The 10 best things to watch on TV this Christmas

Miranda’s finale! A Kate Moss cameo! Doctor Who Meets Santa! All this and more in Heat TV critic Boyd Hilton's pick of the festive fortnight


by Boyd Hilton |
Published on

**1 Miranda (BBC1, Christmas Day, 7.15pm & New Year’s Day, 8pm) **

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Because here are the last ever episodes of the hugely popular and deeply loveable sitcom and Miranda’s got two proposals to deal with: one from the old love of her life Gary (hunky Tom Ellis) and one from relative newbie Mike (Bo Poraj). Who will she choose? I hope it’s Gary, of course, because he’s Got It All.

Cockles duly warmed
Cockles duly warmed

2 Downton Abbey (ITV, Christmas Day, 9pm)

After a few years of distinctly non-festive Christmas Day episodes (last year’s even featured scenes on a beach!), writer Julian Fellowes has listened to our complaints and the final section of this year’s special are actually set at Christmas. Although, before then there’s lots of shooting to be done. In the end it will warm the cockles of your heart. And Christmas is all about warm cockles.

Please stay, Clara!

3 Doctor Who (BBC1, Christmas Day, 6.15pm)

The Doctor and Clara face their Last Christmas. Or is it? It could mean goodbye to Jenna Coleman or it could be one giant trick from writer Steven Moffat just to confuse us. The story features the Doctor and Clara trapped on an arctic base and under attack from terrifying creatures, plus the perfectly cast Nick Frost as Santa Claus. It’s one of the best Who Christmas specials yet.

4 The Boy In The Dress (BBC1, Boxing Day, 6.55pm)

The latest adaptation of one of David Walliams’ great children’s books goes back to his very first novel, about Dennis, a 12 year-old boy who lives in an ordinary house, in an ordinary street, in an ordinary town, but wants to wear a dress. As well as featuring a delightful guest cameo from Kate Moss, it’s one of the most sweetly moving things you’ll see this Christmas.

5 The Wrong Mans (BBC2, Monday & Tuesday Dec 22 & 23, 9pm)

James Corden and Mat Baynton follow up their hit comedy-thriller series with two special hour-long episodes set at Christmas. Now their characters Sam and Phil are 4,000 miles from home, living new lives and they end up in a high-security jail. It’s thrilling, hilarious and an all-round superb piece of TV.

Almost as camp as Mapp & Lucia (see no.9)

6 Strictly Christmas Special (BBC1, Christmas Day, 5pm)

Sir Bruce Forsyth returns to the ballroom alongside Tess Daly as six of the most memorable contestants from years past return for a festive edition - Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Lisa Riley Rachel Stevens, Louis Smith, Chris Hollins and Russell Grant. Yes, Louis Smith. They all dress up in panto gear, too, just to make it more camp.

7 Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot (BBC1, New Year’s Day, 6.30pm)

Get this cast for this BBC1 one-off family drama - Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench. He’s secretly, hopelessly in love with her, while she’s worried her beloved tortoise Alfie doesn’t appear to be growing. A slice of magic co-written by Richard Curtis, and narrated by James Corden.

8 Michael McIntyre's Very Christmassy Christmas Show (BBC1, Christmas Day, 10.40pm)

The comedian gets an hour of prime Christmas-time TV to tell jokes, interact with his special guests including Jamie Oliver, Robbie Williams, Rob Brydon, Barbara Windsor, and live music from Jamie Cullum. It’ll be Christmassy.

9 Mapp & Lucia (BBC1, 29 December, 9.05pm)

Forget the Strictly Christmas special, this is the campest thing you’ll see this festive period: Steve Pemberton’s adaptation of EF Benson’s classic comic novels are full of snobbish bickering and bitchiness between two posh citizens (Anna Chancellor and Miranda Richardson) of the village of Tilling.

Alan's on the buck's fizz for Christmas

10 Alan Carr: Chatty Man Christmas Special (Channel 4, Christmas Day, 9pm)

Al has two star-studded specials this festive season – a Chatty Man Chrimbo edition with guests including Dan Stevens, Emma Willis, Sarah Millican and Terry Wogan, , plus a _New Year Specstacula_r on actual New Year’s Eve, 9pm, with Caroline Flack, Mark Wright, Jonathan Ross and James Corden.

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