The Dead Room, Christmas Eve, BBC Four, 10pm
Starting with Christmas Eve over on the Beeb and Mark Gatiss brings the Christmas ghost story tradition back to life with The Dead Room, a chilling new tale.
Written and directed by Gatiss, the 30-minute film tells the tale of a long-running radio horror series of the same name. Simon Callow (Victoria & Abdul, Shakespeare In Love, Four Weddings And A Funeral) plays Aubrey Judd, the radio series’ veteran presenter and national treasure, who finds that he must adapt to changing times and tastes…
But whatever happened to the classic ghost stories? The good old days? Aubrey soon discovers that all is not quiet in the eerie radio studio – and that elements of his own past are not as dead and buried as he perhaps hoped…
Judge Rinder and Gremlins, Christmas Eve, ITV, from 5.30pm
5.30pm: Judge Rinder’s Christmas Kids Court sees the popular daytime legal issues series turn a little more festive, a little less serious and a little more fun. Judge Rinder’s court is taken over by the children this Christmas as they’re let loose to bring their real life disputes to ITV’s courtroom for Judge Rinder to rule on. Friends’ fallings-out, squabbling siblings and family fracases all come in front of the judge in a big entertainment special for all the family.
9pm: Later in the evening on ITV its a ‘remake’ of a movie classic courtesy of Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness.
The Keith & Paddy Picture Show: Gremlins sees a Christmas Special of the comedy in which Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness recreate an iconic Hollywood movie in half an hour with the help of an all-star cast. For this festive one-off they recreate the 80’s classic Gremlins, a story of a creature from another world who is trusted with a teenage boy, and then chaos ensuses as the cute little Gizmo unleashes 100s of evil ‘relations’ – and all via an accident with water. Guest stars include Zach Galligan, Kara Tointon, John Thomson, Su Pollard, Les Dennis and Arthur Bostrom.
The Keith and Paddy remake is followed on ITV by the actual Gremlins movie. You’ll never look at food blenders or stair lifts the same way again.
The Queen and I, Christmas Day, Sky One, 6pm
After Top of the Pops and The Queen’s Christmas Speech, what better way to start the evening than with a story of our Royal Family being turfed out of their palaces and dumped into a council estate?
This 90-minute Sky One comedy drama sees new republican prime minister Jack Barker strip the royals of their assets and titles and the Queen and her family are forced to move to a rundown council estate. The locals don’t exactly roll out the red carpet, but new neighbours Bev, Tony, Violet and Spiggy prove to be unlikely allies.
Comedy based on Sue Townsend’s book, starring David Walliams, Samantha Bond, Frances Barber, Amanda Abbington, Johnny Vegas and Julia McKenzie takes us back to the early 1990s and the royal family were not as popular as they are these days. We’ll see Princess Margaret and The Queen Mother enjoying a drink, while youngsters Harry and William find an intercity school a tough place to be.
Michael McIntyre and Call The Midwife, Christmas Day, BBC One, from 6.45pm
Two Choices for Christmas Day from the corporation, starting with Michael McIntyre’s annual festive special, stuffed with big stars, big laughs and bigger surprises!
6.45pm sees McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show an entertainment special recorded at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Michael presents a night packed with Christmas treats and unmissable surprises – including hilarious stand up from Michael and live music from Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins. Former footballer and TV presenter Chris Kamara – better known as Kammy – plays Send To All. what responses will he get to his unusual Christmas wish list?
A mum from York gets the surprise of her life to discover that Michael been in her house, he knows all about her! Closing the show a magical performance from the Unexpected Star, as 22 year-old Paige from Nottingham gets to sing one of the world’s best known Christmas hits.
7.45pm Call The Midwife sees Poplar prepare for Christmas as the nuns travel to the Mother House to elect a new mother superior. Sister Julienne is the obvious replacement, and must face this possibility as her future at Nonnatus House hangs in the balance. As they ready to leave, Sister Mildred (played by Miriam Margolyes), an indefatigable sister from their order, arrives unexpectedly with her hands full with four Chinese orphans on route to the Children’s Home at the Mother House.
Touched by the plight of the children at the Home, the Nonnatus family and two new nuns, Sister Hilda (played by Fenella Woolgar) and Sister Frances (played by Ella Bruccoleri) come together to give them a Christmas Nativity that they will remember. Back in Poplar, Trixie returns from Portofino refreshed and with her troubles well and truly behind her, and Valerie leads the baby ballet Christmas performance.
Torvill and Dean, ITV, Christmas Day, 9.15pm
Starring Will Tudor and Poppy Lee Friar as the iconic leads, ITV’s one-off feature-length film explores Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s early years and the creative impetus that finally drove them to become ice dancing royalty.
The Nottingham-based biopic opens in 1968, showing Jayne and Chris as children in their respective family homes. Exploring how the pair were individually introduced to ice skating, Jayne’s first experience on the ice is during a school trip where she immediately shows potential and is taken under the wing of trainer Miss Perry. Meanwhile, following his parents’ separation, Chris is given a pair of skates by his new stepmother, Betty, which encourages him to try out the sport.
As the years progress, ice skating becomes a big part of both of their lives. Jayne continues to train with Miss Perry, whilst Chris uses the ice as an escape from his complicated family life. Sensing that Jayne needs a partner to allow her more expression, Miss Perry introduces her to Andrew who she starts to train with, whilst Chris begins a partnership with fellow skater, Leanne. However, creative differences within both partnerships eventually lead to their breakdown, and it isn’t long before Chris’ trainer, Janet Sawbridge, puts Jayne and Chris together.
Despite being unsure at first, the duo blossom together and they’re soon excelling at a competitive level. With both having full-time jobs and commitments beyond the rink though, they must work hard to achieve their dreams.
Eric, Ernie and Ken, Boxing Day, BBC Two from 7.50pm
It’s comedy all the way on BBC Two this Boxing Day evening starting with Morecambe and Wise: The Lost Tapes.
7.50pm: For the first time since their original broadcast in 1968, two episodes of Morecambe and Wise will be played on BBC Two this Christmas after the original colour tapes were lost for 50 years.
The two, black and white episodes were found in a derelict cinema in Sierra Leone and have been transformed back into colour by decoding colour information within the copies. Both 30-minute episodes featured in the first series when the comedy duo returned to the BBC – after a successful stint with ATV for ITV – and one includes an appearance from Michael Aspel.
9pm: Ken Dodd: How Tickled We Were explores the life and work of the man described by many as the last great music hall entertainer. Sir Ken’s performing career spanned 70 years: his first professional stage engagement was in September 1954 and his final performance in his home city of Liverpool was in December 2017.
After his rapid rise to stardom he stayed at the top of British show business for six decades, with countless television series, radio shows, theatre tours, summer seasons and variety shows, as well as a hugely successful career as a recording artist. He was first and foremost a stage performer, and his work in the theatre ranged from pantomime to Shakespeare. His nights of stand-up comedy, still performed in theatres all over Britain until last year, became legendary for their duration.
Ken Dodd: How Tickled We Were tells Sir Ken’s story from his boyhood growing up in the 1930’s in Knotty Ash, through his big break into show business and then on to his unrivalled career in entertainment. Poignant and uplifting, the programme features interviews with the people who knew Sir Ken best – friends and family in Liverpool and beyond, and his many colleagues, admirers and fellow-performers from the world of entertainment. The programme also features an interview with Sir Ken’s wife, Lady Anne Dodd.