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Christmas TV guide 2014 - Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Strictly Come Dancing, Text Santa and more

Find out what will be making you laugh, cry and cheer this Christmas

Christmas 2014 TV highlights
Christmas 2014 TV highlights

Once all the Christmas presents have been bought, the turkey has been stuffed and the mince pies baked, it’s time to sit down and enjoy some festive TV.

This year there’s a packed schedule full of the usual dramas, comedies and Christmas specials.

Here’s a highlight of what’s in store, with a few surprises revealed along the way:

Downton Abbey, ITV

This two hour Christmas special sees the Crawleys invited to a party hosted by Rose’s new in-law, Lord Sinderby, at which a scandalous secret threatens to ruin their fun.

Actor Matthew Goode arrives to play Lady Mary’s new love interest (yes, another one), and the episode see Branson and daughter Sybbie leave Downton for a new life Stateside. Tissues at the ready.

Top Gear: Patagonia Special, BBC2

Rod Fountain James May, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond in the 2014 Christmas special

What should have been a straightforward 1,600 mile trek through Patagonia ended in a riot, after a group of Argentinians were left pretty unhappy by a number plate which they felt contained a dig about the Falklands war.

Host Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond fled the country after stones were reportedly thrown at them.

Producers have insisted it was not a stunt and are going ahead with the two, hour long broadcasts this Christmas.

Miranda Christmas Special

Prepare to weep, as Miranda makes her festive farewell in two special finales.

The first picks up where we left off with Miranda confused after proposals from her boyfriend Mike, and long-term crush Gary.

Which, if any, will she choose?

Doctor Who, BBC1

Father Christmas took some time off from his busy North Pole schedule to appear in this festive episode of Doctor Who, which airs on Christmas Day.

When Doc and Clara become trapped on an arctic base under attack from terrifying creatures, Santa comes to the rescue.

But with this being the episode where Jenna Coleman’s character Clara departs the show, will Jolly Old St Nick save the day?

Mrs Brown’s Boys, BBC1

Alan Peebles Agnes Brown (Brendan O'Carroll) in Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special

This year fans are treated to a double dose of festive specials.

Mammy gets frustrated when her magical new Christmas tree doesn’t live up to its claims and she’s not happy to hear that Rory has “getting plastic surgery” on his Christmas list.

Meanwhile, Agnes forms a plan to make sure she doesn’t become the latest burglary victim, but her brand new alarm system causes chaos.

The Great British Bake Off: Xmas Masterclass, BBC1

Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are back in time to show us how to make the perfect festive treats.

Tune in to make sure your mince pies don’t end up with a dreaded soggy bottom. Oh the shame!

Call the Midwife, BBC1

The special sees Jennifer and husband Philip preparing for Christmas in 2005.

Then, with a sprinkle of festive magic, we’re transported to 1960 where Chummy (Miranda Hart) is attempting to bring some joy to a badly managed mother and baby home.

In a less cheery plotline, Cynthia has to make a life-changing decision after trying to help two former residents of a Victorian mental hospital, who are struggling to fend for themselves.

Birds of a Feather Christmas special, ITV

Sharon, Tracey and Dorian swap Chigwell for Christmas in the Canary Islands, with plenty of the usual crazy capers along the way.

Travis and a newly single Garth stay at home and take the opportunity to throw a big party with lots of ladies and mistletoe aplenty. What could possibly go wrong?

Strictly Come Dancing, BBC1

Strictly’s back and so is Brucie!

As six former contestants take another spin around the dancefloor, Sir Bruce Forsyth joins Tess Daly for this festive panto-themed special.

Olympic gymnast Louis Smith, TV presenter Chris Hollins and astrologer Russell Grant are the men giving their dancing shoes another outing, while Sophie Ellis-Baxtor, Lisa Riley and Rachel Stevens are the ladies digging out their glitteriest gowns.

Esio Trot, BBC1

Dustin Hoffman, Judi Dench and James Cordon star in this version of Roald Dahl’s classic tale.

Love Actually’s Richard Curtis is behind the 90 minute adaptation, so we’ve got high hopes.

The story tells the tale of Mr Hoppy (played by Hoffman), who is secretly in love with Mrs Silver (Dench) but too shy to admit his feelings. His plight isn’t helped by the fact that Mrs Silver is besotted with her pet tortoise Alfie.

Text Santa, ITV

Ian West/PA Wire George Clooney

For months the rumour mill has been in overdrive with the suggestion that George Clooney might guest star in Downton Abbey’s Christmas special.

We can confirm he WON'T, but don’t worry - he does pop up in a satirical Downton sketch for the Text Santa charity appeal.

Lucky Dame Maggie is the object of his affections, but will the couple snog under the mistletoe?

This year’s appeal also sees X Factor judge and former Spice Girl Mel B, pop up in Corrie.

The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm, BBC1

Adapted from Norman Hunter’s children’s books and written by Charlie Higson, this sees Harry Hill make his acting debut as a nutty professor type, who wears three pairs of glasses.

The plot sees Branestawm and his friend Connie, a local schoolgirl and science enthusiast, become unpopular after they keep blowing things up. Festive fun at its best.

That Day We Sang, BBC2

Nick Ansell/PA Wire Imelda Staunton stars with Michael Ball in That Day We Sang

Set in Manchester in 1969, this uplifting musical charts the tale of Tubby (Michael Ball) and Enid (Imelda Staunton), who meet at a children’s choir reunion.

Written and directed by Victoria Wood, we see the two lonely souls reconnect via their love of music.

Black Mirror, Channel 4

Jon Hamm takes a break from playing Mad Men’s Don Draper to star in this Christmas special, which sees him and friend (Rafe Spall), swap spooky tales of “techno paranoia”.

Also stars Oona Chaplin as someone who explores what might happen if you could ‘block’ people in real life.

Mapp and Lucia, BBC1

This comedy drama sees recently widowed Emmeline Lucas attempt to relaunch herself in Tilling - where Elizabeth Mapp is already top of the society tree.

A battle of wills ensues, and the residents can only stand by and watch. Jolly good fun.

The Boy in the Dress, BBC1


Supermodel Kate Moss makes a cameo in this adaptation of David Walliams’s best-seller.

Dennis Sims is a 12-year-old boy who lives an ordinary life but feels different.

Feeling down after his mum disappears with a roofer, he decides to don a dress that friend Lisa has created, and see if people will believe he’s Lisa’s French pen pal.

On Angel Wings, BBC1

Based on the book of the same name by Michael Morpurgo, this heartwarming animation gives the nativity story a magical makeover, as a little shepherd boy recalls his Christmas experience for his grandchildren many years on.

It is Christmas in...
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