Christmas TV guide 2016: What to watch on BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Sky

From The Great Christmas Bake to Sherlock

Jack Shepherd
Monday 19 December 2016 18:15

It’s that time of the year; when family members get together to enjoy festive dinners and catch up on the past year.

While Brexit, Trump, and Ore Oduba’s surprising Strictly win may dominate conversation, there will likely come a lull after your uncle finishes the last brussels sprout. And when that moment comes, what better to do than gather around the television and fight over the remote?

So, what will us Brits be watching this year? From the BBC’s The Great Christmas Bake Off to Channel 4’s Gogglesprogs Christmas Special, here’s the best of 2016 seasonal TV offering.

Christmas Eve

Yonderland, 6.30pm, Sky 1

Thanktival celebrations are in full swing as Debbie entertains her in-laws, played by Alison Steadman and Anthony Head.

Gogglesprogs Christmas Special, 8pm/, Channel 4

Watching the youth of today enjoy Planet Earth II, Strictly Come Dancing and First Dates has never been so festive.

Grantchester Christmas Special, 9pm, ITV

It’s 1954 and James Norton’s vicar investigates a mysterious case.

David Walliams Celebrates Dame Shirley Bassey, 9pm, BBC1

The Little Britain star interviews the queen of Bond themes for her 80th birthday.

Christmas Day

Dancing The Nutcracker: Inside The Royal Ballet, 4pm, BBC2

Watch in awe as the Royal Ballet prepare for this year’s production of Tchaikovsky’s classic score.

The Great Christmas Bake Off, 4.45pm, BBC1

Savour it: the final two episodes of Bake Off to feature Mel, Sue and Mary. Four bakers from Bake Off’s past will attempt once again to impress our beloved judges.

Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio, 5.45pm, BBC1

Following a year of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor being absent from our TV screens (minus an appearance in spin-off Class), the twelfth Doctor returns for this superhero-themed special.

The Last Dragonslayer, 5.45pm, Sky 1

A teenage orphan gets caught in a whirlwind adventure through the Ununited Kingdom (get it?) – a satirical take on the fantasy genre.

Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a 30-day free trial

Sign up

Call the Midwife, 8pm, BBC1

A tiny health clinic in South Africa is failing, sending a message to Sister Julienne asking for help. Of course, the gang are quick to heed their plea and shoot off to help.

Maigret’s Dead Man, 9pm, ITV

Rowan Atkinson is back as Chief Inspector Jules Maigret, investigating a series of three murders.

Travel Man: 48 Hours in Florence, 8pm, Channel 4

Richard Ayoade and Rebel Wilson make an unlikely duo as they explore the romantic Italian city.

Boxing Day

Revolting Rhymes, 6.30pm, BBC1

Various famous voices – including Dominic West’s – bring to life a selection of Roald Dahl’s poetry, all astoundingly animated.

The Witness for the Prosecution, 9pm, BB1

Following the success adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None last year, the BBC are hoping to strike gold once again with their version of this dark, bloody tale.

Lego’s Big Christmas, 8.00pm, Channel 4

Go behind the scenes at one of the biggest toy companies in the world as it gears up for Christmas.

Outnumbered, 10pm, BBC1

The Brockmans may all be a lot older, but they’re still as frustrating as ever in this one-off special.

Tuesday 27th December

Amazing Spaces Snow Special, 8pm, Channel 4

Architect George Clarke and designer Will Hardie admire incredible constructions across Western Canada.

Inside No. 9: The Devil of Christmas, 10pm, BBC2

Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith feature in the tale of a 1977 middle-class British family on holiday in Austria being haunted by the bogeyman. Expect bizarre humour and guest stars.

Wednesday 28th December

Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars, 8pm, BBC2

The House Robots prepare for battle: Dead Metal, Sir Killalot, Matilda and Shunt

Celebrities including the Brownlee brothers, Suzi Perry and Scott Mills appear in this Christmas special addition of the hypnotic robotic battle show.

James May: The Christmas Reassembler, 9pm, BBC 4

The ex-Top Gear host puts together tiny trains with tiny screwdrivers.

Dragon’s Den Christmas Special, 9pm, BBC2

Contestants pitch their ideas to the jolly dragons, hoping to find investment.

Jonathan Creek, 9pm, BBC1

Warwick Davis guest stars in this holiday special that sees Alan Davies and Sarah Alexander tackle a magical mystery.

Thursday 29th December

To Walk Invisible, 9pm, BBC1

Sally Wainwright explores the incredible life of the Bronte sisters, starring Finn Atkins, Chloe Pirrie and Charlie Murphy.

Charlie Brooker’s 2016 Wipe, 9pm, BBC2

The acerbic satirist gives us his scathing take on Brexit, Trump, military coups and more. Whether to laugh or cry is your choice.

Flying Scotsman from the Footplate, 9pm, BBC4

Remember when trains ran on time? Me neither. But this steam engine will be taking off at exactly 9pm, so make sure you’re on board for a delightfully peaceful journey on The Flying Scotsman.

Friday 30th December

Delicious, 9pm, Sky 1

Game of Thrones actor Iain Glenn plays a celebrity chef who has it all – including an ex-wife (played by Dawn French) who he can’t leave alone.

Eight Our of Ten Cats Does Countdown New Year Special, 9pm, Channel 4

Where other panel shows have been dropped, this bizarre mash-up goes from strength to strength; this year’s guests include Sean Lock and Johnny Vegas.

New Year’s Eve

Alan Carr’s New Year Spectacular, 9pm, Channel 4

Danny Dyer, Keith Lemon, Greg Rutherford, Laura Whitmore, Sinitta, Will Mellor and Gemma Collins join the Chattyman for his New Year special.

Jools’ Annual Hootenanny, 11.20pm, BBC2

What better way to see out the old and ring in the new than listening to a carefully curated groups of artists performing their hits? Artists include Christine and the Queens, Chaka Khan and Rag'n'Bone Man.

New Year’s Day

Sherlock, 8.30pm, BBC1

After what seems like an eternity, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are back as Holmes and Watson for the show’s fourth season.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments