Films to watch on the small screen
AS CHILDREN, Anna and Elsa love to play together, taking full advantage of Elsa’s ability to create ice and snow from her fingertips. When an accident almost ends in disaster, the king agrees to wipe Anna’s memory so she forgets about her sibling’s hidden talents. Elsa hides from the public gaze, fearful she will hurt someone else with her powers. When the king and queen are lost at sea, Elsa reluctantly emerges to claim the throne. Frozen is one of the best animated features to canter out of the Disney stable in years.
BBC 1, 2.50pm, December 23
THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL
KERMIT the Frog and co put their comedic spin on Dickens’ festive fable. Brian Henson’s irresistible picture is narrated by author Dickens (Gonzo The Great), who invites us to learn from the mistakes of money lender Ebenezer Scrooge. The penny-pinching curmudgeon turns his back on his nephew Fred and begrudgingly agrees to let his staff including Bob Cratchit (Kermit) have Christmas Day off to celebrate. But Scrooge’s recently-deceased business partners Jacob and Robert Marley (Statler and Waldorf ) pay a visit to the miser and inform Scrooge to expect a ghostly visit.
Channel 4, 6.30pm, Christmas Eve
THE GREAT GATSBY
MYSTERIOUS war hero Jay Gatsby lives in a bay-side mansion with a menagerie of servants, who help him throw the most extravagant parties for the whole of New York. Lowly stockbroker Nick Carraway, who lives next door, is drawn into Gatsby’s orbit and falls under his neighbour’s spell. This is a visually sumptuous adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. BBC2, 9.30pm, Christmas Eve
SLAVISHLY adapted from Disney’s classic 1950 animated musical, Kenneth Branagh’s live-action version of the fairy-tale romance doesn’t skimp on the magic. Ella is consigned
to the kitchen by her vindictive stepmother Lady Tremaine and brattish step-sisters. When the name-calling becomes too frightful, Ella escapes on horseback and catches the eye of the dashing Prince, who must pick a bride at the behest of the dying king. BBC1, 3.10pm, Christmas Day
A ROYAL NIGHT OUT
IN 1945, Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen, and her sister Princess Margaret briefly escaped from Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day with the teeming crowds outside the royal residence. Screenwriters Trevor De Silva and Kevin Hood use this true event as the starting point for a heart-warming comedy of manners.
Channel 5, 5.20pm, Boxing Day
FOLLOWING the death of his beloved wife, retired balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen refuses to leave the home they built together. When developers threaten to bulldoze the property, Carl ties thousands of brightly coloured helium balloons to the roof and takes flight, bound for Paradise Falls in South America, where he and Ellie had always planned to visit. Unexpectedly, a Junior Wilderness Explorer called Russell is stranded on the porch and the plucky tyke joins Carl on his adventure. BBC1, 2.25pm, December 29
ON THE morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne calls the police to his home. There are signs of a struggle and his wife Amy is missing. Amy’s distraught parents join Nick to front a high-profile media campaign to secure the safe return of their daughter, but in the glare of the spotlight, fractures appear in the Dunnes’ marriage and the public openly question Nick’s innocence. BBC1, 9.15pm, December 29
THE LEGO MOVIE
IT COULD have seemed like a cynical cash-in, but The Lego Movie turns out to be a hoot, as writerdirectors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller strike a delicious tone of irreverence throughout. The unlikely hero is Lego mini-figure called Emmet, who lives in the town of Bricksburg. Desperate to fit in, Emmet follows the dictates laid down by President Business. This nefarious tyrant secretly plans to destroy Bricksburg using an artefact known as The Kragle.
Channel 5, 5pm, New Year’s Eve
KING Henry is a greedy monarch, who yearns to expand his kingdom by conquering the forest realm where fairy Maleficent holds sway. He pledges his crown to any man who can defeat the “winged elf”. Lowly underling Stefan tricks the fairy and steals her wings, thereby securing the throne. Inspired by the 1959 Disney animation Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is a visually stunning fantasy, which reimagines the Brothers Grimm through the eyes of the eponymous villainess.
BBC1, 5pm, New Year’s Day ■