Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

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Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

TELLY this Christmas looks set to be a cracker.

Get set for lashings of belly laughs, festive specials, top drama and award-winning stars as TV chiefs serve up a feast.

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

Watch some of Britain’s best-loved stars take to the dance floor for one night only in the Strictly Christmas Special Credit: BBC

Family favourites including Strictly and The Voice Kids line up alongside comedy with the Not Going Out Christmas special and eagerly awaited drama, A Very British Scandal.

New Julia Donaldson animation Superworm will keep little ’uns entertained.

Here are Felicity Cross's top picks. 

Kids

SHAUN THE SHEEP – THE FLIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (BBC One): Everyone’s favourite farm animal is back in this new half-hour caper. Shaun’s festive joy turns to dismay when a farmhouse raid to get a bigger stocking for the Flock leads to Timmy going missing. Themes of friendship and loyalty underpin this Christmas special.

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

Olivia Colman narrates sweet animation, Superworm, with Matt Smith as the worm Credit: BBC

SUPERWORM (BBC One): Olivia Colman narrates this sweet animation, with Matt Smith as the worm. Based on Julia Donaldson’s sublime children’s book, expect themes of friendship and bravery. Julia is best known for The Gruffalo, so you can be sure this will be an instant classic.

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

A quintessentially English town is thrown into disarray by a huge snowfall and the dramatic appearance of a 14ft Snow Baby

THE ABOMINABLE SNOW BABY (Channel 4): The magic of Sir Terry Pratchett comes to life in this half-hour animation starring national treasure Dame Julie Walters. It tells the story of a quintessentially English town thrown into disarray by a huge snowfall and the dramatic appearance of a 14ft Snow Baby. Brave Granny and her grandson welcome him into their home and the fun begins.

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

Sheridan Smith and David Walliams in Hansel And Gretel: After Ever After Credit: © King Bert / photographer Gary Moyes

HANSEL AND GRETEL: AFTER EVER AFTER (Sky Max): Sky’s After Ever After brand has quietly become one of Christmas telly’s big hitters. This year’s, starring Sheridan Smith and David Walliams, is a delight. It looks at what happens after the fairytale children escaped from the Gingerbread House and reached home.

Comedy

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

It’s a Marmite TV show but for the fans of Brendan O’Carroll’s comedy, Christmas specials are always a laugh Credit: BBC

MRS BROWN’S BOYS (BBC One): It’s a Marmite TV show but for the fans of Brendan O’Carroll’s comedy, Christmas specials are always a laugh. There will be two visits to Finglas this year, the first following Agnes as she becomes a non-singing member of a choir. And Buster organises a benefit night for an unusual cause. 

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: A COMIC RELIEF PANTOMIME FOR CHRISTMAS (BBC Two): Christmas isn’t the same without a good old panto and this promises to be a corker. Last year’s Cinderella production starred Bridgerton hunk Regé-Jean Page, The Queen’s Gambit’s Anya Taylor Joy, Oscar-winner Olivia Colman and 007 himself, Daniel Craig. So expect more A-listers treading the boards for charity this time.

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

Greg Davies is in the hot seat Credit: ©Sky UK Ltd

NEVER MIND THE BUZZCOCKS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (Sky Max/Now TV): Greg Davies is in the hot seat as Noel Fielding, Daisy May Cooper and Jamali Maddix make merry. Frankie Goes To Hollywood frontman Holly Johnson, Lauren Laverne and People Just Do Nothing comic Asim Chaudhry join the fun. It’ll be the familiar raucous mix of mickey-taking and quizzing, with a festive twist.

NOT GOING OUT CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (BBC One): Lee Mack welcomes special guest Jason Donovan to the hilarious comedy for a panto-themed episode. Lee is not happy that Lucy (Sally Bretton) has booked tickets to see the stage show as Jason, who plays Prince Charming, is her teenage crush. The gang will serve up the usual jokes, banter and laughs. 

Films

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

The magical movie is rooted in the culture of Colombia and follows the story of a family living in a magical mountain called the Encanto Credit: Alamy

ENCANTO (Disney+): Disney has rushed its latest animation from cinemas to its streaming channel in time for Christmas. It is rooted in the culture of Colombia and follows the story of a family living in a magical mountain called the Encanto. The songs are written by Moana’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, so are guaranteed to be catchy.

A CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE (Sky Cinema, stream from December 10): The race to hit the chart with a festive banger is part of Christmas. This new movie has music by Guy Chambers and stars Slumdog Millionaire’s Freida Pinto. It is packed with fun, laughs and even celebrity appearances

DON’T LOOK UP (Netflix, stream from Christmas Eve): This Hollywood blockbuster starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t have a festive plot but will inject some grown-up humour into your break. The black comedy follows two low-level astronomers as they try to warn mankind about an approaching comet that will destroy Earth. Timothee Chalamet and Ariana Grande also feature.

GRUMPY CHRISTMAS (Netflix, stream from December 22): Watch something a little different in this Mexican family comedy. The plot follows Servando and Alicia on a family trip to the beach which turns wild as they vie to control Christmas. Feliz Navidad it is not!

Entertainment

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

Starting in Bethlehem, in Wales, the Top Gear trio of un-wise men will go on a mission to deliver their presents Credit: BBC STUDIOS 2021

TOP GEAR – DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (BBC One): Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris have come up with another Christmas cracker. Starting in Bethlehem, in Wales, the trio of un-wise men will go on a mission to deliver their presents. They’ll unite at the test track, which has been transformed into a winter wonderland.

STRICTLY COME DANCING CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (BBC One Christmas Day): Watch some of Britain’s best-loved stars take to the dance floor for one night only. Broadcasters Adrian Chiles and Moira Stuart will line up alongside pop star Anne-Marie. Mel Giedroyc, Repair Shop’s Jay Blades and First Dates’ Fred Sirieix have also signed up.

THE BIG SOAP QUIZ (ITV): Nothing says Christmas like a bumper soap special and ITV has favourites from Corrie and Emmerdale being tested on their knowledge. Jack P Shepherd leads Jane Danson and Tanisha Gorey for Corrie against Mark Charnock, Sally Dexter and Emile John for Emmerdale.

THE VOICE KIDS (ITV): Spice Girl Melanie C is the new star signing for The Voice Kids. Watch her debut as she joins Danny Jones, Will.i.am and Pixie Lott for the new series. Emma Willis is on hosting duties and there are promises that Santa, snow and sleigh rides will all feature.

Drama

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

Claire Foy stars as the “Dirty Duchess” in A Very British Scandal Credit: BBC

A VERY BRITISH SCANDAL (BBC One): Claire Foy stars as the “Dirty Duchess” in this retelling of the scandalous divorce between the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. Over three parts, accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug-taking and an explicit Polaroid picture will fly. Paul Bettany appears as the Duke.

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

Helen and James prepare for the big day and drama at the vets Credit: Playground Television (UK) Ltd.

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (Channel 5): This reboot of the Eighties classic has drawn a league of fans since launching in 2020. There will be the usual gentle action as Helen and James prepare for the big day and drama at the vets. Oscar winner Rachel Shenton stars. 

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

Sabrina Bartlett and Tok Stephens in The Larkins Credit: ITV

THE LARKINS (ITV): Bradley Walsh has charmed viewers as Pop Larkin so a festive special will make many Christmas wishes come true. Ma Larkin actress Joanna Scanlan promises the episode will have lots of twists and turns, with a heart-warming message. Gorgeous Sabrina Bartlett plays Mariette, the role that made Catherine Zeta-Jones famous, alongside Tok Stephen as Charley.

CALL THE MIDWIFE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (BBC One Christmas Day): Ahead of the 11th series of the gentle drama, Nonnatus House is excited for Lucille and Cyril’s wedding. But the nuns struggle to enjoy the merriment as they are faced with their busiest Christmas Day ever. The usual darker moments are brightened by a blossoming new romance for Trixie.

Factual

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

Inside The Tower Of London At Christmas Credit: Lion TV

INSIDE THE TOWER OF LONDON AT CHRISTMAS (Channel 5): Snoop back inside the gates as the famous Beefeaters prepare for Christmas, attempting to turn the fortress into a winter wonderland. The ravens don’t miss out, either, as they get their own special decorations. Alongside the fun, expect a neat mix of history as Chief Curator Tracy Borman tells of Henry VIII’s Christmas.

CHRISTMAS AT KEW GARDENS (Channel 5): A rare chance to enjoy Britain’s most famous gardens during the festive season. Join the team as they dress the country’s tallest living Christmas tree with lights, gather holly and prune the tropical plants in the temperate house. And the vegetable garden is stripped ready for the team’s celebration meal.

Best Christmas TV 2021: From Bake Off and Top Gear to Strictly and a Coronation Street and Emmerdale special

Sir David Attenborough chooses his favourite recordings from the natural world Credit: BBC

THE WONDER OF SONG (BBC One): Sir David Attenborough chooses his favourite recordings from the natural world and explains how they have revolutionised our understanding of song. From the planet’s largest lemur to robins to the song of the humpback whale, Sir David looks at how all species use song to communicate. His longtime collaborator, Mike Birkhead, is writer, director and producer, so it’ll be another fascinating watch from the king of documentaries.

MARY BERRY’S FESTIVE FEASTS (BBC): The Queen of the Kitchen helps three hapless cooks create an amazing Christmas dinner. They are invited into Mary’s home and tell her all about the deserving friends and family they want to impress. She’ll demonstrate the tricky techniques they need alongside her festive helpers.

BBC viewers all have the same complaint about this year’s Christmas TV line-up – as DOUBLE Mrs Brown’s Boys special in announced

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