Best on the Box telly highlights for New Years Eve 2018 and New Years Day 2019.

Jools’ Annual Hootenanny, New Years’ Eve, 11.20pm, BBC Two

It’s just not New Years’ Eve without a night with former Squeeze band member and The Tube presenter Jool Holland.

Join Jools and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra for another Annual Hootenanny – the only New Year’s party worth tuning into – and revel in the company of a variety of musical acts from across the ages to delight and enchant.

Jools will be seeing off 2018 and welcoming 2019 in time-honoured style, accompanied by a host of stars and special guests from across the entertainment spectrum, offering their wisdom and predictions for what the next twelve months may hold

This year guests for the 26th edition of the NYE special include Nile Rogers, Michael Bublé, George Ezra and Marc Almond.

Artists who’ve been on Hootenannys past include Tom Jones, Adele, BB King, Solomon Burke, Paulo Nutini, Chaka Khan, Kylie, Paul McCartney and Seasick Steve.

Lulu’s Hogmanay Hooley, New Years’ Eve, 11.30pm, STV

It really is a celebration North of the border as recently released viewing figures have revealed that STV has been 2018’s best watched TV channel in Scotland, with a viewing share of 21.9% – the channel’s highest since 2010.

STV also recorded the highest growth in audience share of all the UK’s public service channels, including BBC One, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

To bring to a close a successful year for the independent television network in Scotland STV is to air a special music and entertainment extravaganza with 60s icon Lulu – and we don’t mean the pooping elephant off Blue Peter.

Lulu’s Hogmanay Hooley promises to bring STV viewers a memorable evening of song and festivity. The exclusive show, filmed in front of an invited audience in Glasgow, will see Lulu perform some of her biggest hits, joined on stage by her own band and some very special guests – including fellow singer-songwriting sensation KT Tunstall.

From Lulu’s irrepressible debut Shout! to the more recent Every Single Day and classic Hogmanay favourite, Auld Lang Syne, viewers will be treated to a musical extravaganza of much-loved songs from her glittering career.

“I am delighted to be returning home at this special time of year to celebrate Hogmanay with STV viewers, in what promises to be a fantastic show. I absolutely love playing live – my life has always been all about the music. Please join me for a fantastic night of celebration in Glasgow, the town that made me who I am.”

Madness Rocks Big Ben Live, New Years’ Eve, 11.35pm, BBC One

The New Year’s treat for BBC One England, BBC One Northern Ireland and BBC One Wales will broadcast live from Central Hall Westminster and Madness will kick things off with a selection of hits plus a unique collaboration with the Kingdom Choir.

Then it will be time for the big countdown to the clock striking midnight and fireworks will fill the night sky lighting up London over the River Thames. The action then heads back inside as Madness carry on the party with more music promising an unforgettable night of fireworks and fun on BBC One.

2018 Strictly Come Dancing winner Stacey Dooley – who is best known for her BBC Three investigative documentaries – and fellow finalist, social media favourite Joe Sugg are set to present the New Year’s Eve concert broadcasting live from London on BBC One. (excluding Scotland).

Meanwhile BBC One Scotland will be entertaining viewers with Jackie Bird as she presents Hogmanay Live with festivities live from the Old Fruit Market in Glasgow, while Bryan Burnett presents live coverage of the celebrations from Edinburgh.

Absolutely Fabulous, New Years’ Day, 9pm, BBC One (excluding BBC One Scotland)

TV Premiere. Fitting that by co-incidence the Ab Fab movie was scheduled for New Years’ Day, just days after the news Dame June Whitfield had passed away aged 93. June of course became much-loved by a new generation of telly viewers thanks to her role of Mum in Absolute Fabulous across its years on BBC One from 1992 to 2012.

In the big-screen version we find Patsy (Joanna Lumley) is worried about her finances when her book fails to find a publisher, given the tip that Kate Moss has left her PR company and will be looking for new representation she plans to make her the best offer.

Things start to go awry when the plot to approach the model goes horribly wrong and Patsy and Edina (Jennifer Saunders) find themselves vilified by the entire nation and have to flee the country. The Ab Fab movie also stars Julia Sawalha as put-upon daughter of Edina, Saffie.

BBC One Scotland is showing some local tat, so will air the movie at 1.50am on January 3rd. (Someone at Beeb HQ in London really should have vetoed that poor decision from Pacific Quays in Glasgow). Hopefully when we get the third BBC Scottish station next year – BBC Scotland to accompany BBC One Scotland and BBC Alba (BBC Scotland Gaelic) less network interruptions will appear on BBC One in Scotland.

Update: The BBC have also added to their NYE schedules an episode of Terry and June and a documentary on June Whitfield as a tribute to the performer.

Look Back in Laughter: The Morecambe and Wise Story, New Years’ Day, 7.10pm, Channel 5

There story has been told many times but the clips of Eric and Ernie are always worth another look. This time its Channel 5 who look back at the career of the duo who entertained stage and TV audiences from the 1950s to the 80s.

This documentary mixes together classic performances, chat show appearances and archive interviews to shed light on the success of Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise.

Eric’s mother Sadie claimed to be the first person to spot their potential as a comedy double act when, as children, they spent an entire train journey to Coventry annoying her with their antics. The Second World War would see the duo split up, but they were reunited by chance, entertaining theatre-goers across the UK. An unsuccessful stint with the BBC in the 50s saw the pair shy away from television, however by the mid-60s they’d been lured onto ITV screens by Lew Grade’s ATV.

By the time they were lured back over to the BBC in 1968 they had become established household names and were on track to become the most-watched comedy act in the history of British TV.

NYD Concert from Vienna, New Years’ Day, 7pm, BBC Four

If you fancy something a bit more highbrow Petroc Trelawny introduces the traditional concert from the Golden Hall of Vienna’s Musikverein.

German conductor Christian Thielemann will be leading the concert for the first time, directing the Vienna Philharmonic in a performance of polkas, waltzes and gallops by the Strauss family and their contemporaries, culminating in the traditional renditions of By the Beautiful Blue Danube and the Radetzky March. 

Of course Venice to me is either Den and Angie on holiday there in EastEnders or Jill and Adam’s honeymoon in Crossroads. Cos I’m not that sophisticated to know what polkas, waltzes and gallops are about in Vienna. But I may tune in to find out more and educate my ITV-overdone-brain.

BWT if you like a little of classic EastEnders, its still airing on UKTV’s Drama channel at lunchtimes during the week.

*STV is available across Scotland, ITV air different programming across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on NYE.
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