The top 10 things to catch on the BBC this Christmas

The top 10 things to catch on the BBC this Christmas

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By Sarah Carson,
Wednesday, 2nd December 2015
Alex Kingston and Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who (Credit: BBC)
Alex Kingston and Peter Capaldi in Doctor Who (Credit: BBC)

As the Christmas telly schedules are announced, here's our list of the BBC's best programmes across the festive season.

Revered or feared by everyone at this time of year, the Christmas TV season is almost upon us. While we have a few weeks to wait before we're settling on the sofa with a selection box, the schedules are being announced and there is much to look forward to. So in addition to the usual offerings (Carols from King's, Jools Holland's Hootenanny, Top of the Pops, and the specials from the soaps), here are our picks - in no particular order - of the best things to catch across the BBC this Christmas.


And Then There Were None

The cast of And Then There Were None (Credit: BBC)

Poldark heartthrob Aidan Turner returns to the Cornish cliffs in this tense adaptation of Agatha Christie's bestselling mystery novel. Rehashed in multiple forms over the years, the story observes a group of strangers who are summoned to the party of an anonymous host. The only thing each of them has in common is that they're hiding a secret...

Begins Boxing Day at 9pm on BBC One

We're Doomed: The Making of Dad's Army

Ahead of next year's cinema version of this seminal British sitcom, here's the story behind the original. Starring Paul Ritter and Richard Dormer as the show's creators Jimmy Perry and David Croft, this is a promising dramatised retelling of the pair's struggle to get the programme on television back in the Sixties.

22nd December, 9pm on BBC Two


The cast of Dickensian (Credit: BBC)

Not your average period drama, this is a 20-part mash-up of Charles Dickens's greatest works. Stars in the exciting Victorian project - in which well-known characters from different books cross over into each others' lives - include the likes of Caroline Quentin as Mrs Bumble from Oliver Twist, Stephen Rea as Bucket from Bleak House and Pauline Collins as Mrs Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewit.

Begins Boxing Day at 7pm on BBC One

Doctor Who

It's Christmas, so we know to expect an instalment from the sci-fi stalwart around teatime. Mourning the recent loss of companion Clara, Peter Capaldi's Doctor will meet River Song for the first time, as the fantastic Alex Kingston returns to the role in what Steven Moffat has described as a Christmas romp that's "towards the comedy-thriller end".

Christmas Day, 5.15pm on BBC One


Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in Sherlock (Credit: BBC)

Making the most anticipated return of the season are Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in Sherlock, with this one-off special The Abominable Bride -  a brand new story that, we're promised, is much in keeping with others by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

New Year's Day, 9pm, BBC One

The Sleigh Ride

Remember BBC Four's Slow TV season earlier this year? It's back, and this time we join cameras and reindeer in Lapland for a splendid, calming, snowy ride in a sleigh - free of narration or music.

Christmas Eve, 8pm on BBC Four

Call the Midwife

Jenny Agutter stars in Call the Midwife (Credit: BBC)

We were treated to a glimpse at the period drama's special during this year's Children in Need appeal show, so we know we can look forward to a comforting helping of Christmas cheer, as the BBC comes to Poplar to record a carol concert.

Christmas Day, 7.30pm, BBC One



It would be remiss not to mention the return of Luther - even if it begins a little earlier than most other Christmas programming. Idris Elba is back in the superlatively gripping crime drama - except now that Ruth Wilson has left the show, he's got a new serial killer to hunt down in place of the beguiling Alice.

Starts 15 December at 9pm on BBC One 

Billionaire Boy

Elliot Sprakes and David Walliams (Credit: BBC)

David Walliams's book adaptations have proven hugely popular in recent years, and are becoming something of a Chistmas staple in very Roald Dahl fashion. Billionaire Boy is the story of 12-year-old Joe, whose rich father can buy him everything he wants - except for a friend. Warm, heartening, silly family fun.

New Year's Day, 7pm, on BBC One

Stick Man

Julia Donaldson's Stick Man (Credit: BBC)

A few years ago, the BBC won huge acclaim for its lovely adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's children's book The Gruffalo, and is hoping to repeat that success with Stick Man, another of their creations. With the likes of Martin Freeman, Hugh Bonneville and Jennifer Saunders lending their voices, the film tells the story of Stick Man, who is separated from his family and must navigate the trials and tribulations of being treated like a stick, all on his own.

Christmas Day, 4.45pm on BBC One



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As the Christmas telly schedules are announced, here's our list of the BBC's best programmes across the festive season.