Christmas TV 2023 | BBC announces its highlights

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The BBC have released their lineup for the festive season – here’s what you’ll be digesting Christmas dinner to.


The BBC has announced the TV titles coming to its broadcast channels and BBC iPlayer over the festive season, and it looks like there’s plenty to get your cranberry sauce-stained teeth into (apologies; what an unpleasant mental image).

Highlights include the finale of spectacular sitcom Ghosts, David Attenborough discovering a sea monster and the first episode of Nicholas Winding-Refn’s The Famous Five adaptation. We can’t wait to lie in a coma-like state and watch the lot. That’s what the season is about, after all.

There’s a fair amount here, so brew yourself a hot cup of eggnog and settle in (the sub-headings are Family Favourites, Comedy & Variety, Feel Good, Music and Drama if you’re looking for anything specific).

Check out our list of all the films on the BBC over the festive season here. We’ll also update this page with full schedules and timings when we have them. Onward, for Christmas!

Family Favourites

Tabby McTat
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

From BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated producers Magic Light Pictures, Tabby McTat is a Christmas animated adventure about the warm and wonderful friendship between a musical cat and a talented busker called Fred.

Fred and Tabby McTat enjoy a contented life singing on the streets of London to delighted audiences. However one day when chasing a thief, Fred falls and breaks his leg and is whisked away in an ambulance.  What will become of the busker’s cat left alone on the city streets?

The Famous Five
BBC One, CBBC & BBC iPlayer

The much-anticipated first episode of The Famous Five airs this Christmas on BBC One and iPlayer.

Nicolas Winding Refn and Matthew Read bring these classic  adventures to life with a new, fresh, modern reimagining of Enid Blyton’s iconic stories. The Famous Five follows daring young explorers as they encounter treacherous, action-packed adventures, remarkable mysteries and astounding secrets.

In the first episode, ‘The Curse of Kirrin Island’, a body washes up on the beach, apparently the victim of a local curse. Cousins George, Julian, Dick, Anne and Timmy the dog set out to discover the source of the problem – Kirrin Island, an uninhabited island that belongs to the family.

Two more episodes of The Famous Five will follow in 2024.

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty
BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

Enter a wondrous world of magical fairies and vampires, where the timeless tale of good versus evil is turned upside down, creating a supernatural love story that even the passage of time itself cannot hinder. Will Princess Aurora ever find her true love again?

With Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score played live by the New Adventures orchestra, Bourne’s masterful storytelling and sumptuous sets and costumes, get ready to be transported in time from the halcyon days of the late Edwardian era through to the modern day in this dazzling gothic romance.

Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

150 million years ago dinosaurs ruled the land, but the oceans were dominated by a mysterious sea monster. Meet the pliosaur, the Tyrannosaurus rex of the seas! Now, a giant skull has been found in the cliffs of Dorset…

Attenborough and the Giant Sea Monster follows Sir David Attenborough as he investigates the discovery of a lifetime. He’s joining two of the UK’s most intrepid fossil hunters on their perilous expedition to excavate the skull from its resting place 12 metres up in the cliff face. David’s been an avid fossil collector since he was a young boy, but he has never come across a find quite like this.

Carol’s From Kings
BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

The candlelit, fan-vaulted Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge is the stunning setting for this much anticipated annual celebration of the Christmas story, told through music, readings and prayers with an invited congregation of college members and guests. Led by the Dean, the Revd Dr Stephen Cherry, the service begins in the time-honoured way as a solo chorister sings the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City.  The world renowned choir, directed by Daniel Hyde, sings carols old and new, including Silent Night (arr. John Rutter), In the Bleak Midwinter (Harold Darke), In the Stillness (Sally Beamish) and Child in a Manager (arr. John Rutter). The choir leads the congregation in popular carols, including O Come All Ye Faithful, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.  The story of the Nativity is read by members of King’s College in the words of the King James Bible and in poems by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, Marion Strobel, Thomas Hardy and Walter de la Mare.

Midnight Mass from Portsmouth Cathedral
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

The traditional celebration of the First Eucharist of Christmas and Blessing of the Crib, will be broadcast live from the ‘Cathedral of the Sea’ situated in the historic heart of the city of Portsmouth. The Dean of Portsmouth, the Very Revd Dr Anthony Cane, will introduce and lead the service with Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Frost preaching. Music will include the well-loved carols O Come, All Ye Faithful; It Came Upon a Midnight Clear; and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. The Organist and Master of the Choristers, Dr David Price will lead the Cathedral Choir accompanied by musicians of His Majesty’s Royal Marine Band Service.

Christmas Morning from Manchester Cathedral
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

A joyful service of hope, peace and goodwill, live from Manchester Cathedral on Christmas morning led by the Dean, the Very Revd Rogers Govender. The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Prof David Walker, will preach. The wonder of the Nativity; the Journey of Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds will be captured in a liturgy of music and readings. Manchester Cathedral Choir, directed by the Organist & Master of the Choristers, Christopher Stokes, will lead the congregation in some of the nation’s favourite carols, including O Come, All Ye Faithful, Unto Us Is Born a Son and While Shepherds  Watched Their Flocks By Night.

On Christmas Night
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

As Christmas Day draws to a close, a well-known celebrity narrates the story of the first Christmas from Luke’s Gospel, when angels appeared to shepherds to proclaim the news of Jesus’s birth.  The reading is followed by a familiar carol, performed by a solo singer or choir.

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

For his 2024 New Year Message, the Archbishop of Canterbury, explores what it means to serve your community and your country. This year, Archbishop Welby is focusing on those people who personify the notion of “service”, and sometimes even self-sacrifice: the British Armed Forces. He’ll be at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, which has nearly 6000 service personnel, plus hundreds of civilian staff. It’s home to the RAF’s Air Mobility Force, and is also where desperately needed humanitarian aid is loaded onto planes and flown to parts of the world experiencing devastating war and conflict as well as natural disaster.

The 2023 Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution
BBC Four / BBC iPlayer

The truth about artificial intelligence, the most important and rapidly evolving field of science in the world today, will be revealed in the 2023 Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has increasingly grabbed the headlines in recent years – generating excitement and concern in equal measure – and not since the World-Wide Web emerged 30-years ago has a new technology promised to change our world so fundamentally and so swiftly. 

But what should we believe? In three Christmas Lectures to be shown on BBC Four and iPlayer, Mike Wooldridge, Professor of AI at Oxford University and Director for AI at The Alan Turing Institute in London, will tackle the big questions facing AI research and unravel the myths about how this ground-breaking technology really works.

Feel Good

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

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 on Christmas Day. Join Tess Daly & Claudia Winkleman as six stars take to the floor in a bid to be crowned Christmas Champion 2023, but will the judges be naughty or nice this year? Sam Ryder will also be performing in the Ballroom and there are two spectacular group routines guaranteed to bring Christmas cheer.

The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day.

The Hit List Christmas Special
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

You better watch out – it’s time for a star-studded Christmas Special of The Hit List!

The three teams joining Marvin and Rochelle Humes for this festive episode are popstars Una Healy and Kimberly Wyatt, presenters Gregg Wallace and Kate Thornton, Union J’s George Shelley and drag queen Kitty Scott-Claus –  but who will jingle all the way to the Final Chart Rundown for a chance to win  £10,000 for their chosen charity?

MasterChef: Battle of the Critics 2023
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

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 this special episode, the Restaurant Critics will be putting their own culinary reputations on the line as they battle for the title of MasterChef Critics Champion 2023. Competing are Grace Dent, Leyla Kazim, William Sitwell, Jay Rayner, and Jimi Famurewa, who will be pushed to the extreme in two demanding challenges cooking for judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace and then also returning champions Ping Coombes (MasterChef 2014), Kenny Tutt (MasterChef 2018) and Nikita Pathakji (MasterChef: The Professionals 2022).

Celebrity MasterChef: Christmas Cook-Off 2023
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

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.

Battling to take home the ultimate Christmas present – the coveted Golden Whisk – are musician Mel Blatt, actor and comedian Richard Blackwood, singer Duncan James, and reality star Faye Winter.  Christmas sunshine is guaranteed as the celebrities must create a dish reflective of Australia during the festive season – each with a recipe to follow and a set of ingredients from their Secret Santa Mystery Box.

Call The Midwife
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Call The Midwife’s 2023 Christmas Special begins two weeks before Christmas, with Apollo 8 poised to circle the moon.

Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) is convinced this could be her final Yuletide and decides she’ll not live to see man walk on the moon. The Nonnatus Family, including Trixie’s (Helen George) brother Geoffrey (Christopher Harper), decide something must be done to try and lighten her state of mind. Nancy (Megan Cusack) has recommitted to staying at Nonnatus House and Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) has offered her and Colette (Francesca Fullilove) a room for the foreseeable future. Trixie and Matthew (Olly Rix), fresh from their honeymoon, are preparing their first Christmas together as husband and wife when Geoffrey pays them an unexpected visit days before Christmas. Cyril (Zephryn Taitte) gently intervenes when he discovers a lost soul living alone in a dilapidated basement flat. For this man, Christmas is a reminder of all he’s lost and all he’s never had. Nurse Crane (Linda Bassett), away on her refresher course, makes it home in time for Christmas festivities despite a treacherously heavy snowfall.

Death in Paradise Christmas Special
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

It’s the most wonderful time of the year as we return to sun-drenched Saint Marie to join the police team for a festive feature-length Death in Paradise Christmas special.

When entrepreneur and family man, Gerry Stableforth (Geoff Bell), is found dead in a ravine, his family – wife Bella (Patsy Kensit), children Benjamin (Freddy Carter), Mariana (Amelia Clarkson), and niece Riley (Leila Khan) – are left in shock. As DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little), DS Naomi Thomas (Shantol Jackson), Officer Marlon Pryce (Tahj Miles) and Trainee Officer Darlene Curtis (Ginny Holder) set to work on cracking this mysterious death, things take a turn as the family’s visiting digital marketing guru, Debbie Clumson (Bronagh Waugh), suddenly disappears. Once news of Debbie’s disappearance reaches home, her hapless partner, Dave (Youssef Kerkour), is determined to find out what happened to her.

Beyond Paradise Christmas Special
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Following the hugely successful launch of Beyond Paradise, the UK’s most watched new drama series of the year so far, comes the show’s first Christmas special.

Stacey Solomon’s Crafty Christmas
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Stacey Solomon returns with a Christmas special where friends and family join her to create a new batch of ingenious home-made gifts and decorations that she hopes will bring joy without blowing the budget.  This year she’ll be making even more gifts as she throws a special Christmas party to say thank you to the volunteers in the local area who have been working through the year to help those in need.

The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special 

BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Esme Young and Patrick Grant put four celebrities’ sewing skills to the test in The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special.

Brand new host and former Christmas Special sewer, Kiell Smith-Bynoe is joined by actor, musician and punk icon Toyah Willcox, actor and comedian Kerry Godliman, comedian and writer Jessica Knappett and actor Hammed Animashaun as they put their twist on a pattern for a Christmas stocking. They then turn puffer jackets into food themed fancy dress for kids and finally create an outfit fit for their dream Christmas Day.

Nigella’s Amsterdam Christmas 

BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Nigella Lawson’s love of Amsterdam’s food and culture at Christmas can’t be tamed, and this year for BBC One and iPlayer she’s bringing Dutch joy to viewers back home with Nigella’s Amsterdam Christmas.  

Mary’s Highland Christmas 

BBC One / BBC iPlayer

In this enchanting festive special, Mary Berry travels to the Highlands on a winter break, cooking up some truly indulgent dishes that can be enjoyed at any time over the festive season. Audiences will have the opportunity to recreate some of Mary’s favourite Christmas dishes, as well as those steeped in Scottish tradition, including a spectacular Cranachan wreath, indulgent cheese fondue and her classic Buche de Noel. Sprinkled amidst the abundance of rich cultural delights will be Mary reflecting on her heritage with fascinating anecdotes about her Scottish roots. She’s not going alone, accompanying her on this magical adventure will be special guests who’ll make this one a Christmas to remember.

My Life at Christmas with Adrian Chiles

BBC One / BBC iPlayer
In this second series of My Life at Christmas for advent 2023, journalist and broadcaster Adrian Chiles meets three well-known faces to find out how their festive memories reflect their lives, careers, family and faith.

Episode 1 – Oti Mabuse – BBC One Sunday 3 December
Episode 2 – John Simpson – BBC One Sunday 10 December
Episode 3 – Martin & Shirley Kemp – BBC One Sunday 17 December

DIY SOS EastEnders Special
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

The BBC’s flagship home renovation programme sees EastEnders stars join Nick Knowles and the team in Essex for a Christmas special edition of DIY SOS.

Joined by an army of volunteers, the cast members from Albert square help to create a new building for local mental health hub Butterfly Effect Well-being. In need of desperate repairs, the crew work to turn this unloved space into a warm and welcoming space for the local community.

Antiques Roadshow Christmas Special

BBC One / BBC iPlayer

In this festive end-of-year special, the Roadshow team gets into the Christmas spirit at a glorious country house as they look back on some of the most memorable and moving stories to have appeared on the show in recent years to find out ‘what happened next?’

The Hairy Bikers: Coming Home For Christmas
BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

The Hairy Bikers are back on their bikes after nearly a two year break.

12 months ago Dave received a cancer diagnosis that left him facing an uncertain future. But now, reunited with his best mate Si, the boys are back on the road, searching for wonderful seasonal ingredients to create a festive banquet to thank all those who’ve helped Dave throughout his recent struggles.

Planet Earth III: Wonders of Nature
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

This special episode brings together highlights from David Attenborough’s latest series, from hidden forests and turbulent coasts to vast unexplored deserts.

Father Brown

BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Father Brown returns with a brand new series. In the first episode, Father Brown investigates when rivalries escalate to murderous heights at the Kembleston Olimpicks.

Mrs Devine (Claudie Blakley) is shocked when her son Eddie (Barney Wilkinson) returns to Kembleford. She is determined to keep her new relationship with Chief Inspector Sullivan (Tom Chambers) a secret from everyone, although Father Brown (Mark Williams) and Brenda (Ruby-May Martinwood) know exactly what’s going on!

Bargain Hunt Christmas Specials
BBC One / BBC iPlayer


In the first of two special Christmas episodes, the reds and blues are Christmas shopping in Malvern, alongside experts Tim Weeks and Izzie Balmer and Charlie Ross learns about the story of British Christmas stamps.

In the second festive helping two Christmas-loving teams enjoy a festive shop in Malvern with Tim Weeks and Izzie Balmer, while Charlie Ross discovers how to make the perfect Christmas cracker.

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby
BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

Monica and Rob head to the snowy Alps to discover the little known Panorama Hotel Hubertus – a resort in the Tyrol region of Northern Italy that’s the vision of one family. Their hotel gives spectacular views of the mountains because its thoroughly modern architecture is something to behold – with dramatic angles and levitating pools and saunas. This creative architecture serves as a magnet to attract thousands of guests to this otherwise quiet valley. The Gasser family run this hotel and also have links to the world-class ski resort above it – all bringing valuable income into the community. Rob and Monica work behind the scenes in the unique ‘Heaven and Hell’ spa, cleaning the suspended pool, leading mountain treks and get to know the family behind the vision.

Inside the Factory

BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

Gregg Wallace is following production of a seasonal favourite, the Yorkshire pudding. Inside the factory in Hull, they produce five hundred million frozen Yorkies every year. Although the factory makes them by the tonne, the ingredients are as simple as when you make them at home – flour, eggs, milk and salt. But the processes are entirely industrial, with high tech mixers, a 53 metre-long conveyor oven and huge freezers.

Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing

BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

In this special hour-long festive episode, Bob, Paul and Ted travel to Scotland to fish for salmon and to taste the traditional Hogmanay celebrations on offer.

As well as fishing the rivers Dee, Tay and Ericht, they will be joined by an old friend for dinner and invite a very special guest to perform at their New Year’s Eve party.

University Challenge

BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

Once again, University Challenge celebrates Christmas by giving students a short break, and instead inviting teams of distinguished alumni to compete on behalf of their former university. Expect to see some of the UK’s finest minds test themselves on one of the UK’s toughest quiz shows, with plenty of seasonal brainteasers to test what they know – and what they don’t – about pretty much everything. Fourteen teams have been brave enough to accept our challenge to compete in seven first-round matches, with places in the semi-finals for the four smartest teams, two of whom will then battle it out for nothing more than the glory of being named Christmas series champions. We cordially invite all University Challenge viewers to test themselves alongside our fearless teams. As a former contestant on Christmas University Challenge himself, presenter Amol Rajan will know exactly what the teams will be going through!

Wild Scandinavia

BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

Wild Scandinavia is a new three-part series for BBC Two celebrating the stunning wildlife, dramatic landscapes and unique culture of the furthest northern reaches of Europe, made by BBC Studios Natural History Unit and co-produced by PBS and Sveriges Television (SVT).

Across 3 x 60 minute episodes, Wild Scandinavia will immerse viewers in the realm of Norse Gods, of Odin and Thor. Each film explores a different captivating natural world – the hauntingly beautiful coast, the magical seasonal forests, and the volcanic and arctic extremes. 

The Repair Shop Christmas Special

BBC One / BBC iPlayer

The Repair Shop Christmas Special (w/t) sees the barn open its famous doors for some magical festive fixes.  Jay Blades is joined by a team of favourite experts from across the series as they are tasked with the restoration of cherished items full of Christmas memories.

Among the precious items arriving in the barn is an extraordinary mechanical Christmas cake invention dating back to the 1940s that calls on a collaboration of skills from Steve Fletcher, Kirsten Ramsay and Mark Stuckey; whilst Pete Woods, Dominic Chinea and Suzie Fletcher team up to make a Caribbean steel pan sing once more…just in time for a special party.

Celebrity Escape to the Country

BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Escape to the Country is getting a sprinkling of star dust in this brand-new celebrity edition. In this very special series, Celebrity Escape to the Country welcomes an exciting host of well-known faces hoping to make a countryside relocation including the nation’s favourite panto dame and King of the Jungle, Christopher Biggins; Bucks Fizz popstar, Cheryl Baker; TV health professional, Doctor Ranj Singh; Strictly Come Dancing’s Janette Manrara and Aljaž Škorjanec; and TV quiz sensation, Jenny Ryan AKA ‘The Vixen’ from The Chase.

Morning Live at Christmas

BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Morning Live at Christmas will bring together the BBC’s most trusted experts to serve up the best money, health, food and time saving tips and advice to help get you through the festive season.

Comedy & Variety

Ghosts Christmas Special
BBC One & BBC iPlayer

Christmas is just around the corner and Mike’s mum, Betty is staying. Although she is just trying to be helpful, Mike and Alison soon lose patience with her interfering ways. There’s no easy way to ask her to go home so the couple (and the Ghosts) struggle on, with Button House feeling fuller than ever.

Here We Go: Mum’s Classic Family Christmas
BBC One & BBC iPlayer

This Christmas, the relentlessly chaotic Jessop family return to our screens in Here We Go: Mum’s Classic Family Christmas.

Amy is home again for the holidays, so Rachel is determined to engineer an absolutely classic Jessop Family Christmas: Stockings, presents, church, turkey, King’s speech, charades. Then everyone sings Hey Mr Christmas by Showaddywaddy and watches Shrek. Should be great, so long as everyone sticks PRECISELY to the schedule. 

It’s never that easy.

Not Going Out: Wilfred
BBC One & BBC iPlayer

Brace for yuletide suburban chaos courtesy of Lee (Lee Mack) and Lucy (Sally Bretton) 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…

Given best friends Toby (Hugh Dennis) and uptight ice-queen Anna (Abigail Cruttenden) are on hand, as well as Lucy’s lovely mum Wendy (Deborah Grant) with curmudgeonly dad Geoffrey (Geoffrey Whitehead), surely Lee can ensure this Christmas runs to plan?

Mrs. Brown’s Boys Christmas – Mammy’s Mare
BBC One & BBC iPlayer

All Mrs Brown wants is a nice, peaceful Christmas, but the family have other ideas! Cathy’s decided to cook Christmas dinner for the first time ever, a sentimental decoration has gone missing and a surprise dinner guest all have the potential to ruin Agnes’ quiet Christmas.

Mrs. Brown’s Boys New Year’s – New Year, New Mammy
BBC One & BBC iPlayer

Mrs Brown and the gang start the New Year by attempting a tough new health and fitness regime. New year, new Agnes! But while Maria and Cathy work hard to get the gang into shape, a mysterious visitor to Finglas raises some difficult questions from Agnes and Winne’s past.

The Kemps: All Gold
BBC Two & BBC iPlayer

Spandau Ballet’s Gary and Martin Kemp are back with more television Gold with a follow up to their to the hit 2020 mockumentary The Kemps: All True. This time, award-winning documentary filmmaker Rhys Thomas OBE follows the brothers over a whole year as they make a biopic, get divorced and form a supergroup. Naturally, not everything goes to plan. Michael Kitchen returns as the Kemps’ long-suffering manager, alongside a number of big-name cameos.

Bad Education Christmas Special
BBC Three & BBC iPlayer

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. Featuring original songs and choreography to tell a Dickens-inspired tale, Jack Whitehall returns for a special Christmas cameo as Alfie Wickers with an unmissable musical theatre performance.

On the last day of Christmas term at Abbey Grove, drama teacher Stephen (Williams) stages his own funeral to hear what the school will say about him when he leaves for his new job in a pantomime. But he is shocked to encounter the ghost of Alfie, who tells him he will be visited by three ghosts to show him the error of his ways. Alfie wants Stephen to care about teaching more than he ever did; but his happiness depends on the lessons he learns that night, when Stephen has an important decision to make about his career at Abbey Grove.

Blankety Blank
BBC One & BBC iPlayer

The legendary gameshow Blankety Blank returns for a Christmas special on BBC One and iPlayer, presented by the irrepressible Bradley Walsh. Six brilliant celebrities will be helping contestants by filling in the missing festive BLANKS. If their answers match, they’ll be in with the chance of winning some of telly’s most ‘unique’ prizes.

Live at the Apollo Christmas Special
BBC Two & BBC iPlayer    

The BAFTA nominated Live At The Apollo returns to BBC Two for a highly anticipated eighteenth series with seven brand new episodes.

In this special festive edition of the award-winning Live at the Apollo the fabulous Tom Allen is your host as he introduces Thanyia Moore and Lloyd Griffith to the stage.

Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel
BBC One & BBC iPlayer

BAFTA award-winning Michael McIntyre returns to our TV screens on Christmas Day for a tinsel-covered edition of his Saturday-night gameshow, jam-packed with extremely famous faces, even more laughs, and a colossal spinning wheel!

Rylan Clark, Peter Crouch, and Nicole Scherzinger are the special celebrity contestants, hoping to answer their way to a festive fortune for their chosen charities.

The Graham Norton Show New Year’s Eve
BBC One & BBC iPlayer

The BAFTA and National TV Award-winning chat show returns for its traditional New Year’s Eve edition on BBC One. Sparkling chat, jokes and music as Graham takes a look back at the events of 2023, together with a sofa of star guests. Plus, end-of-year stories from the audience in the world-famous Big Red Chair.

Would I Lie To You? At Christmas
BBC One & BBC iPlayer

Rob Brydon is back in the host’s chair for a festive one-off, Would I Lie To You? At Christmas.

As ever, David Mitchell and Lee Mack are the lightning-quick team captains. Over the course of the show, a stellar cast of celebrity guests reveal amazing stories about themselves. But are they telling the truth, or are they making it all up? David Mitchell is joined by Victoria Coren Mitchell and Naga Munchetty, while Lee Mack is joined by Alex Brooker and Melvyn Hayes.  The stories debated include: Did Victoria Coren Mitchell once shock David with one of her Christmas gifts to him?  Did Alex Brooker once accidentally tip his bin men £500?  And did Lee Mack once rescue a couple called Mary and Joseph when there was no room at the Premier Inn?

The Weakest Link
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Romesh Ranganathan brings his festive cheer to a star-studded Christmas Special of The Weakest Link. Eight celebrities will initially have to work together to try to win up to £50,000 for their individual chosen charity, in one of the world’s most iconic quizzes. Each round, one player will be voted The Weakest Link by their fellow contestants and will leave with nothing.

Dawn French is a huge TW*T
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Live (almost) from London’s iconic Palladium theatre, the nation’s favourite comedy star, Dawn French is about to reveal (almost) all the most excruciating gaffes and howlers she’s made across her forty-year career as a comedian and actress. Dawn likes a laugh, and she likes it best of all when the laugh is on her.  Her new one-woman show is more than just stand-up.  This is the ultimate, ‘Oh my god!  You’ll never guess what Dawn did!’ show – as everyone’s favourite fictional lady vicar takes us through her career in comedy while simultaneously, laying bare her imperfections through massive landmarks of her life.

QI
BBC Two & BBC iPlayer 

Don your ugly jumpers to celebrate Christmas with QI’s Yuletide special! Sandi Toksvig and Alan Davies are joined by comedians Eshaan Akbar, Jo Brand and Jimmy Carr to unwrap their favourite festive facts from under the tree. They’ll uncover Santa Claus’ whereabouts, why horses make excellent party guests, and why there always seems to be room for Christmas pudding – plus Sandi showcases her super-cool, cutting-edge hidden talent.

Drama

EastEnders
BBC One & BBC iPlayer

On February 20th 2023, EastEnders aired a first-of-its-kind flashforward scene that offered its viewers a glimpse into the highly-anticipated Christmas Day storyline.

Whilst it’s usually a happy time for many, Christmas Day in Albert Square is notoriously riddled with heartbreak and deceit, and this year will be no exception. Viewers know that one unlucky Walford male will find himself on the floor of The Queen Vic in the dreaded cufflinks but two very important questions remain to be answered – who is it and how has he come to be there?

Whilst the exact circumstances relating to his death will remain a tightly kept secret up until Christmas Day, one thing is for certain – six of Walford’s much-loved matriarchs will find themselves embroiled in a series of events that lead up to his demise, and in a flash, their lives will be permanently changed forever…

Agatha Christie’s Murder is Easy
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

England, 1954. On a train to London, Fitzwilliam (David Jonsson) meets Miss Pinkerton (Penelope Wilton), who tells him that a killer is on the loose in the sleepy English village of Wychwood under Ashe.

The villagers believe the deaths are mere accidents, but Miss Pinkerton knows otherwise – and when she’s later found dead on her way to Scotland Yard, Fitzwilliam feels he must find the killer before they can strike again. Because for a certain kind of person, murder is easy…

Vigil (series 2)
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Following multiple unexplained deaths at a Scottish military base, Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) and Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie) are tasked with uncovering the cause. Entering the hostile and closed ranks of the air force to catch a killer, the pair must face the deadly warfare of tomorrow as they fight for their own future.

Men Up
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Men Up explores the lives of five ordinary Welshmen who embark on an extraordinary journey when they take part in the trial of a new drug which would later become Viagra. The feature-length drama is loosely inspired by the remarkable true story of one of the world’s first medical trials for the drug, held in Swansea’s Morriston Hospital in 1994.

The Tourist (series 2)
BBC One / BBC iPlayer


Elliot (Jamie Dornan) and Helen (Danielle Macdonald) travel to Ireland to find answers about Elliot’s identity, but instead they are forced to face the dangerous consequences of his past actions.

A Ghost Story for Christmas: Lot No.249
BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

Mark Gatiss’ adaptation of the Arthur Conan Doyle short story comes to BBC Two this Christmas, starring Kit Harington and Freddie Fox.

1881. Old College, Oxford plays host to three very different young academics: Abercrombie Smith, a model of Victorian manhood, clean of limb and sound of mind; Monkhouse Lee, a delicate and unworldly student from Siam; and the strange and exotic Edward Bellingham, whose arcane research into Ancient Egypt is the talk of the campus. 

Could Bellingham’s unnatural experiments bring the breath of life to the horrifying bag of bones tagged Lot No.249?  

Rambert Dance in Peaky Blinders: The Redemption of Thomas Shelby
BBC Four / BBC iPlayer

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 comes to BBC Four this Christmas, with an iconic soundtrack. 

Music

Rick Astley Rocks New Year’s Eve
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Made by BBC Studios Entertainment, and coming from the iconic Roundhouse, the dazzling TV event will see Rick joined on stage by some very special guests.

Performing his global hits and some surprise numbers, Rick and his all-star guests will party right into 2024. This one-off TV recording of Rick Astley Rocks New Year’s Eve for BBC One will be a night to remember. The festivities will continue after BBC One goes live to London for the traditional epic fireworks display.

Songs of Praise
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Songs of Praise is reflecting the excitement and joy of the festive season with a rich selection of programming from across the country.

We begin our celebrations on the first Sunday of Advent with Aled Jones hosting final of the BBC Young Chorister of the Year, as six of the best junior and senior choristers perform a favourite Christmas choice.

In a very special programme to celebrate the beautiful music enjoyed at this time of year, Pam Rhodes is joined by fellow hymn expert Andrew Gant as they discuss some of the nation’s most loved carols. Our own Songs of Praise presenters also reveal their favourite carol and what Christmas means to them. 

In County Durham, the Rev. Kate Bottley visits a dementia-friendly community where local school children and residents of a care home come together to mark the birth of Jesus as they rehearse their nativity play.

And on Christmas Eve, with a congregation of over 2000 people at the magnificent Sheffield City Hall, Aled Jones leads the carol singing with performances from Katherine Jenkins, Michael Ball, Strictly Come Dancing’s lead vocalist Tommy Blaize and the newly crowned Young Choristers of the Year. 

Completing our festive offering is a New Year’s Eve special hosted by the UK’s most successful mezzo-soprano, Katherine Jenkins. Katherine is joined by an array of celebrated guests including Aled Jones, the Gospel Choir of the Year winner and opera singer Carly Paoli to sing out 2023.


The Hills Are Alive With The Kanneh-Masons
BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

Britain’s most gifted classical musical family, Nottingham’s Kanneh-Masons, visit 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.

For this one-off Christmas special, all nine members of the Kanneh-Mason family, including mum Kadie and dad Stuart, visit the film’s key locations and explore the incredible story of the Von Trapps.

Top Of The Pops: Review of 2023
BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

Top Of The Pops returns for a special hosted by Radio 1’s Clara Amfo.

The show will take a look back over the last 12 months delving into music’s biggest stories and showcasing performances from some of the most talked about artists of 2023.

Jools’ Annual Hootenanny
BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

As has become time-honoured tradition in the UK’s televised celebration of the New Year, Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra take centre stage once again for Jools’ Annual Hootenanny.

Jools will be ringing in 2024 in fine style. He’ll be bringing viewers the very best music from an eclectic mix of the biggest stars, as well as the brightest new talent and will be joined by special guests.

There’ll be music from Boogie Woogie Queen and powerhouse vocalist Ruby Turner and as always, the Pipes & Drums of the 1st Battalion Scot Guards will feature, as the hour strikes midnight. Plus, Jools will hear from comedians, actors and more stars of 2023 from amongst the audience about their predictions and resolutions for the New Year.

Inside Classical: The Hound of the Baskervilles
BBC Four/BBC iPlayer

Prepare to be transported to the vast and dangerous moors where lies the Baskerville Hall estate and its dark secrets. A desolate house, an escaped murderer and a bloodthirsty supernatural beast provide the backdrop for Arthur Conan Doyle’s bestselling Sherlock Holmes novel – the story of “a foul thing, a great, black beast, shaped like a hound, yet larger than any hound that ever mortal eye has rested upon”.

Mark Gatiss stars as Sherlock Holmes with Sanjeev Bhaskar as Dr Watson in this reading of Arthur Conan Doyle’s bestselling mystery, recorded on the stage of London’s Barbican Theatre. The gripping story is accompanied by a new musical score by dramatist and composer Neil Brand, played on stage by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Through music and drama, with no theatrical set or props, this play takes Holmes and Watson from the comfort of 222b Baker Street and audiences from the auditorium of the Barbican Hall in London to the moors of the Baskerville Hall estate in this chilling, gripping and hair-raising version of this legendary tale.

New Year’s Day Concert Live from Vienna 2024
BBC Two / BBC Four / BBC iPlayer

Petroc Trelawny presents live from the New Year’s Day 2024 Vienna Philharmonic concert from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna.

The orchestra is directed by guest conductor Christian Thielemann, principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden and designated General Music Director of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, in an array of polkas, waltzes and gallops by the Strauss family and their contemporaries. 

Gregory Porter: Live from Cheltenham 2023
BBC Four/BBC iPlayer

Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Gregory Porter returns to Cheltenham for a spellbinding sold-out show at this year’s world-famous Jazz Festival.

Alongside sparkling versions of his favourite hits such as Revival, Take Me To The Alley and Liquid Spirit, Gregory and his band are joined on stage by two special guests: acclaimed American vocalist Lizz Wright and Italian-born New Yorker Giacomo Smith on clarinet.

Charles III: The Coronation Year
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

Charles III: The Coronation Year is a new 90-minute documentary made by Oxford Films for BBC One and iPlayer. The film will offer a unique insight into the life of King Charles III and Queen Camilla and take viewers behind the scenes of the first year of the reign of King Charles. Narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, it will air this December as part of the BBC’s Christmas offering.

With exclusive access, the cameras follow King Charles III and Queen Camilla through landmark moments of the first year of their reign, as they embrace their new roles and carry out their work and duties. Filmed as Buckingham Palace prepares for, delivers, and celebrates the first Coronation in 70 years, and in the months that followed, this historic documentary features contributions from members of the Royal Family and key players in The King and Queen’s Household.

Countryfile Christmas Special
BBC One / BBC iPlayer

The festive season is well under way and we’re back in the Cumbrian fells, near Appleby, with Shepherdess Katie and her family on their upland farm for this year’s Countryfile Christmas! With livestock to keep warm, and sheep to herd on the 250 acre farm, winter is a busy time for Katie. So with Christmas fast approaching Sammi and Joe are on-hand to roll up their sleeves to help out in the fields, hang up the baubles and cook up some festive cheer as they join in with Katie’s festive traditions to celebrate a rural working Christmas, down on the farm.


imagine… French & Saunders: Pointed, Bitchy, Bitter

BBC One/BBC iPlayer

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.

Caroline Aherne: Comedy Queen
BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

Aherne’s pioneering representation of working class and family life in The Royle Family won her three Baftas and changed comedy writing forever, while her alter-ego Mrs Merton’s question to stage performer Debbie McGee – “So what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?” – is considered one of the greatest comic one-liners in British TV history.

The film traces Aherne’s life from childhood in Wythenshawe, Manchester, through her early adventures as a (rare) woman on Manchester’s alternative stand-up scene and the breakthrough moment when the BBC commissioned The Mrs Merton Show, when she fast became a national icon and surreptitious satirist-in-chief of mid-90s’ celebrity culture.

Mad About The Boy: The Noel Coward Story
BBC Two / BBC iPlayer

Born in a shabby London suburb at the turn of the 20th century, Noel Coward would become the most celebrated actor, playwright and songwriter of his generation. This is his remarkable journey, told in his own words, music and extraordinary home movies, in a new film for Arena.

Pianoforte – Storyville

BBC Four / BBC iPlayer

Considered to be one of the most prestigious competitions in classical music, the International Chopin Piano Competition held in Warsaw every five years since 1927 has been a career launchpad for some of the world’s greatest virtuoso pianists.  The competition itself is a rollercoaster of a classical ride with extremely tough qualifying rules, multiple stages, legendary jurors and a lot of pressure.  Pianoforte takes us behind the scenes of this fascinating contest, meeting some of the most talented young professional piano players from across the world and watching them navigate the competition, along with its intense practices, new friendships, drama and nerves.

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