Christmas TV 2015: Best family programmes from Professor Branestawm Returns to Fungus the Bogeyman

Gerard Gilbert picks the programmes not to miss over the festive season

Gerard Gilbert@GerardVGilbert
Friday 18 December 2015 11:53
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David Walliams, David Attenborough, David Beckham, Darcey Bussell, Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Dickens... the alliteration may stop there, but not the sense of déjà vu as television broadcasts a host of new productions within what is a now well-established template.

Caught between the competing desires of family members, many of us will find ourselves watching Mrs Brown’s Boys, and even perhaps enjoying it, while the young ones are again entertained by Julia Donaldson, David Walliams, Harry Hill and Aardman animations.

Family

Harry Hill in Professor Branestawm Returns, Christmas Eve, 5.20pm BBC1

A welcome returnee from last Christmas is Charlie Higson’s suitably frenetic take on Norman Hunter’s tales of an eccentric inventor, with Harry Hill as Branestawm, Vicki Pepperdine as his housekeeper Mrs Flittersnoop and Simon Day as his bombastic friend Colonel Dedshott. Pagwell newcomers include Steve Pemberton, Matt Berry and Diana Rigg.

Stick Man , Christmas Day, 4.45pm BBC1

Gruffalo creators Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler apparently sell more books than JK Rowling and the adventures of their character Stick Man comes with a voice cast that reflects their popularity, including Martin Freeman, Hugh Bonneville and Jennifer Saunders.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 6.15pm BBC1

Lights, sequins, dad-dancing and panto villains (or at least Craig Revel Horwood), Strictly fits Christmas as snugly as a ballroom dress, and this year’s competition involves past winners, Abbey Clancy, Harry Judd and Tom Chambers, but no Bruce Forsyth, who is recuperating from an operation.

Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas , Boxing Day, 6.10pm BBC1

Aardman studios’ bleating woolly miscreant in a one-off special involving some visiting llamas. Welcome at first, the critters soon outstay their welcome, as pre-school superstar Justin “Mr Tumble” Fletcher helps with the animal noises.

Fungus the Bogeyman, Sun 27 Dec, 6pm Sky1

Submerged in prosthetics, Timothy Spall plays Raymond Briggs’s slimy monster, with Joanna Scanlan as his wife, Mildew. Showing over the following three nights, Marc Warren, Keeley Hawes and Victoria Wood help out.

Billionaire Boy, New Year’s Day, 7pm BBC1

The now traditional seasonal adaptation of a David Walliams children’s book, this latest one stars newcomer Elliot Sprakes as Joe Spud, whose factory-worker dad, Len (John Thomson) becomes an overnight billionaire after he invents a revolutionary toilet paper called Bumfresh. But can money buy happiness? Catherine Tate co-stars as Len’s gold-digging girlfriend.

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