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Christmas TV guide 2021: schedule over Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve - from BBC to ITV and C4 and 5

From BBC One to ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, here are all the Christmas specials scheduled exclusively for live TV from Monday 20 December to Friday 31 December

As Christmas draws closer, many of us are looking forward to winding down for the holiday season and lining up enough TV shows to keep us entertained while the weather outside is frightful.

The Christmas TV schedule does not disappoint, with plenty of Christmas specials to keep you cosy, such as The Repair Shop, Celebrity MasterChef and TopGear, as well as classic festive films, including The Snowman, It’s A Wonderful Life, and Home Alone.

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Here is everything scheduled on BBC One, BBC Two, ITV/STV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 across the holiday season.

Monday 20 December

BBC One

  • Mary Berry’s Festive Feasts, 7.05pm
  • Would I Lie to You: Festive edition, 8.30pm

BBC Two

  • Christmas University Challenge, 8.30pm (new series)
  • QI: festive special, 9pm
  • Two Doors Down, 9.30pm
  • We Wish You a Mandy Christmas, 10pm

Mandy considers the real meaning of Christmas in this Dickens’ spin on Diane Morgan’s comedy, Mandy.

  • Cinderella: A Comic Relief pantomime for Christmas, 10.50pm

First aired in 2020, this special ‘at home’ theatre productions stars Olivia Coleman and Helena Bonham Carter.

ITV

  • The Big Soap Quiz: Coronation Street vs Emmerdale, 9pm
Stephen Mulhern returns for another epic soap quiz (Picture: ITV)

Stephen Mulhern hosts the annual quiz where two teams made up of soap stars battle it out in a bid to be crowned the most knowledgeable about the past year of soap stories.

Mark Charnock and Jack P Shepherd (aka Marlon Dingle and David Platt) lead the teams.

Channel 4

  • Kristie’s Handmade Christmas, 5pm
  • Jamie: Together at Christmas, 8pm
Jamie Oliver gets his family around the table for a big festive feast, with recipes for your own Christmas dinner (Picture: Channel 4)

Family man and chef Jamie Oliver gives viewers a masterclass in how to prepare the perfect Christmas dinner, starters and dessert, just in time for us to pick up a few hints and tips.

From panettone sticky pudding to Hassleback potatoes, he shows how to make show-stopping food, simple.

  • Christmas At Liberty, 9pm
  • Deck the Halls: The Luxury Christmas Decorators, 10pm

A Liverpool based decorating company are tasked with making some of Britain’s landmarks into festive showpieces, such as the Natural History Museum and Alder Hey Children’s hospital.

Channel 5

  • A Snowy scenic railway journey, 7pm

A 600-mile trip through one of the world’s most northerly countries, Finland.

Tuesday 21 December

BBC One

  • Celebrity Masterchef Christmas Cook-off, 8pm

10 former MasterChef celebrity contestants return to the heat of the kitchen for this Christmas schedule. In the first heat, Oti Mabuse, Joey Essex, Judi Love and Su Pollard compete head to head.

BBC Two

  • Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Christmas fishing, 6.30pm
  • A Taste of Christmas with Andi Oliver, 9pm

Chef and broadcaster Andi travels to Glasgow to spend time with three families of different cultures, from Pakistani, Glaswegian and Italian origin, to learn what their meals mean to the coming together of their loved ones.

Channel 4

  • Amazing spaces: George’s Icelandic Adventure, 9pm

George Clarke joins craftsman Will Hardie on an architecture adventure around Iceland, including visiting mysterious elves and geothermal baths.

Channel 5

  • Harrods at Christmas, 8pm

Former employees of the store reveal what it’s like to take care of celebrities over the Christmas season.

Wednesday 22 December

BBC One

  • Pointless Celebrities: festive edition, 5.15pm
  • The Great British Sewing Bee, 8pm

BBC Two

  • Inside the Christmas Factory, 9pm
  • Great Expectations, 11.45pm
Bonham Carter and Ms Havisham in Great Expectations

Jeremy Irvine and Helena Bonham Carter star in this adaptation of the Charles Dickens period drama.

Channel 4

  • First Dates at Christmas, 9pm

Fred Siriex helps guests find love under the mistletoe.

Channel 5

  • Christmas at the Tower of London, 8pm
  • Our Victorian Christmas, 9pm

A family is moved into a Victorian house to experience how Christmas was 150 years ago.

Thursday 23 December

BBC One

  • Superman and Lois, 5.15pm
  • Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook off, 9pm

Gemma Collins, Joe Swash, Les Dennis, Mica Paris and the Rev Richard Coles return to the kitchen for the second heats of the Christmas special.

  • Not Going Out, 10pm

BBC Two

  • Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, 6.45pm
  • Blackburn sings Christmas with Gareth Malone, 8pm
  • Last Christmas (2017), 9pm

ITV/STV

  • Tipping Point: Lucky Stars Christmas Special, 4pm
  • The Chase Celebrity Christmas Special, 5pm
  • Alan Carr’s Epic Christmas Game Show Christmas Special, 8pm
Alan Carr returns with a festive spin on his epic game show (Picture: ITV)

Alan returns for a festive edition of The Price Is Right, as contestants play some of the best known game shows, from Plinko and Cliffhanger.

  • The Cube Celebrity Special, 9pm

Phillips Schofield presents this Christmas special of The Cube, including Jordan Banjo, Perri Kiely and Lorraine Kelly’s daughter Rosie.

Channel 4

  • Christmas at Holkham Hall, 8pm

Channel 5

  • Christmas on the Farm, 9pm

Friday, Christmas Eve

BBC One

  • Frozen, 1.30pm

The original Disney film in which a talking Snowman and a silent reindeer befriend sisters, in this glittering family feel good movie from 2013.

  • Shaun the Sheep: Flight Before Christmas, 6pm
  • The Repair Shop at Christmas, 7pm
  • TopGear: driving home for Christmas, 8.30pm
Shaun the Sheep is back (Picture: BBC)

Chris, Paddy and Freddie embark on a roadtrip to deliver a Christmas tree.

  • The Vicar of Dibley: The Christmas Lunch incident, 10.30pm

BBC Two

  • Carols from King’s, 6.15pm

The traditional celebration by candle light, brought to the BBC by the King’s Choir of Cambridge.

  • Gardeners World Winter specials, 8pm

Monty Don, Arthur Parkinson and Rachel de Thame show you how to create stunning winter displays and make fresh Christmas tree decorations.

  • A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Mezzotint, 10.30pm

ITV

  • Tipping Point: Lucky Stars Christmas special, 3.55pm

Anton Du Beke, Scarlett Moffat and Bobby Norris take on the huge slot machine in a charity celebrity special

  • The Chase: Celebrity Christmas Special, 5.30pm
  • Gino’s Italian Family Adventure: a festive feast, 6.30pm
Gino posted a rare photo of his family in January 2020 (Picture: Gino D’Acampo/ Instagram)

Chef Gino D’Acampo and his family prepare a stunning Christmas day feast, Italian-style.

  • Royal Carols: Christmas Together, 7.30pm

The Duchess of Cambridge hosts a carol service at Westminster Abbey.

  • Bradley and Barney: Breaking Dad at Christmas, 9pm

The father and son duo visit Iceland for some hilarious challenges and stunning scenery.

  • Spitting Image Christmas special, 10pm

Channel 4

  • Its a Wonderful Life, 2pm
  • The Snowman, 5pm
  • The Snowman and The Snowdog, 5.35pm

A young boy makes a snowman and a snowdog who come to life in this animated adventure short film.

  • Home Alone (1990), 6pm
  • The Greatest Snowman, 8pm

Sue Perkins hosts five celebrities as they are supported by world-class ice sculptors and snow builders to create stunning icy structures.

  • Eight out of 10 Cats does Countdown Christmas special, 9.30pm
  • The Last Leg Christmas Special, 10.30pm

Channel 5

  • Ball and Boe: Back Together, 6.10pm
Michael Boe and Alfie Ball perform some of their favourite hits

Michael Ball and Alfie Boe perform their favourite hits from theatre, pop and rock.

  • World’s Most Expensive Christmas cruise, 8pm

Saturday, Christmas Day

BBC One

  • Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, 1.30pm

Six new celebrities take to the dancefloor for a one-off festive competition. Stars include Mel Giedroyc, Adrian Chiles, Anne-Marie and Fred Siriex.

  • Superworm, 2.30pm
Julia Donaldson’s Superworm is brought to life this Christmas (Picture: BBC)

The latest screen adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s children’s books, the Superworm who saves many garden creatures is captured by a villainous lizard. Can his friends come to his rescue? Voice overs include Olivia Coleman and Matt Smith.

  • The Queen’s Christmas message, 3pm
  • Mary Poppins Returns (2018), 3.10pm
  • Call The Midwife Christmas Special, 8pm
  • EastEnders, 9.35pm
  • Mrs Browns Boys, 10.20pm
(Photo: BBC)

BBC Two

  • The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show 1971, 7pm

Glenda Jackson and Shirley Temple join Eric and Ernie in this throwback to Christmas, 50 years ago.

  • A Musical Family Christmas with the Kanneh-Masons, 8.30pm

ITV

  • Santa Claus: the movie (1985), 3.10pm
  • Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs at Christmas, 5.30pm
  • The Masked Singalong, 6pm

Joel Dommett returns with Queen Bee, Badger, Sausage and other masked characters as they perform a playlist of ballads and classics.

  • Emmerdale, 7pm
  • Coronation Street, 8pm
  • The Larkins at Christmas, 9pm
(Photo: ITV)

Ma and Pa Larkin return with their brood as they bring in Christmas in their Kent village.

  • Love Actually (2003), 10.40pm

Channel 4

  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), 3pm
  • Terry pratchett’s The Abominable Snow baby, 7.30pm

Animated screen adaptation of Pratchett’s story, with voice over including Julie Walters, Hugh Dancy and narrated by David Harewood

  • The Great Christmas Bake Off, 8pm

Celebrities come together in the iconic tent to bake festive themed delights for Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.

Channel 5

  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), 3.10pm

Sunday, Boxing Day

BBC One

  • Around the World in 80 days, 5.50pm

New series, based on Jules Verne’s novel of adventure, starring Doctor Who’s David Tennant. Episode 2 airs 6.40pm.

  • Death in Paradise: Christmas special, 7.30pm
  • A Very British Scandal, 9pm
The Duchess of Argyll is played by Claire Foy (Picture: BBC)

New series (part 1/3), fact-based drama based on the story of the divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll in 1963. All episodes available on iPlayer following this episode.

BBC Two

  • Anything Goes: The Musical, 6.40pm

Live from the Barbican in London, this theatrical production retells the 1930s classic comedy of the antics aboard the SS American.

  • Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Christmas fishing, 9pm

ITV

  • The Chase: Celebrity Christmas Special, 5pm

The Chasers become the Addams Family in this all-star episode.

  • Celebrity Catchphrase Christmas Special, 6pm

Perri Kiely, Anne Hegarty and Rob Brydon join Stephen Mulhern to win £50,000 for good causes.

  • All Star Musicals at Christmas, 8pm

Stars such as Fern Britton, Catherine Tysedale and Anita Rani perform hits from Chicago, Cats and Moana.

  • Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure, 9.30pm

The Big Yin looks back at his 50 years of comedy, as he welcomes cameras into his home in Florida Keys.

Channel 4

  • Home Alone 3 (1997), 1.55pm
  • Britain’s Scenic Railways at Christmas, 6pm
  • Escape to the Chateau at Christmas, 7pm
  • Big Fat Quiz of the Year, 9pm

Jimmy Carr is joined by stars such as Sarah Millican, James Acaster and presenter Jonathan Ross for a general knowledge quiz about the year gone by.

Monday 27 December

BBC One

  • Paddington 2, 5.55pm

Comedy starring Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins, a family friendly film about a little bear caught up in a whole lot of trouble.

  • MasterChef: The Professionals rematch 2021, 8pm

Grace Dent, Jimi Famurewa and Jay Rayner return to judge four chefs from previous seasons, as they battle for a second chance at the title.

BBC Two

  • Westside Story (2961), 4.35pm
  • Only Connect, 8pm

Victoria Cohen Mitchell returns for the first of four festive editions of the popular competition show. Each episode airs across four consecutive nights.

ITV

  • In for a Christmas Penny, 5.15pm

Stephen Mulhern hosts the hilarious challenge show from Chelmsford, where members of the public take part in quizzes and challenges for a cash prize.

  • Family Fortunes Christmas Special, 6pm

Channel 4

  • Travel Man: 96 Hours in Iceland, 8pm

Joe Lycett takes Bill Bailey on a visit to the Christmas wonderland, Iceland. In a four-day adventure, they visit a punk rock museum, taste local cuisine and go Husky sledding, among other fun and festive activities.

Tuesday, 28 December

BBC One

  • The BFG (2016), 3.25pm
The BFG and Sophie (Picture: Netflix)

Directed by Stephen Spielberg, this screen adaptation of Rold Dahl’s children’s novel tells the story of an adventure when a young girl is taken from her orphanage home by a Big Friendly Giant.

  • Worzel Gummidge, 7.15pm
Worzel Gummidge PIC: Leopard Films / Photographer: Chris Harris

BBC Two

  • Mock the Week: End of Year Special, 10pm

Darah O’Briain and Hugh Dennis present some of the most hilarious outtakes of the past 12 months, comedy gold.

Channel 4

  • Extraordinary Escapes at Christmas with Sandi Toksvig, 8pm

The broadcaster travels to Norway where she is joined by three companions who show her the wonders of the Arctic Circle, killer whales, the Northern Lights and wolves.

  • Murder on the Orient Express (2017), 9pm

Murder mystery starring Kenneth Branagh and Michelle Pfeiffer. When a passenger is killed on a luxury train, everyone become suspects of detective Hercule Piorot

Thursday, 29 December

BBC One

  • The Weakest Link, 6.30pm
  • Worzel Gummidge, 7.15pm
  • A Star is Born (2018), 9pm

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star in this stunning romantic drama about a signing hopeful and the turmoil of substance abuse and how it impacts relationships.

BBC Two

  • Frankie Boyle’s 2021 New World order, 10pm

Frankie Boyle and his merry guests use stand up, reviews and highlights to dissect the past year.

Channel 4

  • Christmas in New York: Inside the Piaza, 3.30pm

Behind the scenes look at how staff cater and care for 400 quests in the famously lavish four star hotel.

  • Billionaire Blooms, 7pm

A look into the world of flowers and florists when budget is no issue, from decorating a full mansion in flower displays to bringing scaffolding inside to dress a large London venue for Christmas.

  • Britain’s Most Expensive Houses, 9pm (new series)

Thursday 30 December

BBC One

  • The Jungle Book (2016), 3.35pm

A live action take on the 1967 Disney classic, starring Neel Sethi.

  • Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard, 8pm
EXPERIENCE: We have so much for which to thank Sir David Attenborough.

National treasure Sir David Attenborough takes a trip to a quarry near Swindon, where two amatuer fossil hunters came across prehistoric remains of the mammoth four years ago. The remains are hundreds of thousands of years old and alongside the animal, a human hand-axe was also recovered.

  • The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity New Year Special, 9pm (10.45pm in Scotland)
  • Walter: A Life in Football, (9pm Scotland)

A tribute to the late Scotland and Rangers manager, through the eyes and memories of those who knew him best, from players to managers and friends.

ITV

  • Vera, 8pm

Vera returns for another murder mystery, as a family man is battered to death the day before appearing as a witness in a violent assault case.

Channel 5

  • Wogan: Now Your Talking, 9pm

Charting the life of broadcaster Terry WIgan from his rise to fame in Dublin, with contributions from those who know him best.

Friday 31 December (Hogmanay)

BBC One

  • MasterChef Champion of Champions, 8.30pm

Five previous winners battle it out to be crowned the ultimate champion of the MasterChef kitchen.

  • Have I got 2021 News for You, 9.30pm

A compilation of highlights of some of the biggest breaking stories of this year.

  • Scot Squad, 10.30pm

A Hogmanay episode of the mockumentary series, with a guests appearance from Eddie Reader.

  • Hogmanay, 11.30pm

Edith Bowman is joined by Emile Sande and Texas as the BBC bring in the Bells, with a midnight countdown and lone piper.

BBC Two

  • Jools’s Annual Hootenanny, 11.25pm

Jools Holland is joined by his rhythm and blues orchestra as he welcomes musical talent such as Ed Sheeran, Gregory Porter and Rag’n’Bone man.

ITV

  • Bringing in the Bells, 11.30pm

Lorraine Kelly, Sean Batty, Amy McDonald, Gail Porter, Sanjeev Kohli and Jean Johansson reflect on the last year and bring in the new.

Channel 4

  • The Last Leg of the Year, 9pm

Hosts and the celebrity panel mull over what has come of 2021, and share their predictions of what could be in 2022.