Christmas TV 2016: Top 10 programmes to tune into as you slump into the sofa with a selection box to test those elasticated waistbands

Don't miss the Outnumbered Christmas Special (Picture: Colin Hutton)

Don't miss the Outnumbered Christmas Special (Picture: Colin Hutton) - Credit: BBC/Hat Trick/Colin Hutton

There are some Christmas crackers on television this year with some amazing animations, some corking comedies and the return of some old favourites in new festive specials.

What's inside Inside No.9 this year? It can't be good... (Picture: BBC/ Sophie Mutevelian)

What's inside Inside No.9 this year? It can't be good... (Picture: BBC/ Sophie Mutevelian) - Credit: BBC/Sophie Mutevelian

As far as I'm concerned, the only repeats you should have to stomach at Christmas are those that arise from having stuffed yourself full of festive fayre.

Here are just 10 of the programmes I'll most certainly be tuning into as I slump into the sofa with a selection box to test my elasticated trousers.

And one last thing: if you're annoyed at news that Disney's Frozen is the big festive film this year on BBC1, Let it Go.

Merry Christmas!

To Walk Invisible should be good (Picture: BBC/Michael Prince)

To Walk Invisible should be good (Picture: BBC/Michael Prince) - Credit: BBC/Michael Prince


You may also want to watch:


1) The Witness for the Prosecution, BBC1: Boxing Day, and December 27 at 9pm

After last year's hugely successful Agatha Adaptation (And Then There Were None, including And Then There Was Not Much of Aidan Turner's Towel), the BBC has come up trumps with this new costume drama set in 1920s London. A wealthy socialite (Kim Cattrall) is murdered and in the courtroom and in flashback we find out what really happened. Andrea Riseborough, Billy Howle and Toby Jones also star.

Most Read

2) Cunk on Christmas, BBC2: December 29, 10pm

Comedian Diane Morgan returns as Philomena Cunk, the useless but hilarious investigative journalist, on a festive mission to track down the true meaning of Christmas. She'll look at pagan festivals, Dickens, Father Christmas and the point of sprouts. Hopefully she'll also appear on the fantastic Charlie Brooker's annual 2016 Wipe (BBC2, Dec 29, 9pm) where he will somehow get laughs out of a dreadfully depressing year!

The Doctor takes NYC this Christmas (Picture: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

The Doctor takes NYC this Christmas (Picture: BBC/Ray Burmiston) - Credit: BBC

3) Sherlock, BBC1: new year's day, 9pm

The fiendishly clever duo of Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Holmes (Martin Freeman) are back with three new episodes beginning with The Six Thatchers on New Year's Day (please say it's not half a dozen cloned Margarets). Toby Jones is villainous Culverton Smith and we all cross our fingers that Moriarty will return once more.

4) Revolting Rhymes BBC1: Boxing Day and December 27 at 6.30pm

The producers behind The Gruffalo have adapted five of Roald Dahl's twisted fairytales for two half-hour films. The animation is voiced by actors including David Walliams, Tamsin Greig, Dominic West, Gemma Chan and Rob Brydon and promises to be a riot.

Can't wait for Witness for the Prosecution (Picture: BBC/Todd Antony & Robert Viglasky)

Can't wait for Witness for the Prosecution (Picture: BBC/Todd Antony & Robert Viglasky) - Credit: BBC/Mammoth Screen/Agatha Christie Productions

5) To Walk Invisible, BBC1: December 29, 9pm

This looks so promising that I might have to loosen my bodice to contain the excitement. Written by Sally 'Happy Valley' Wainwright and boasting a stellar cast, the one-off drama takes a new look at the extraordinary Bronte family. Fingers crossed Kate Bush will be in the background for (Yorkshire) peak perfection.

6) Inside No 9: The Devil of Christmas, BBC2: December 27, 10pm

If you're more Bah Humbug than Ho Ho Ho, watch Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton's festive special set in an Alpine cabin at Christmas where a family are stalked by Krampus, Satan rather than Santa, who drags the naughty down to hell. Have you been good this year?

Yes, we're going on a Bear Hunt (Picture: C4)

Yes, we're going on a Bear Hunt (Picture: C4) - Credit: C4

7) Doctor Who, BBC1: Christmas Day, 5.45pm

The delectable Peter Capaldi takes a Tardis trip to New York City and finds himself joined by a distracting new companion, a rubber-suited superhero called Doctor Mysterio. Can the pair save NYC from ETs?

8) The Great Christmas Bake-Off, BBC1: Christmas Day, 4.45pm and Boxing Day, 7pm

Stop that blubbing: no one needs a soggy bottom at Christmas. The GBBO quartet return for their swansong alongside some former contestants who return for some hot tent action. Prepare to boo as pantomime villain Paul decamps to Channel 4.

9) We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Channel 4: Christmas Eve, 7.30pm

I could have narrated this based on the number of times I've read it to my kids. From the Snowman and the Snow Dog makers comes this beautiful adaptation of Michael Rosen's classic tale – they're going to find a big one and they're not scared.

10) The Outnumbered Christmas Special, BBC1: Boxing Day, 10pm

Face your own mortality when you see how grown up the Brockman kids are, question what you've actually achieved during the same time period, then distract yourself from an abyss of misery by laughing as the family get stuck together in a car on Boxing Day.

Special mentions also go to...

Ethel and Ernest (BBC1, December 28, 730pm); Grantchester (ITV, Christmas Eve, 9pm); The Windsors at Christmas (Channel 4, December 23, 10pm); Delicious (Sky One, December 30. 9pm); Maigret's Dead Man (ITV, Christmas Day, 9pm); Jonathan Creek (BBC1, December 28, 9pm); The Victorian Bakers at Christmas (BBC2, Christmas Day, 930pm) Top of the Pops Christmas (BBC1, Christmas Day, 150pm) and of course EastEnders (BBC1) but only just, after this year's rubbish storylines about refuse collecting.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter