Skip to main contentSkip to footer

BBC’s Christmas line-up: our TV experts’ top picks for Festive TV Shows

Agatha Christie? Doctor Who? Vigil?! We're so ready for BBC's amazing Festive line-up

BBC’s Christmas line-up: our TV experts’ top picks for Festive TV Shows
Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
Share this:

Christmas is right around the corner and BBC’s line-up of TV shows has us seriously excited. They have so much coming out that it’s hard to know where to start, so we consulted our TV experts on what shows they are most looking forward to, and why. Here are our top recommendations for BBC shows over the festive period… 

Vigil season two 

For me, series one of Vigil was one of the best TV dramas around when it aired in 2021. So, I couldn't have been more thrilled when they announced series two. The second outing will feature a slightly different background cast (those who are familiar with the plot of the first series won't be surprised by that) but Suranne Jones and Rose Leslie are indeed returning as DCI Amy Silva and DI Kirsten Longacre respectively to solve another gripping crime.

WATCH: Suranne Jones is back for Vigil season 2

They won't be back on a submarine, though. Rather than heading down to the depths of the ocean, this time they're heading to the skies to enter the "world of drone warfare" to unmask a killer while battling with the hostile and closed ranks of the air force. I'm gripped already. - Francesca Shillcock, Senior TV Writer 

EastEnders

Some people look forward to the pigs in blankets on Christmas Day, others can't wait to unwrap their presents. Me? I'm watching the clock waiting for evening to roll around to watch the EastEnders Christmas special. An hour-long instalment of Albert Square? Count me in. This year the soap has been teasing the Christmas special since February, when they did their first-ever fast-forward preview, which showed a man lying dead on the floor of The Queen Vic. Since that snippet nine months ago, they've been dropping Easter eggs about who meets their demise on 25 December and I can't wait to finally find out! - Melanie Macleod, Wellness Editor

Sharon Watts in the EastEnders Christmas special© Kieron McCarron
Sharon Watts in the EastEnders Christmas special

Lot No. 249

As a big Game of Thrones fan, I am thrilled to see Jon Snow himself back on our screens. Kit Harington is starring in this festive drama penned by Mark Gatiss - and since I was also a huge Sherlock fan back in the day… I am ready for whatever this show throws at us. The ghost story follows a group of Oxford students who are researching Ancient Egypt when they come across a "horrifying bag of bones". Mark has called it a "ripping yarn", and I can’t wait to check it out. 

Nigella's Amsterdam Christmas

I don't know about you, but it simply isn't Christmas without a bit of Nigella on the box. The beloved chef and TV darling is heading to Amsterdam to ring in the festivities this year, checking out all the wonderful Christmas Fairs and artisan food shops before taking inspiration and channelling it through her recipes. I also adore the shots of Nigella cooking at home and marvelling at her to-die-for kitchen and dining areas. It's so cosy and Christmassy, I love it. - Francesca Shillcock, Senior TV Writer 

nglish cook and food writer, Nigella Lawson, attends a book signing and lunch at the Melbourne restaurant, Taxi Kitchen, during her tour of Australia, © Getty Images
Nigella is back to teach us Christmas cooking

Doctor Who Christmas special

There is nothing quite so exciting for your average Whovian than meeting a new Doctor and seeing whether, frankly, you can accept them as the new time-travelling Time Lord. This Christmas, Ncuti Gatwa takes up the mantle from Jodie Whittaker (with a brief appearance from David Tennant for the 60th anniversary episodes). From everything we’ve seen so far, I think he’ll be an incredible incarnation of the Doctor, and I can’t wait to see him pilot the TARDIS for the Xmas special! 

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023,Christmas Special© James Pardon
Doctor Who Christmas Special 2023,Christmas Special

Ghosts Christmas Special

I sobbed my heart out when Ghosts aired its final episode in October, so I cannot wait to be reunited with the Button House gang at Christmas. So, what can we expect? With Mike's mum Betty staying for the holidays, Alison and Mike soon lose their patience with her interfering ways. Meanwhile, Robin struggles to get into the festive spirit, prompting his fellow ghosts to share their best tips. But will the loveable caveman be able to embrace the magic of Christmas? -  Nicky Morris, TV Writer 

The Tourist Season 2 

Jamie Dornan is back as the amnesiac man getting himself into plenty of trouble, but this time he has swapped Australia for Ireland for round two of this dark humorous and thrilling series that broke BBC records back in 2021. From the writers of Boat Story, I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves for The Tourist season 2 - particularly with a lead as watchable and talented as The Fall’s very own Jamie! 

Jamie Dornan is back as Elliot Stanley© Steffan Hill
Jamie Dornan is back as Elliot Stanley

The Famous Five

As a big fan of Enid Blyton growing up, I’m excited to take a nostalgic trip down memory lane with this updated version of the beloved classic. Forget Sex and the City, which of the Famous Five characters are you most like? I’d like to think I’m a George, but unfortunately, I’m probably more of an Anne. Either way, I’ll be watching this one! 

Call the Midwife Christmas Special

I'll be making sure to have the tissues ready for this one, as it will no doubt be a tear-jerker! We'll be returning to Nonnatus House for Christmas once again this year, taking us back to 1968 when Apollo 8 was poised to circle the moon. We'll see our favourite Poplar residents set out to lift Sister Monica Joan's spirits after she becomes convinced that she won't see another Yuletide. Meanwhile, Trixie and Matthew prepare for their first Christmas as a married couple – but it doesn't quite go as planned… - Nicky Morris, TV Writer 

Best Christmas jumpers for women - at a glance

  1. Stylish brands to visit: Marks & Spencer, Next and Boden have amazing jumpers. Scroll down for our favourite stylish knits
  2. Classy Christmas jumper for ladies: It's all about the pretty bows. This Monsoon Christmas jumper is so chic
  3. Designer Christmas jumper brand: We dream of one day owning a Chinti & Parker Christmas jumper
  4. Amazon first choice: We love this Santa-inspired one
  5. Supermarket must-have: Tu at Sainsbury's
  6. Funny festive knit: We love this Disney 'Grumpy' Christmas jumper
  7. Light-up Christmas jumper: Fancy a glow in the dark Christmas jumper? NotOnTheHighStreet has some great unisex options
  8. Plus-size option for women: Yours Clothing has a fabulous slogan jumper available in sizes 14 - 32.

Mary Berry's Highland Christmas

As anticipation builds for Christmas, I will be tuning into the upcoming one-of-a-kind festive special that sees cooking icon Dame Mary Berry takes centre stage, accompanied by an array of guests! Among them is the illustrious Scottish tennis star, Andy Murray. Set against the enchanting backdrop of a cosy Christmas in Scotland, Dame Mary invites viewers on a delightful journey as she masterfully crafts a selection of extraordinary seasonal dishes. Get ready to be enthralled as these two worlds intertwine in a festive spectacle like no other. - Sharnaz Shahid, Deputy Online Editor

Mary Berry pictured at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival - 3 July 2023© Oliver Dixon/Shutterstock
Excited for Mary Berry's Christmas special?

Would I Lie To You? At Christmas

I have to admit that I absolutely adore this panel show - it has to be one of my absolute favourites - and the Christmas one is always special. Where else would we learn that when James Acaster didn’t get the Christmas present he wanted, he once tried to drown himself? Or that there’s an annual village game of 'Squirt'? We can’t wait for the festive truths (and fibs) this year. 

Agatha Christie’s Murder Is Easy

Agatha Christie is an absolute must-watch - or read - at this time of year, because what could be cosier to watch, in front of a fireplace, a box of celebrations on lap, than a quintessentially British murder mystery? I adore the BBC’s adaptations when they roll around, and it’s a while since we’ve had one over Christmas - so I can’t wait. 

Charles III: The Coronation Year

The perfect companion to the King’s second-ever Christmas message, this fascinating documentary will look back at His Majesty’s first full year as the monarch. Since we’re big fans of the royal family here at HELLO!, we’ll certainly be looking at his highlights with a lot of fondness - particularly if there are some moments that we might have missed! 

More TV and Film

See more