Christmas Crackers 2009

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It just doesn't feel like Christmas until the festive jingles and snow-covered sets arrive on our TV screens. The occasion is always marked by the Queen's speech and (more often than not) a repeat of The Great Escape, not to mention a whole host of specials. As the big day creeps closer there's so much to look forward to. Here are this year's holiday highlights…

My Family (8PM, BBC1)
The Harpers gather together to celebrate Christmas, 2039. The kids have grown up and their parents have turned grey, but the relationships between them remain nauseatingly familiar.

Victoria Wood's Mid-Life Christmas (9pm, BBC1)
In her first Christmas special for nearly a decade Bafta Award-winner Victoria Wood performs in an hour-long sketch show featuring whacky commercials, period dramas and unlikely sporting events.

Bones (9pm, Sky1)
Things get complicated for Booth and Brennan when their investigation into the suspicious death of a shopping store Santa suggests the murderer is the real Father Christmas.

Taggart (9pm, ITV1)
Reid and Ross return for another murder-mystery series, starting with an episode about internet fraud.

Christmas Carols with the Troops (10:15pm, ITV1)
Sir Trevor McDonald joins service men and women at St Clement's Church in London to present a special service in honour of British troops serving abroad, in which Britain's Got Talent's Faryl Smith and chart-topping ensemble The Soldiers will perform.

How I Met Your Mother (11pm, E4)
Just like the Ghost of Christmas Past E4 takes you back in time, but instead of giving you guilty flashbacks the broadcaster lets you relive this festive treat. The episode, from the second season, sees Ted almost ruin Christmas when a grudge he's harbouring leads him to insult Lily.

Fonejacker Christmas Special (11:30pm, E4)
All the usual Fonejacker suspects return to mock and scam their way through the holiday season.

The Gruffalo (5:30pm, BBC1)
"His eyes are orange, his tongue is back, he has purple gristles all over his back," no it's not The Grinch's ugly cousin, it's The Gruffalo--a fictional creature who takes the lead in the BBC's new feature animation. It tells the tale of a hungry mouse who, while in search of a nut, sees an animal created by his imagination.

Doctor Who : The End of Time (6pm, BBC1)
It's time for David Tennant to say his final farewell. Well, nearly. The second part of this two-part special concludes on New Year's Day, but before then The Doctor has to face his old nemesis, The Master, and attempt to save the universe from impending destruction.

Strictly Come Dancing Special (7pm, BBC1)
Old favourites Gethin Jones, Rachel Stevens and Austin Healey compete with three of this year's competitors for the chance to become this year's Strictly Christmas Champion.

The Royle Family (9pm, BBC1)
Another Christmas, another Royle Family special. This year Jim and Barbara are given the gift of money and they haven't got a clue what to do with it.

Agatha Christie's Poirot (9pm, ITV1)
Another dead body is found, but the murderer is more difficult to determine than usual. Is the detective losing his touch?

Gavin and Stacey (10pm, BBC1)
The series' penultimate episode, airing on Christmas Day, is not technically a festive special (which is a very good thing considering it's set at the seaside in summer). This instalment is a must-watch for all fans--it sets up the finale, which broadcasts on New Year's Day, in which Stacey brings good news and Nessa celebrates her wedding day.

Catherine Tate's Christmas Special (10:30pm, BBC1)
The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future pay an unexpected visit to Nan, teaching her a lesson for all those curses she's sent everyone else's way. To say she doesn't take it well is an understatement.

Hamlet (5:05pm, BBC2)
Miss David Tennant already? He may have handed Matt Smith the keys to The Doctor's Tardis but that doesn't mean he's off our screens for good. To prove it the BBC are screening this award-winning feature from The Royal Shakespeare Company in which Tennant takes the title role.

Harry Hill's TV Burp Review of the Year (6:30pm, ITV1)
Join award-winning comedian Harry Hill as he looks back at this year's most memorable, amusing and down-right ridiculous TV moments.

Ant & Dec's Christmas Show (7.30pm, ITV1)
The Geordie double-act celebrate with some celebrity "friends" by hosting special sketches, games and performances from the likes of Alexandra Burke, Piers Morgan and Robbie Williams. It's basically Saturday Night Takeaway with added festive cheer.

CSI: Grissom's Greatest (From 8:15pm on Five)
This Christmas Five pays homage to one of CSI's best-loved characters, ex-investigator Gil Grissom. For three days (Dec 22, 26 and 29) the channel will dedicate their evening's schedule to him--by showing back-to-back classic episodes of the drama, highlighting crucial points from Grissom's past including his complicated relationship with Sara Sidle.

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