It must be said that one of the best qualities of the upcoming festive period — besides lots of yummy food — is the return of familiar television programmes and the arrival of some new ones. Here is an overview of the television highlights not to be missed this Christmas:
7. Snow Chick
Hollywood actress Kate Winslet is set to narrate this natural history documentary, following a young Antarctic emperor penguin chick hatching and then trying to survive in the icy cold Antarctic. Snow Chick is made by the team that brought Penguins: Spy in a Huddle, which was voiced by David Tennant. An eye opener at times, but also, down right hilarious at times.
Snow Chick is on Wednesday 23rd December at 8:30pm, BBC1.
6. Downton Abbey: Christmas Special
This will be last ever slice of the ITV period drama that has taken the world by storm. I will admit, I have never been much of a fan and the phenomenon has skipped by me, but apparently whether Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) will have a happy ending or not is of the utmost vital information at my Grandmother’s…
Downton Abbey: Christmas Special is on Christmas Day at 8:45pm, ITV.
Dickensian is set to be one of BBC’s most ambitious dramas as of yet. A 20-part drama series that will combine and weave together characters from Charles Dickens stories and novels. Famous characters such as Inspector Bucket (Stephen Rea) and Miss Havisham (Tuppence Middleton) will feature. Personally, I have a feeling that I will be lost within this series as my knowledge of Dickens is somewhat sparse, yet I can’t help but admire the ambition of such a project.
Dickensian begins on Boxing Day at 7pm, BBC1.
4. And Then There Were None
After a bumbling effort of attempting to revive Tommy and Tuppence earlier this year with Jessica Raine and David Walliams starring as the hapless married detectives, the BBC have adapted a three-part series of Agatha Christie’s bestselling novel And Then There Were None. British acting talents Miranda Richardson, Anna Maxwell Martin, Toby Stephens and Aidan Turner, who has risen to stardom with his Cornish swashbuckling Poldark earlier this year, are set to star in the series.
And Then There Were None begins on Boxing Day at 9pm, BBC1.
3. Doctor Who: Christmas Special
With another series of Doctor Who drawing to a close, we’re given little breathing space before we’re back in the TARDIS gallivanting about all of time and space for another Christmas special. This year, after witnessing the Twelfth Doctor go through some emotional hell, we see him reunited with his equally as complex wife River Song. That’s right, she’s back and she’s finally in a Christmas special! But Alex Kingston is not the only one joining Peter Capaldi in this year’s festive outing: there are plenty of other guest stars including Matt Lucas and Greg Davies. The official synopsis gives us a little clue as to who each actor will play and what trouble the Doctor faces, yet it’s still just as vague and teasing as River herself!
“It’s Christmas Day on a remote human colony and the Doctor is hiding from Christmas Carols and Comedy Antlers. But when a crashed spaceship calls upon the Doctor for help, he finds himself recruited into River Song’s squad and hurled into a fast and frantic chase across the galaxy. King Hydroflax (Greg Davies) is furious, and his giant Robot bodyguard is out-of-control and coming for them all. Will Nardole (Matt Lucas) survive? And when will River Song work out who the Doctor is?”
Doctor Who: Christmas Special is on Christmas Day at 5:15pm, BBC1.
2. Sherlock: New Year’s Special
The popular and internationally renowned Sherlock will be making a much anticipated return with a stand-alone special episode on New Year’s Day. Instead of being set in modern day London, it’ll be set in the Victorian era; the original time-frame of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels and stories. The official synopsis of the episode goes like this: “Mrs Ricoletti’s ghost now appears to be prowling the streets with an unslakeable thirst for revenge. From fog-shrouded Limehouse to the bowels of a ruined church, Holmes, Watson and their friends must use all their cunning to combat an enemy seemingly from beyond the grave and the final, shocking truth about… the Abominable Bride!”
Sherlock is on New Year’s Day at 9pm, BBC1.
1. Call the Midwife: Christmas Special
The hit BBC drama will be back on our screens after what seems like a long nine months. Following on from Series Four, which was a series that certainly proved it could cope without main lead Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine). Writer Heidi Thomas tackled even more tougher and difficult social issues than usual each week, from child neglect to stillbirths to the persecution of homosexual men.
That’s not even taking into account the heartbreaking confession from the once bubbly and fun Trixie (Helen George), admitting to having an alcoholism issue, and everyone’s favourite redhead Patsy (Emerald Fennell) becoming the latest victim of the tragic-lesbian-syndrome as her what could have been a lovely blossoming romance with fellow nurse Delia (Kate Lamb) was struck off as Delia endured a horrific bicycle crash. At least, within all that heartbreak, Charlotte Ritchie provided the humour and light relief as the new, if slightly ditzy, rookie midwife Barbara whose highlights including having a bit too much slosh before her first midwifery shift.
The Christmas Special of Call the Midwife will see Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) wander off from Poplar and potentially go missing. Meanwhile, from attending the Radio Times Festival this September, I was able to hear all the gossip, chat to Emerald Fennell — she’s a breath of fresh air — Jenny Agutter, Heidi Thomas and producer Pippa Harris, and was even treated to a sneak peek at an unseen Series Five trailer.
The upcoming series will see Trixie start to recover to her former self as she begins a keep fit class, for which Emerald suggests Patsy, like her own self, will find exercise not quite her thing. Heidi explained that the main focus of this new series will be on thalidomide, which previously made a brief and fleeting appearance in the Series Four finale. Yet, neither of them would give any hint over my dying question of whether Delia shall return to Series Five…
Call the Midwife: Christmas Special is on Christmas Day at 7:30pm, BBC1.
What Christmas television are you most looking forward to this year?
Comment with your thoughts.
– Anna Richards
– Letitia Lemon (Doctor Who)