There is no use denying it now – Christmas is very much upon us. Whilst there are plenty of things to dread – the cold, the painful socialising and the fact that you have looked at your bank balance and have realised you will have to find a creative way of making satsumas into appropriate gifts – at least there is some smashing TV to look forward to.
Gogglesprogs – Channel 4, Christmas Eve, 8 PM
Nothing kick-starts Christmas cheer more than hearing young children make eerily adult comments about TV which throw your whole perspective on life into doubt. Yes, the ‘sprogs’ are back on Christmas Eve and if you are keen to have some light-hearted laughter on your TV schedule it is bound to meet expectations. Plus watching a group of kids try to understand Brexit / the US election / the death of David Bowie will all make us feel a little bit more adult… maybe. Catch them now before they all end up on next year’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here.
Grantchester – ITV, Christmas Eve, 9 PM
Now, if like us you’re a James Norton fan, you will have to try and forget that he plays a psychopath in most of his other shows and remember that he is a humble Vicar in Grantchester. This hour and a half Christmas Eve edition promises ‘murder, mystery and malice and maybe even a baby in a manager’ – meaning it is perfect for triumphant Christmas Eve viewing… providing you can get over the underlying feeling that Norton is secretly a murderous reverend.
The Great Christmas Bake Off – BBC 1, Christmas Day, 4:45 PM
The Great British Bake Off will be returning for a two-part Christmas special before the BBC, Love Productions and Channel 4 each take a stake to its heart and carve it up like a Christmas turkey. We are anticipating plenty of Christmas antics, copious amounts of lesbian innuendos from the Sue’s and maybe even a Mean Girls – style Jingle Bell Rock dance from Mary Berry. And whilst it will be sad to see the TV Show that gripped the UK in a way which is unexplainable to most countries go, it is incredibly important we watch and enjoy it, because thing is for sure: it will never be the same again.
Strictly Xmas Special – BBC 1, Christmas Day, 6:45 PM
Now in its twelfth year, Strictly Come Dancing is becoming a bit of an aged, Christmas relic – like that slightly creepy Uncle who arrives at the house every year and pretends to remember who you are. Nevertheless, whilst some may dread Strictly for most of the year (a bit like the weird Uncle), the Christmas atmosphere means that the tacky sequins, camp show tunes and forced sexual tension seem very acceptable (hopefully the weird Uncle analogy stops here for you). So like all good British people, we must throw ourselves into the spirit of things we find uncomfortably cheery and watch Len Goodman give out his final marks on the show before he gracefully retires – well before he started making Bruce Forsyth jokes.
Maigret’s Dead Man – ITV, Christmas Day, 9 PM
Rowan Atkinson will be returning to ITV as the literary detective Jules Maigret for Christmas Day. Whilst there is plenty of glittery and glossy entertainment coming from BBC, we all know that the post-lunch/dinner/linner slump demands something a little less frivolous to remind us that, no matter what the TV tells you, the fun is over. What’s more, we all need that late-night programme that will take us up to past 11 PM so we don’t feel too bad about going to bed after only waking up from the most recent nap on the sofa at 7:30.
Outnumbered – BBC 1 , Boxing Day, 10 PM
BBC 1 have cleverly planted the Outnumbered Christmas special on Boxing day after a three year hiatus, where we will all mostly be hungover, feeling overweight and making unattainable New Year’s resolutions a week in advance to make ourselves feel better. The Brockmans will be returning to bring some quality comedy to our screens which should cheer everyone up once we’ve got over the shock that all the kids now look 25 and like they may have had some kids themselves in the meantime.
Robot Wars: Battle of the Stars, BBC 2, 28th–29th December, 8 PM
Don’t be lured into the misconception that no good TV happens between Christmas and New Year – because the crème de la crème of 90s-early noughties television will be returning to our screens. And nothing reignites Christmas spirit more than watching some humans control robots covered in cumbersome spikes and horns around a randomly flaming arena. Sure, the recent reboot is a bit glitzy with celebrity guests and hosts, but how much can you really change Robot Wars?!! That said it will be tricky not to miss Craig Charles yelling, ‘here comes Matilda!’ or ‘Sargent Bash has pushed him into the pit – it’s all over!’ like it actually matters, but it will still be some low-maintenance fun.
Sherlock – BBC 1, New Year’s Day, Time TBC
OK, OK not strictly Christmas, but after last year’s cracking ‘The Abominable Bride’ episode we are all pretty excited to see Sherlock on New Year’s Day. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman will both be back, reinforcing the very important notion that big blockbuster actors can and will do TV. ‘The Six Thatchers’ trailer looks incredibly intense with a hinted return of the notorious Moriarty. New Year’s is a pretty tragic time for most of us, where it seems like all of the Christmas’ hangovers have combined with your NYE drinking to leave you lying paralysed on the sofa, breaking your New Year’s Resolution of ‘no pizza’ two hours after waking up and regretting agreeing with your pal that you were both going to join the gym ‘right now’ and start ‘tomorrow’… but at least we will have a cracking mystery to solve. The brain’s a muscle too – right?
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