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14 Christmas TV specials we’re really excited about

‘Tis the season to watch hours and hours of Christmas specials on telly. Here are the shows we’re most looking forward to, from ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Sherlock’ to ‘Call the Midwife’ and ‘The Great Christmas Bake Off’

Revolting Rhymes

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and you know what that means: parties, pressies, expanding waistlines and really good telly. This year brings brand-new dramas like ‘Witness for the Prosecution’, sweet animations that’ll melt your heart into a puddle of brandy butter, and Christmas specials from the likes of ‘Sherlock’. Have yourself a merry little Christmas with our list of the festive telly that we’re really excited about. 

Great Christmas TV

Sherlock season 4


The BBC1 detective drama graces our screens once again and we can’t help but get a bit caught up in the hype. ‘Doctor Strange’ star Benedict Cumberbatch is returning to his small screen roots for a new ‘Sherlock’ story. We’ll probably be struggling with coherent thought – it’s airing on New Year’s Day and London is the world’s most hungover city – but with luck Holmes’ mind palace will be on top form. BBC

Charlie Brooker
Andy Parsons

Charlie Brooker’s 2016 Wipe

2016’s been a bitch. The ‘Black Mirror’ writer is attempting to cram his opinions on the shitstorm that has been the last 12 months into one show. How he’ll manage to is anyone’s guess – but we’re definitely up for watching him try. BBC

Doctor Who Christmas special 2016

Doctor Who

The Doctor can always be relied upon for some festive sci-fi silliness. This year Peter Capaldi has gone comic book. There’ll be a superhero and a temporary companion in the form of an investigative journalist in ‘Dr Who: The Return of Mysterio’. It’s timey-wimey nonsense, but Christmas Day wouldn’t be the same without it. BBC

BBC, Bake Off, Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry

The Great Christmas Bake Off

Talk about pulling the plaster off slowly. Paul, Mary, Mel and Sue are back together in the ‘Bake Off’ tent for what is actually the final ever time. The gang are reuniting (sort of – this was filmed before Channel 4 bought the baking format) for a final festive foray. Eight former winners are putting their pinnies back on and taking on some tricky technicals in the hope of being crowned the ultimate winner. BBC

Call the Midwife Christmas special 2016

Call the Midwife

Forget chunky cardies and snowstorms, the nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House are celebrating the Christmas season a little differently this year. They’re swapping the cobbled streets of the East End for mission hospital Hope Clinic in South Africa – though there’s bound to be the usual festive cheer (i.e. you’ll probably be a soggy, sobbing mess by the end of it). BBC

Outnumbered Christmas special 2016


The Brockman family are all grown up. Almost a decade after the first episode aired, the London-based brood are back on our screens for more festive mishaps. We’ll be watching just to gawp at how puberty’s changed the little ragamuffins. BBC

Jimmy Carr

The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2016

Say a final farewell to the past year as Jimmy Carr presents his annual quiz. Expect misery and multiple references to Brexit and Trump – plus the obligatory VTs of Channel 4 newsreaders dancing to chart-topping tunes. Channel 4

TV, Christmas special 2016

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Rather keep your behind firmly planted on a sofa cushion than brave the outside? No worries. David Suchet, aka Poirot, narrates a TV version of the West End show. The popular comedy of errors follows an amateur dramatics group as they attempt to put on an ambitious pantomime. BBC

Christmas 2016

Witness for the Prosecution

Introducing this year’s answer to ‘And Then There Were None’. The Agatha Christie short story has been given the big-budget Christmas drama treatment – with an impressive cast to match. It’s 1920s London and there’s been a brutal murder in a glamorous town house. The unlucky victim? It’s only ‘Sex and the City’ star Kim Cattrall as wealthy socialite Emily French. BBC

Christmas special 2016

Inside No 9

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s delightfully dark tales are the perfect antidote to an overdose of Christmas cheer. Guests at an alpine chalet discover The Devil at Christmas, a demon who punishes naughty children. Scarier than a stocking stuffed full of coal. BBC

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