Christmas Crackers 2010

By Heather Hughes

Dec 15, 2010

What Christmas would be complete without a bundle of TV specials? There’s plenty to choose from this year--from returning favourites to rebooted classics--so be warned: you may have to be selective. To help ease the process we’ve compiled this Christmas list, highlighting the best festive specials of 2010. What will you be watching?

DECEMBER 16

Dirk Gently (9pm, BBC Four)
The BBC found such success with Sherlock that they’re giving another detective novel a modern-day remake. Stephen Mangan plays Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently this Christmas, while Darren Boyd and Helen Baxendale also co-star.

DECEMBER 19

Little Crackers (9pm everyday, Sky One)
There’s something for everyone in this series of comedy shorts. Whether you enjoy watching Stephen Fry, Catherine Tate or Meera Syal, Sky One has it covered. The Twelve productions, individually written, produced and starred in by a different celebrity, are aired in pairs right up until Christmas Day.

Misfits (10pm, E4)
Not your average Christmas special. This Misfits episode acts more like a series finale (which is good considering the disappointment of that episode) than a festive special. It’s still filled with high levels of violence, swearing and sex but to keep the theme Christmassy it also features Jesus and some carol singing.

DECEMBER 20

The Nativity (7pm, BBC1)
Keeping the tradition of Christmas alive, BBC1 are airing a four-part dramatisation of the biblical tale.

Come Rain Come Shine (8.30pm, ITV1)
This one-off won’t make you feel all warm and Christmas-y inside; in fact, it’s not even a Christmas special. Technicalities aside, this family drama about financial struggles does deliver some great acting from David Jason and Anna Wilson-Jones.

Ruth Jones' Christmas Cracker (9pm, BBC1)
The Gavin and Stacey comedian hosts her very first entertainment show--the first of four--in which she interviews guests, performs sketches and welcomes musical acts. Celebrity guests in today’s show include Ricky Gervais, Miranda Hart and Will Young.

DECEMBER 22

Christmas With Gordon (8pm, Channel 4)
Fancy doing something special with this year’s Christmas dinner? Gordon Ramsay is on hand to offer some recipe suggestions including caramelised cranberry and apple sauce, and mint chocolate truffles. Yum. The show continues tomorrow at 8pm.

CHRISTMAS EVE

Avatar 3D (8pm, Sky 3D)
If Santa was particularly generous this year and gave you a 3D TV why not put it to good use by watching the TV premiere of Avatar in 3D? If you can’t get Father Christmas to deliver your 3D TV early there’s also a showing at 3pm on Christmas Day and various showings on normal 2D Sky channels as well. (Check the listings for more info)

The Only Way is Essex (9pm, ITV2)
ITV revisits the stars of their Essex-based “reality” show to see how their Christmas preparations are coming along.

Whistle and I’ll Come To You (9pm, BBC1)
A Christmas Carol isn’t the only ghost story be retold this Christmas. MR James's Edwardian tale Whistle and I’ll Come To You is also getting a modern adaptation. John Hurt (Merlin) takes the lead as James Perkin in this emotional drama, which sees him separate from his nursing home-bound wife.

Peep Show (9pm, Channel 4)
Enjoy a night full of Peep Show fun, starting with a special episode called Peep Show & Tell which looks back at the best moments with input from the stars and their fans. Stick around until 10:05pm and you’ll get to see a preview of the latest episode: it’s Christmas Day and Mark’s invited his parents over--but, of course, it’s not quite as simple as that.

CHRISTMAS DAY

Doctor Who (6pm, BBC1)
As if Rory and Amy haven’t had enough to deal with this year, they become trapped in a crashing space liner. Unsurprisingly it’s up to The Doctor to save them, but a miserable old man is standing in his way. Can the Time Lord save them by rescuing the Scrooge’s soul? You’ll have to watch this special, starring Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins to find out.

Strictly Come Dancing (7pm, BBC1)
Not seen enough glitter and tinsel yet? Make way for the Strictly Come Dancing special, in which Fern Britton, June Brown, Ronni Ancona, John Barrowman and Vince Cable compete to be the Christmas champion.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot (9pm, ITV1)
David Morrisey (Doctor Who), Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and Samuel West (Any Human Heart) join the inimitable David Suchet in this adaptation of the well-known tale Murder on the Orient Express. This special is perfect wind-down TV for (nearly) all the family.

For a pre-treat, ITV are also airing the documentary David Suchet on the Orient Express on Sunday, December 19th, at 9pm.

The Royle Family (9pm, BBC1)
In the fifth Christmas special since the series began, the layabout family celebrate the occasion by wrestling naked; recalling family tales; and worrying about the value of their presents.

Come Fly With Me (10pm, BBC1)
Little Britain creators David Walliams and Matt Lucas take to the sky in their latest comedy show Come Fly With Me. They pose as a range of airport workers and visitors, from pilots to paparazzi, to spoof modern day aviation.

BOXING DAY

Benidorm (9pm, ITV1)
We really hope you like Louis Spence, because it’s going to be hard to miss him this December. He’s doing an alternative Queen’s speech (on Sky on Christmas Day) and guest-starring as a swinger in the Benidom special. Also appearing in the Spanish-based show is British comedian Su Pollard.

Upstairs Downstairs (9pm, BBC1)
Welcome to 165 Eaton Place, the new home of Lady Agnes Holland (Keeley Hawes) and Sir Hallam Holland (Ed Stoppard). The revered three-part period drama, set in 1936, shows the opposing and yet linked lives of the rich living above and their servants working below.

Top Gear (8pm, BBC2)
Wise men are adjectives not commonly used together to describe Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. This Christmas, however, they’ll be following in the religious men’s footsteps--by travelling to Bethlehem.

DECEMBER 27

Agatha Christie's Marple (9pm, ITV1)
ITV love a good period drama, and you can't get much better than their trusted Miss Marple. In this episode Julia McKenzie returns to the title role to solve the case of The Blue Geranium murder.

DECEMBER 28

Just William (12.30pm, BBC1)
Daniel Roche is adept at playing naughty boys. As Ben in Outnumbered he constantly played up to his parents and in Just William, he’s at it again--this time, bringing the 1920s character William Brown back to our TV screens.

DECEMBER 30

Toast (9pm, BBC1)
Take a trip back to 1960s Britain, where Helena Bonham Carter plays the step-mum to renowned food writer and chef Nigel Slater. Toast is based on Slater’s autobiography and will air on BBC One.

WHAT WILL YOU BE WATCHING?

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