Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas TV Picks: 23-29 December 2013 (Call the Midwife, Death Comes to Pemberley, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Gangsta Granny, Moonfleet, Still Open All Hours, The Tractate Middoth, etc.)

Monday, 23 December 2013

Below are my picks of the most notable Christmas shows, premiering/returning to UK screens...

Celebrity Mastermind (BBC1, 7pm) Series 11 of the quiz show. Contestants are Shaun Keaveny, Mark Watson, Bunny Campione & Frank Cottrell Boyce. (1/10)
Would I Lie To You? (BBC1, 8.30pm) Christmas special of the comedy panel show. Guests are Miranda Hart, Stephen Mangan, Barry Cryer & Miles Jupp.
John Bishop's Christmas Show (BBC1, 9pm) Festive entertainment special. Guests are Jason Manford, Nina Conti, Lee Nelson, Tim Vine & David O'Doherty.
Gary Barlow: Journey to Afghanistan (ITV, 9pm) Music special where the singer-songwriter visits British troops in Afghanistan.
PICK OF THE DAY Raised by Wolves (Channel 4, 10.50pm) New comedy about a family living on a Wolverhampton council estate. Written by author and columnist Caitlin Moran and her sister Caroline.

The Muppets & Lady Gaga at Christmas (Channel 5, 5.25pm) Festive entertainment special where the popstar is joining by the Muppets and various guests, like Elton John, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, RuPaul, Kristen Bell, and others.
The Perfect Morecambe & Wise Christmas Special (BBC2, 7.30pm) Classic clips from the popular double-act's many festive specials.
Midsomer Murders (ITV, 8pm) Series 16 of the murder-mystery, opening with a Christmas special.
Trollied (Sky1, 9pm) Christmas special of the supermarket sitcom.
Mel Smith: I've Sort of Done Things (BBC2, 9.45pm) Documentary reflecting on the career of actor, writer and director Mel Smith, who died this year.
Not Going Out (BBC1, 10pm) Christmas special of the sitcom. Starring Lee Mack, Sally Bretton, Katy Wix, Bobby Ball & Geoffrey Whitehead.
PICK OF THE DAY The IT Crowd: The Manual (Channel 4, 10pm) Behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of The IT Crowd, which came to an end this year. Narrated by Stephen Mangan.

Top of the Pops (BBC1, 2pm) Seasonal countdown of the year's most successful chart acts. Presented by Fearne Cotton & Reggie Yates.
River Deep, Mountain High: James Nesbitt in New Zealand (ITV, 2pm) Celebrity travelogue with the Irishman, who has spent two years in New Zealand filming The Hobbit movies.
Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, 5pm) Christmas special of the celebrity dance show. Contestants are Sara Cox, Matt Goss, Rufus Hound, Rochelle Humes, Ricky Norwood & Elaine Paige.
Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs (ITV, 5.15pm) Christmas special of the show about the work of Battersea Dogs Home.
Call the Midwife (BBC1, 6.15pm) Christmas special of the period medical drama.
PICK OF THE DAY Doctor Who (BBC1, 7.30pm) Christmas special of the sci-fi fantasy drama, which is also the 800th episode and Matt Smith's swansong in the show's 50th year.
Morecambe & Wise in Pieces: Leading Ladies (BBC2, 8.30pm) Classic clips of the double-act, with the emphasis on their female guest stars.
Downton Abbey (ITV, 8.30pm) Christmas special of the period drama.
Bear's Wild Weekend with Stephen Fry (Channel 4, 8.30pm) Survival special where Bear Grylls takes Stephen Fry into the Dolomite mountains.
Mrs Brown's Boys (BBC1, 9.30pm) Christmas special of the foul-mouthed family sitcom.
The Tractate Middoth (BBC2, 9.30pm) Adaptation of the M.R James ghost story about a mysterious Hebrew text and a university student. Starring Sacha Dhawan, Louise Jameson, John Castle, Roy Barraclough, Una Stubbs, David Ryall & Nicholas Burns. Written by Mark Gatiss.
Alan Carr: Chatty Man (Channel 4, 9.30pm) Christmas edition of the chat show to end Series 11. Guests are Russell Brand, Davina McCall, David Dickinson & Little Mix.
Michael McIntyre's Showtime (BBC1, 10.05pm) Stand-up comedy recorded live from the London O2 in 2012.
M.R James: Ghost Writer (BBC2, 10.05pm) Biography of the famous horror writer, presented by fan Mark Gatiss.
Man Down (Channel 4, 10.35pm) Christmas special of the sitcom.

Gangsta Granny (BBC1, 6.50pm) Adaptation of David Walliams' best-selling children's novel about a young boy who discovers his grandmother is an international jewel thief. Starring Julia McKenzie, Reece Buttery, David Walliams, Miranda Hart, Harish Patel, Rob Brydon, Robbie Williams, Joanna Lumley & Jocelyn Jee Esien.
Michael Buble's Christmas Special (Channel 5, 7.15pm) Music special from the Canadian crooner. Guests are Mary J Blige & Mariah Carey.
Still Open All Hours (BBC1, 7.45pm) Revival of the 1970s and '80s corner shop sitcom, where assistant Granville now runs Arkwright's with the help of his son.
PICK OF THE DAY Death Comes to Pemberley (BBC1, 8.15pm) New series adapting the sequel to Pride & Prejudice by PD James. Starring Matthew Rhys, Anna Maxwell Martin, Matthew Goode, Jenna Coleman, Trevor Eve, Rebecca Front, James Fleet & Tom Ward. Continues tomorrow and concludes Saturday. (1/3)
Idris Elba: King of Speed (BBC2, 8.15pm) Documentary where the actor learns about the history of racing cars. (1/2)
The Big Fat Quiz of 2013 (Channel 4, 9pm) Annual comedy quiz show, presented by Jimmy Carr. Contestants are Jack Whitehall, Jonathan Ross, Dara O'Briain, Kristen Schaal, Noel Fielding & Richard Ayoade.
Ben & James Verses the Arabian Desert (BBC2, 9.15pm) Special where James Cracknell and Ben Fogel attempt to cross part of the Rub' al Khali desert unguided. (1/2)
I Am Britney Jean: Britney Spears in Las Vegas (ITV, 10.05pm) Documentary as the popstar prepared for her two-year Las Vegas residency.

PICK OF THE DAY Vicious (ITV, 9pm) Christmas special of the sitcom about two gay men in the autumn of their lives. Starring Sir Ian McKellen & Derek Jacobi.

All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7pm) Chrfismas edition of the celebrity gameshow. Guests are the Dancing on Ice team versus Coronation Street. Hosted by Vernon Kaye. (1/10)
The Cube: Christmas Special (ITV, 8pm) Special edition of the gameshow with Denise Welch, Sherrie Hewson & Lisa Maxwell.
PICK OF THE DAY Moonfleet (Sky1, 8pm) Adaptation of the Meade Falkner novel about an orphan and a smuggler who go on a quest to find a fabled diamond. Starring Ray Winstone, Aneurin Barnard, Ben Chaplin, Sophie Cookson, Phil Daniels, Anthony Ofoegbu & Lorcan Cranitch. Concludes tomorrow. (1/2)
The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9pm) Chrismas special of the chat show. Guests are David Attenborough, John Bishop, Jamie Oliver, Ray Winstone, Rizzle Kicks & Susan Boyle.
50 Funniest Moments (Channel 4, 9pm) Countdown of the year's silliest and most hilarious moments.
Mad Dogs (Sky1, 9pm) Fourth and final series of the holiday-gone-wrong caper.Starring Philip Glenister, John Simm, Marc Warren & Max Beesley. (1/2)
Charlie Brooker's 2013 Wipe (BBC2, 10.40pm) Satirical retrospective of the year.

Grand Hotel (Sky Arts 1, 7pm) Series 2 of the Spanish drama set during the early-20th century. (1/16)
Catchphrase (ITV, 7pm) Christmas special of the gameshow. Guests are Carol Vorderman, Michael Ball & Michelle Collins. Hosted by Stephen Mulhern.
Morecambe & Wise in Pieces: The Curtains (BBC2, 8pm) Classic clips from the double-act's career, with an emphasis on the scenes in front of their famous red curtains.
PICK OF THE DAY Speed with Guy Martin (Channel 4, 8pm) New series where motorcycle racer Guy Martin participates in various global bike races. (1/4)
Michael Palin in Wyeth's World (BBC2, 9pm) Special where the comedian and actor visits Pennsylvania and Maine to investigate the life of artist Andrew Wyeth.
Live from the Artists Den (Sky Arts 1, 9pm) Series 4 of the musical show, opening with a special set from Adele.