HOL­I­DAY CHEER

THE BEST TV TO BINGE ON THIS CHRIST­MAS

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For decades, TV net­works have used Christ­mas as a dump­ing ground. View­ers would scan pro­gram guides in a des­per­ate at­tempt to find some­thing — any­thing — worth a look.

The net­works treated view­ers with dis­dain, but no more. In 2015, ev­ery­one seems to have upped their game. There is a feast of tempt­ing treats across the free-to-air chan­nels as well as Fox­tel and the stream­ing ser­vices.

Here is my pick of the best Christ­mas fare.

CHRIST­MAS EVE A CHRIST­MAS CAROL CHAN­NEL 7, NOON

Charles Dick­ens’ time­less Christ­mas tale about the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge gets a 2009 com­puter-an­i­mated mo­tion-cap­ture up­date from Robert Ze­meckis ( Back to

the Fu­ture). Voiced by an all-star cast of Jim Car­rey, Colin Firth, Gary Old­man, Robin Wright, and Bob Hoskins.

FROZEN CHAN­NEL 7, 7PM

Fall un­der the spell of Anna, Princess of Aren­delle, voiced by Kris­ten Bell, in this hit Dis­ney an­i­mated fea­ture. Be pre­pared for the fact that you and the kids will be singing Let it Go for the re­main­der of the fes­tive sea­son.

FOUR WED­DINGS AND A FU­NERAL CHAN­NEL 7, 9.15PM

This Bri­tish com­edy is one of those movies you can watch 100 times and still find plenty of laughs. Bum­bling Brit Charles (Hugh Grant) is smit­ten by Yank Car­rie (Andie MacDow­ell). The pair keeps meet­ing at ma­jor life events.

CAROLS BY CAN­DLE­LIGHT CHAN­NEL 9, 8PM

Pull out the glow sticks. Aussie su­per­star Delta Goodrem heads the list of per­form­ers at Vi­sion Aus­tralia’s 78th Carols by Can­dle­light. Lisa Wilkin­son and David Camp­bell host with fam­ily favourites in­clud­ing An­thony Cal­lea, Tim Camp­bell, Ma­rina Prior and this year’s win­ner of The

Voice, El­lie Dren­nan.

MRS DOUBT­FIRE CHAN­NEL 10, 8PM

The death of Robin Wil­liams only makes the screen­ing of this iconic fam­ily favourite even more af­fect­ing. Di­vorced Daniel Hil­lard (Wil­liams) misses his chil­dren Ly­dia, Chris and Natalie so much that he dresses in drag to be­come exwife Mi­randa’s (Sally Field) new nanny.

GREM­LINS GO! 7.30PM

This Steven Spiel­berg­pro­duced hor­ror com­edy is the per­fect Christ­mas an­ti­dote. When Billy Peltzer (Zach Gal­li­gan) re­ceives a small furry mog­wai as a gift, he is told never to get it wet. A spilt glass of wa­ter starts the may­hem.

CHRIST­MAS DAY THE GOOD DI­NOSAUR PIXAR SPE­CIAL CHAN­NEL 7, 7AM

This be­hind-the-scenes look at Pixar’s lat­est an­i­mated movie,

The Good Di­nosaur, is guar­an­teed to keep the kids oc­cu­pied while you knock down a quick break­fast cof­fee to face a fran­tic day.

ROYAL VA­RI­ETY PER­FOR­MANCE 2015 ABC, 7.30PM

Prince Harry is at Lon­don’s Royal Al­bert Hall to watch an all-star line-up of tal­ent in­clud­ing El­ton John, Kylie Minogue, One Di­rec­tion, Ricky Martin, Lit­tle Mix, The Corrs, Bran­don Flow­ers, Josh Groban, and Kacey Mus­graves. You want more? There is also the cast of Mary Pop­pins and Cirque Du Soleil.

SLEEP­LESS IN SEAT­TLE CHAN­NEL 7, 8.30PM

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are a win­ning com­bi­na­tion in this ro­man­tic com­edy-drama from Nora Ephron (the writer of

When Harry Met Sally).

Re­porter An­nie Reed (Ryan) tracks down wid­ower Sam Bald­win (Hanks) af­ter his son Jonah (Ross Ma­linger) calls a talk-ra­dio show to help his dad find ro­mance.

JAMIE’S FES­TIVE FEAST CHAN­NEL 10, 7PM

In Bri­tain it is win­ter so Jamie Oliver’s Yule­tide fes­tive feast in­cludes oozy cheesy pasta, Bloody Mary beef, break­fast waf­fles, hot chocolate, ta­cos, pork ke­babs, and Ker­alan fish curry. Not quite your av­er­age Christ­mas fare.

A MOODY CHRIST­MAS COM­EDY CHAN­NEL, 5PM

Six back-to-back episodes of this very funny cult Aussie com­edy that fol­lows the ro­man­tic tra­vails of Dan Mur­phy (Ian Mead­ows), dumped by his girl­friend just as he is re­turn­ing home for Christ­mas.

CHRIST­MAS IN VI­ENNA 2015 FOX­TEL ARTS, 9PM

All right, it’s time for a bit of cul­ture. Soloists An­ge­lika Kirch­schlager, Valentina Nafor­nita, Piotr Beczala, and Ar­tur Rucin­ski, and the ORF Symphony Orchestra, con­ducted by Erwin Ort­ner, bring you a pro­gram of clas­si­cal greats from Vi­enna’s Konz­erthaus.

GLEE: THE 3D CON­CERT MOVIE ELEVEN, 9.30PM

The stars of first two sea­sons, in­clud­ing Lea Michele, Chris Colfer, Kevin McHale, Heather Mor­ris, Am­ber Ri­ley and, sadly, the late Cory Mon­teith, toured the USA in

Glee’s the sum­mer of 2011. This fun con­cert spe­cial in­cludes hits I’m a Slave 4 U, Raise Your Glass, Teenage Dream, and Lucky.

IT’S A WON­DER­FUL LIFE FOX CLAS­SICS, 8.40PM

This gets my vote ( just over the 1947 Mir­a­cle on 34th Street) as the great­est Christ­mas movie of all time. Jimmy Ste­wart plays trou­bled dad Ge­orge Bai­ley, who ex­pe­ri­ences a cri­sis of faith. Time for guardian an­gel Clarence Od­body (Henry Travers) to step in and show Ge­orge the mean­ing of life.

MARY: THE MAKING OF A PRINCESS CHAN­NEL 10, 10PM

Many crit­ics would start making jokes about Ten’s re­peat of Mary: The Making of a

Princess be­ing the per­fect Christ­mas tur­key but I’m not one of them. An unashamed melo­drama, Ten’s telemovie is boosted by a win­ning per­for­mance by Emma Hamil­ton as Mary Don­ald­son. Worth a sec­ond look.

MOD­ERN FAM­ILY CHAN­NEL 10, 6.30PM

Mod­ern Fam­ily is fa­mous for its

Hal­loween episodes but this Christ­mas episode is very funny too. Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Manny (Rico Ro­driguez) strug­gle to chop a tree in the wild, Glo­ria (Sofia Ver­gara) is hav­ing mum trou­bles with Pi­lar (El­iz­a­beth Pina), and, most amus­ingly, Ha­ley (Sarah Hyland) and Alex’s (Ariel Win­ter) jobs at the mall go pear-shaped when Santa does a run­ner.

BOX­ING DAY CRICKET SEC­OND TEST — AUS­TRALIA V WEST INDIES CHAN­NEL 9, 9.30AM

With the Windies out of form, the ex­perts are pre­dict­ing the Box­ing Day Test will be a onesided af­fair. As long as it is the Aussies that are dom­i­nat­ing, who cares, I say.

GIRLS FOX­TEL BOX SETS, FROM 11.30AM

The first two sea­sons of Lena Dun­ham’s crit­i­cally ac­claimed com­edy-drama about self­ob­sessed wannabe writer Hannah He­lene Hor­vath is just the tonic af­ter a packed Christ­mas Day.

THE SYDNEY TO HO­BART YACHT RACE CHAN­NEL 7, 12.30PM

Is there a more mem­o­rable sight than see­ing more than 100 yachts, plus a flotilla of on­looker boats, sail­ing down Sydney Har­bour? Can any boat fi­nally break the stran­gle­hold of Wild

Oats XI?

SIS­TER ACT CHAN­NEL 7, 7PM

The movie that made Whoopi Gold­berg a star. Af­ter wit­ness­ing a mur­der, lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier (Gold­berg) goes un­der­cover at St Cather­ine’s con­vent.

DOC­TOR WHO CHRIST­MAS SPE­CIAL ABC, 7.30PM

The big news is that Pro­fes­sor River Song (Alex Kingston) is back. It’s Christ­mas Day in the fu­ture and the Tardis is parked on a snowy vil­lage street. Time for River Song to meet the Peter Ca­paldi in­car­na­tion of the Doc­tor. “The last time the Doc­tor saw her, she was a ghost. The first time he met her, she died. So how can he be see­ing her again?” ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Steven Mof­fat teases.

STREAM­ING THE RIDICU­LOUS 6 NET­FLIX

Ev­ery Christ­mas needs a tur­key and this year it is Adam Sandler’s $83 mil­lion western spoof. Na­tive Amer­i­can ex­tras walked off the set dur­ing film­ing, cit­ing racist stereo­types. Tay­lor Laut­ner, Nick Nolte, Ju­lia Jones and Luke Wil­son stayed and prob­a­bly re­gret­ted it.

A VERY MUR­RAY CHRIST­MAS NET­FLIX

When you’re Bill Mur­ray you can do what­ever you want, so why not make an old-school Christ­mas spe­cial with mates in­clud­ing Ge­orge Clooney, Mi­ley Cyrus, Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, and Maya Ru­dolph.

SUM­MER HEIGHTS HIGH, PRESTO

This clas­sic Aussie com­edy, from the multi-tal­ented Chris Lil­ley, is made for a good binge. Stuck up pri­vate school ex­change stu­dent J’amie King, drama teacher Mr G, and re­bel­lious Jonah Takalua, all played by Lil­ley, cre­ate gold.

THE SLAP PRESTO

All hell breaks loose when Harry (Alex Dim­i­tri­ades) slaps the child of an­other couple at an Aussie sub­ur­ban bar­be­cue get-to­gether. One of the most highly ac­claimed TV dra­mas of re­cent years also stars Melissa Ge­orge and Jonathan LaPaglia.

KYLIE MINOGUE, ROYAL VA­RI­ETY PER­FOR­MANCE 2015

THE GOOD DI­NOSAUR

PIXAR SPE­CIAL

SIS­TER ACT

A VERY MUR­RAY

CHRIST­MAS JAMIE’S FES­TIVE

FEAST

GIRLS

DELTA GOODREM,

CAROLS BY CAN­DLE­LIGHT

GREM­LINS

MARY: THE MAKING

OF A PRINCESS

A MOODY CHRIST­MAS

SUM­MER HEIGHTS HIGH

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