Toy Story 4 will be BBC1’s Christmas Day main movie at 3pm, in a round-up summary of what’s due to come over the festive period.
There’s also specials around French & Saunders and Caroline Aherne, as well as the return of Mrs Brown’s Boys, The Kemps, and lots of classics on the iPlayer, such as The Royle Family and Line of Duty.
The full press release is as follows:
Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer says: “This year’s Christmas line-up on the BBC is an extravaganza of must watch shows! Join us as we welcome a brand new Doctor and wave goodbye to our beloved sitcom Ghosts. Alongside a spectacular range of entertainment, drama, comedy and factual programming across the festive fortnight. It’s essential viewing for everyone as we bring friends and families together across the UK.”
At the heart of this year’s Christmas schedule are some of the most hotly anticipated programmes of the year. On Christmas Day Ncuti Gatwa will take control of the TARDIS as the Fifteenth Doctor in his first epic adventure following Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary celebrations, and the finale of smash hit comedy Ghosts will see the restless spirits and Button House residents give the show the send-off it deserves. There’s a star-studded animation of Tabby McTat based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s successful book about the warm and wonderful friendship between a musical cat and a talented busker.
In EastEnders all will be revealed as viewers discover which unlucky Walford male meets his demise. Festive thrills are set to continue with plenty of action in store for viewers. Hit drama The Tourist returns starring Jamie Dornan and Danielle Macdonald set against the striking backdrop of Ireland, and Agatha Christie’s classic mystery Murder is Easy is the perfect whodunnit for the Christmas season. Poignant, funny and life affirming drama Men Up tells the story of five ordinary Welsh men who embark on an extraordinary journey when they take part in the trial of a new drug that will later become Viagra.
The Call the Midwife Christmas special takes viewers back to 1968 when Apollo 8 was poised to circle the moon and new drama series Beyond Paradise makes a Christmas special debut, alongside a feature length Death in Paradise. Kit Harington and Freddie Fox star in Mark Gatiss’ adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Ghost Story for Christmas: Lot No.249.
Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster follows Sir David Attenborough as he investigates the discovery of a lifetime and in Charles III: The Coronation Year viewers will get a unique insight into the life of King Charles III and Queen Camilla taking them behind the scenes of the first year of his reign.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to the Ballroom for a Christmas special bringing festive fun, frolics and fab-u-lous dancing for all the family to enjoy as Dan Snow, Sally Nugent, Jamie Borthwick, Tillie Amartey, Danny Cipriani and Keisha Buchanan take to the floor alongside a musical performance from Sam Ryder, whilst there are also festive specials from a raft of entertainment favourites including The Graham Norton Show, The Hit List, The Weakest Link, Blankety Blank and Would I Lie To You. There is a tinsel-covered edition of Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel featuring Rylan Clark, Peter Crouch, and Nicole Scherzinger as the celebrity contestants hoping to answer their way to a festive fortune for their chosen charities. Bob, Paul and Ted travel to Scotland to fish for salmon and to taste the traditional Hogmanay celebrations on offer in Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing and the barn open its famous doors for some magical festive fixes in The Repair Shop with Jay Blades.
For the first time in MasterChef history, after years of tasting and critiquing contestants’ dishes, the tables will be turned on five of the country’s top food critics in MasterChef: Battle of the Critics 2023. Who will receive positive reviews and who will crumble at being critiqued? Then it’s time to deck the halls, stuff the turkey and break out the Christmas fizz, as MasterChef judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode welcome back four of the most memorable celebrities from past series in Celebrity MasterChef: Christmas Cook-Off 2023.
Nigella Lawson’s love of Amsterdam’s food and culture at Christmas will be showcased in Nigella’s Amsterdam Christmas and Dame Merry Berry heads to her mother’s homeland of Scotland for a magical Christmas Special in Mary Berry’s Highland Christmas plus The Hairy Bikers are back on their bikes after nearly a two year break in The Hairy Bikers: Coming Home For Christmas.
After all these shows that promise a full belly, there will be plenty of belly laughs too with a cluster of comedy to enjoy over the festive period. Mrs Brown’s Boys is back with two episodes as Mammy tries to enjoy a nice, peaceful Christmas before the whole gang start the New Year by attempting a tough new health and fitness regime. Catch big-name cameos as Spandau Ballet’s Gary and Martin Kemp return with more television Gold with a follow up to their to the hit 2020 mockumentary in The Kemps: All Gold and even more laughs are in store with brand new festive editions of Not Going Out, QI, Here We Go and Live at the Apollo. Bad Education returns for an extra special musical-themed Christmas spectacular, starring Layton Williams, Charlie Wernham, Mathew Horne and Vicki Pepperdine alongside the cast of Class K as they’ve never been seen before.
More musical moments coming up include Britain’s most gifted classical musical family, Nottingham’s Kanneh-Masons, visiting Salzburg to walk in the footsteps of Austria’s most famous musical family, the Von Trapps – the inspiration behind Hollywood’s The Sound Of Music in The Hills Are Alive With The Kanneh-Masons and elsewhere Top Of The Pops returns for a review of 2023 hosted by Clara Amfo plus there is music from the critically acclaimed RAYE at the Albert Hall.
Rick Astley Rocks New Year’s Eve with Rick and his all-star guests partying right into 2024 whilst Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra take centre stage once again for Jools’ Annual Hootenanny. New Year’s Day will see Petroc Trelawny present the New Year’s Day Concert Live from Vienna 2024. Inspired by the TV series and specially filmed on the Birmingham Hippodrome stage, Rambert’s exhilarating performance of their hit stage show Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby debuts whilst Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Gregory Porter returns to Cheltenham for a spellbinding sold-out show at this year’s world-famous Jazz Festival in Gregory Porter: Live from Cheltenham 2023.
There will be a wonderful selection of religious programming, including live worship, traditional carols and musical celebration including Midnight Mass from Portsmouth Cathedral, Christmas Morning from Manchester Cathedral, the second series of My Life at Christmas, Carol’s From Kings and The Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message.
Imagine… French & Saunders: Pointed, Bitchy, Bitter explores a brand of comedy based on satire, silliness and above all friendship – of the UK’s most successful double act of the last 40 years, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Dawn will also return (almost) live from London’s iconic Palladium theatre, as she reveals (almost) all the most excruciating gaffes and howlers she’s made across her forty-year career as a comedian and actress in Dawn French is a huge TW*T. Elsewhere, the unique life and talent of Caroline Aherne is celebrated in a new Arena film Caroline Aherne: Comedy Queen plus in a film narrated by Alan Cumming with Rupert Everett as the voice of Noel Coward, Mad About The Boy: The Noel Coward Story chronicles the life of the most celebrated actor, playwright and songwriter of his generation. Antiques Roadshow presents a festive end-of-year special as the team gets into the Christmas spirit at a glorious country house and Esme Young and Patrick Grant put four celebrities’ sewing skills to the test in The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special with brand new host Kiell Smith-Bynoe joined by Toyah Willcox, Kerry Godliman, Jessica Knappett and Hammed Animashaun.
There will be network premieres of films including Toy Story 4, The Addams Family 2, The Witches, House of Gucci and the live action version of The Lion King and if all that was not enough, there will be hundreds of box sets and classic Christmas specials to stream on BBC iPlayer from much-loved shows like Ghosts, Gavin and Stacey, Line of Duty, Shetland, Man Like Mobeen, Call the Midwife, This Country, Not Going Out and The Royle Family.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.