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What to watch on TV on Christmas Day

Ellie Walker-Arnott

To quote Slade, an authority on all things festive: 'It's Chriiiiiistmas!' If your idea of a perfect Christmas Day is squishing your backside into a sofa cushion and staying there for as long as is humanly possible, you're in luck. Today the box is home to hours and hours of really good telly, from Christmas movies to festive specials like 'Doctor Who', 'Call the Midwife' and 'The Great Christmas Bake Off'. Here's our guide to the best films and TV on this Christmas Day.

Top of the Pops Christmas

Bop along to this year’s Christmas number one with Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates. The old BBC classic is back for the festive season – just in time for the lull before Christmas lunch. 1.50pm, BBC1.

The Wizard of Oz

This one will keep every generation happy. Follow the yellow brick road to this family-friendly classic. Judy Garland is Dorothy, the girl from Kansas who finds herself transported to the madcap, technicolour world of Oz. 2.10pm, Channel 5.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Hey, so bankruptcy, frustration and suicide aren’t standard yuletide fare, but we all know it’s not really Christmas until you’ve sobbed over Zuzu’s petals. A disastrous Christmas Eve sees George Bailey wishing he’d never been born, until a guardian angel shows him what life would be like without him, in this heart-warming and throughly festive film. 2.20pm, Channel 4. 

It's a Wonderful Life

The Artist

This sweet homage to Hollywood’s silent movie era was a surprise hit at the 2012 Oscars. French actor Jean Dujardin won Best Actor for his performance as arrogant and egotistical Valentin, a matinee idol star. But he is very nearly outstaged by a jack russell terrier called Uggie – who shamelessly steals scenes at Valentin’s trusted four-legged best friend. 2.25pm, BBC2. 


The BBC has bagged this modern Christmas classic this year, and it's bound to be a ratings hit. It’s been three years and we still don’t want to let it go. This Disney movie, about a kingdom cloaked in ice and snow, is anything but chilly. The tale of sisters Anna and Elsa will turn your insides to mush – and have you singing the soundtrack for days to come. 3.10pm, BBC1. 

Singin’ in the Rain

Gather everyone in your house and sit down to enjoy the best-loved musical of all time. Twinkle-toed Gene Kelly plays silent movie star Don Lockwood who falls in love  (eventually) with a chorus girl (Debbie Reynolds) in 1920s Hollywood just as talkies are becoming a thing. Charm-your-socks-off ovely, this is guaranteed to soothe Christmas-frayed tempers. 4.10pm, Channel 5.

The Great Christmas Bake Off

The Great Christmas Bake Off

Say a fond and final farewell to ‘Bake Off’ as we know and love it. Paul, Mary, Mel and Sue have all teamed up for the last time to welcome eight returning bakers to the tent. It’s set to be a bittersweet Christmas treat, which concludes tomorrow evening. 4.45pm, BBC1. 

The Last Dragonslayer

Sky’s big festive drama is going up against Christmas regular 'Doctor Who'. It's set in the Ununited Kingdom where 15-year-old orphan Jennifer Strange reluctantly discovers her destiny to become the last Dragonslayer. The tale is based on Jasper Fforde’s fantasy novels. 5.45pm, Sky1.

Doctor Who

After a year, the Doctor is back for more timey-wimey nonsense in the shape of a superhero-studded Christmas special. Capaldi is joined by Charity Wakefield and Matt Lucas for a sci-fi special which will see New York come under threat from aliens once more. Watch the trailer here5.45pm, BBC1. 

Doctor Who

Home Alone

A rock-solid seasonal classic, part of the charm of ‘Home Alone’ – alongside the witty script, the loveable performances (yep, even Macaulay) and the surprisingly violent action – is that it’s endlessly, joyously rewatchable. Go on, you know you want to. 6pm, Channel 4.

Call the Midwife

Don't let the promotional imagery fool you. The nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House have a change of scenery this Christmas - they are swapping London for South Africa – but don’t go thinking the period drama won’t have you sobbing into your turkey sandwich like usual. Watch the trailer here8pm, BBC1.

Maigret’s Dead Man

What has ITV done with the prime-time slot 'Downton Abbey' used to sit in? They've welcomed Rowan Atkinson as French detective Maigret. He’s starring as the titular detective in this feature-length film based on Georges Simenon’s 1948 novel. Watch the trailer here9pm, ITV. 

Gogglebox 2016 

Look back over a year of brilliant British telly, Brexit and more with the ‘Gogglebox’ lot. They’re saying what we’re all thinking. 9pm, Channel 4.

Dallas Buyers Club

This is no Christmas movie, but it is well worth watching. Matthew McConaughey’s performance in this drama based on real events deservedly won him the Best Actor Oscar in 2014. He plays Ron Woodroof, a homophobic man diagnosed with HIV in 1985, who started a black market club selling life-prolonging drugs to people living with Aids. 10.30pm, Channel 5.

More TV? Here's our pick of the best TV to watch this Christmas

Fancy a film? Here are the best movies on TV this Christmas, the best Christmassy movies on TV and the best Christmas movies of all time. Plus, the best movies on Netflix and the best family-friendly kids' movies on Netflix

Happy Christmas! 

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