Best Christmas specials ranked: 10 of the most popular Xmas TV shows - from Peep Show to the Vicar of Dibley

From Doctor Who to Only Fools and Horses, these are the best TV specials to watch this festive season

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The holiday season is almost upon us and that only means one thing - Christmas specials. But whilst we wait for new ones to drop, why not catch up on some old favourites?

From throwbacks including British classics such as Only Fools and Horses, Gavin and Stacey, Doctor Who and The Vicar of Dibley, to laugh out loud sitcoms such as Friends, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this festive season.

To help you choose what to watch, we’ve reviewed some of our favourites and handpicked the best of the bunch. So, here are the 10 best Christmas specials ranked.

Vicar of Dibley: The Christmas Lunch Incident (1996)

Often voted as one of the UK’s favourite Christmas specials, Dibley’s vicar, played by none other than Dawn French finds herself in a quandary after accidently agreeing to attend three Christmas lunches she’s too polite to say no to. Calamity ensues as French tries hard to work her way through three helpings of turkey slices and Brussels sprouts.

The Vicar of Dibley is available to watch on Brit Box.

Gavin and Stacey: The Christmas Announcement (2008)

Gavin and Stacey’s Christmas special is still one of the series’ most popular episodes. The Welsh gang set off to experience their first ever Essex Christmas, complete with Mick’s (Larry Lamb) “bootiful” turkey, Smithy’s (James Corden) Band Aid Performance and Nessa’s (Ruth Jones) questionable take on a grotto.

You can watch Gavin and Stacey on BBC iPlayer.

Peep Show: Seasonal Beatings (2010)

Peep Show Christmas Special featured a very awkward dinner (Photo: Channel 4)Peep Show Christmas Special featured a very awkward dinner (Photo: Channel 4)
Peep Show Christmas Special featured a very awkward dinner (Photo: Channel 4)

The episode that coined the now memeable phrase “That’s not very Christmassy!” get ready to cringe in this season 7 Christmas special. Mark (David Mitchell) is hosting Christmas at his and Jeremy’s (Robert Webb) flat, with his family, Super Hans (Matt King) and Dobby (Isobel Jane Suttie) in attendance. The episode gives insight into Mark’s relationship with father and is filled with awkward moments including an incident with a shredder.

The OC: The best Chrismukkah Ever (2003)

This heart-warming OC holiday special coined the phrase “Chrismukkah” Seth Cohen’s (Adam Brody) self-titled Christmas and Hanukkah combination. Complete with festive jumpers, Seth tries to show Ryan (Ben McKenzie) what the holidays are all about, whilst he also tries to come to make up his mind about whether he should date Summer (Rachel Bilson) or Anna (Samaire Armstrong).

You can watch The OC on Apple TV.

Father Ted A Christmassy Ted (1996)

A Channel 4 classic, Father Ted follows the stories of three priests who live on Craggy Island. Ted (Dermot Morgan) finds himself winning the Best Priest award after helping avoid a disaster in Ireland’s “largest lingerie section”. The one-hour long episode also features plenty of hilarious moments with Father Jack (Francis Kelly) and Mrs Doyle (Pauline McLynn) who is gifted a tea machine, much to her despair.

You can watch Father Ted on All4.

Friends: The One With the Holiday Armadillo (2000)

One of the most memorable Friends episodes, The One With the Holiday Armadillo follows Ross Gellar (David Schwimmer) as he tries to teach his son Ben about Hanukkah. Ross has to dress up as an Armadillo, Santa’s part-Jewish friend from Texas after the costume shop runs out of Santa suits.

You can watch Friends on Netflix.

Only Fools and Horses: Heroes and Villains (1996)

Del Boy (David Jason) and Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) miss the memo and turn up to a party dressed up as Batman and Robin. The iconic scene shows the brothers go on to stop a crime, dressed up as the masked duo.

You can watch Only Fools and Horses on Brit Box.

Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion (2005)

It isn’t Christmas without Doctor Who and this is one of the best holiday Specials to date. The Christmas Invasion introduces us to the tenth Doctor, David Tennant as he battles the ruthless alien race Sycorax who threaten a third of the earth’s population.

You can watch Doctor Who on BBC iPlayer.

The Office UK: Christmas Special (2003)

The Office UK Christmas Special ended the classic sitcom on a high. The finale episode saw Tim (Martin Freeman) and Dawn (Lucy Davis) share a kiss, possible romance for Brent (Ricky Gervais) and Finchy (Ralph Ineson) finally get his just desserts.

You can watch The Office on All 4.

Knowing Me Knowing Yule with Alan Partridge (1995)

Alan Partridge’s holiday special “Knowing Me, Knowing Yule,” features guests including: Mick Hucknall, bell ringer Mary, and cheese-smeller Tony Hayers.

You can watch this Christmas episode on Now TV.