Christmas TV guide 2021: schedule over Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve - from BBC to ITV and C4 and 5
From BBC One to ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, here are all the Christmas specials scheduled exclusively for live TV from Monday 20 December to Friday 31 December
and live on Freeview channel 276
As Christmas draws closer, many of us are looking forward to winding down for the holiday season and lining up enough TV shows to keep us entertained while the weather outside is frightful.
The Christmas TV schedule does not disappoint, with plenty of Christmas specials to keep you cosy, such as The Repair Shop, Celebrity MasterChef and TopGear, as well as classic festive films, including The Snowman, It’s A Wonderful Life, and Home Alone.
Monday 20 December
- Mary Berry’s Festive Feasts, 7.05pm
- Would I Lie to You: Festive edition, 8.30pm
- Christmas University Challenge, 8.30pm (new series)
- QI: festive special, 9pm
- Two Doors Down, 9.30pm
- We Wish You a Mandy Christmas, 10pm
Mandy considers the real meaning of Christmas in this Dickens’ spin on Diane Morgan’s comedy, Mandy.
- Cinderella: A Comic Relief pantomime for Christmas, 10.50pm
First aired in 2020, this special ‘at home’ theatre productions stars Olivia Coleman and Helena Bonham Carter.
- The Big Soap Quiz: Coronation Street vs Emmerdale, 9pm
Stephen Mulhern hosts the annual quiz where two teams made up of soap stars battle it out in a bid to be crowned the most knowledgeable about the past year of soap stories.
Mark Charnock and Jack P Shepherd (aka Marlon Dingle and David Platt) lead the teams.
- Kristie’s Handmade Christmas, 5pm
- Jamie: Together at Christmas, 8pm
Family man and chef Jamie Oliver gives viewers a masterclass in how to prepare the perfect Christmas dinner, starters and dessert, just in time for us to pick up a few hints and tips.
From panettone sticky pudding to Hassleback potatoes, he shows how to make show-stopping food, simple.
- Christmas At Liberty, 9pm
- Deck the Halls: The Luxury Christmas Decorators, 10pm
A Liverpool based decorating company are tasked with making some of Britain’s landmarks into festive showpieces, such as the Natural History Museum and Alder Hey Children’s hospital.
- A Snowy scenic railway journey, 7pm
A 600-mile trip through one of the world’s most northerly countries, Finland.
Tuesday 21 December
- Celebrity Masterchef Christmas Cook-off, 8pm
10 former MasterChef celebrity contestants return to the heat of the kitchen for this Christmas schedule. In the first heat, Oti Mabuse, Joey Essex, Judi Love and Su Pollard compete head to head.
- Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Christmas fishing, 6.30pm
- A Taste of Christmas with Andi Oliver, 9pm
Chef and broadcaster Andi travels to Glasgow to spend time with three families of different cultures, from Pakistani, Glaswegian and Italian origin, to learn what their meals mean to the coming together of their loved ones.
- Amazing spaces: George’s Icelandic Adventure, 9pm
George Clarke joins craftsman Will Hardie on an architecture adventure around Iceland, including visiting mysterious elves and geothermal baths.
- Harrods at Christmas, 8pm
Former employees of the store reveal what it’s like to take care of celebrities over the Christmas season.
Wednesday 22 December
- Pointless Celebrities: festive edition, 5.15pm
- The Great British Sewing Bee, 8pm
- Inside the Christmas Factory, 9pm
- Great Expectations, 11.45pm
Jeremy Irvine and Helena Bonham Carter star in this adaptation of the Charles Dickens period drama.
- First Dates at Christmas, 9pm
Fred Siriex helps guests find love under the mistletoe.
- Christmas at the Tower of London, 8pm
- Our Victorian Christmas, 9pm
A family is moved into a Victorian house to experience how Christmas was 150 years ago.
Thursday 23 December
- Superman and Lois, 5.15pm
- Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook off, 9pm
Gemma Collins, Joe Swash, Les Dennis, Mica Paris and the Rev Richard Coles return to the kitchen for the second heats of the Christmas special.
- Not Going Out, 10pm
- Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, 6.45pm
- Blackburn sings Christmas with Gareth Malone, 8pm
- Last Christmas (2017), 9pm
- Tipping Point: Lucky Stars Christmas Special, 4pm
- The Chase Celebrity Christmas Special, 5pm
- Alan Carr’s Epic Christmas Game Show Christmas Special, 8pm
Alan returns for a festive edition of The Price Is Right, as contestants play some of the best known game shows, from Plinko and Cliffhanger.
- The Cube Celebrity Special, 9pm
Phillips Schofield presents this Christmas special of The Cube, including Jordan Banjo, Perri Kiely and Lorraine Kelly’s daughter Rosie.
- Christmas at Holkham Hall, 8pm
- Christmas on the Farm, 9pm
Friday, Christmas Eve
- Frozen, 1.30pm
The original Disney film in which a talking Snowman and a silent reindeer befriend sisters, in this glittering family feel good movie from 2013.
- Shaun the Sheep: Flight Before Christmas, 6pm
- The Repair Shop at Christmas, 7pm
- TopGear: driving home for Christmas, 8.30pm
Chris, Paddy and Freddie embark on a roadtrip to deliver a Christmas tree.
- The Vicar of Dibley: The Christmas Lunch incident, 10.30pm
- Carols from King’s, 6.15pm
The traditional celebration by candle light, brought to the BBC by the King’s Choir of Cambridge.
- Gardeners World Winter specials, 8pm
Monty Don, Arthur Parkinson and Rachel de Thame show you how to create stunning winter displays and make fresh Christmas tree decorations.
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Mezzotint, 10.30pm
- Tipping Point: Lucky Stars Christmas special, 3.55pm
Anton Du Beke, Scarlett Moffat and Bobby Norris take on the huge slot machine in a charity celebrity special
- The Chase: Celebrity Christmas Special, 5.30pm
- Gino’s Italian Family Adventure: a festive feast, 6.30pm
Chef Gino D’Acampo and his family prepare a stunning Christmas day feast, Italian-style.
- Royal Carols: Christmas Together, 7.30pm
The Duchess of Cambridge hosts a carol service at Westminster Abbey.
- Bradley and Barney: Breaking Dad at Christmas, 9pm
The father and son duo visit Iceland for some hilarious challenges and stunning scenery.
- Spitting Image Christmas special, 10pm
- Its a Wonderful Life, 2pm
- The Snowman, 5pm
- The Snowman and The Snowdog, 5.35pm
A young boy makes a snowman and a snowdog who come to life in this animated adventure short film.
- Home Alone (1990), 6pm
- The Greatest Snowman, 8pm
Sue Perkins hosts five celebrities as they are supported by world-class ice sculptors and snow builders to create stunning icy structures.
- Eight out of 10 Cats does Countdown Christmas special, 9.30pm
- The Last Leg Christmas Special, 10.30pm
- Ball and Boe: Back Together, 6.10pm
Michael Ball and Alfie Boe perform their favourite hits from theatre, pop and rock.
- World’s Most Expensive Christmas cruise, 8pm
Saturday, Christmas Day
- Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, 1.30pm
Six new celebrities take to the dancefloor for a one-off festive competition. Stars include Mel Giedroyc, Adrian Chiles, Anne-Marie and Fred Siriex.
- Superworm, 2.30pm
The latest screen adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s children’s books, the Superworm who saves many garden creatures is captured by a villainous lizard. Can his friends come to his rescue? Voice overs include Olivia Coleman and Matt Smith.
- The Queen’s Christmas message, 3pm
- Mary Poppins Returns (2018), 3.10pm
- Call The Midwife Christmas Special, 8pm
- EastEnders, 9.35pm
- Mrs Browns Boys, 10.20pm
- The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show 1971, 7pm
Glenda Jackson and Shirley Temple join Eric and Ernie in this throwback to Christmas, 50 years ago.
- A Musical Family Christmas with the Kanneh-Masons, 8.30pm
- Santa Claus: the movie (1985), 3.10pm
- Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs at Christmas, 5.30pm
- The Masked Singalong, 6pm
Joel Dommett returns with Queen Bee, Badger, Sausage and other masked characters as they perform a playlist of ballads and classics.
- Emmerdale, 7pm
- Coronation Street, 8pm
- The Larkins at Christmas, 9pm
Ma and Pa Larkin return with their brood as they bring in Christmas in their Kent village.
- Love Actually (2003), 10.40pm
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), 3pm
- Terry pratchett’s The Abominable Snow baby, 7.30pm
Animated screen adaptation of Pratchett’s story, with voice over including Julie Walters, Hugh Dancy and narrated by David Harewood
- The Great Christmas Bake Off, 8pm
Celebrities come together in the iconic tent to bake festive themed delights for Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), 3.10pm
Sunday, Boxing Day
- Around the World in 80 days, 5.50pm
New series, based on Jules Verne’s novel of adventure, starring Doctor Who’s David Tennant. Episode 2 airs 6.40pm.
- Death in Paradise: Christmas special, 7.30pm
- A Very British Scandal, 9pm
New series (part 1/3), fact-based drama based on the story of the divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll in 1963. All episodes available on iPlayer following this episode.
- Anything Goes: The Musical, 6.40pm
Live from the Barbican in London, this theatrical production retells the 1930s classic comedy of the antics aboard the SS American.
- Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Christmas fishing, 9pm
- The Chase: Celebrity Christmas Special, 5pm
The Chasers become the Addams Family in this all-star episode.
- Celebrity Catchphrase Christmas Special, 6pm
Perri Kiely, Anne Hegarty and Rob Brydon join Stephen Mulhern to win £50,000 for good causes.
- All Star Musicals at Christmas, 8pm
Stars such as Fern Britton, Catherine Tysedale and Anita Rani perform hits from Chicago, Cats and Moana.
- Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure, 9.30pm
The Big Yin looks back at his 50 years of comedy, as he welcomes cameras into his home in Florida Keys.
- Home Alone 3 (1997), 1.55pm
- Britain’s Scenic Railways at Christmas, 6pm
- Escape to the Chateau at Christmas, 7pm
- Big Fat Quiz of the Year, 9pm
Jimmy Carr is joined by stars such as Sarah Millican, James Acaster and presenter Jonathan Ross for a general knowledge quiz about the year gone by.
Monday 27 December
- Paddington 2, 5.55pm
Comedy starring Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins, a family friendly film about a little bear caught up in a whole lot of trouble.
- MasterChef: The Professionals rematch 2021, 8pm
Grace Dent, Jimi Famurewa and Jay Rayner return to judge four chefs from previous seasons, as they battle for a second chance at the title.
- Westside Story (2961), 4.35pm
- Only Connect, 8pm
Victoria Cohen Mitchell returns for the first of four festive editions of the popular competition show. Each episode airs across four consecutive nights.
- In for a Christmas Penny, 5.15pm
Stephen Mulhern hosts the hilarious challenge show from Chelmsford, where members of the public take part in quizzes and challenges for a cash prize.
- Family Fortunes Christmas Special, 6pm
- Travel Man: 96 Hours in Iceland, 8pm
Joe Lycett takes Bill Bailey on a visit to the Christmas wonderland, Iceland. In a four-day adventure, they visit a punk rock museum, taste local cuisine and go Husky sledding, among other fun and festive activities.
Tuesday, 28 December
- The BFG (2016), 3.25pm
Directed by Stephen Spielberg, this screen adaptation of Rold Dahl’s children’s novel tells the story of an adventure when a young girl is taken from her orphanage home by a Big Friendly Giant.
- Worzel Gummidge, 7.15pm
- Mock the Week: End of Year Special, 10pm
Darah O’Briain and Hugh Dennis present some of the most hilarious outtakes of the past 12 months, comedy gold.
- Extraordinary Escapes at Christmas with Sandi Toksvig, 8pm
The broadcaster travels to Norway where she is joined by three companions who show her the wonders of the Arctic Circle, killer whales, the Northern Lights and wolves.
- Murder on the Orient Express (2017), 9pm
Murder mystery starring Kenneth Branagh and Michelle Pfeiffer. When a passenger is killed on a luxury train, everyone become suspects of detective Hercule Piorot
Thursday, 29 December
- The Weakest Link, 6.30pm
- Worzel Gummidge, 7.15pm
- A Star is Born (2018), 9pm
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star in this stunning romantic drama about a signing hopeful and the turmoil of substance abuse and how it impacts relationships.
- Frankie Boyle’s 2021 New World order, 10pm
Frankie Boyle and his merry guests use stand up, reviews and highlights to dissect the past year.
- Christmas in New York: Inside the Piaza, 3.30pm
Behind the scenes look at how staff cater and care for 400 quests in the famously lavish four star hotel.
- Billionaire Blooms, 7pm
A look into the world of flowers and florists when budget is no issue, from decorating a full mansion in flower displays to bringing scaffolding inside to dress a large London venue for Christmas.
- Britain’s Most Expensive Houses, 9pm (new series)
Thursday 30 December
- The Jungle Book (2016), 3.35pm
A live action take on the 1967 Disney classic, starring Neel Sethi.
- Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard, 8pm
National treasure Sir David Attenborough takes a trip to a quarry near Swindon, where two amatuer fossil hunters came across prehistoric remains of the mammoth four years ago. The remains are hundreds of thousands of years old and alongside the animal, a human hand-axe was also recovered.
- The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity New Year Special, 9pm (10.45pm in Scotland)
- Walter: A Life in Football, (9pm Scotland)
A tribute to the late Scotland and Rangers manager, through the eyes and memories of those who knew him best, from players to managers and friends.
- Vera, 8pm
Vera returns for another murder mystery, as a family man is battered to death the day before appearing as a witness in a violent assault case.
- Wogan: Now Your Talking, 9pm
Charting the life of broadcaster Terry WIgan from his rise to fame in Dublin, with contributions from those who know him best.
Friday 31 December (Hogmanay)
- MasterChef Champion of Champions, 8.30pm
Five previous winners battle it out to be crowned the ultimate champion of the MasterChef kitchen.
- Have I got 2021 News for You, 9.30pm
A compilation of highlights of some of the biggest breaking stories of this year.
- Scot Squad, 10.30pm
A Hogmanay episode of the mockumentary series, with a guests appearance from Eddie Reader.
- Hogmanay, 11.30pm
Edith Bowman is joined by Emile Sande and Texas as the BBC bring in the Bells, with a midnight countdown and lone piper.
- Jools’s Annual Hootenanny, 11.25pm
Jools Holland is joined by his rhythm and blues orchestra as he welcomes musical talent such as Ed Sheeran, Gregory Porter and Rag’n’Bone man.
- Bringing in the Bells, 11.30pm
Lorraine Kelly, Sean Batty, Amy McDonald, Gail Porter, Sanjeev Kohli and Jean Johansson reflect on the last year and bring in the new.
- The Last Leg of the Year, 9pm
Hosts and the celebrity panel mull over what has come of 2021, and share their predictions of what could be in 2022.