Our pick of the must-see shows this festive period…
This year’s Christmas TV schedule is a real cracker – from festive specials to a live musical extravaganza, there truly is something on the box for everyone. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost time to bid a final farewell to the Crawley family in Downton Abbey‘s last ever episode. What will Sunday nights be without it? The good news is that some familiar faces are set to return one last time – and we hear the New Year’s Eve party they’re throwing is set to be a showstopper too!
But as one door closes, another opens – and this festive season. we’re welcoming Dickensian, a brand new 20-part series in which some of Charles Dickens’ most famous characters come face-to-face with each other. With a set that features a 90-metre cobbled street with a fully functioning pub at one end, churches and law courts at the other, as well as 27 two-storey buildings in the back alleys around it, we’re preparing for something quite spectacular.
The best part is that that’s just a taster of what’s in store for us – we haven’t even started on the Call the Midwife Christmas special yet and have you heard about the new version of Gogglebox where the kids do the talking? We’ve had some real gems over the years (Only Fools and Horses and The Royle Family spring to mind) – will 2015 top them? We can’t wait to find out!
Click on to see our pick of the TV shows you don’t want to miss…
Tissues at the ready as the sixth and final series draws to a close with a drama-filled yuletide special. The episode will focus on the family and servants as they prepare to welcome 1926 with an unforgettable New Year's Eve party. Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery are all set to feature along with the return of some familiar faces including Lily James and Matt Barber. And if the recently-released trailer is anything to go by, we're in for a real treat. Here's hoping a Downton film follows. Christmas Day, 8.45pm, ITV
The nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House are celebrating the festive period once again, kicking off a fifth eight-part series. Set in 1960, Poplar readies itself for a festive bus trip to see the Regent Street lights and a visit from a BBC film crew. As the community pull together to prepare for the televised carol concert, panic strikes as Sister Monica Joan goes missing. Helen George, Stephen McGann and Laura Main return. Christmas Day, 7.30pm, BBC One
Written by former EastEnders scriptwriter Tony Jordan, this 20-part series brings some of Charles Dickens' most famous characters together as they cross paths on one cobbled London street. Executive Producer, Belinda Campbell, told us: "It's Dickens, but not as you know it! We have three main stories - firstly focusing on Amelia Havisham from Great Expectations and what happens when her father disinherits her brother. Amelia is best friends with Honoria Barbery from Bleak House, which introduces the next story. Then the third introduces Inspector Bucket (also from Bleak House) who arrives on the street to investigate a murder." Boxing Day, 7pm, BBC One
From Steph and Dom to Giles and Mary, the stars of Gogglebox have become some of our favourite faces on TV - and now the focus is turning to the nation's kids. This one-off special finds out what those aged up to 13 really think about what's going on in the world of TV. Groups of children from across the UK will be sharing their opinions on 2015's standout moments, from the cakes on Bake Off to the fate of Cecil the Lion. Christmas Day, 8pm, Channel 4
Prepare for a mix of tears and laughs as celebrity friends including Paul O'Grady, Sir Cliff Richard and Ringo Starr share their memories of the late Liverpudlian singer and entertainer, Cilla Black. The hour-long TV special will include rare archive and interview footage of Black, plus contributions from trusted confidantes, such as her family, costume designer, hairdresser and photographer. Christmas Day, 10.45pm, ITV
Scripted by BAFTA-winner Adrian Hodges (My Week with Marilyn, The Musketeers), this brand new version of JM Barrie's classic story is one for the whole family. The drama opens in modern-day Great Ormond Street, where twelve-year-old Lucy Rose (Hazel Doupe, who also plays Wendy Darling) is awaiting treatment for a serious heart condition. Paloma Faith and Stanley Tucci make guest appearances as Tinker Bell and as Captain Hook. Boxing Day, 8pm, ITV
The dazzling Christmas special of the nation?s favourite dance show is not to be missed. Six past stars are putting their dance shoes back on, including winner of series 12, Abbey Clancey, series six winner, Tom Chambers and runner up of the same year, Lisa Snowdon. The six couples will be judged by the panel out of 40 as always, while the studio audience will choose an overall winner. Christmas Day, 6.15pm, BBC One
Keeley Hawes, Timothy Spall and Victoria Wood lead an all-star cast in this festive three-part drama inspired by Raymond Briggs? much-loved family story. Comprising both live action and animated elements to bring the book to life, we follow the dirty, grotty, and snotty antics of Fungus as he navigates his way through the maze of life on the surface, menacing and frightening others as Bogeymen are meant to do and always have done. 27th December, 6pm, Sky1
This two hour, live extravaganza is a special adaptation of Rodgers and
Hammerstein's sparkling Broadway musical. The two-and-a-half-hour long
production sees Kara Tointon step into Julie Andrews' shoes as the naïve
young nun-turned nanny Maria Von Trapp. Plus, Katherine Kelly, Julian
Ovenden and Alexander Armstrong will all be joining in for the live
broadcast. 20th December, 7.30pm, ITV