Christmas TV specials 2020: Our pick of the best shows on TV this Christmas

Our pick of the best Christmas TV specials 2020 for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Christmas TV specials 2020
(Image credit: Channel 4/BBC One/ITV)

The Christmas TV specials 2020 for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day range from festive twists on our favourite TV series to brand new documentaries that lift the curtain on some of our classic Christmas traditions. 

Although the BBC Christmas TV guide for 2020 was released earlier this month to a very mixed response, there are still some great shows to watch across the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 this Christmas. 

So, if you've watched all the Christmas movies on Netflix and seen the Christmas films on Disney Plus so many times it's starting to dull their sparkle, here are our pick of the best Christmas TV specials 2020 to watch on terrestrial TV instead…

The Christmas TV specials 2020 to watch on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year:

Christmas Eve

  • Katherine Jenkins Christmas Spectacular from the Royal Albert Hall – ITV, 2.15pm on Christmas Eve
  • A Baby Reindeer's First Christmas – Channel 4, 6.40pm on Christmas Eve
  • The Great Christmas Bake Off – Channel 4, 7.40pm on Christmas Eve
  • Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special – BBC One, 8.40pm on Christmas Eve
  • One Night in Hamley's – Channel 4, 9pm on Christmas Eve

Christmas Day

  • Cue The Queen: Celebrating the Christmas Speech – BBC Two, 3.15pm on Christmas Day
  • Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special  - BBC One, 4.45pm on Christmas Day
  • Call the Midwife Christmas special – BBC One, 7.40pm on Christmas Day 
  • Britain's Got Talent Christmas Spectacular – ITV, 8pm on Christmas Day 
  • Escape to the Chateau at Christmas – Channel 4, 8.10pm on Christmas Day

Boxing Day

  • The Repair Shop at Christmas – BBC One, 6.45pm on Boxing Day 
  • Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2020 – Channel 4, 9.05pm on Boxing Day

Our pick of the best Christmas TV specials 2020 on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year:

Katherine Jenkins Christmas Spectacular from the Royal Albert Hall

Airs: Christmas Eve, 2.15pm on ITV

Katherine Jenkins OBE returns to her all-time favourite venue with a unique and unforgettable Christmas performance. Expect seasonal favourites and plenty of Christmas carols as the Welsh star takes the stage in the historic venue for her remarkable 50th performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

A Baby Reindeer's First Christmas

Airs: Christmas Eve, 6.40pm on Channel 4

Whenever you see a reindeer at a festival event, it’s likely come not from Lapland but the Cairngorm mountains in Scotland. This new documentary takes us to the stunning Scottish Highlands to a community of dedicated herders who live alongside their antlered wards, and follows a group of young reindeer preparing for their first ever Christmas in a year like no other. Even in the shadow of Covid-19 and the worry that some of the biggest events in the festive calendar will be cancelled, the Cairngorms team go to great lengths to ensure the unique process of nurturing and training the herd isn’t disturbed.

A Baby Reindeer's First Christmas on Channel 4

(Image credit: Channel 4)

The Great Christmas Bake Off

Airs: Christmas Eve, 7.40pm on Channel 4

Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Matt Lucas and Tom Allen are joined by bakers from previous series of GBBO to celebrate Christmas with plenty of festive bakes. Plus there's a special performance of Silent Night by Alexandra Burke.

Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special

Airs: Christmas Eve, 8.40pm on BBC One

Unfortunately for anyone hoping that the Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special, scheduled to air on BBC One this Christmas, is a sequel to last year's smash-hit reunion, you may be a little disappointed to hear that the scheduled show this year is simply a repeat of the 2019 Christmas special. However, after it became the most-watched Christmas show of the decade last year, there's no harm in watching the heart-warming reunion and THAT shock proposal again this year.

One Night in Hamleys

Airs: Christmas Eve, 9pm on Channel 4

One Night In…Hamleys sees comedians Romesh Ranganathan, Rob Beckett and Tom Allen locked overnight in world-famous toy shop Hamleys on London’s Regent Street. With no security guards or grown-ups there to hamper the fun, the three friends can run wild for the night and do all the things they dreamed of doing in a toy shop when they were kids.

Hamleys toy shop on Regent Street

(Image credit: Getty)

Cue The Queen: Celebrating the Christmas Speech

Airs: Christmas Day, 3.15pm on BBC Two

An interesting watch for anyone who is curious about the royal family's Christmas traditions, or likes to tune in to the Queen's annual Christmas Day Speech. Kirsty Young takes a look at the history of the royal Christmas broadcast and how the tradition started by King George V in 1932 has found a place at the heart of Christmas Day.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

Airs: Christmas Day, 4.45pm on BBC One

Bringing some Strictly sparkle to BBC One this Christmas will be Strictly: The Christmas Countdown where the 25 most memorable dances of all time - as voted for by the viewers - will be revealed. From the perfect 40’s, the trophy-winning routines, dances that have made us laugh, and perhaps some that are remembered for other reasons - this show will have it all. Presented by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, join the judges and professional dancers as they count down to see which will be voted the most memorable Strictly dance of all time.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

(Image credit: BBC)

Call the Midwife Christmas special

Airs: Christmas Day, 7.40pm on BBC One

The circus comes to Poplar, putting a magical spell on its residents. A delighted Shelagh is reacquainted with an old friend, and Trixie receives an unusual gift.

Britain's Got Talent Christmas Spectacular

Airs: Christmas Day, 8pm on ITV 8pm

Britain’s Got Talent is back for a spectacular Christmas special, welcoming to the stage the most memorable and talented acts from the past 14 years. Plus, in a Britain’s Got Talent first, the acts will be collaborating and performing together for the ultimate Christmas extravaganza. Keeping the festivities in order will be the nation’s favourite presenting duo, Ant and Dec. Joining them will be the judging panel Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams and Ashley Banjo.

Britain's Got Talent Christmas Spectacular 2020

(Image credit: ITV)

Escape to the Chateau at Christmas

Airs: Christmas Day, 8.10pm on Channel 4

Escape to the Chateau at Christmas joins Dick, Angel, Dorothy and Arthur as well as Angel’s parents Jenni and Steve as they prepare to celebrate a family Christmas in France. With an old 19th century Chateau ledger found in the attic and classic cookbooks to hand, the Strawbridges take inspiration from Christmases past - discovering what food and festivities, gifts and games would have been like in bygone eras.

The Repair Shop at Christmas

Airs: Boxing Day, 6.45pm on BBC One

A festive twist on everyone's favourite fixer-upper show this year, the Repair Shop team take on a precious toy rocking horse, a seized-up stereogram, a toy truck built during WWII and a vintage musical carousel ornament.

The Repair Shop at Christmas

(Image credit: BBC)

Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2020

Airs: Boxing Day, 9.05pm on Channel 4

To celebrate the welcome dawn of another year, Jimmy Carr puts a panel of top celebrity teams to test as he presents his big, fat and fiendishly difficult quiz. As always, Jimmy will be ably assisted by a whole host of superstar question setters including Mitchell Brook Primary School, Charles Dance and Jon Snow as the teams battle it out to see who can remember most about the last twelve months.  

Jimmy Carr Performs

(Image credit: Getty Images)