Sherlock Series 3 and The Great British Bake Off join Christmas 2013 TV line-up

A masterclass with Mary Berry is also on the BBC menu this festive period

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

A festive episode of Doctor Who has just been announced, but many other seasonal specials will be lighting up living rooms this Christmas.

From a Strictly Come Dancing ballroom bonanza to a cookery masterclass with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, here are some of this year's BBC holiday highlights:

 Sherlock Series 3

This year's biggest television mystery -  how did Sherlock fake his own death? - will finally be answered in the first episode of the new series. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the detective, 'The Empty Hearse' is due on-air sometime between 21 December and 3 January.

The Time Of The Doctor

Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman star as the '13th Doctor' and Clara in this Christmas sci-fi adventure. The time-travelling duo "must go to a quiet backwater planet in order to learn what some strange signals mean for his very existence". 

Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman in the Doctor Who Christmas special

The Great British Bake Off Christmas Special

Christmas pudding queen Mary Berry shares some stress-free pearls of wisdom in this masterclass with Paul Hollywood. Fans of cookery shows can also tune in for Food & Drink to watch Mary prepare a festive feast with Michel Roux Jnr, Kate Goodman and Glynn Purnell.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly present a sequinned spectacular as special guests including Rochelle Humes from The Saturdays, DJ Sarah Cox and comedian Rufus Hound take to the dancefloor.

Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly will present a glitzy Christmas special

So what else...?

Fantasy family drama Atlantis concludes with a two-parter over the holiday period while brand new treats such as David Walliams' Gangsta Granny have been promised.

Diverse religious programming will include The First Eucharist of Christmas and the Christmas Day Sung Eucharist live from Westminster Abbey, Songs of Praise's Big Sing and a thought-provoking New Year's message from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Fern Britten will invite singer Susan Boyle; BBC foreign correspondent John Simpson; comedian Ken Dodd; and Olympic athlete Christine Ohuruogu onto Fern Britton Meets... to talk about their faith, hymns will be broadcast from Cambridge in the annual Carols From King's and Simon Sebag Montefiore explores the sacred history of Istanbul in Byzantium: A Tale of Three Cities.

Other Christmas offerings include a one-off edition of The Great British Sewing Bee, the best songs of 2013 in Top of the Pops Christmas, The Call Centre Christmas Choir and festive panels on Mock the Week, pop quiz Never Mind the Buzzcocks and QI.

A host of films including Toy Story 3, Little Fockers, Cars 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides will also be shown.