CHRISTMAS is the most wonderful time of the year – on the box anyway. And there is plenty to keep you entertained. Here are some of the best bits on offer across the festive period:
BBC1, Saturday, December 22, 7pm MANY of us will remember sobbing to the original version of this film in 1978 – and this year the BBC have made a 21st century update, split into two feature-length episodes.
The lead rabbit brothers Hazel and Fiver are voiced by James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult, with the cast also including Sir Ben Kingsley, John Boyega, Mackenzie Crook, Olivia Colman, Peter Capadli, Rosamund Pike and Gemma Chan.
THE QUEEN AND I
Sky One, Christmas Eve, 6pm
AN adaptation of the book by Adrian Mole writer Sue Townsend, starring David Walliams, Samantha Bond, Amanda Abbingdon and Johnny Vegas. The Queen (Bond) and family end up in the run-down cul-de-sac Hellebore Close. It’s all because Jack Barker (Walliams) has seized a shock election victory and decided to ditch the Royals for a republic.
BBC1, Christmas Day, 4.50pm
THE Gruffalo creators Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler bring to life another classic, Zog. Viewers will see the endearing dragon facing his latest task: capturing a princess. Narrated by Sir Lenny Henry, it will see Hugh Skinner voice Zog and feature the vocal talents of Tracey Ullman and Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington. BBC2 Christmas Day, 6.35pm
AFTER hosting Mary Berry’s Christmas Party on BBC1 last week, this is the second festive outing for the queen of baking. Mary visits Harewood House in West Yorkshire to discover how a grand country house celebrates the season.
BBC1, Christmas Day, 7.45pm
SISTER Julienne’s got a problem – everyone wants her to become the new Mother Superior but Jenny Agutter’s head nun would rather stay with the gang at Nonnatus House. Miriam Margolyes guest stars as Sister Mildred, arriving with four Chinese orphans. Also on the doorstep is a returning Trixie – hurrah!
BBC1, Christmas Day, 10.15pm
THE Marmite comedy is back with another two festive specials. In the first one, Agnes struggles when she is given a wi-fi assistant. In the second, Agnes and Cathy discover that living with friends isn’t the picnic they’d imagined when Sharon and Winnie move in, while Agnes has to write a eulogy for a neighbour she disliked.
ITV, Christmas Day, 9.15pm
THIS is a film that narrates Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s early years and what drove them to Olympic figure skating glory, exploring their partnership from both a personal and artistic perspective. Game of Thrones actor Will Tudor (Humans, Shadowhunters,) will take the role of Christopher Dean, and Poppy Lee Friar (Ackley Bridge, Eve, In the Club) will play Jayne Torvill.
Channel 4, Christmas Day, 8pm
NOEL and Sandi welcome four old friends back into the tent for Christmas, including breakout star Liam Charles, who is forging a career as a TV presenter. He’s competing against his fellow 2017 graduate Flo Atkins as well as 2016’s Jane Beedle and Andrew Smyth for the title of Christmas Star Baker.
BBC2, Boxing Day, 7.50pm
FANS of the comedy duo are in for a treat – two “lost” episodes of Morecambe and Wise have been unearthed. Originally shown in black and white, but thanks to the wonders of technology, they will be transformed into colour.
BBC1, Boxing Day, 9pm
MOVE over David Suchet, here’s John Malkovich having his first go at playing everyone’s favourite Belgian, Hercule Poirot.
In the classic Agatha Christie tale from 1936, a killer is travelling all over Britain by train, always leaving the ABC railway guide at the scene of each crime as a calling card. It’s tough for Poirot, but at least he has Rupert Grint playing Inspector Crome.
BBC1, Sunday December 30, 9pm FOR those who don’t like musicals, this may be the version for you as there is not a song in sight. Dominic West is Jean Valjean and David Oyelowo is Javert. Lily Collins plays Fantine and Olivia Colman is both Monsieur and Madame Thenardier.
BBC1, New Year’s Day, 7pm
AS the New Year bells ring out, a terrifying evil is stirring from across the centuries of Earth’s history. As the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to the planet?
Lily Collins plays Fantine in Les Miserables David Walliams in The Queen And I Julia Donaldson’s Zog is brought to life Watership Down gets a modern makeover John Malkovich and Rupert Grint head a starry cast in The ABC Murders Poppy Lee Friar as Jayne Torvill, Will Tudor as Christopher Dean Mrs Brown’s Boys is back Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who