After all the hearty parties, Christmas is the time to curl up with
your nearest and dearest to treat yourselves to some of the best TV
shows of the year. Here is our choice of the top 10 to look out for…
1DOCTOR WHO: TWICE
UPON A CHRISTMAS, BBC ONE
The universe is set to be rocked by the first female Doctor (Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker), who will hopefully bring a feminine touch to The Tardis. And we’ll be saying a very sad farewell to Peter Capaldi, as he finally loses the battle to stop his regeneration. The surprise reincarnation of the series’ first time-traveller will be back in the shape of David Bradley, and Victoria’s Jenna Coleman may pop up as former assistant Clara, too. What will your verdict on the new Doctor be?
The regal tale returns with a Christmas special showing Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the children playing in the snow. But you can be sure there will be a lot more drama than that! Albert famously loved the winter festival, and boosted the idea of having Christmas trees. It’s said his children had one each! Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes are perfect in the starring roles, and rumours of a real-life romance between the pair has added to the intrigue.
3MARY, MEL AND SUE’S
SURPRISE PARTY, BBC ONE
Hurrah! Here’s one party you’ll definitely want to break out your Christmas hat for, as The Great British Bake Off’s Mary Berry, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc reunite for a very good Christmas dinner – to help a very good community cause.
4THE GREAT BRITISH
BAKE OFF, CHANNEL 4
Rumour has it we are to feast on two Christmas specials this year, after Channel 4 rocked the TV world, and baking fans everywhere, by poaching the hit cookery show from the BBC’s tent. With Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig in the hot seats, make sure you are oven ready!
The scheduling was not confirmed as we went to press, but keep an eye open for the return of Rowan Atkinson’s Maigret on ITV and new big-name productions of Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence (starring Bill Nighy and Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson) and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (starring Apple Tree Yard’s Emily Watson, Michael Gambon and Angela Lansbury) on BBC One.
5CALL THE MIDWIFE, BBC ONE
The Christmas specials of this fabulous, hugely emotional period drama have become an unmissable tradition in themselves. We now reach the 1960s and the worst winter freeze for 300 years, which is sure to threaten the lives of the poor in Poplar and their babies. Prepare for more tears than usual as we lose three of the cast favourites (Patsy, Delia and nun Cynthia). On a cheerier note, we welcome new nurse Lucille (Leonie Elliott) and former EastEnder Anita Dobson guest stars.
SPECIAL, BBC ONE
Always a dazzling twirl, we look forward to seeing this year’s theme and this year’s Christmas Champion.
7THE JOHN LEWIS CHRISTMAS ADVERT, ITV
The department store’s eye-watering ad has become another big Christmas tradition, launching the season in November. Once again, it is sure to tug on the heart strings, with this year’s magical mini-tale said to be focused around a cuddly creature that is ‘a cross between The Gruffalo and a huge cute teddy bear’. Our tissues are out already!
8THE HIGHWAY RAT, BBC ONE
An animated treat for the youngsters, voiced by David Tennant (though whether in his Scottish or English voice, we are not sure!) Based on the bestselling children’s book, it tells of a rat bandit with a huge appetite for chocolate, biscuits and buns. We are with him there!
9FRENCH AND SAUNDERS, BBC ONE
The funny girls reunite for the first time in 10 years, with TV shocker The Handmaid’s Tale among their parodies. ‘We had fun with some of the costumes’ they told the Mirror. The mind boggles!
BBC ONE AND ITV
Last but never least, and always a winner in the Christmas ratings, we look forward to Her Majesty once more delivering an uplifting message for her nations in the year that marked the suitably glittering Sapphire Jubilee of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch after 65 years on the throne.