The Hood Christmas TV guide: everything you need to watch this festive season
Pass the Quality Street and settle in for a season in front of the telly. Well, what else would you be doing with your time off?
There’s plenty to keep you entertained on TV this Christmas, so here’s our guide to the best shows and specials to look out for over the next couple of weeks.
The Great Christmas Bake Off
The festive version of the Great Christmas Bake Off will return for two special episodes, one on Christmas Day and the second on New Year’s Day. Fan favourites from previous seasons, including Selasi Gbormittah, Liam Charles and Dr Tamal Ray, will battle it out for the title of Christmas Star Baker.
Watch it: C4, 8pm, December 25 and 7.40pm, January 1
The Crystal Maze Christmas Special
In this pantomime-themed reboot of the retro game show, Richard Ayoade plays host to Christopher Biggins, Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden, Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, commentator Chris Kamara, and pop star Frankie Bridge as they tackle mental and physical challenges in search of elusive crystals.
Watch it: C4, 8pm, December 26
Top of the Pops
Although it might not be on TV every week any more, the Top of the Pops Christmas special is still going strong. Enjoy a rundown of the best music from the past year and performances from top artists, hosted by Fearne Cotton and Clara Amfo.
Watch it: BBC2, 12.30pm, December 25
This six-part dramatic adaptation of the classic tale (which sadly/thankfully - delete as appropriate - includes no singing) stars Olivia Colman, Dominic West, Lily Collins, and David Oyelowo.
Watch it: BBC1, 9pm, from December 30
Idris Elba makes his highly-anticipated return as gritty London detective, Luther. With a new sidekick (Wunmi Mosaku as DS Catherine Halliday) to help, Luther attempts to untangle another series of grisly murders at the same time as battling his own personal demons.
Watch it: BBC1, 9pm, from January 1
First Dates Christmas Special
Some familiar faces will be joining Fred and the team for a special festive edition of First Dates. Expect some new dates, as well as heartwarming love stories from some of the show’s most successful matches.
Watch it: C4, 9.15pm, December 25
Click & Collect
Stephen Merchant and Asim Chaudhry play mistmatched neighbours in this Christmas Eve comedy. In a race to track down the last must-have toy of the season, the pair are forced to endure each other’s company on a calamity-filled road trip across the country.
Watch it: BBC1, 9pm, December 24
This new animated version of the beloved children’s book boasts an all-star voice cast, including James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Rosamund Pike and Peter Capaldi. It’s sure to be enjoyed by adults and little ones alike.
Watch it: BBC1, 7pm, December 22
Billy Connolly: Made in Scotland
Promising to show Billy Connolly as you’ve never seen him before, these two hour-long specials will include interviews with the Big Yin as well as contributions from some of the biggest names in comedy.
Watch it: BBC2, 9pm, December 28 and January 4
The Christmas Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan: The Arctic
Comedian Romesh Ranganathan sets off on an adventure across the frozen wastelands of the Arctic, stopping off in Canada to meet the local Inuit community.
Watch it: BBC2, 9pm, December 20
Spy in the Snow
Get a glimpse into the secret life of animals in this hidden camera show with a difference. Discover how wildlife survives in the harsh snowy conditions of places like the North Pole and the mountains of New Zealand.
Watch it: BBC1, 7pm, December 30
Dr Who Christmas Special
Following on from Jodie Whittaker’s first season in the iconic role, she’ll be returning for a New Year’s Day special along with Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill.
Watch it: BBC1, 7pm, January 1
The Snow Wolf: A Winter’s Tale
This stunning nature documentary features a mother wolf as she treks across the frozen Alps to find a new home for her six newborn cubs.
Watch it: BBC2, 9pm, December 27
The Secret Life of 5 Year-Olds on Holiday
Enjoy a little bit of winter sunshine as the kids head to Turkey, many of them experiencing a holiday abroad for the first time. Dr Elizabeth Kilbey and Professor Paul Howard-Jones will be on hand to explain more about the 5 year-olds’ antics.
Watch it: C4, 7pm, December 27
The ABC Murders
John Malkovich takes on the role of Hercule Poirot in this new adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic story. Along with Rupert Grint as Inspector Crome, he attempts to track down a serial killer known only as ABC.
Watch it: BBC1, 9pm, from December 26
Torvill and Dean
Ahead of a new series of Dancing on Ice starting in January, head back to the 1980s to find out more about how Torvill and Dean captured the hearts of the British public in this story written by Made In Dagenham’s William Ivory.