkins, Cariad Lloyd and Dame Diana Rigg.

    Where and when can I watch The Snail And The Whale?

    The 30 minute special will air at 2:05pm on 1 January on BBC One. 

    What do we know about The Snail And The Whale so far?

    The Snail And The Whale is an animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s classic children’s book, which follows the story of a tiny snail who longs to see the world – and ends up hitching a ride on the tail of a humpback whale. 

  • Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration

    Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration.
    Best Christmas TV: Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration.

    Who is hosting Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration?

    Miranda Hart, of course!

    When and where can I watch Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration?

    The one-off special will air on BBC One on New Year’s Day at 5:45pm.

    What do we know about Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration so far?

    Miranda Hart’s much-loved semi-autobiographical alter-ego is back on our screens this Christmas with this festive show. Filmed in the iconic London Palladium, the one-off special will celebrate all things Miranda – and we can’t wait.

  • Death Comes At The End

    Agatha Christie typing at her typewriter
    Agatha Christie: the most prolific crime writer of all time

    Who is in Death Comes At The End?

    Casting information has yet to be announced, but we do know it will be Vanity Fair’s scriptwriter Gwyneth Hughes will be adapting Agatha Christie’s novel for the TV. 

    Where and when can I watch Death Comes At The End?

    We don’t have any confirmed news yet, but the adaptation has previously been rumoured to air during the Christmas period, so we’ll have to wait and see.

    What do we know about Death Comes At The End so far?

    Not much, really. The adaptation of Agatha Christie’s book of the same name is about a murder mystery set in Ancient Egypt – and it’s expected to be a three-part drama. 

Best Christmas TV on Channel 4

  • The Great Christmas Bake Off

    Best Christmas TV: Paul Hollywood with Candice Brown on last year's show.
    Best Christmas TV: Paul Hollywood with Candice Brown on last year's show.

    Who is hosting The Great Christmas Bake Off?

    Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig, Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood.

    Where and when can I watch The Great Christmas Bake Off?

    The 75-minute special will air on Channel 4 at 7:20pm on Christmas Day.

    What do we know about The Great Christmas Bake Off so far?

    The first of Channel 4’s festive baking treats comes in the form of The Great Christmas Bake Off, which will see contestants from previous seasons compete to take home the coveted title of Christmas Star baker.

    Featuring Tom and Yan from 2017’s competition and Briony and Terry from 2018, the bakers will compete in some suitably festive baking challenges, and be played out by a performance from British rock band Status Quo as they perform Rockin All Over The World.

  • The Tiger Who Came To Tea

    The Tiger Who Came To Tea
    Best Christmas TV: Robbie Williams has created the theme tune for Judith Kerr's The Tiger Who Came To Tea.

    Who is in The Tiger Who Came To Tea?

    Benedict Cumberbatch, Tamsin Greig, David Walliams, David Oyelowo, Paul Whitehouse, Clara Ross. Robbie Williams sings the theme tune, Hey Tiger!

    Where and when can I watch The Tiger Who Came To Tea?

    The 30-minute special will air on Channel 4 at 7:30pm on 24 December, with a repeat being shown at 1:50pm on Christmas Day.

    What do we know about The Tiger Who Came To Tea so far?

    The adaptation of Judith Kerr’s beloved children’s book of the same name comes after the iconic author passed away earlier this year, and the one-off special will partly commemorate her life and work. The Tiger Who Came To Tea follows the story of a young girl called Sophie (Clara Ross), whose afternoon tea is disrupted by a friendly but greedy tiger.

  • The Great Festive Bake Off

    Best Christmas TV: The Great Festive Bake Off with the cast of Derry Girls.
    Best Christmas TV: The Great Festive Bake Off with the cast of Derry Girls.

    Who is in The Great Festive Bake Off?

    Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Dylan Llewellyn and Siobhan McSweeney will compete, alongside the usual presenters Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig and judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood.

    Where and when can I watch The Great Festive Bake Off?

    The 75-minute special will air at 7:40pm on Channel 4 on New Years Day.

    What do we know about The Great Festive Bake Off so far?

    The second Christmas bake off special will see the cast of Derry Girls take to the tent to test their baking prowess. Airing just in time for the New Year, this special will see Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Dylan Llewellyn and Siobhan McSweeney compete for the title of Star Baker with some New Year themed creations.

    The episode will see in the New Year with London’s Community Gospel Choir.

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Images: BBC/Macmillan Children’s Books/Getty/ Channel 4.

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