BBC Christmas TV schedule: what to watch this festive season from Strictly to Mary Berry's Christmas Party

What will you be watching this Christmas?

Alicia Lansom

If like us you're planning to spend a lot of time in front of the telly this Christmas, you're in for a treat as a whole host of festive programmes are airing across the BBC. From the chilling adventures of Agatha Christie's ABC Murders to the glitter and glamour of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, there's something for every member of the family to enjoy. Check out our picks of the best BBC television shows coming to our screens this season...

Luther (BBC ONE)

Everybody's favourite crime fighter is back this Christmas with Idris Elba reviving his role as DCI John Luther. This time a series of monstrous killings lead Luther and new recruit D.S. Catherine Halliday to be caught in a complex tangle of leads and misdirection that seems designed to protect the killer and their corruption. Closer than ever to uncovering the true evil that lurks in London town, Luther is forced to confront his own unburied demons from his past. Stepping back into the line of fire, he must choose who to protect and who to sacrifice knowing whatever he chooses will change his life forever.


The ABC Murders (BBC ONE)

ABC Murders is the next instalment in the collection of Agatha Christie stories adapted for the BBC. BAFTA-nominated writer Sarah Phelps has adapted the 1936 classic which follows a killer who travels across Britain on the railway network. Using the alias ABC, the killer works in a pattern, leaving a copy of the ABC railway guide at the scene of each murder. Lead character Poirot works to investigate the crimes as the cunning killer continues to evade his capture. John Malkovich leads the cast as Hercule Poirot alongside Harry Potter's Rupert Grint as Inspector Crome. Also starring are Andrew Buchan as Franklin Clarke, Tara Fitzgerald as Lady Hermione Clarke and Eve Austin as Betty Barnard.

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Call the Midwife – Christmas Special (BBC ONE)

Award-winning series Call the Midwife is back chronicling the goings-on in Poplar as it prepares for Christmas. This year the nuns travel to the Mother House to elect a brand-new Mother Superior. Meanwhile Sister Mildred arrives unexpectedly with four Chinese orphans en route to the Children's Home at the Mother House. Touched by the story of the children at the Home, the Nonnatus family and two new nuns come together to give them a Christmas Nativity that they will remember. Expect the episode to be filled with warmth and festive cheer all round.


Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (BBC ONE)

Strictly Come Dancing returns for a star-studded Christmas spectacular as six of the nation's most loved Strictly stars put on their dancing shoes once again for a one-off special coming to BBC One on Christmas Day. This year leading ladies Anita Rani, Ann Widdecombe and Caroline Flack return to the ballroom alongside Aston Merrygold, Jake Wood and Michael Vaughan. Hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, judges Shirley Ballas, Dame Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood will give their verdict as the six couples perform a Christmas-inspired routine in the hopes of being crowned the 2018 Christmas champions.

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Watership Down (BBC ONE)

Airing this Christmas as two special feature-length episodes, the BBC has adapted Richard Adams' bestselling novel Watership Down for the modern age. The much-loved classic tells a tale of adventure, courage and survival as it follows a band of rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home. This brand-new animation features the voices of some big Hollywood names with lead brothers Hazel and Fiver voiced by James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult, as well as featuring voiceovers from Olivia Colman, John Boyega, Sir Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Taron Egerton, Daniel Kaluuya, Rosamund Pike and Gemma Chan. This cartoon is set to entertain the whole family.


Mary Berry's Christmas Party (BBC ONE)

Christmas is about spending time with friends and family but it's also about delicious food and everybody's favourite lady Mary Berry is here to show just how Christmas food should be made. This festive season Mary will open her kitchen to four celebrities: BBC One's news-guru Huw Edwards, Britain's fastest-ever female athlete, Dina Asher-Smith, Poldark actress Eleanor Tomlinson and comedian Joe Lycett to help them improve their festive cookery skills. Learning how to prepare a whole host of festive foods, this programme will be sure to get your mouth watering!

EastEnders (BBC ONE)

It isn't really Christmas until you've watched a festive soap special and this year Albert Square is packed with all the action you could want as one person is left with blood on their hands. Alfie is determined to give Kat the perfect Christmas but his dreams come to a standstill when the truth about him and Hayley unravels and Kat's world is turned upside down causing unforeseen repercussions. Elsewhere Mick Carter is finally reunited with his beloved Linda but with revenge on his mind, Christmas will be anything but peaceful for the Carters. New Year is equally dramatic as Mel and Ray's wedding day arrives and Mel has something special in store for her deceitful groom, but as the bride-to-be puts the final pieces of her plan into place, she comes to a horrifying realisation…


Les Misérables (BBC ONE)

Already a hugely successful stage show and major motion picture, multi award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies is bringing a brand new six-part drama adaptation of Victor Hugo's 19th century classic Les Misérables to the BBC. Set against the epic backdrop of France at a time of civil unrest, the series follows the famed characters as they experience the struggles and triumphs of life as the underclass. With a star-studded cast including Dominic West, David Oyelowo, Lily Collins, Olivia Colman and Josh O'Connor, this six-part series is set to be the toast of Christmas viewing.

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