Tuesday 21 January 2020

Box of delights: Our pick of the best festive family telly

Despicable Me 3 is arguably the best of the bunch
Despicable Me 3 is arguably the best of the bunch
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

For those of us raised in one-television households throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, family viewing was an intrinsic part of Christmas and likely forms the basis of some of our most cherished memories. There's a lot more choice these days, but it's still possible to have that shared family experience. Here are some of the best shows to bond over this festive week...

Christmas Day

The Snail And The Whale BBC 1, 2.30pm

The voices of Dame Diana Rigg, Oscar-nominated actress Sally Hawkins, Cariad Lloyd and Rob Brydon breathe life into Julia Donaldson's beautiful book, The Snail And The Whale, in this charming adaptation.

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Strictly Christmas Special BBC 1, 4.40pm

Six popular previous stars of the series return for the Christmas special, hosted as ever by glamorous double-act Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman. Debbie McGee, Chizzy Akudolu, Gemma Atkinson, Joe Sugg, Mark Wright and Richard Arnold will once again strut their sequinned selves on the dancefloor.


The Great Christmas Bake Off Channel 4, 7.10pm

Noel, Sandi, Prue and Paul will be joined by previous contestants Tom and Yan from 2017 and Briony and Terry from 2018, who will compete in festive-themed challenges for the title of Christmas Star Baker. Status Quo will also be in the tent to play 'Rockin' All Over the World'.


St Stephen's Day

Mimi And The Mountain Dragon BBC 1, 3.20pm

This stunning adaptation of Sir Michael Morpurgo's children's book boasts an intro by the writer himself. It tells the story of a village that lives in fear of a mighty Mountain Dragon. A shy little girl called Mimi finds a baby dragon asleep in her family woodshed and makes the perilous journey to return her to her mother.


December 27

The Secret World Of Toys At Christmas, Channel 4, 2.10pm

Go behind the scenes at some of the biggest toy brands, including the world famous FAO Schwarz toy store in New York, as they prepare to launch a new outlet at London's luxury store Selfridges, the Crayola factory in Pennsylvania and German brand Steiff, who may have actually invented the teddy bear.

Gogglesprogs At Christmas, Channel 4, 7pm

Children, unimpeded by the self-consciousness or cynicism that afflicts the rest of us, make for wonderful Goggleboxers. This year's commentators will be casting a critical eye over a variety of shows, including Channel 4's Flirty Dancing.


December 28

Despicable Me 3, RTE One, 6.30pm

This is arguably the best of the wonderful Despicable Me bunch. Trey Parker voices the balding, moonwalking Balthazar Bratt, a former 80s child star intent on becoming the world's worst villain. Equal parts hilarious and heart-warming, it's a real treat for all the family.


December 29

Doctor Who, BBC One, 6.55pm

Jodie Whitaker travels the globe looking for answers when intelligence agents come under attack from alien forces. Guest starring Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry.


December 30

Edward Scissorhands, Channel 4, 12.20pm

Tim Burton's dark fantasy is 29 years old, but never fails to capture the imagination of new generations. Johnny Depp stars as the titular Scissorhands who is taken in by a suburban family where he struggles to find his place.


New Year's Eve

Una Healy's New Year's Eve Party, RTE One, 10.25pm

Former The Saturdays star Una Healy and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra will be joined by guests, including The Waterboys, David Gray, Wallis Bird, Brian Kennedy and more before the NYE Countdown Concert from Custom House Quay in Dublin.


New Year's Day

Best Of Seven Worlds, One Planet BBC One, 1.05pm

David Attenborough narrates this compilation of the most spectacular moments from the Seven Worlds, One Planet series from across the Earth's seven continents, including hungry polar bears ambushing beluga whales and 'grave robbing' hamsters in Vienna.

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