instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

The 10 Days of TV Christmas — the stuff you shouldn’t miss

Clockwise from top left: Black Lake, The ABC Murders, Idris Elba in Luther, Terri King on King Gary, Lily Collins in Les Misérables, Call The Midwife, The Snow Wolf: A Winter’s Tale, The Midnight Gang

Sunday, December 23

King Gary BBC1, 9.30pm

A top night for comedy is led by the super-sized talents of Murder In Successville’s Tom Davis in a raucous Essex geezer of a sitcom. Honestly, it’s much funnier than that makes it sound.

The Young Offenders BBC1, 11.15pm

A Christmas special for this corker of a comedy following the misadventures of lovable chumps Conor and Jock (Alex Murphy and Chris Walley). Robert Sheehan does a guest moon if you need any more persuading.

Christmas Eve

The Dead Room BBC4, 10pm

Mark Gatiss is a modern master of tales of the unexpected and this dark little number has Simon Callow as a hammy thesp who has the wind put right up him while recording a radio show in a creepy studio.

Click And Collect BBC1, 9pm

Stephen Merchant plays a little against type as a desperate dad who’ll stop at nothing to get his daughter that must-have Christmas present. Cue a 258-mile road trip with neighbour Dev (Asim Chaudhry) attached.

Christmas Day

Torvill & Dean ITV, 9.15pm

Britain’s iconic dance skaters get the biopic they deserve with Poppy Lee Friar and Will Tudor in the title roles. Get everyone in the room to have a go at that 18-second opening to Bolero. Could get deliciously messy.

Call The Midwife BBC1, 7.45pm

The mighty Miriam Margolyes joins the sentimental nun saga, complete with a quartet of Chinese orphans. As in there are four of them — they’re not like child prodigies or anything.

Strictly Come Dancing BBC1, 5.30pm

Aston Merrygold, the Strictly champ who never was, faces stiff competition from top bottom wobbler Jake Wood. Talking of bottom wobbling, Ann Widdecombe is the comedy contestant.

Boxing Day

The ABC Murders BBC1, 9pm

John Malkovich brings a welcome touch of deadly gravitas to the well-thumbed role of Hercule Poirot in a moody three-part Agatha Christie that finds the famed Belgian detective apparently nearing his wits’ end.

The Midnight Gang BBC1, 7.30pm

David Walliams dials down the camp to play an evil headmaster in his own feelgood tale of young Tom, whose stay in hospital flips from nightmare to dream thanks to his nocturnal chums.

You Netflix

Gossip Girl star Penn Badgley is charmingly creepy as a deadly stalker masquerading as a sensitive bookstore owner. One to binge.

Thursday, December 27

The Snow Wolf: A Winter’s Tale BBC2, 9pm

It’s too early to know if we’re in for a White Christmas but this is the next best thing: a wintry nature romp involving cute cubs. But don’t go ordering one online, they don’t make great pets.

Michael Palin: North Korea Special Edition Channel 5, 9pm

Our cheeriest TV traveller unleashes his charm on the world’s most secretive nation — and reaches places other travelogues haven’t got anywhere near.

Friday, December 28

Murder Mountain Netflix

If you’re festived out by now here’s one of those extended true-life crime documentaries that Netflix does so well to feed your dark soul. We’re in a hippy corner of California and a young man has gone missing…

Could it be magic? Take That on We’ve Come A Long Way

Take That: We’ve Come A Long Way BBC1, 7pm

Back For Good or just back for a bit? Who knows, but Robbie Williams joins in with this 30th anniversary TT celebration.

Saturday, December 29

Black Lake BBC4, 9pm & 9.45pm

Here’s our seasonal fix of Swedish weirdness sorted as we join a bunch of patients at a decidedly odd island therapy retreat. Yes, it’s set on an island — spookiness ahoy!

Bradley Walsh: When Dummies Took Over The World ITV, 9pm

Coruscating political analysis of the disaster that was 2018 from the Chase frontman? We’re pulling your strings — it’s a documentary about puppets.

Sunday, December 30

Les Misérables BBC1, 9pm

Banish all thoughts of Susan Boyle from your head — this is Les Misérables sans chansons, as Victor Hugo intended. Dominic West, Lily Collins and David Oyelowo star as master adaptor Andrew Davies turns an epic, rambling tale of redemption into a six-episode drama.

New Year’s Eve

Jools’s Annual Hootenanny BBC2, 11.15pm

Cue up Big Ben in the company of George Ezra, Jess Glynne, Nile Rodgers & Chic and more. Ten-nine-eight…

New Year’s Day

Luther BBC1, 9pm

What better way to start 2019 than by watching Idris Elba tied to a chair and being roughed up? Er, maybe not — but the return of wayward cop Luther, a maverick among mavericks, sure gives the New Year a kick-start.

The Inbetweeners: Fwends Reunited C4, 9pm

Will, Jay, Neil and Simon are back together again for a 10th anniversary celebration of the brilliant sitcom. We won’t mention the movies.

Escape At Dannemora Sky Atlantic, 9pm

Patricia Arquette, Benicio del Toro, Paul Dano, David Morse… do you need to know any more? OK, it’s winter, it’s a prison break and all hell is about to break loose…