Christmas TV 2019: the best shows and specials to watch on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day

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From Gavin and Stacey to Dracula, your guide on what to watch over Christmas and New Year

In a television landscape where there is so much choice - not just the terrestrial TV services, but a plethora of on-demand ones, too, deciding what to watch can be difficult. The addition of BritBox and Apple TV+三级成人视频 this year, in addition to Netflix and Amazon Prime, has only made the decision even harder. And add the Christmas schedules to the mix and it's enough to make your head explode.

So, here are our top 10 picks of the best TV shows and Christmas specials for those long nights ensconced on the couch:

1. Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special (BBC One), 8.30pm, Christmas Day

The Shipmans and the Wests gather for Christmas in Wales Credit: Tom Jackson/PA

In a somewhat lacklustre Christmas TV schedule, this show in which we catch up with well-loved families is a genuine gem. The Wests and the Shipmans are in Wales for the big day, with Uncle Bryn cooking Christmas lunch, children receiving their presents, and the grown-ups bickering and making up. It’s brilliant fun to see what’s happened to Gavin, Stacey and their families三级成人视频, and you can expect a few rather heartwarming surprises in this terrific show.

2. A Christmas Carol (BBC One), 8.30pm, December 22; 9.05pm, December 23; 9pm, Christmas Eve

Guy Pearce as a brooding Scrooge in A Christmas Carol Credit: Robert Viglasky/BBC

Who would have imagined a sexy Scrooge? The BBC, that’s who, as they’ve cast tall, dark and handsome Guy Pearce as Dickens’ miserly, anti-festive Grinch. But with a script by Peaky Blinders writer Steven Knight, perhaps we should expect nothing less than a skewed view of the classic. With a fine supporting cast including Stephen Graham (arguably the actor of the year), Andy Serkis, Charlotte Riley and Jason Flemyng, this is a genuinely worthy remake of a story we already know.

3. Cinderella: After Ever After (Sky One), 8pm, Christmas Eve

David Walliams has become a real Christmas regular, with the adaptations of his children’s books being a highlight of the season. Now, he stars with Sian Gibson (Car Share) in a show which begins after the Cinderella story ends - how are she and Prince Charming (Walliams, of course) coping with married life? The Prince is very image-obsessed, and is into rapping and hip-hop - not very panto princey behaviour. Not only does Cinders have to deal with this, but she also has to prise her wicked stepmother (Celia Imrie) away from the King (Sir Tom Courtenay), and deal with her daft stepsisters Dumbella and Rubella. 

4 . Doctor Who (BBC1), 6.55pm, New Year’s Day

Jodie Whittaker returns as Doctor Who Credit: BBC

Jodie Whittaker and her Tardis pals return with a two-part feature-length special with the James Bond-ish title Spyfall. As ever, the producers are keeping the exact details of the plot under wraps, but what we do know is that some favourite foes are making a return appearance, including the Cybermen and the rhino-like Judoon mercenary police. The special will be followed by a 10-week series in its usual Sunday time-slot.

5. Kylie’s Secret Night (Channel 4), 10.30pm, Christmas Day

Golden girl Kylie Minogue Credit: Christie Goodwin/Redferns

As camp as Christmas? This show looks like it might fit the bill. An audience of passionate Kylie fans think they’re coming to see a Kylie-themed extravaganza hosted by Alan Carr - you can imagine the reaction when the Australian singer herself turns up in person to chat with him and the fans, plus perform and dish out money-can’t-buy gifts to her adoring public. The show is followed by the UK television premiere of Kylie’s Golden tour from earlier this year at midnight.

6. Paddington: The Man Behind the Bear (BBC Two), 9pm, Boxing Day

Michael Bond with his beloved furry creation Credit: Getty

Another cockle-warming special, this programme tells the story of author Michael Bond三级成人视频, the creator of Paddington Bear amongst other feted children’s literary characters, including Olga da Polga and The Herbs. In the creation of Paddington, Bond drew on his memories of wartime evacuee children to paint a picture of what it must be like to be a little person in a strange place. He created Paddington’s kindly friend Mr Gruber from his own literary agent, who was from a Jewish family who had fled the Nazis. There are interviews with Bond’s family and celebrity fans, and on Boxing Day at 6.20 on BBC One, you can see the wonderful film Paddington 2, starring Ben Wishaw as the voice of Paddington.

7. Dracula, BBC One, 9pm January 1, 2 and 3

Claes Bang as an urbane vampire

Another classic character is adapted with a modern twist in this three-part mini series co-creaed by TV workhorses Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss三级成人视频. Danish actor Claes Bang plays the bloodthirsty Count as a rather suave character, but you can be assured that once there’s a sniff of the red stuff, the charm will soon disappear. After the final episode on Friday, Mark Gatiss presents In Search of Dracula on BBC2 at 10.35pm, examining how the character has been depicted over the years, and why he still fascinates us. 

8. The Witcher (Netflix), from December 20

Netflix's new fantasy epic The Witcher stars Henry Cavill

Netflix drops a massive eight-part fantasy series just before Christmas, perfect for a bit of guilt-free bingeing over the festive period. Superman’s Henry Cavill stars as The Witcher, AKA Geralt of Rivia, a mutated monster hunter whose destiny collides with that of runaway Princess Ciri and sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg. 

9. Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (BBC One), 4.40pm, Christmas Day

Claudia and Tess shine for the Christmas Strictly Credit: David Oldham/BBC 

Despite not being full of household names, this year’s Strictly Come Dancing has been hugely entertaining and packed with dance talent, who may well be on many future Christmas specials. This year sees Chizzy Akudolu, Gemma Atkinson, Richard Arnold, Debbie McGee, Joe Sugg and Mark Wright take to the Strictly ballroom with festive-inspired routines.

10. Worzel Gummidge (BBC One), Boxing Day 6.20pm and Friday 27 December, 7pm

Mackenzie Crook stars as scarecrow Worzel Gummidge Credit: Mark Burlem/PA

Mackenzie Crook writes, directs and stars as the scarecrow who comes to life in this two-parter, inspired by Barbara Euphan Todd’s classic children’s books. It’s a warm, tender and modern take in which city children Susan and John adapting to country life, helped by Worzel, the walking, talking scarecrow of Ten Acre Field. Crook is joined by a brilliant supporting cast, including Sir Michael Palin, Zoë Wanamaker , Steve Pemberton and Vicki Pepperdine.