Christmas TV: BBC unveil upcoming festive season highlights

From Sherlock to The Great British Bake Off

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The Independent Culture

Last year, the BBC dominated the airwaves over Christmas: eight of the 10 most watched shows on Christmas day - and all top 10 on boxing day - were from the BBC. They included the Sherlock special, The Abominable Bride, Mrs Brown’s Boys, and a new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.

Unsurprisingly, the BBC are “pulling out all the stops” once more, unveiling their stellar 2016 Christmas TV line-up, including a one-off Great British Bake Off special (the last episodes before moving to Channel 4), the return of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman’s Sherlock, and Call The Midwife.

There will also be Michael McIntyre presenting his Big Christmas Show, David Walliams will celebrate the long career of Dame Shirley Bassey in a special, and a documentary about Dame Judi Dench will air.

Christmas stalwarts such as the Top of the Pops special, Jools Holland’s annual Hootenanny, and Eastenders also feature on the lengthy line-up. Other notable inclusions are Mrs Brown’s Boys returning, animated adaptations of Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes and Raymond Briggs’ Ethel And Ernes, and The Nutcracker performed by the Royal Ballet.

Director of BBC Content, Charlotte Moore, said of the line-up: "We've pulled out all the stops this Christmas to bring the nation together with a sparkling line-up of family favourites, brand new treats and festive specials on BBC Television. 

“We are showcasing an unrivalled range of top quality comedy, drama, entertainment, factual and religious programmes across our channels that promise to deliver something for everyone.”

The full line-up of BBC shows will be released next week. Meanwhile, the BBC got in trouble over the weekend after Peter Kay appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and seemingly made a 'homophobic' joke