Best Christmas TV 2020

Festive pub crawls are out of the question this year, so the perfect way to unwind this December is in front of the telly with copious amounts of food (and a cheeky drink or two). 

Many shows and specials are now being announced – though we’re still waiting on date and time confirmations for quite a few. With that in mind, what is there to enjoy on the gogglebox this Christmas? Plenty. Here’s a selection of the best. You can also take a look at the BBC’s full schedule for the 24, 25 and 26 December.

We have a similar guide specifically for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. You can also check out how to watch Happiest Season in the UK here.

The Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown – Starting 7 December at 8:50pm – BBC One

Every year a classic sitcom reemerges for Christmas, and 2020 is the turn of The Vicar of Dibley. Dawn French will return as Geraldine Grainger for three ten minute lockdown inspired episodes. They will all involve Geraldine delivering her sermons over Zoom, and explore the dos and don’ts of quarantine life.

The Goes Wrong Show: The Nativity – 22 December at 7pm – BBC One

The team behind The Play That Goes Wrong are back for another Christmas episode of stage mishaps. This year, the theatre company is attempting to put on a performance of the Nativity. You can expect to see the actors forgetting their lines, the set falling down, technical errors and much more.

Ghosts Christmas special – 23 December at 8:30pm – BBC One

The Horrible Histories team are behind the cult hit Ghosts, which is getting its very own festive special. In this episode, Alison and Mike are hosting a family Christmas, but have to ensure to keep the ghosts in the house happy. It’ll be a new twist on the classic Christmas Carol story. 

Worzel Gummidge: Saucing Nanny – Christmas Eve at 5:55pm – BBC One

Last year the story of scarecrow Worzel Gummidge – played by Mackenzie Crook – went down a treat, so the gang are back together for another year. This year Worzel, Susan and John have to help Saucy Nancy (a curved ship figurehead) return to the ocean.

The Great British Bake Off Christmas and New Year’s specials – Christmas Eve at 7:40pm (other date and time TBC) – Channel 4

Bake Off got us through lockdown this Autumn, and fortunately there’s more to look forward to over the festive period. There’ll be two episodes – one Christmas special and one New Year’s special. Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith will judge proceedings, while Matt Lucas and Tom Allen will be presenting  – Allen is standing in for Noel Fielding who went on paternity leave during filming. 

Zog and the Flying Doctors – Christmas Day at 2:35pm  – BBC One

Christmas isn’t complete without a good old family-friendly animated film, and Zog and the Flying Doctors is the perfect one for this year. It’s an adaptation of a book by Julia Donaldson, the author of The Gruffalo. Plus, it features a stellar voice cast including Lenny Henry, Rob Brydon and Patsy Ferra.

Strictly: The Christmas Countdown – Christmas Day at 4:45pm – BBC One

Strictly is once again putting on a seasonal special episode, but sadly due to the restrictions things will be a little different. Instead of hosting a small competition, the show will look back at the 25 most memorable dances of the series, as voted for by viewers. 

Call the Midwife – Christmas Day at 7:40pm – BBC One

Another stalwart of Christmas Day is Call the Midwife, which despite lockdown restrictions is back for this year. Everyone at the Nonnatus House is ready for festive celebrations, but in typical fashion lots of unexpected dramas crop up along the way – including hospital visits, surprise reunions and a guest appearance by Peter Davison. 

Britain’s Got Talent at Christmas – Christmas Day at 8pm – ITV

Britain’s Got Talent doesn’t normally put on a Christmas special – but this year is an exception. Judges Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams and Ashley Banjo will look back at some of the most memorable acts from the show overall, which has been on the air for fourteen years. As always, the show will be hosted by the dynamic duo, Ant and Dec.

Mrs. Brown’s Boys – Christmas Day at 10:05pm – BBC One

Mrs. Brown’s Boys is now a staple of Christmas, and this year Agnes and her family will be returning to our screens with two specials. The first episode (Mammy Of The People) sees Agnes trying to cope with lockdown and entering a competition to perform an alternative to the Queen’s speech, whilst the second (Mammy’s memories) shows the family reuniting once again. 

Sir David Attenborough’s Meerkat: A Dynasties Special – 28 December at 7:30pm – BBC One

Every documentary from Attenborough is a treasure – and this festive spin-off of the widely popular Dynasties series will be no different. The episode will focus on a meerkat named Maghogho, and how she attempts to build her own family in the lands of Botswana. Expect beautiful cinematography, epic music and a tear-jerker storyline.

Not Going Out – 30 December at 9pm – BBC One

Not Going Out is back once again this December, and the theme of this show couldn’t be more perfect this year. Lee (Lee Mack) and Lucy (Sally Bretton) are hosting a small gathering, but things take a downward turn when people start to suggest New Year’s resolutions for one another. 

Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks – New Year’s Day (time TBC) – BBC One

Like last year, Doctor Who will hit screens on New Year’s Day, with Jodie Whittaker and the fam returning to fight the most iconic enemy of the series. In addition, fan favourite Captain Jack Harkness (played by John Barrowman) will return for the special to help free the Doctor from space prison and save the world. Check out our guide to Doctor Who for more info.

Watch the best Christmas TV ads for this year.

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