Specials from Strictly, Call The Midwife and Bake Off, the life of Billy Connolly, new Doctor Who and Ghosts – and a long lost Morecambe & Wise!

Sunday, December 19, 2009 

1. BBC Sports Personality The Year 

Tyson Fury (Tim Daley), Adam Peaty and Adam Peaty all make the list. But it’s a risky bet to place a bet on Emma Raducanu who is almost certain to win. The young tennis star’s US Open triumph was one of the year’s sporting highlights. BBC1, 6.45pm 

Emma Raducanu (above), whose win at the US Open was one of the year's sporting highlights, is the odds-on favourite to win BBC Sports Personality Of The Year

Emma Raducanu, whose victory at the US Open was one the most memorable sporting moments of 2013, is the favorite to be named BBC Sports Personality Of The Year.


2. Royal Variety Performance 

Alan Carr hosts, and stars Bill Bailey, Judi love, Rod Stewart and Ed Sheeran are among them. The Duke and Duchess also watch.

ITV, 7.20pm


3. The Girl Before

In a salutary four-part psychological thriller for our property-obsessed era, Jane (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) believes she’s found her dream home. 

Will she be able abide by Edward Oyelowo, the architect of this strange structure? BBC1, 9pm 


4. Beauty and the Beast: Comic Relief Pantomime

Lily James plays Rose, the Beauty in this comic about a cursed animal, featuring Oliver Chris. Miranda Hart, Lenny Henry, and David Tennant make cameos.

BBC2, 9pm 



Monday, December 20,

5. Mary Berry’s Festive Feasts

Mary shows three newbie cooks how she makes a seasonal surprise for their moms. BBC1, 7.05pm


6. Do You Believe Me? At Christmas

One of the funniest shows on TV, with Rose Matafeo, Ardal O’Hanlon, Angela Rippon and Jim Broadbent joining host Rob Brydon and regulars Lee Mack and David Mitchell. BBC1, 8.30pm


7. Special Christmas Deal for Two Doors Down

Michelle and Alan host Christmas drinks for everyone in the festive episode of this sitcom about eccentric neighbours in suburban Glasgow. The tension builds as things become more intense. Stars Arabella Wiir, Alex Norton, and Doon Mackichan. BBC2, 9.30pm



Tuesday 21 December 

8. Celebrity Masterchef Christmas Cookoff

Oti Mabuse and Joey Essex show their culinary talents. The challenge is to prepare a Christmas meal using ingredients from an advent calendar. BBC1 8.30pm on Thursday


9. Philip, Prince Husband, Father

One of the most powerful images of the year was of the Queen, forced to sit alone in St George’s Chapel at Windsor at the funeral in April of her husband of 73 years, the Duke of Edinburgh. 

This video tribute shows rare footage from the extraordinary life of John Paul II. ITV, 9pm 


Wednesday, December 22

10. Celebrity Christmas Special: The Great British Sewing Bee

Sara Pascoe will host two editions during the holiday season. The Rev. Kate Bottley (Antony Cotton), Kiell SmithBynoe and Anneka rice are the Rev. 

Before the judges can pick their stitches, they must make a Christmas jumper or fancy dress. BBC1, 8:30pm and Thursday, 30th 


11. Christmas: The Hardy Bikers go North

It’s all right there in the title. Dave Myers and Si King are making Christmas dinner using ‘the very best that the North of England has to offer’, which apparently includes that most Yorkshire of beverages… rum. BBC2, 8pm



Wednesday, 23/12 

12. Blackburn Celebrates Christmas with Gareth Malone

Blackburn amateurs and Royal Blackburn Hospital staff work together with Gareth, the choirmaster. BBC2, 8pm 

Amateurs from Blackburn and staff from the Royal Blackburn Hospital work with choirmaster Gareth Malone (above)

Blackburn’s amateur musicians and Royal Blackburn Hospital staff work together with Gareth Malone, the choirmaster (above).


13. Hansel & Gretel: After Ever After

Hansel & Gretel get the David Walliams After Ever After treatment, showing what happened after the fairy story we all already know ended. Sky Showcase at 8pm 


14. Ghosts

Jennifer Saunders guests in a special episode of the hit supernatural sitcom as the overbearing mother of Lady Fanny Button, the house’s resident Edwardian ghost.

BBC1, 8.30pm 


15. Do not go out

Jason Donovan has joined the regular cast to perform a pantomime special. Lee Mack portrays Buttons in Cinderella. Lee hates pantomime, especially after he learns about Prince Charming. BBC1, 10pm  



Christmas Eve

16. Shaun The Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve at Mossy Bottom Farm and Shaun and all the sheep are very excited until Shaun’s cousin, young Timmy, accidentally gets taken off to a market.

BBC1, 6pm


17. Carols From King’s, plus Royal Carols: Together At Christmas

The carol service from the candlelit chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, signals the beginning of Christmas for many. The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge hosts a Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey. BBC2, 6.15pm, and ITV 7.30pm 

18. Blunden: The Incredible Mr

In a remake of 1972’s spooky movie, Tamsin Greig stars alongside Mark Gatiss. Simon Callow also appears in the film. Are two teenagers alone when they move into an old country home? Sky Showcase at 7pm 

Mark Gatiss, Simon Callow and Tamsin Greig (above) star in a new adaptation of the spooky 1972 movie The Amazing Mr Blunden

Tamsin Greig (above), Simon Callow, Mark Gatiss and Simon Callow star in a remake of The Amazing Mr Blunden from 1972.


19. The Greatest Snowman

Sue Perkins is the host of this challenge show, where Johnny Vegas, Dani Dyer Liam Charles and Laurence Llewellyn Bowen are required to make art using frozen water. Channel 4, 8pm


20. Top Gear: Driving home for Christmas

The team play ‘car secret Santa’ in which they choose vehicles for each other to drive. They then take a roadtrip… just like every episode. BBC1, 8.30pm 


21. All Creatures Great and Small are Special

Yorkshire Vets Drama, This week’s focus is on Tricki Woo the Pekingese. Derek plays Tricki Woo as a dog actor. C5, 9pm

All Creatures Great And Small (above), the Yorkshrie vets drama, this week centres on pampered Pekingese, Tricki Woo, played as ever by canine actor Derek

All Creatures Great And Small (above), the Yorkshrie vets drama, this week centres on pampered Pekingese, Tricki Woo, played as ever by canine actor Derek


22. Christmas Special: Spitting image

Sketches also include a John Lewis Christmas skit. ITV, 10pm


23. A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Mezzotint 

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a creepy adaptation of an M. R. James ghost story. Rory Kinnear, a museum attendant who spots a sinister character…

BBC2, 10.30pm



Christmas Day

24. Superworm

The latest animated adaptation of a Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler book, Superworm is the charming story of a ‘superlong’ and ‘super-strong’ earthworm and his battle with the Wizard Lizard. BBC1, 2.30pm


25. Film: Mary Poppins Returns

Is it as good or even better than the original 1964 film? This sequel may not be as great, but it is just as delightful.

Emily Blunt (above) is the imperious, slightly scary supernatural nanny and the apparently immortal Dick Van Dyke also stars

Emily Blunt is the terrifying, imperious supernatural nanny. Dick Van Dyke, who appears to be immortal, also stars.

Emily Blunt plays the terrifying, imperious supernatural nanny. Dick Van Dyke is also a star. BBC1, 3.10pm


26. Quentin Blake: The Drawing Of My Life

He is a veteran artist who turned 89 in this year. And what a life – Blake has contributed to more than 500 books, not least many of the works of Roald Dahl. BBC2, 4.10pm


27. Special Christmas Special: Strictly Come Dancing

Tinsel-strewn dancefloor with Moira Stewart and Jay Blades of The Repair Shop. BBC1, 5.10pm 


28. Morecambe & Wise Show 70: The Lost Tape

A festival of Eric & Ernie-themed crackers awaits. 

The 1971 Christmas Show is a familiar treat (it’s the classic with Glenda Jackson and André Previn) but it’s followed by a real gem – a restored and revamped lost recording (only discovered last year) that is getting its first outing since it was originally broadcast in 1970.

BBC2, 7.45pm; plus, the 1971 Christmas Show on BBC2, BBC2, 7pm; and Behind The Scenes, BBC4, 8.35pm


29. The Midwife is available at (800) 622-7880

Christmas TV weddings rarely go without a hitch (though often it’s the hitching itself that’s the problem) so don’t expect midwife Lucille’s union with Cyril to be a problemfree affair. Especially after her hen do leaves her battered and bruised… 

Expect tears and drama, but most importantly expect heartwarming moments. BBC1, 8pm 


30. Great Christmas Bake Off 2021

The cast of the hit drama It’s A Sin enter the tent for the first of this year’s two specials (a second follows on New Year’s Day).

Actors Olly Alexander (above), Lydia West, Nathaniel Curtis and Shaun Dooley are hoping for a Hollywood handshake in this festive special

In this holiday special, actors Shaun Dooley, Lydia West and Nathaniel Curtis are looking for Hollywood handshakes.

As they vie for the title Christmas Star Baker, actors Shaun Dooley and Lydia West are hoping for Hollywood handshakes.

Channel 4, 8pm


31. The Larkins Christmas

Can Bradley Walsh’s Pop Larkin keep everything ‘perfick’ in his rural idyll this Christmas? 

It’s going to be tough as the raffish patriarch not only contends with a power cut, the arrival of Charlie’s uptight parents and a disastrous nativity play, but also has to try and track down the burglar causing chaos in the village… ITV, 9pm


32. Mrs Brown’s Boys

Love it or hate it, but Christmas doesn’t seem quite complete without a visit to the Irish mammy and her over-the-top sitcom family and friends.

Agnes, who is determined to get a spot on the church choir this year’s big news is her desperate search for it. What could go wrong? BBC1, 10.20pm


Boxing Day

33. The World Around You In Just 80 Days

David Tennant is the perfect choice to don Phileas Fogg’s top hat in this spirited reworking of Jules Verne’s tale.

David Tennant (above) is the perfect choice to don Phileas Fogg’s top hat in this spirited reworking of Jules Verne’s tale

David Tennant (above) is the perfect choice to don Phileas Fogg’s top hat in this spirited reworking of Jules Verne’s tale

Eight episodes begin with a double billing here. It sees an English gentleman set off to circumvent the globe, with just his manservant and a female reporter. BBC1, BBC1, 6.40pm and 5.50pm


34. Death in Paradise Christmas Special

Ralf Little gets another Caribbean break on the Beeb’s dime as he stars as DI Neville Parker in a new mystery.

He’s not the only Brit actor getting a trip to the island of Saint-Marie, though: look out for Juliet Stevenson and Matthew Baynton too as the case of a murdered magnate at a Christmas party develops. BBC1, 7.30pm


35. The British Scandal

Paul Bettany and Claire Foy star as the Duke and Duchess of Argyle in this account of the real-life 1963 divorce case that rocked Britain’s aristocracy.

Shot through with accusations of forgery, theft, drugs, bribery, and violence, it’s a dark tale that unfolds in three parts over three nights. BBC1, 9pm


36. Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Christmas Fishing

Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer are a couple that make Christmas specials. They unpack their fishing rods to enjoy an hour of fishing.

One of the most welcome Christmas catches sees Paul Whitehouse and Bob Mortimer (above) unpacking their fishing rods for an hour-long special

Paul Whitehouse (above), and Bob Mortimer unpack their fishing rods in a special hour long Christmas catch.

The pair (along with guest star Paul Gascoigne) set off to the North of England for a stay in a stately home while they try to fulfil Paul’s lifelong dream of catching a salmon. BBC2, 9pm


37. Billy Connolly: My absolute pleasure

Scotland’s finest comedy export looks back on his life and career from the comfort of his Florida home.

Scotland’s finest comedy export Billy Connolly (above) looks back on his life and career from the comfort of his Florida home

Scotland’s finest comedy export Billy Connolly (above) looks back on his life and career from the comfort of his Florida home

It’s a bittersweet show (Connolly suffers from Parkinson’s Disease) but The Big Yin’s trademark sense of mischief is still strong. ITV, 9.30pm



Monday 27 December 

38. The Voice Kids

The Spice Girls’ Mel C joins the cast of judges as the talent show returns for three junior editions airing on consecutive nights.

The contestants may be little (they range in age from seven to 14), but their vocal talents certainly aren’t, with convincing renditions of songs by everyone from Elton John to Frankie Valli stunning the judges. ITV, 6.30pm



Tuesday 28 December

39. Worzel Gummidge: Twitchers

Mackenzie Crook is back as the scarecrow for the second of his two adventures.

Mackenzie Crook (above) makes a welcome return as the scarecrow Worzel Gummidge in the first of two new adventures

Mackenzie Crook (above), makes an appearance as Worzel Gummidge, the scarecrow. This is the first in a series of two adventures.

He will have a chance to attract rare birds tonight, but can he do so without birdwatchers following and seeing him? BBC1, 7.15pm, and BBC29, 7.15pm  


40. Amazing Christmas Escapes with Sandi Toksvig

This diminutive host heads north to Norway with three famous women faces.

Cue a hunt for killer whales with scientist Maggie AderinPocock, encounters with wolves with Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden and a trip up a mountain with actress Fay Ripley.

Brace yourself for Cold Feet gags during the last one… Channel 4, 8pm

41. Royal Institution Christmas Lectures

Since 1966, the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures have been broadcast every year on TV. They are an iconic television tradition, popularizing science and inspiring generations to follow their example.

This year the UK’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam presents the trio of talks focusing on a topic that we’re all now fascinated with: viruses. BBC4, 8pm


42. A Play in A Day

Three performers can create a 15-minute theatrical piece (that will consist of a dramatic, dance, and musical) in less than 24 hours.

It’s a tricky challenge for the mixed bands of newcomers and old hands, but watching them set about it is great fun. This is a great treat for TV and theatre fans. Sky Arts, 9.30pm 

Wednesday, December 29

43. A Star Is Born

The plot is a bit hackneyed – this is the fourth time Hollywood has had a stab at this tale – but the performances make this version sing.

Lady Gaga is great as the aspiring singer discovered working as a waitress by Bradley Cooper’s (above, with Gaga) fading rock star

Lady Gaga is great as the aspiring singer discovered working as a waitress by Bradley Cooper’s (above, with Gaga) fading rock star

Lady Gaga is great as the aspiring singer discovered working as a waitress by Bradley Cooper’s fading rock star, and the chemistry between the pair is positively electrifying. BBC1, 9pm



Thursday, 30 December

44. Attenborough and The Mammoth Graveyard

When amateur fossil hunters discovered a mammoth bone in the mud of a quarry near Swindon, they triggered a search for answers that dug deep into Britain’s prehistoric past.

David Attenborough joins the quest tonight, wondering just what the giant pachyderms, thought to have gone extinct about 4,000 years ago, were doing here and whether it’s possible that early humans killed them. BBC1, 8pm  


45. Judy

Renée Zellweger goes all the way over the rainbow with an Oscar-winning performance as Judy Garland in her later days, struggling with bad health, the ravages of substance abuse and her own self-destructive nature as she attempts to get her career back on track via a string of performances in London. BBC2, 9pm      

Renée Zellweger (above) goes all the way over the rainbow with an Oscar-winning performance as Judy Garland in her later days

Renée Zellweger (above) goes all the way over the rainbow with an Oscar-winning performance as Judy Garland in her later days



New Year’s Eve

46. Jools’ Annual Hootenanny

Ed Sheeran, Gregory Porter and Lulu are among the guests singing in the New Year as Jools Holland’s extravaganza marks its 28th year. Vic Reeves will make 2022 predictions and Jools will play a lot of boogie-woogie keyboard. BBC2, 11.25pm


New Year’s Day

47. Doctor Who

Another festive appearance by the Daleks. Will the Doctor be able, with her friend Aisling Beea as guest star, to escape from an ominous Groundhog Day-esque loop of time and stay alive to save humanity? BBC1, 7pm

The Daleks make yet another festive reappearance, but can the Doctor (above, centre) and her friends (plus guest star Aisling Bea, above, right) avoid extermination?

Yet another appearance by the Daleks, but will she and her companions (plus Aisling Bea) be able to avert their extermination?


48. The Mask Singer

Rockhopper and Robobunny are among the many costumes hiding household names.

Rockhopper, Robobunny, Bagpipes, Traffic Cone (above), Poodle, Lionfish and Doughnuts are just some of the fantastical costumes concealing household names

Rockhopper, Robobunny and Bagpipes conceal household names. Poodle, Lionfish, Doughnuts, Traffic Cone (above), Poodle and Lionfish are some examples of these fantastical costumes

Fans desperate for more anonymous crooning action won’t have to wait long – Episode Two follows on January 2. ITV, 7pm


49. Downton Abbey

The Yorkshire countryside estate’s residents returned home in film format after six sequences of up and downs.

Can Lord Grantham, Queen Mary, and their family, and their many serving staff, maintain their sang froid despite a King George V visit? ITV, 7pm


50. The Tourist

After being run off an outback road by a giant truck, a man (played by The Fall’s Jamie Dornan) wakes up in hospital with no memory of who he is or what he’s doing in Australia.

He’d better find answers fast as shady figures begin chasing him in this opener for a sixpart thriller series… BBC1, 9pm