What festive highlights await us on TV over the next two weeks? Are all those perennial favorite movies that make Christmas for us in the schedule? After the shock news that Elf wasn’t being shown on Channel 4 this year having been bought up by Sky movies, you’ll be relieved to know that Casablanca, The Sound of Music and all the Indiana Jones movies are safe. Having studied my TV guide, highlighter in hand, here are my top picks for the festive period:
Monday 23rd December: Crack into the the mince pies and finish off the present wrapping in front of White Christmas on Channel 4 at 10.10am. Later that evening BBC 2 are showing the 2011 remake of Jane Eyre with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender at 8.30pm and Caitlin Morans quasi-autobiographical sitcom Raised by Wolves is premiering on Channel 4 at 10.50.
Christmas Eve: Who could resist It’s a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra’s 1946 classic starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey saved by a trainee angel who shows him the difference he has made in people’s lives. Channel 4 are having a The IT Crowd night, starting with a brand new Christmas special at 9pm, followed by a documentary and episodes chosen by fans and writers. BBC 2 are getting their scare on with The Awakening, 2011 horror staring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West.
Christmas Day: Any Sci-Fi fan worth their salt has been looking forward to Matt Smith’s swansong in tonight’s Dr Who Christmas special (7.30 BBC1) featuring Cybermen, Daleks and Peter Capaldi as the regenerated Doctor. Best film on today is Film 4’s Troll Hunter, the 2010 Nordic horror, which is on at 11.25pm. However if you’re in the mood for some sentimentality, BBC 2 are showing Dead Poets Society at 12.20am. Oh Captain, my Captain.
St Stephen’s Day: I was very excited to see an adaptation of PD James Death Comes to Pemberley on BBC 1 at 8.15pm which is a murder mystery sequel to Jane Austens Pride and Predjudice! One that will make the men and women happy and showing at the same time on BBC2, is the Idris Elba documentary King of Speed which takes him on an international journey to discover the history of motor racing. One of my favorite programmes over Christmas and one I look forward to every year is the Big Fat Quiz of the Year, hosted by Jimmy Car, on Channel 4 at 9pm. The contestant this year include Noel Fielding, Jack Whitehall and Dara O’Briain.
Friday 27th December: BBC4 have dedicate a whole night to the love of Swedish supergroup ABBA, if this is the type of thing that tickles your fancy. Film Four are showing the unlikely musical based on John Waters film of the same name Hairspray at 3.55pm and I have to say, I really love this and will probably be singing “Good Morning Baltimore” for the rest of the Christmas after I watch this. Channel 4 are showing 2011’s The Inbetweeners movie at 9pm, where the four lads head to Greece for a wild holiday that doesn’t go quite to plan.
Saturday 28th December: Start your evening off having a bit of a blub while watching Up! On BBC1 at 6.50 (unless you have a heart made of stone like me). BBC2 are showing Charlie Brooker’s 2013 Wipe, his satirical look at all the main events of the past year. Sky 1 are showing a two part adaptation of John Meade Falkner’s 18th Century novel, Moonfleet staring Ray Winstone, set on the tretcherous high seas.
Sunday 29th December: Keeping with the pirate theme, BBC1 are showing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides where Captain Jack goes on a search for the fountain of youth. BBC3 are showing the ah-may-zing Starship Troopers at 11.50pm. More 4 are showing the absolutely charming Fantastic Mr Fox at 6.10pm and there is as much in it to entertain the adults as well as the children, especially Jarvis Cocker’s animated turn.
Monday 30th December : For those that feel that Christmas isn’t Christmas without Mary Poppins, she’s on BBC1 at 4.15pm. Bond shows up on ITV at 8.30pm with Quantum of Solice. David Fincher’s The Game is showing later on the same channel at 10.45pm. BBC2 are showing a feature length drama written by Christopher Hampton ( of Dangerous Liasons fame) called The Thirteenth Tale at 9.30 pm. Staring Vanessa Redgrave as an ailing novelist who calls on a biographer to write her life story, unveiling her dark past. Comes with creepy twins- who can resist?
New Years Eve:Surely you won’t be in watching TV? All the channels have their end of year celebrations, the best of which will probably be Jools Hollands Hootenanny on BBC2 at 11.30pm.
New Years Day: SHERLOCK!!!!!SHERLOCK!!!!!!SHERLOCK!!!!! BBC1 9pm. But earlier in the day when you are recovering from the night before you may want to veg in front of Christmas favorite The Sound of Music on BBC1 at 2.15pm, or the hilarious Uncle Buck on ITV at 1.15pm. At 8pm on ITV the premiere of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 will keep the whole family happy with the conclusion of the fantasy saga.
So that concludes my TV picks for this year, wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a fantastic 2014.