christmas-tv

Christmas TV Guide 2018: all the listings and Christmas specials

From a Les Mis adaptation to a festive Bake Off...

Hollie Richardson

One of the best things about Christmas is sitting back on the sofa with a box of chocolates and a festive tipple, taking charge of the remote control and tuning into some top television. This year does not disappoint, and there are plenty of dramas, laughs and adventures to be found on the small screen. Here's a roundup of what's on TV over Christmas 2018…

BBC

Watership Down (Saturday 22 December at 7pm and Sunday 23 December at 7.20pm)

Fans of Richard Adams' bestselling classic novel Watership Down will love the BBC's modern adaptation. The two special feature-length episodes tell the tale of adventure, courage and survival, following a band of rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home. This brand-new animation features the voices of some big Hollywood names with lead bunny brothers, Hazel and Fiver, voiced by James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult.

READ: More BBC Christmas TV specials

Click & Collect (Christmas Eve at 9pm)

Stephen Merchant and Asim Chaudhry star as two mismatched neighbours driving across the country to pick up the one toy that will make a little girl’s Christmas dreams come true in this special comedy drama. Will they get there before the shops shut for the festive season? Can they make it back in time for Christmas? And will they manage to avoid driving each other crazy along the way?

EastEnders

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 Moon is determined to give Kat Moon 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. Elsewhere Mick Carter is finally reunited with his beloved Linda but with revenge on his mind, Christmas will be anything but peaceful for their family. New Year is equally dramatic as Mel and Ray's wedding day arrives. 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…

Doctor Who (New Year's Day at 7pm)

A year after Jodie Whittaker was first introduced as the new Time Lord, she returns for her second Doctor Who festive special. She'll also be joined by former Call the Midwife star Charlotte Ritchie! It's thought that it won’t have a festive theme and instead will see the Doctor face a new alien threat in the hour-long episode.

The Midnight Gang (Boxing Day at 7:30pm)

David Walliams is back for more family fun with his new show The Midnight Gang, which is a heartwarming story set in a children’s hospital. Based on another of David's hugely popular children's books, a young boy must spend a stint in the children’s ward at Lord Funt Hospital, after an accident during a cricket game. He soon discovers The Midnight Gang, a group of kids who secretly sneak out of the ward at midnight and go on magical adventures...

Les Misérables (Sunday 30th December at 9pm)

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.

Call the Midwife – Christmas Special (Tuesday 25 December at 7.45pm)

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 (Christmas Day at 5.30pm)

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.

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Luther (New Year's Day at 9pm)

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 Dead Room (Christmas Eve at 10pm)

From the Doctor Who and Sherlock writer, The Dead Room is a spooky drama set in a 'haunted' radio studio starring Simon Callow. It follows actor and voice-over artist Aubrey Judd who returns to an old radio studio to record the latest edition of an ongoing horror series, which he’s been narrating for decades. But there’s something strange going on and the old studio appears to be haunted by echoes of Aubrey’s troubled past.

ITV

Torvill & Dean (Christmas Day at 9:15pm)

Dancing on Icedoesn't start until next year, but the new Torvill & Dean drama will get you in the mood for some serious skating. Will Tudor and Poppy Lee Friar will take on the iconic leads in the feature-length episode which explores the early years of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. The one-off drama will follow the pair's humble beginnings from Nottingham to the show-stopping performance at the Olympics.

The Royal Variety Performance (Tuesday 11 December, 7.30pm)

Host Greg Davies presents a special evening of musical performers, extraordinary theatre and brilliant comedy, as well as a number of surprises along the away. Take That, the West End cast of the hit musical Hamilton, chart topper George Ezra, the West End cast of Tina – The Tina Turner Musical and the legendary Andrea Bocelli & his son Matteo all star.

Best Christmas Ever with Alexander Armstrong (Sunday 16 December, 9pm)

Some very special celebrity guests, all on a mission to find out what really makes the best Christmas ever, will join Alexander Armstrong for this one-off festive special. Much like the big day itself, there will be games, sing-along and polite but firm disagreement as our celebrity guests battle it out to crown the best Christmas food, song and movie.

Long Lost Family Christmas Reunion (Monday 17 December, 9pm)

Tissues at the ready for a festive edition of the show that's reunited over 200 long-lost relatives over the last eight years. This emotional Christmas special will find out what it means to spend your first Christmas with your loved ones and reflect on how lives have changed for people since finding their relatives, with some guests meeting new family members for the very first time during the programme.

Emmerdale

What is Christmas without some drama in the Dales? It starts with Jessie Grant's festive wedding surprise for Marlon Dingle, but will she manage to dupe the unsuspecting groom and get him down the aisle? With such secretive plans for the nuptials and Marlon believing he's doing the catering, Sam Dingle thinks he might be the lucky groom. With one misunderstanding after another (it gets quite confusing) will Jessie and Marlon exchange their vows and seal their partnership with a kiss under the mistletoe? Meanwhile Bob Hope is facing a bleak Christmas alone in his room at the B&B, following his break up from Laurel Thomas. Beyond the point of crying, Bob is a shadow of his former self and it's clear Christmas has well and truly broken him. It is the season of goodwill to all men, but Bob isn't feeling festive. Will 2019 bring him health, happiness and prosperity?

Coronation Street

Over in Weatherfield, things are far from carefree and festive, especially with Sally Metcalfe still behind bars while Gina Seddon cosies up with Sal's husband Tim. Johnny Connor’s infidelity with Liz McDonald is still playing on Jenny Bradley’s mind and, having overdone the Christmas spirit, the Rovers’ landlady does something she will live to regret. Elsewhere, Daniel Barlow is determined to make this a Christmas to remember for him and his pregnant wife Sinead. At the Platts' Audrey Roberts has a surprise for her dysfunctional family and at Bessie Street Primary School, Brian Packham hosts a nativity with a difference that leaves the pupils and parents open mouthed, just not necessarily for the right reasons.

Channel 4

The Great Festive Bake Off (Christmas Day at 8pm & New Year's Day at 7:40pm)

Bake Off fans rejoice - Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig are putting on their favourite Christmas jumpers for a festive special. Four special bakers will compete in the competition to be crowned Star Baker.

Jamie’s Quick and Easy Christmas (Wednesday 19 December at 8pm)

For some last minute tips on how to cook the best Christmas dinner yet, this hour-long Christmas Special of Jamie's Quick and Easy series will use just five ingredients for each of his festive creations. Jamie and his family will show you how to get all the flavour without any of the fuss.

The Undateables at Christmas (Tuesday 18 December at 9pm)

Some familiar faces from The Undateables return with more yuletide festivities as they share their extra special plans for the most magical time of the year. In this Christmas special, fans can catch up with three loved-up couples whose relationships are going from strength to strength since they first met on the show as they prepare for the festive season.

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