Sweet streams this Christmas
As Netflix, Sky/Now TV, and Amazon Prime unveil their festive schedules, Aoife Kelly handpicks her viewing highlights
With the festive break looming, what better time to plan a streaming schedule of festive TV treats to be enjoyed at your leisure? While there are a couple of predictable, but nonetheless enjoyable, offerings (we're looking at you, The Holiday), there is also an array of intriguing original films and series courtesy of Amazon Prime Video, Sky/Now TV, and Netflix.
Here are some of the streaming highlights for December:
The Greatest Showman
Sky Cinema and Now TV
This dazzling musical, starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya has been lovingly embraced by audiences. Inspired by the story of PT Barnum's life, it also spawned the smash hit 'This Is Me', which won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Oscar.
Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager, Netflix
A heartfelt profile of the late Bobby Robson charting the former England manager's life through the early days at Ipswich in the 70s and 80s through the infamous 'hand of God' incident with Maradona to his stint at Barcelona and battle with melanoma. Pep Guardiola, Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho pay tribute.
The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, Season Two
Amazon Prime Video
Rachel Brosnahan was a tonic in Season One of Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino's series in which she played a 1958 New York housewife who suddenly discovers a talent for stand-up. In Season Two, she struggles with coming clean to her family.
Fortitude, Season Three
Sky Atlantic and Now TV
After two 10-episode series, the concluding chapter comes in the form of a four-part miniseries with Richard Dormer and Dennis Quaid reprising their roles as two new officers are despatched from Oslo in the wake of corrupt mayor Erling Munk's murder.
Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet play two unlucky-in-love thirty-somethings who house swap over Christmas and find romance with Jude Law and Jack Black respectively.
This musical comedy stars Jennifer Aniston as Rosie Dickson, the former beauty queen mother of plus-size student Willowdean 'Dumplin' Dickson. The forthright Texas teen enters a local beauty pageant to honour her late aunt and spite her mother, revolutionising the pageant and their small town in the process.
Mowgli: Legend Of The Jungle
If you're in the market for yet another big screen adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's classic tale, you could do worse than this live action offering (left), helmed by Andy Serkis and featuring a stellar voice cast including Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Freida Pinto, Matthew Rhys and Naomie Harris.
ReMastered: Who Killed Jam Master Jay?
As a groundbreaking 80s rap act, Run-D.M.C. brought hip-hop to the mainstream, but the murder of the group's DJ, Jam Master Jay, remains unsolved. This original Netflix documentary series investigates.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter's Tale
Netflix's dark update of the cheery 90s sitcom has garnered rave reviews and this is effectively its Christmas special. However, things are unlikely to be too warm and fuzzy as Sabrina orchestrates an emotional seance.
Written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, this semi-biographical film chronicles a tumultuous year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival this year.
The Innocent Man
Following Making A Murderer and The Staircase, Netflix is offering up another crime docuseries based on John Grisham's bestselling non-fiction book, The Innocent Man: Murder And Injustice In A Small Town. It focuses on two horrific 80s murders in Oklahoma which resulted in a still controversial chain of events.
Springsteen On Broadway
Fans of The Boss can enjoy a rare insight into his life and career through this acclaimed show, based on his bestselling autobiography, in which he performs acoustic versions of his music and shares personal stories.
Sky Arts and Now TV
The celebrated work and sometimes controversial lives of comedy greats Peter Sellers, Kenneth Williams and Tony Hancock are explored in three fascinating new films which feature interviews with friends and family.
Peaky Blinders, Season Four
With Season Five of the critically acclaimed BBC series due to land in 2019 (creator Steven Knight is being coy about dates), the Christmas break is the perfect time to refresh your memory on the explosive fourth season starring Cillian Murphy and Adrien Brody.
Susanne Bier directs this post-apocalyptic thriller about a woman (Sandra Bullock) seeking sanctuary with her two children in a world decimated by a wave of mass suicides. The twist? The suicides are instigated by seeing strange creatures, so the family must navigate their journey blindfolded.
Passions: Judy Garland by Marc Almond
Sky Arts and Now TV
Born in Minnesota in 1922, Judy Garland signed a movie contract with MGM at the age of 13 and starred in The Wizard Of Oz at 17. But as this film, presented by singer Marc Almond, reveals, she had a troubled home life.
Silence Of The Lambs
For those who prefer to shun the New Year's Eve celebrations, Jonathan Demme's 1991 psychological horror classic is the perfect substitute.