Smashie’s Xmastastic Playlist

Paul Whitehouse’s ever-fantabulous doyen of the airwaves Mike Smash busts out the Christmas classics, even though he seems to have mislaid Dave Nice since we last heard from him.
Saturday 23 December, 4pm, Gold

Even Better Than the Real Thing

Paddy McGuinness hosts a festive edition of the daft tribute act showcase, with Kylie Minogue and Elton John among the icons to get the treatment.
Saturday 23 December, 7.10pm, BBC One


David Walliams’s grubby burger van operator Burt gets a Christmas outing with Sheridan Smith as his wife Sheila. Burt fancies putting a lonely girl’s pet rat in a sesame bun. Who can stop him?
Christmas Eve, 6pm, Sky1

Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show

The Marmite comic hosts a special edition of his variety show, featuring guests Bill Bailey, Alesha Dixon and Seal, and more text-themed hi-jinks.
Christmas Eve, 8.30pm, BBC One

Trollied Christmas Special

Trollied Christmas Special
Gavin (Jason Watkins) and Cheryl (Sarah Parish) in Trollied. Photograph: Sky UK

A festive hostage drama (if you can imagine such a thing) occurs in the return of this cheerful, undemanding comedy set in a supermarket and starring Jason Watkins and John Thomson.
Christmas Eve, 9.30pm, Sky1

Not Going Out Christmas Special

There’s gifting trauma for Lee and Lucy as over-competitive grandparents steal their thunder in Lee Mack’s proudly traditional, well-crafted and enduringly popular sitcom.
Christmas Eve, 9.35pm, BBC One

Upstart Crow

The Shakespeares are hoping for a quiet Christmas but, in true festive sitcom style, events conspire against them to riotous effect. Emma Thompson guest stars as Elizabeth I.
Christmas Day, 8.25pm, BBC Two

Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special

Brendan O’Carroll’s sitcom remains as divisive as Brexit. This year, Grandad becomes convinced that the house is haunted. Possibly by sitcom heroes of yesteryear turning in their graves.
Christmas Day, 10pm, BBC One

Alan Carr’s Christmas Chatty Man

Festive chattiness overload with Alan’s guests including Noel Gallagher, Christian Slater, John Bishop, Lorraine Kelly, Kasabian and Dua Lipa.
Christmas Day, 10pm, Channel 4

300 Years of French & Saunders

The Handmaid’s Tale, Poldark and Love Island are among the parodies in the duo’s hyperbolically named 30th anniversary show.
Christmas Day, 10.35pm, BBC One

Two Doors Down: Christmas Special

The warm and witty Scottish sitcom returns ahead of a new series, with Beth and Eric’s Christmas plans under threat from a variety of unexpected arrivals.
Boxing Day, 10.30pm, BBC Two

Alan Partridge: Why, When, Where, How and Whom?

Cashback! After the travel-tavern dwelling, grudge-nursing wilderness years, a long-overdue BBC tribute to the most three-dimensional character in recent British comedy history. Needless to say, he’s had the last laugh …
Wednesday 27 December, 9pm, BBC Two

Miranda Does Christmas

Miranda Hart hops over to Channel 4 for a yuletide shindig. Guests include David Tennant, Prue Leith and Sam Smith.
Wednesday 27 December, 9pm, Channel 4

Tim Vine Travels Through Time Christmas Special

Puns and time travel combine to riotous effect as the comic lands a role as Henry VIII’s jester in Tudor England.
Friday 29 December, 7.30pm, BBC One

Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves
Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves. Photograph: Sophie Mutevelian/BBC

Vic & Bob’s Big Night Out

They’re back! Arguably the landmark British comedy show of the early 90s gets an update, now with added grey hairs and Matt Lucas. They wouldn’t let it lie …
Friday 29 December, 9pm, BBC Two

Frankie Boyle’s 2017 New World Order

The scabrous Glaswegian funnyman tries to make sense of another bewildering political year, via his usual brand of inventive invective.
Friday 29 December, 10pm, BBC Two

Inside No 9

Reece Shearsmith and co have only just got off the telly after their successful League of Gentlemen run, but they’ve won a whole new fanbase with their one-room comedy series that can be as terrifying as it is funny. Watch with caution.
Tuesday 2 January, 10pm, BBC Two

Will & Grace

It received a lukewarm reception when it aired in the US; amid the rejoicing voices were some asking whether the show justified a reboot. Whichever side you come down on, it’s back and it offers consistent laughs, even if it’s not world-beating.
Friday 5 January, 10pm, Channel 5



Get outta my pub! Max’s downfall continues, and Kathy has a not-so-festive showdown with evil gentrifier James Willmott-Brown.
Christmas Eve, 8pm; Christmas Day, 9pm, BBC One

Maigret in Montmartre

Rowan Atkinson has grown into the part of Chief Inspector Jules Maigret. Here, he investigates the deaths of a countess and a showgirl.
Christmas Eve, 8.30pm, ITV

Call the Midwife

The Big Freeze of 1962-3 hits Poplar. How will expectant mums, as well as midwives and nuns, contest with the harsh winter chill?
Christmas Day, 7.40pm, BBC One

Coronation Street

Calamity on the cobbles, as tragedy strikes for the Barlows, and Steve and Tracy reunite under the mistletoe.
Christmas Day, 8pm, ITV


Having essentially invented Christmas as we know it, it’s only fair that Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) gets her own two-hour outing, as she and Albert (Tom Hughes) have different views on the festivities.
Christmas Day, 9pm, ITV

Little Women

Turkey sandwich day doesn’t mean TV turkeys. This new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel, with Emily Watson and Angela Lansbury, promises frills and thrills.
Boxing Day, 8pm, BBC One

The Miniaturist
Nella Oortman (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Johannes Brant (Alex Hassell) in The Miniaturist. Photograph: Laurence Cendrowicz/The Forge/BBC

The Miniaturist

Another promising page-to-screen venture, this adaptation of Jessie Burton’s lauded debut novel stars Romola Garai, Anna Taylor-Joy and Hayley Squires.
Boxing Day, 9pm, BBC One

Eric, Ernie & Me

Stephen Tompkinson takes centre stage in a biopic of Eddie Braben, the scouse comedy writing genius behind Morecambe and Wise’s era-defining success.
Friday 29 December, 9pm, BBC Four


Dawn French and Emilia Fox return in this tasty foodie drama. Business is booming at the Penrose restaurant – but trouble is in store …
Friday 29 December, 9pm, Sky1

Black Mirror

Another batch of smart, scary dystopian visions, just in time for gloomy January. This time round, Charlie Brooker calls on the heavy-hitting likes of Jodie Foster and Andrea Riseborough to collaborate.
Available Friday 29 December, Netflix


It has been described as James Norton’s James Bond audition, but in truth this classy adaptation of Misha Glenny’s book about a financier with connections to the Russian mob is far more complex than that. Brought to you by the same people who made The Night Manager, it shares that show’s globe-spanning plot and ambition.
Monday 1 January; Tuesday 2 January, 9pm, BBC One


Kay Mellor’s latest follows another group of women – this time it’s Phyllis Logan, Miranda Richardson and Zoe Wanamaker – who are dealing with the annoying life task of getting older.
Wednesday 3 January, 9pm, ITV


It’s Christmas Live from the Royal Albert Hall

A live, festive jukebox, with Jona Lewie, Holly Johnson, Chrissie Hynde and many more purveyors of overripe but tasty Christmas cheese.
Saturday, 7pm, Sky1; Christmas Eve, 8pm, Sky Arts

All Star Musicals

Andrew Flintoff takes time out from pondering the flatness of the Earth to co-host this musical show, with celebs including Denise Lewis and Tony Robinson.
Christmas Eve, 6.40pm, ITV

Mary, Mel and Sue’s Big Christmas Thank You

The former Bake Off trio prove they’re more than just leftovers with this one-off, which sees them travel to Wales to help a community in need.
Christmas Eve, 7pm, BBC One

Child Genius vs Celebrities Christmas Special

Will it be child’s play for Janet Street-Porter, Dom Joly, Cathy Newman and Rob Delaney as they take on the country’s cleverest kids?
Christmas Eve, 8pm, Channel 4

Top of the Pops Christmas Special

Pop goes 2017: chart-toppers including Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa join Fearne Cotton and Clara Amfo on Christmas Day, while the New Year special includes Paloma Faith.
Christmas Day, 12.20pm, BBC One

The Highway Rat

From the team behind 2015’s hit animated short Stick Man comes another Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler adaptation, with David Tennant and Rob Brydon among the stars doing voiceover duty.
Christmas Day, 4.45pm, BBC One

Doctor Who

Doctor Who
The Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and the first Doctor (David Bradley) in, erm, Doctor Who. Photograph: BBC/PA

Doctor Who? A treat for Whovians new and old as Peter Capaldi clashes with the First Doctor (David Bradley reprising William Hartnell’s role) before Jodie Whittaker’s all-important arrival as Doctor No 13.
Christmas Day, 5.30pm, BBC One

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

Hot on the Cuban heels of the main series, fondly remembered former contestants including Jeremy Vine, Colin Jackson and Judy Murray return to the dancefloor.
Christmas Day, 6.30pm, BBC One

The Great Christmas Bake Off

A festive lap of honour for the competitive baking institution, which invites former contestants back to battle for the title of Christmas Star Baker. But will Prue be able to keep off Twitter between now and then?
Christmas Day, 7.40pm, Channel 4

Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella

Staged at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre and masterminded by the popular choreographer, this new version of the fairytale is set during the second world war.
Boxing Day, 5.35pm, BBC Two

World’s Strongest Man 2017: The Finals

Festive grunting and grappling ahoy – this peculiar Christmas institution slips down very nicely alongside the last of the Quality Streets.
Wednesday 27 December, 8pm, Channel 5


The World’s Best Christmas Lights: From Liverpool to Bethlehem

A Merseyside festive decorations company travels to the Holy Land to bring some sparkle to Bethlehem. But are the locals really prepared for a Liverpudlian Christmas?
Saturday, 8pm, Channel 4

First Dates at Christmas

After a year that’s seen the first First Dates baby, another batch of hopeful singles rock up at the restaurant in the hope of a Christmas miracle.
Christmas Day, 9pm, Channel 4

Sandringham: The Queen at Christmas

Do the Windsors gorge on cheese, have arguments about politics and pass out in front of EastEnders? Don’t expect to learn the answers to these questions in this proudly adulatory doc.
Boxing Day, 4.10pm, Channel 5

Snow Bears

Looking for Blue Planet minus the emotional trauma? Snow Bears follows fluffy polar cubs on a journey the programme-makers optimistically describe as “fun-packed”.
Boxing Day, 6.30pm, BBC One

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2017

As is customary at around this time, the BBC encourages us to stop filling our stomachs with food for a moment and start filling our brains with facts. This year, Professor Sophie Scott explores human and other animal communication over three days of talks.
Boxing Day, 8pm, BBC Four

Agatha Christie v Hercule Poirot

Stimulate your little grey cells: literary professor Pierre Bayard delves into Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, critiquing Christie – as well as Poirot’s – conclusion. Wednesday 27 December, 7.30pm, Sky Arts

Turtle, Eagle, Cheetah: A Slow Odyssey

A white-tailed sea eagle in Turtle, Eagle, Cheetah: A Slow Odyssey
A white-tailed sea eagle in Turtle, Eagle, Cheetah: A Slow Odyssey. Photograph: Michael Neue/BBC/NHU/Shutterstock

Have you ever wished you could fly, or swim underwater, or chase and kill an antelope? This doc, in which cameras are attached to the titular beasts, is the closest you’ll ever get.
Wednesday 27 December, 9pm, BBC Four

Attenborough and the Empire of the Ants

More remarkable natural history from the Beeb, this time exploring in intimate detail the customs and conflicts of the wood ants of Jura in France.
Thursday 28 December, 9.30pm, BBC Two

The Secret Life of 5 Year Olds on Holiday

The familiar nippers of the Channel 4 series go abroad for the first time. Can Cyprus handle the cuteness overload that’s sure to ensue?

Thursday 28 December, 9.30pm, Channel 4


Premier League football: Everton v Chelsea

The usual, slightly overwhelming feast of festive football kicks off with Chelsea’s visit to the Big Sam-inspired, and suddenly dangerous, Everton.
Saturday, 11.30am, Sky Sports Premier League

Darts: The World Championships

The annual festival of arrow-flinging is well under way, as the PDC World Championships continue at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Saturday, 2.30pm, Sky Sports Main Event

Ashes cricket: Australia v England

Australia may have reclaimed the Ashes already, but the Melbourne miracle of 1998 shows “dead rubber” fourth Tests do matter. Can Joe Root’s team pull themselves together at the MCG?
Christmas Day, 10.30pm, BT Sport 1


Hannah J Davies and Phil Harrison

The GuardianTramp

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