Christmas TV Guide – best shows to watch and when they’re on!

Check out our Christmas TV Guide so you don't miss a thing!

Here’s your ultimate Christmas TV Guide to all the very best Christmas TV specials and Christmas shows coming your way over the 2020 festive period.

Highlights include the return of Doctor Who, a Call the Midwife Christmas special, a new Julia Donaldson animation and an All Creatures Great and Small Christmas special. Check out our festive film guide for all the Christmas movies. We will update our Christmas TV Guide with new pictures when they’re released!

Christmas TV Guide – here are the best Christmas specials and Christmas shows and what channels and times they’re on…

Doctor Who Christmas Special, BBC1, New Year’s Day at 6.45pm

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2020 Credit: BBC/James Pardon The Doctor Who Christmas Special 2020 sees the Time Lord trapped in an alien prison The Doctor Who Christmas Special 2020 promises to be the jewell in the crown of the BBC’s Christmas TV schedule. Amazingly, this will be the first festive special since 2017 and Jodie Whittaker’s first Christmas outing as the Time Lord. Doctor Who Christmas 2020 special – release date Jodie Whittaker: Doctor Who wasn’t family viewing in our house This is the first time Jodie has got to star in a Doctor Who Christmas special The broadcaster is expected to screen the Christmas special on BBC1 on Christmas Day, although this is still to be officially confirmed. We’d expect it to go out early evening on Christmas Day before the Call the Midwife Christmas special. MORE: All Creatures Great and Small Christmas special – everything you need to know What’s the plot? Well, the Daleks are back! Yep, the festive special will see the return of the Doctor’s most famous and most feared enemies. The Time Lord is locked away in a high-security alien prison, continuing from where the last series left off. The Doctor is alone and can’t see anyway of escape… Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole) and Yasmin (Mandip Gill) Graham (Bradley Walsh), Yasmin (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) in the Doctor Who 2020 Christmas special

Graham (Bradley Walsh), Yasmin (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) have a lot on their minds…

Jodie Whittaker returns as the Doctor in this eagerly-anticipated Christmas special, which looks like being her first to actually go out on Christmas Day. This is still to be confirmed of course!

And what’s even more exciting is that the Daleks return and John Barrowman is back as Captain Jack! The story picks up from where the last series left off with the Time Lord trapped in an alien prison.

Meanwhile on Earth, Yasmin, Ryan and Graham are finding it difficult to cope without their friend. When they find out about a shocking plan involving the Daleks, they face the prospect of fighting the fearsome foe without the Doctor. However, Captain Jack is on hand. Can Captain Jack help them save the planet?

The Doctor Who 2020 Christmas special, aka Revolution of The Daleks, promises to be a great watch.

Call the Midwife Christmas special, BBC1, Christmas Day at 7.40pm

Peter Davison in Call the Midwife 2020

Peter Davison as Mr Percival the Ringmaster in the Christmas special

Having dealt with some extremely naughty sheep last year in the Outer Hebrides, this year the gang are in Poplar. Everyone is hoping for a nice uneventful Christmas, but of course that doesn’t happen!

Sister Monica Joan is rushed to hospital, while Trixie is less than impressed to receive a subscription to a Marriage Bureau as a Christmas present. Meanwhile, the circus is in town as ex Time Lord Peter Davison plays Mr Percival the Ringmaster.

The Call the Midwife 2020 Christmas special promises to be cracker!

Strictly: The Christmas Countdown, BBC1, Christmas Day at 4.45pm

TV tonight Strictly Come Dancing

Tess and Claudia will be counting down the most memorable Strictly moments on Christmas Day

This very exciting stand-alone episode of Strictly Come Dancing will be a little different to Christmas specials from the past.

Instead of new couples taking to the dance floor to battle it out for the glitter ball trophy, this year’s special will give fans a chance to take a look back at the highlights of the show since it started.

Presenters Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly will be back to count down the 25 most memorable dances of all time, voted for by the public.

But it’s not just the dances that scored perfect 40s that will be earning themselves a place in the lineup. There will also be dances that made us laugh, made us cry, and dances that we still remember years later.

But which dance from Strictly history will be crowned the most memorable performance of all time?

All Creatures Great and Small Christmas special, Channel 5, Tuesday 22nd December at 9pm (repeated Boxing Day at 7.45pm).

All Creatures Great and Small Christmas 2020

James and Helen at a Christmas party

Bringing All Creatures Great and Small back for a new series turned out to be a genius idea and now there’s a festive special. James (Nicholas Ralph) still has feelings for Helen (Rachel Shenton) and is struggling to cope as she prepares to get married to Hugh. On Christmas Eve James is called out to help a dog struggling to give birth and Helen volunteers to come along. But a thick fog comes over the Dales and it looks like the pair will be trapped together…

MORE: All Creatures star Rachel Shenton on the Christmas episode

The Vicar of Dibley Christmas specials, BBC1, started Monday 7th December, 8.50pm [episodes available on iPlayer]

Vicar of Dibley 2020 Christmas Special

Dawn French as Geraldine with James Fleet as Hugo in the upcoming Christmas episodes

Dawn French has returned as everyone’s favourite vicar, Geraldine Grainger, for three mini Christmas specials. Called The Vicar in Lockdown, it sees the vicar being “helped” by loveable Hugo (James Fleet) as she talks to her flock over zoom.

“Back in the dog collar, back in Dibley and back on your telly at Xmas,” says Dawn. “I couldn’t be happier. Bless you.”

Blankety Blank Christmas Special, BBC1, Christmas Day at 7pm

Blankety Blank Christmas special

Bradley Walsh hosts

The iconic gameshow Blankety Blank is back for a fun-filled festive special that everyone can join in with.

The popular family show ran throughout the 80s, and now new host Bradley Walsh is bring the game back to our screens.

Bradley will be joined by a panel of six celebrities – including Silent Witness star Emilia Fox – who will be doing their best to fill in the missing blanks and help win some brilliant prizes for some very lucky contestants.

But will the celebrities turn out to be a huge help, or will they just end up being a massive blank?

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical, Sky One and NOW TV, Sunday 20th December at 3.30pm

The Grinch Musical Sky One

Matthew Morrison stars as the grumpy Grinch is this festive favourite

Discover the magic of Dr. Seuss’ classic Christmas tale as it comes to life on stage, with Glee star Matthew Morrison starring as the Grinch himself. Featuring a wealth of West End talent, the musical version of this family favourite will feature hit songs ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ and ‘Welcome Christmas,’  as well as new tunes like ‘Who Likes Christmas?’ and ‘I Hate Christmas Eve’.

Our Christmas TV Guide continues with more great shows!

Black Narcissus, BBC1, Sunday 27th December at 9pm

Black Narcissus

Gemma Arterton as Sister Clodagh

This three part thriller, adapted from the 1939 classic, boasts an all-star cast including the late Dame Diana Rigg, Jim Broadbent and Gemma Arterton. The story follows Sister Clodagh (Arterton) and the nuns of St Faiths as they travel to Nepal. Sister Clodagh soon finds herself falling for the handsome and damaged land agent, Mr Dean. Will she follow her heart?

The Graham Norton New Year’s Eve Show, BBC1, New Year’s Eve at 10.25pm

The Graham Norton New Year’s Eve Show

See in 2021 with the The Graham Norton New Year’s Eve Show

Graham presents his traditional end of year talk show, joined by very special guests including Hollywood star, Tom Hanks, as well as Emily Blunt and Jamie Doran.

Actress Jessica Chastain also joins the line up, along with food writer Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall and comedian Nish Kumar.

Of course there will be music too, and this year will see Sophie Ellis-Bextor singing her latest hit, Crying at the Discotheque.

Britain’s Got Talent Christmas Spectacular, ITV, Christmas Day, 8pm

Britain’s Got Talent Christmas Spectacular

Britain’s Got Talent Christmas Spectacular will air on Christmas Day

Britain’s Got Talent Christmas Spectacular sees the talent show return in a slightly different format.

This one-off episode celebrates a huge selection of the best acts ever to feature in Britain’s Got Talent’s long-running history, inviting back some of the best acts we’ve seen for a truly unmissable, one-night-only event. And, as if that wasn’t enough, all four judges will each be showcasing their own talents for the first time ever!

Amanda Holden will be joined by 2014 winners Collabro for a rendition of ‘Home for Christmas’, while Alesha Dixon is also on singing duties, performing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ with 2017 winner, pianist Tokio Myers. 

David Walliams, meanwhile, will lead an alternative comedy sketch called the ‘Comedy Christmas Calendar.’ This will feature a host of previous BGT finalists and winners. His cast includes impressionist Francine Lewis, singing duo Katherine and Joe, and comedians Lost Voice Guy, Steve Royle, Daliso Chaponda and Robert White.

Ashley Banjo will feature with BGT legends, Diversity. They’ll be joined by fellow dance troupe DVJ, as well as the season two winner, George Sampson.

Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse, Sky One and NOW TV, Christmas Eve at 8.15pm

Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse

Dawn French stars as Beatrix Potter in Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse

Roald & Beatrix is a heart-warming comedy with an all-star cast including Dawn French, Jessica Hynes, Rob Brydon, Alison Steadman, Nina Sosanya, Bill Bailey and Nick Mohammed. The festive drama tells the story of how a lonely young boy sets off on a big adventure to meet his favourite author, one Beatrix Potter, played by Dawn French.

Their eventual meeting would play a big role in his life, as the boy would grow up to become Roald Dahl and write magical children’s books of his own. It’s a joyous and uplifting story that teaches us all that a little magic can go a long way.

The Wheel Christmas Special, BBC1, Christmas Day at 6pm

The Wheel Christmas Special

The Wheel Christmas Special will air on Christmas Day

Hosted by Michael McIntyre, this special festive episode of The Wheel will see three famous faces, presenter Holly Willoughby, comedian Alan Carr and professional Strictly Come Dancing dancer Oti Mabuse compete to complete The Wheel, in an attempt to win money for their chosen charities this Christmas.

On The Wheel, and helping the three celebrity contestants raise as much money as possible, are seven celebrity experts who come with their own Christmas categories.

Alexander Armstrong, Christopher Biggins, Clare Balding, Howard Donald, Kate Bottley, Olly Smith and Ainsley Harriott will take their turns to help answer questions on everything from Christmas dinner to panto!

The Wall vs Celebrities, BBC1, Christmas Eve at 6.55pm

Danny Dyer hosts BBC1's The Wall

Danny Dyer will host a special festive episode of The Wall

Hit Saturday night entertainment show, The Wall, will be back on our screens this festive season.

Hosted by EastEnders star Danny Dyer and voiced by TV Legend Angela Rippon, this Christmas Eve episode will see presenter and filmmaker Stacey Dooley and Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood go head to head with The Wall as they attempt to win money for their chosen charities.

Wildly unpredictable with heart stopping jeopardy, The Wall can give big, but it can also take away with just the bounce of a ball. 

After Ever AfterJack & The Beanstalk, Sky One and NOW TV, 23rd December at 8pm

David Walliams in After Ever After: Jack & The Beanstalk

David Walliams as you’ve never seen him before…

Comedian, talent judge and children’s author David Walliams returns with another tale of what happens after happily ever after, this time looking into what happened after Jack felled the beanstalk and defeated the giant.

This star-studded treat features Sheridan Smith as the Woman With No Name – the self-professed greatest giant killer in the village, Blake Harrison as bean salesman Dodgy Dave, and Walliams himself as the bad-tempered giant.

Mary Berry Saves Christmas, BBC1, Wednesday 23rd December, at 6.30pm

Mary Berry Saves Xmas

Mary is here to save all our Christmas cooking disasters

Mary Berry Saves Christmas is guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit, especially if just the thought of cooking an entire Christmas dinner is enough to make you break out into a cold sweat.

In this one-off special, Mary will be showing three novice cooks how to whip up a storm in the kitchen, and hopefully teaching us how to keep our kitchens a stress-free zone.

But Mary isn’t alone in the kitchen, she will also be sending three celebrities to help the novice chefs as they cook for their guests. The Great British Bake Off favourite Tim Allen will be acting as sous-chef, along with Angela Scanlon from The Noughties and The Repair Shop star Jay Blades.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Christmas Special, ITV, Boxing Day at 9.30pm and December 27th at 9.15pm

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Christmas celebrity special

Kym Marsh and Prue Leith will be joining Jeremy Clarkson to try and win money for their chosen charity this Christmas

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire will see some very famous faces from the world of television join host Jeremy Clarkson for a Christmas special. The festive episodes, due to air on Boxing Day and the following day, will see Kym Marsh try her luck at winning a million for charity. Kym is better known to soap fans as former Coronation Street favourite Michelle Connor and also for presenting Morning Live on BBC1 with Gethin Jones.

The Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith has also been announced as one of the celebrity contestants who will be joining the celebrity line up for the quiz show. Other famous faces hoping to raise money for their chosen charities are Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan, actress Ronni Ancona and Diversity star Jordan Banjo.

Zog and the Flying Doctors, BBC1, Christmas Day at 2.35pm

Zog and the Flying Doctors

Zog and the Flying Doctors will be one for all the family

Animation Zog was a festive hit last year and now the loveable dragon is back in Zog and the Flying Doctors. Based on the story by Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler, it follows Zog, Pearl and Gadabout, who are now a flying doctor trio. Pearl, though, is captured by her uncle, the King. Zog and Gadabout try and fail to rescue her. Meanwhile, Pearl decides to say in the palace and care for the ill King.

The Repair Shop at Christmas, BBC1, Boxing Day 6.45pm

Christmas Repair Shop 2020

Everyone is feeling festive at The Repair Shop

Christmas has arrived at The Repair Shop where its team of passionate and skilled craftspeople are beavering away, repairing and rescuing four beloved festive treasures. 

This year, Vicar Steve and his wife Amanda bring their cherished rocking horse to the barn. The toy was a Christmas gift for their daughter Tamsin when she was five years old. Tragically, just two years later, their little girl passed away. The horse is now being given a new lease of life to be gifted to their nine-year-old daughter, Hetty, to play on and remember the older sister she never met. 

Also arriving at The Repair Shop is a treasured but tired stereogram, a treasured toy truck that was made by a team of WW2 engineers, and a vintage musical Christmas ornament from the United States.

Ghosts Christmas Special, BBC1, Wednesday 23rd December at 8.30pm

Ghosts Christmas special

The ghostly gang are back for a festive special

Ghosts season 2 was a huge hit and now there’s going to be a Ghosts Christmas special to enjoy! Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) will not be alone this Christmas as all their spooky friends return.

We know that the festive episode will delve into the backstory of MP Julian, who famously died without his trousers on!

Birds of a Feather Christmas Special, ITV, Christmas Eve at 9.15pm

Birds of a Feather Christmas special 2020

Dorien and Tracey are back – but sadly Sharon is stuck on a cruise ship!

Birds of a Feather Christmas Special will see Dorien and Tracey back for this festive treat – giving fans a glimpse into what life is like for the pair in lockdown.

Three years after Tracey reluctantly sold her house to Dorien we are reunited with the friends. Lesley Joseph is back as Dorien, while Linda Robson, who plays Tracey, returns for the Christmas episode.

There are some special guests joining the cast, including Les Dennis who will be playing Dorien’s new man, Graeme. We will also see a cameo from comedy actor Curtis Walker, and Ami Metcalf will be taking on the role of Jordan – a friend of Tracey’s who is in danger of spending Christmas alone because of lockdown.

Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy, BBC1, Christmas Eve at 5.55pm

Worzel Gummidge Christmas BBC1

Worzel is back!

We know there’s a new Worzel Gummidge coming soon and while it’s not been officially confirmed, it seems a good bet it will be on at Christmas again. The loveable scarecrow, played by MacKenzie Crook, returned to our screens last year.

Now Worzel is set for a new adventure which starts with Worzel, Susan and John going to a scrapyard. They soon stumble on an old friend of Worzel’s, Saucy Nancy (played by Harry Potter actress Shirley Henderson). Nancy, who’s a carved ship’s figurehead, is desperate to get back to the sea. Can Worzel and the kids get her back to the ocean?

Mrs Brown’s Boys, BBC1, Christmas Day at 10.05pm and New Year’s Day at 10pm

Mrs Brown's Boys promises to be one of the best Christmas shows in 2018

The comedy specials promise to be a Christmas treat

Mrs Brown is back for a typically chaotic festive and New Year editions of the comedy favourite. Agnes is busy trying to win a competition to perform an alternative Queen’s Speech. Meanwhile, a flasher called Knickie, Knackle Dickie is on the loose.

Quentin Blake’s Clown, C4, Christmas Day at 7.40pm

Quetin Blake's Clown

Clown sees Quentin Blake’s drawings bought to life (Picture: Channel 4)

Helena Bonham Carter narrates this brilliant festive animation based on Quentin Blake’s classic tale, originally published in 1998 by Red Fox. The story follows a toy clown as he is thrown away with other discarded toys. But he is soon on a mission to find a new home, finding himself caught up in all sorts of trouble along the way.

The Serpent, BBC1, New Year’s Day, 9pm

The Serpent

The thriller is based on true events

Starring Tahar Rahim and Jenna Coleman, this eight-part thriller tells the amazing story of how Charles Sobhraj was captured. Inspired by real events, it follows Sobhraj, who was the chief suspect in unsolved murders of young Western travellers across India, Thailand and Nepal’s “Hippie Trail” in 1975 and 1976. It sees how he repeatedly slipped from the grasp of the authorities as he came Interpol’s most wanted man.

The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special, BBC1, 7.45 Boxing Day

The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special

Who will impress the judges in the The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special?

Host Joe Lycett welcomes four celebrity guests to the sewing room for this special Christmas episode.

Denise Van Outen, Shirley Ballas, Dr Ranj Singh and Sara Pascoe put their sewing skills, or lack of them, to the test, competing in three challenges set by judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young.

The first, the pattern challenge, is to make a pair of festive pyjama bottoms, the perfect loungewear for Christmas morning. Next up, it’s the transformation challenge where they are asked to make a festive fancy dress outfit for a dog.

For their final challenge, the made to measure, the four celebrity sewers must make a perfectly fitted dress to wear on Christmas Day. 

Who will sew up chaos in the sewing room and who will create garments worthy of taking centre stage at Christmas?

The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity New Year Special, BBC1, New Year’s Eve, 8pm

TV tonight The Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee will also be airing a celebrity special on New Year’s Eve

In the second of two Christmas specials, host Joe Lycett welcomes four more celebrities to the sewing room. They are The Vivienne, Lesley Joseph, Sabrina Grant and Sally Philips.

In a bid to impress judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young, the celebrity sewers will make a child’s party skirt in the pattern challenge. And also turn old clothes into a recognisable pantomime character in the transformation challenge.

Finally, for the made to measure challenge they are asked to create a New Year’s Eve party dress that evokes memories of a particular New Year’s Eve, with surprising results. 

Miranda’s Games With Showbiz Names, BBC1, Christmas Eve at 9.45pm

Miranda's Games with Showbiz Names

Miranda Hart will be joined by some very famous faces on Christmas Eve

Three celebrity couples will join Miranda from the comfort of their own homes for a virtual raucous night in of festive games and challenges.

The celebrities are Strictly Come Dancing’s Head Judge Shirley Ballas and her partner Danny Taylor. Plus football pundit and presenter Jermaine Jenas and his wife Ellie. Along with singer-songwriter and entertainer Robbie Williams and his drummer Karl Brazil.

Viewers can also expect another mystery celebrity special guest who will be joining in on the fun and mayhem!

Would I Lie To You At Christmas, BBC1, Christmas Eve at 7.45pm

Jo Brand Would I Lie to You Christmas 2020

Is Jo Brand telling fibs at Christmas?

Rob Brydon is back once more on hosting duties, and Lee Mack and David Mitchell return as team captains. Joining them are comedians and returning guests Joe Lycett and Jo Brand, ex-Eastenders star Joe Swash and actress Ruth Madeley.

Not Going Out, BBC1, Wednesday 30th December at 9pm

Not Going Out 2020 Christimas special

Nothing goes to plan for Lee and Lucy

It doesn’t seem likely that anyone will be going out on New Year’s Eve, so this episode seems very timely! Lee (Lee Mack) and Lucy (Sally Bretton) are on hosting duties. But things go wrong when they start a game of New Year’s resolutions with ideas on how to improve people’s behaviours.

Taskmaster Christmas special, C4, New Year’s Day at 9pm

Taskmaster Christmas special with Alex Horne

The hugely popular show is getting its first ever Christmas special. Greg Davies and Alex Horne will be on presenting duties as five celebs take on lots of silly tasks.

Our Christmas TV Guide will be updated as more shows are announced (see our TV Guide for full Christmas listings). We will also update our Christmas TV Guide with new pictures and trailers as they’re released.

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