The festive season is upon us and there’s plenty to keep you entertained on the tellybox. Here’s our roundup of this year’s most essential Christmas viewing…
Taskmaster: Champion of Champions
Wednesday 13th and Wednesday 20th December at 9pm, Dave
Taskmaster series 5 champion Bob Mortimer competes against series 1-4 winners Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Noel Fielding and Rob Beckett in the ultimate fight for glory.
The Crystal Maze
Thursday 14th December at 9pm, Channel 4
Murder In Successville‘s Tom Davis, pro boxer Nicola Adams, reality star Ollie Locke, singer Mollie King and swimming champ Ellie Simmonds team up for a Christmas special of The Crystal Maze, in aid of Stand Up To Cancer. Richard Ayoade returns to host, with Jessica Hynes and Adam Buxton reprising their roles as The Knight and Jarhead.
The League of Gentlemen
Mon 18th, Tues 19th and Wed 20th December at 10pm, BBC Two
The League of Gentlemen are taking us back to Royston Vasey for three special episodes, marking 20 years since the original series began on the BBC. We’ve been told that the local town is now facing a threat more dire than anything it has faced before: dark rumours of boundary changes that could erase it from the map forever. See preview images here.
Saturday 23rd December at 6pm, BBC Two
This 2015 film from the Horrible Histories/Yonderland team gets its TV premiere this Christmas. Acclaimed family comedy Bill tells the story of what really happened during William Shakespeare’s ‘lost years’ – how hopeless lute player Bill Shakespeare leaves his family and home to follow his dream. It’s a tale of murderous kings, spies, lost loves, and a plot to blow up Queen Elizabeth!
Smashie’s Xmastastic Playlist
Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th December at 4pm, Gold
Paul Whitehouse is reviving the character of DJ Mike ‘Smashie’ Smash for a two-part special on Gold, presenting a selection of his favourite festive tunes. It’s set to feature the nation’s best-loved Christmas classics, alongside some lesser-known oddities from Smashie’s sonic stocking.
Our Friend Victoria
Saturday 23rd December at 9.30pm, BBC One
Hosted by Anne Reid, this festive edition of Our Friend Victoria features Julie Walters, Dan Rigby, Celia Imrie, Reece Shearsmith and more looking back at their favourite Christmas sketches and stand-up routines from comedy legend Victoria Wood.
Sunday 24th December at 5.15pm, BBC One
This new sketch show in which everyday objects are animated and given voices has an impressive comedy cast, including Kayvan Novak, Cardinal Burns, Morgana Robinson and Spencer Jones.
Monday 25th December at 8.20pm, BBC Two
In ‘A Christmassy Crow’, the Shakespeare family’s Christmas plans are disrupted by Kate, Kit Marlowe and Robert Greene, while Will is hoping his latest play will go down well with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, played by guest star Emma Thompson.
Big Fat Quiz of the Year
Tuesday 26th December at 9pm, Channel 4
We know so far that the lineup for 2017’s Big Fat Quiz of the Year includes Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade. There are also plans for a Big Fat Quiz of Everything over the holiday period.
Alan Partridge: Why, When, Where, How and Whom?
Wednesday 27th December at 9pm, BBC Two
This retrospective documentary will look back at the history of Steve Coogan’s iconic character through clips, never-before-seen archive footage, and interviews with writers and performers who’ve been there along the way.
Eric, Ernie & Me
Friday 29th December at 8pm, BBC Four
Eric, Ernie & Me celebrates Eddie Braben, the man behind Morecambe and Wise’s greatest successes, culminating in their iconic 1977 Christmas Show. The cast includes Stephen Tomkinson as Braben, Mark Bonnar as Morecambe and Neil Maskell as Wise, plus Alexander Macqueen as BBC boss Bill Cotton and Rufus Jones as producer John Ammonds.
Vic and Bob’s Big Night Out
Friday 29th December, BBC Two
Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer are bringing Big Night Out back to the BBC for a one-off special. In this revival of the madcap show that first unleashed Vic and Bob on TV audiences, the duo will be introducing us to some new characters as well as reuniting us with some old favourites.
Unknown date, Channel 4
Richard Ayoade is heading to Hong Kong with Mad Men and Baby Driver star Jon Hamm for a Travel Man Christmas special. They’ll be taking in the city’s sights, embarking on a food tour, getting kitted out by exclusive tailors and experiencing some Tai Chi.
A Year in the Life of a Year
Unknown date, BBC Four
Following the success of last year’s show about 2016, Brian Pern creator Rhys Thomas is using film and television footage from 2017 to create a unique spoof take on the year’s events.
Inside No. 9
Tuesday 2nd January, BBC Two
Inside No. 9 returns for its fourth series at the beginning of the New Year. The opening episode ‘Zanzibar’ is described as follows: Welcome to London’s Hotel Zanzibar / Our varied guests have travelled from afar / Proposals, plots and prostitutes combine / It’s a comedy of errors on floor nine… See preview images here.