For some of us, if the run-up to Christmas wasn’t already busy enough as it is, there’s often not a moment to breathe on the big day itself between presents being opened, travelling to see people, entertaining guests, slaving over a hot stove for hours, and eating plenty of food.
Sometimes though, you may find yourself twiddling your thumbs with some time to spare, and that’s why the distraction of festive television is so brilliant.
For others, sitting around to watch the TV is an important part of Christmas itself.
No matter what your situation is, there’s some cracking things to watch on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year – with classic seasonal films, to festive specials of our favourite shows, and a few family-friendly additions all on the agenda.
We’ve all come to expect a Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special at this point, haven’t we?
After the iconic ballroom dance competition programme has been bringing us smaller, festive editions of the show we all know and love since 2004, it’s back once again this Christmas Day, with celebrity contestants such as actor Jamie Borthwick, Sugababes star Keisha Buchanan, newsreader Sally Nugent, and more, all taking to the floor to impress judges the judges and battle it out for the Christmas glitter ball trophy.
The contestants will also be performing a group routine alongside the professional dancers, and there’ll be some merry musical performances from special guests too.
You can catch Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One at 4:40pm on Christmas Day.
Doctor Who Christmas Special
Christmas Day – 5:55pm
What would Christmas be without a Doctor Who special?
Fans absolutely devoured the three 60th anniversary specials last month, and now, the long-running sci-fi series is back where it belongs on Christmas Day with another festive episode.
Aside from new Doctor Ncuti Gatwa confirmed to be making his first appearance in the iconic role, the BBC is keeping plot points about the upcoming episode pretty vague this year, with a synopsis for it online simply reading: “Long ago, on Christmas Eve, a baby was abandoned in the snow. Today, Ruby Sunday meets the Doctor, goblins, stolen babies and, perhaps, the secret of her birth.”
You can catch this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special on BBC One at 5:55pm on Christmas Day, and watch a new chapter begin.
Not Going Out
Christmas Eve – 10pm
Not Going Out is back for yet another Christmas special this year.
Lee Mack’s multi award-winning comedy series – which is now the longest running sitcom on air – is set to return with a new Christmas special this Christmas Eve, and not only that, but it’ll actually be the show’s 100th episode in total.
A synopsis for the festive episode on the BBC website reads: “Brace for yuletide suburban chaos, as Lee throws everything at creating the perfect family Christmas, agreeing to Lucy’s wishes to do something charitable and having “a normal Christmas where nothing goes wrong.” This moment of festive spirit sees the couple invite Wilfred, a lonely pensioner from the nearby care home, to join them for Christmas dinner. The only instruction is that Wilfred is not, under any circumstances, allowed to drink alcohol.”
You can catch the Not Going Out Christmas special on BBC One on Christmas Eve at 10pm.
Christmas Eve – 7:45pm
A special animated adaptation of Judith Kerr’s much-loved classic children’s book, Mog’s Christmas, is coming to Channel 4 on Christmas Eve.
Created to celebrate Kerr’s 100th birthday, a synopsis for the Christmas special on the Channel 4 website reads: “Mr and Mrs Thomas and their children Debbie and Nicky are busy making preparations for Christmas. With two Aunts and a jolly Uncle staying in the house, Mog, the beloved family cat, is feeling a bit ignored. When Mr Thomas and the two children arrive home with an enormous Christmas tree, Mog takes fright and scrambles onto the roof for safety. Regardless of the Thomas family’s attempts to rescue her, Mog refuses to come down.
“Despite everyone’s fears, Mog has a magical night in the snow with a cat themed Christmas dream, but will Mog arrive back home in time for Christmas Day?”
You can catch Mog’s Christmas on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve at 7:45pm.
Christmas with the Royle Family
Christmas Day – 9:15pm
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas for many Mancs without the Royle Family… and luckily, BBC Two has decided to dedicate a big chunk of its Christmas Day programming schedule to one of the sitcom’s beloved stars – the late Caroline Aherne.
As well as celebrating Aherne’s career, a re-run of The Royle Family’s classic Christmas episode – which is titled ‘Christmas With The Royle Family’, and first hit screens back in December 1999 – will be aired.
You can catch Christmas with the Royle Family on BBC Two on Christmas Day at 9:15pm.
Fancy something extra?
Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy
‘Christmas with the Royle Family’ isn’t the only time you’ll get to see Caroline Aherne on TV this Christmas Day either, as in addition to BBC Two’s run of programming dedicated to the late Manc icon, there’s also set to be a new TV special celebrating her “unique life and talent” too.
Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy will feature unseen photographs and contributions from a cast of her lifelong friends – including Steve Coogan, Jon Thompson, Craig Cash, and producer Andy Harries.
You can catch Caroline Aherne: Queen of Comedy on BBC Two on Christmas Day at 10:25pm, and find out more about the special programme here.
Featured Image – BBC
TV & Showbiz
BBC to air ‘important and timely’ new Sarah Everard documentary three years on from her death
An “important and timely” new documentary about Sarah Everard is to air on the BBC three years following her death.
The tragic murder of the 33-year-old by serving Metropolitan Police officer, Wayne Couzens – who abducted her as she walked home on the evening of 3 March 2021 to the Brixton Hill area from a friend’s house near Clapham Common in London – was, undoubtedly, a watershed moment for the nation.
Her death brought to the forefront the devastating issues within the UK’s police forces, and highlighted the extent of violence against women and girls in our society.
And now, coming up to three years on from the historic event, and with the issue of violence against women and girls having been recently declared a national priority, alongside terrorism and organised crime, the BBC has announced that it will air a new documentary on the case, showcasing how the devastating crime unfolded, and the impact it’s gone on the have.
BBC Factual announces new documentary Sarah Everard: The Search For Justice for @BBCOne and @BBCiPlayer
The hour-long factual programme – which is titled Sarah Everard: The Search For Justice, and will air on both BBC One and iPlayer – will primarily look at the Met Police’s investigation into Sarah’s murder.
The story will be told by those closely-involved in the case from the outset, many of whom will be speaking on camera for the first time, including the Senior Investigating Officer, the Prosecuting Barrister, and Sarah’s local MP.
In the aftermath of the event, the Met was placed into special measures, and a major review of the force found a culture of denial, widespread bullying, discrimination, institutional homophobia, misogyny, and racism – with several other UK police forces also having been forced to confront the culture and behaviour in their own ranks too.
An new documentary about Sarah Everard is to air on the BBC / Credit: Gerry Popplestone | Tim Dennell (via Flickr)
An Independent Inquiry launched by the Home Office is underway too to examine the “unimaginable failures in policing”, and to find out how a tragedy like Sarah’s murder could even happen in the first place.
Hundreds of police officers also continue to face sexual assault allegations in the three years following Sarah’s death, which only proves just how “important and timely” this BBC documentary will be.
The documentary’s production team has been in close contact with Sarah’s parents for the making of this film, and say they hope it will bring “increased focus” to issues of women’s safety, as well as abuse of power by police and others in positions of authority.
The “important and timely” programme will air three years after her death / Credit: Tim Dennell (via Flickr)
Speaking ahead of the documentary airing, Emma Loach, who is the Lead Commissioning Editor for Documentaries at the BBC, commented: “The murder of Sarah Everard sent shock waves across the country and ignited an urgent conversation about police failings and violence against women and girls.
“This is an important and timely film, and we, like Sarah’s family, hope it will contribute to the ongoing dialogue around the issues raised.”
Sarah Everard: The Search For Justice will air on BBC One and iPlayer this year, with the official release dates set to be announced in due course.
Featured Image – Metropolitan Police
TV & Showbiz
Michael J Fox brings viewers to tears with surprise appearance and standing ovation at the BAFTAs
Retired actor turned activist Michael J Fox made a surprise appearance at the BAFTAs on Sunday night, bringing everyone in the audience to their feet and many of those watching on TV to tears as he arrived on stage to present an award.
The 62-year-old Canadian-American is best known for his iconic role as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future films and as a child actor before that on the US sitcom, Family Ties, but since retiring as a result of Parkinson’s disease he has gone on to become a huge campaigner for the condition.
Being introduced by fellow performer and the host of 2024 BAFTAs David Tennant as not only a star of the 1980s but having raised over £2 billion for the neurodegenerative disorder through his charitable foundation in his name, he appeared on stage to rapturous cheers before rising from his wheelchair.
Receiving a standing ovation as he made his way to the podium to present the award for Best Film, which went to Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, the surprise moved countless viewers tuning in back home to tears as he delivered a short but touching speech before handing out the familiar bronze trophy.
He also delighted fans when he was pictured walking the red carpet with his wife before the presentation.
Michael J Fox was sadly diagnosed with Parkinson‘s back in 1991 when he was just 29 years old and became one of the first big names in the public eye to begin trying to raise money for the condition, not only revealing it to the world but setting up his self-titled non-profit organisation in the same year.
As it is a progressive disorder that can even cause added complications to shorten a person’s lifespan, the severity of his tremors and loss of motor control has naturally worsened over time, which ultimately caused him to retire from acting in 2021.
However, before then and many years into his diagnosis, he still made brilliant appearances in the likes of medical comedy Scrubs, starred in his own self-titled show and has made several special returning cameos alongside the legendary Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown and Marty from Back to the Future.
He even enjoyed one of the most wonderful roles in Curb Your Enthusiasm where he tried to make light of his condition to hilarious effect. Simply brilliant.
Most recently, Fox released his own documentary film on Apple TV entitled, STILL, which looks back at his career, what it’s like to live with Parkinson’s disease and the vital work he has done through his charitable foundation to improve treatment and help find a cure.
It was nominated for numerous different awards of its own and won the Outstanding Picture, Director and Editing Awards at the Emmys in 2023. So well deserved — you should seriously watch it.
As for his speech before handing out this year’s BAFTA for Best Film himself, he said: “No matter who you are or where you’re from, films can bring us together. There’s a reason why they say movies are magic because they can change your day. It can change your outlook. Sometimes it can even change your life.”
The moment has been watched millions of times online already, leaving “not a dry eye in the house” and social media labelling him everything from an “inspiration” and “every bit the hero I remember him to be“, to being simply dubbed an “absolute legend”. We couldn’t agree anymore.
Michael J Fox made a very moving, surprise appearance at the Baftas…
..presenting the Best Film Award.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the 1990’s.