Television: Today's pick

Nigel Slater's Real Christmas Dinner (8pm C4) Some chef berating the tyranny of roast turkey and brussel sprouts is well on its way to becoming a seasonal TV cliche. Still, Nigel Slater, assisted by a Who's Who of smart culinary types (Alastair Little, Rowley Leigh, Nigella Lawson - who has a cookery column in Vogue) come up with a some stress-free and tasty-looking alternatives, made from ingredients which Slater (imagine an Elton John lookalike squeezed dry of the camp) stresses "can be bought tomorrow". That's just as well, given the scheduling, although there can't be that many people who haven't already planned and paid for their Christmas meal.

Agatha Christie's The Pale Horse (9pm ITV) Allegedly adapted from a Christie story, this glossy but old-fashioned murder mystery steps into the breach left by Morse, Taggart and Poirot (ITV is so desperate this Christmas that it has drafted in Wycliffe). Set in 1964, it stars Colin Buchanan as a beatnik sculptor with a posh dollybird girlfriend who becomes the prime suspect after a priest is stiffed up a dark alleyway. To clear his name, in the time- honoured way of these things, he has to find out who really dunnit.

The film

Pete Kelly's Blues (12.15am BBC2) Yes, there is The Philadelphia Story (4.30pm BBC2), but a rarer sighting is this 1955 curio from actor- director Jack Webb. He plays a jazz band leader from Prohibition Kansas City taking a stand against gangsters (who include Lee Marvin, natch; the perennially underrated Janet Leigh is also present). The soundtrack is a corker, with Ella Fitzgerald singing the title track and "Hard Hearted Hannah", while Fitz-gerald and Peggy Lee take rare dramatic roles.

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