Coming Soon: Jonathan Pryce's monster

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The Independent Culture

What does the goggle box of delights have in store for us over Christmas?

On BBC3, comedy drama Clone looks very promising. One of its co-producers is Adam Chase, who created Friends; the other is Ash Atalla (The Office). The opening scene takes place in a top-secret military bunker underneath a Tesco Metro, and features the moment that brilliant scientist Dr Victor Blenkinsop (Jonathan Pryce, pictured) reveals the first human clone, a man bred for warfare. Delightfully comic anarchy seems likely to ensue.

There's also some pretty wacky scheduling on offer. Channel 4 is airing a documentary called The Pregnant Man, which follows the landmark journey of Thomas Beatie, who, as you may have guessed, is the first pregnant man. ITV's Beat the Star sees a member of the public take on a celebrity in series of games that tests their mental and physical ability. The show promises loss of face for some and a monitory prizes for others. Amir Khan and Greg Rusedski are some of the stars who've signed up. The festive season will then culminate on ITV with in a seasonal special of Dancing on Ice, in which Team Torvill will go head to head with Team Dean. May the best-executed teapot win.

For more cerebral viewing, BBC4 has commissioned classical music's Mr Popular Touch, Charles Hazlewood, to chart The Birth of British Music, with a four-part series on Purcell, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn (Brits to a man, clearly). There will also be several episodes of the thinking bloke's bloke, Waldemar Januszczak, holding forth on rococo flourishes, artistic, architectural and musical, in his series Baroque!

Over on Channel 4, Tony Robinson is presenting a series about our planet's many natural disasters, called Catastrophe, which should prove amusing viewing, if you are a Seventh Day Adventist.

Beehive, a new all-star female comedy group (Alice Lowe, Sarah Kendall, Barunka O'Shaunessey and Clare Thompson) is hotly tipped by Channel 4. Meanwhile, Nigella Lawson returns to BBC2 with Nigella's Christmas Kitchen to help viewers cook up a storm.

The full range of Christmas period dramas has not yet been unveiled, but those in search of some fine britches and bonnets will be entranced by John Adams, repeated on Channel 4 after its first outing on More4. However, for the one-off Christmas special of Cranford, we will have to wait till 2009.