TV & Showbiz

Five of the best things to watch on TV this Christmas 2023

We've rounded-up the best of the bunch to create our own festive TV guide.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 19th December 2023

Christmas is a hectic time.

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.


So, just like we have done for the past couple of years, we’ve once again rounded-up the best of the bunch to create our TV guide.

Here’s just five of our picks.



Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2023


Christmas Day – 4:40pm

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2023 / Credit: BBC

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

Doctor Who Christmas Special / Credit: BBC

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 / Credit: BBC

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.


Mog’s Christmas

Channel 4


Christmas Eve – 7:45pm

Mog’s Christmas / Credit: Channel 4

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 with the Royle Family / Credit: BBC

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