Family favourites including Doctor Who, Top Gear and Miranda, and brand new festive treats such as The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm, On Angel Wings and Esio Trot, will come together as the BBC once again lights up television screens with a wonderful array of programming for Christmas.
Danny Cohen, Director of Television, says: “This year’s Christmas line-up on BBC Television is one of our best ever. There’s world-class talent, edge of your seat drama, outstanding comedy and fantastic storytelling. Across our channels we will bring families together and provide something for everyone.”
Harry Hill makes his acting debut in the family drama The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm, which tells the story of an absent-minded inventor who causes chaos with his hare-brained creations; and in David Walliams’ The Boy In The Dress, 12 year-old Dennis wishes he could escape his boring grey life, until a chance view of Kate Moss on a magazine cover introduces him to a whole new world.
In Doctor Who, The Doctor and Clara face their Last Christmas. Trapped on an Arctic base, under attack from terrifying creatures, who are you going to call? Santa Claus!
Over in Albert Square, family secrets and lies come to the surface as Mick pulls out all the stops to make the Carter family’s first Christmas in the Queen Vic perfect; and in Esio Trot Mr Hoppy tries to help neighbour Mrs Silver when her tortoise appears to have stopped growing.
On the Sunday before Christmas, Songs of Praise: Christmas Big Sing will come from The Royal Albert Hall, where Katherine Jenkins and Jermain Jackman join presenters David Grant and Bill Turnbull.
On Christmas Eve BBC One will broadcast Midnight Mass live from Arundel Cathedral, when the Principal Celebrant will be the Dean, the Rev. Canon Tim Madeley. On BBC Two Carols from King’s celebrates its sixtieth anniversary and there will also be a documentary charting the programme’s history.
The Christmas Morning service on BBC One, Come And Join The Celebration, will be broadcast live from St George’s Church in Leeds, and on New Year’s Day, The Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message will be given by Justin Welby.
The charming animated tale On Angel Wings is the magical re-working of the nativity story based on the book by Michael Morpurgo, with an all-star voice cast including Michael Gambon and Juliet Stevenson, and tells the experience of a little shepherd boy who meets the Angel Gabriel and travels with him on a journey to Bethlehem to meet the newborn king, Jesus.
Making a welcome return to our screens, Chummy and Trixie are helping with the Sunday School Christmas Concert in Call The Midwife, while in Mapp & Lucia the residents of 1930’s Tilling exist in a world fraught with petty gossip and one-upmanship.
Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will be back in a two-part Top Gear Patagonia Special, on a road trip through South America; there will be a brand new episode of James May’s Toy Stories, in which he attempts to rehabilitate one of Britain’s most derided toys, Action Man; and Gareth Malone is back with The Choir: New Military Wives.
Two programmes from the Natural History Unit will bring two very different species to the viewers. Gordon Buchanan gets closer than ever to a wolf pack in The Snow Wolf Family and Me and we continue the story of Giles Clark and the Sumatran tiger cubs Spot and Stripe in Tigers About the House – What Happened Next
Rik Mayall: Lord Of Misrule looks back at the career and characters of the rocket-fuelled comic. This poignant programme, narrated by Simon Callow, features contributions from those who knew and admired him, including Michael Palin, Simon Pegg, Lenny Henry, Ruby Wax and Ben Elton.
BAFTA will pay tribute to the long and varied career of Julie Walters in a special one off programme, whilst one of her regular on-screen partners Victoria Wood brings her musical set in 1969 Manchester to television, in That Day We Sang. Comedian Al Murray is joined on BBC Four by three guests for another look back at vintage British cinema in Great British Spy Films, featuring the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Powell & Pressburger. This will be accompanied by classic films such as The 39 Steps, The Good Shepard and The Ipcress File.
The usual family chaos descends for Agnes Brown in a two-part Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas special; in Citizen Khan, Mr Khan is given the honour of placing the star on top of the Sparkhill inter-faith Christmas tree; and Not Going Out reaches a dramatic crescendo as the ‘will-they-won’t-they’ tension between Lee and Lucy reaches new heights. In Cuckoo it is Christmas time for the Thompsons in Lichfield, and Lorna is full of yuletide spirit…in more ways than one; and in Still Open All Hours, Granville is running the business with his son Leroy and Nurse Gladys is dispensing motherly advice. And in her final two episodes, we find Miranda where she left off – with two proposals; one from Gary and one from Mike. Who will she choose?
Two BBC Two comedies will be making their Christmas debuts this year: in The Wrong Mans, Sam and Phil are now 4000 miles from home, and must make the difficult choice of whether to remain forgotten or return to Bracknell. In Vic & Bob’s House of Fools, it’s Christmas Eve and Vic and Beef can’t wait to start the party, but Bob’s celebrations are cut short when a special present is unexpectedly engulfed in flames.
The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special sees Tess Daly and Sir Bruce Forsyth reunited for a one-off panto-themed special. The contestants, some of the most memorable from past years, include Russell Grant, Rachel Stevens and 2009 champion Chris Hollins. In addition, this year’s series will reach its glittering climax with the Strictly Come Dancing Final.
Sir Bruce Forsyth will also present Bruce’s Hall Of Fame, in which he takes to the stage alongside Jessie Wallace, Jamie Cullum, Jason Manford, Ben Miller, Alfie Boe and Jon Culshaw at the world-famous London Palladium, to celebrate the artists who inspired their careers.
Two of the UK’s biggest stand-up comedians will bring their own inimitable style to BBC One this year. John Bishop’s Christmas Show will be an all-singing all-dancing extravaganza from the West End, where he will be joined by an array of talent from music and comedy; and in Michael McIntyre’s Very Christmassy Christmas Show, Michael is joined by celebrity guests who share their seasonal stories, both good and bad.
The career of one of our greatest musical lyricists is celebrated in Sir Tim Rice: A Life In Song, in a programme recorded at London’s Royal Festival Hall, in which he reminisces in the company of Michael Grade. In Len Goodman’s Big Band Bonanza, Len charts the rise and fall of this musical style from the second world war to present day; Storyville: Pantomime is a heartfelt documentary following a small community theatre fighting to stay afloat, as they stage a production of Puss In Boots; and the Royal Ballet perform The Winter’s Tale, in a world premiere of a new full length ballet from Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon, based on Shakespeare’s tale of love, loss and reconciliation.
BBC Two will be showing two of the highlights from this year’s Proms; Kiss Me, Kate, performed by John Wilson and his orchestra; and War Horse, inspired by the National Theatre’s play based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel.
On BBC Four, international ballet star Carlos Acosta curates and stars in Carlos Acosta’s Cuban Nights, an exciting mixed programme of vibrant Cuban dance inspired by his homeland; and this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lecture, Sparks will Fly: How To Hack Your Home, is given by Professor Danielle George.
The traditional New Year’s Day from Vienna will this year be conducted by Zubin Mehta, and will feature compositions by Franz von Suppé, Johann Strauss, Jr., Josef Strauss, Eduard Strauss, Johann Strauss, sen. and Hans Christian Lumbye.
Some of the nation’s favourite panel shows will air special Christmas editions. In Would I Lie To You regulars David Mitchell and Lee Mack are joined by guest panellists Ray Winstone, Josh Widdicombe, Rachel Riley and Ricky Tomlinson, who reveal some amazing stories about themselves that may or may not be true. In Never Mind the Buzzcocks Louis Walsh, Glen Matlock, Lloyd Langford and Melissa Steel join team captains Noel Fielding and Phill Jupitus alongside host Rhod Gilbert., while in QI, host Stephen Fry is joined by Carrie Fisher, Bill Bailey and Phill Jupitus as well as Alan Davies. In Mock The Week Dara O Briain and the team serve up their traditional festive feast of fun, joined by the likes of Ed Byrne, Sara Pascoe and Josh Widdicombe.
In Pointless Celebrities, popular pantomime stars including Ashley and Pudsey, Christopher Biggins and Lorraine Chase join host Alexander Armstrong and his ‘pointless friend’ Richard Osman. Charlie Brooker’s 2014 Wipe will see Charlie return for his annual round up of the year; and Celebrity Mastermind returns for 10 programmes this Christmas, with 40 famous faces sitting in the famous black chair. Those answering questions on their specialist subject include Harry Shearer, Steve Pemberton, Mary Anne Hobbs, Lizzy Yarnold and Ken Dodd.
Film premieres include Avengers Assemble; Puss in Boots; Madagascar 3; The Muppets; The Pirates! Adventures with Scientists; John Carter; Salmon Fishing In The Yemen; Quartet; and Albert Nobbs.
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