You’ll never be stuck for something to watch this Christmas, with broadcasters pulling out all the stops to bring you must-see TV throughout the holiday season.
From big name Christmas specials to comedy, entertainment, soap operas and children’s TV, there’s something for everyone.
Read more: The best TV to stream this Christmas
The Best Christmas TV, December 23, 2022 – January 2, 2023
Friday, December 23
All creatures, big and small, Christmas special – Channel 5, 9 p.m.
Channel 5 takes a festive rural tour for this favorite TV adaptation of James Herriot stories.
Homeland: Last Christmas – BBC One, 9:30 p.m.
The hit sitcom is back for a Christmas special where Julia greets just about everyone, while Amanda puts on a brave face to celebrate with the ex and her new partner.
A Ghost Story for Christmas: Count Magnus – BBC Two, 10 p.m.
If you love your spooky Christmas, you’ll love this short story from MR James by Mark Gatiss, starring Jason Watkins and MyAnna Buring in a tale about a long-dead Swedish nobleman who can’t rest.
The Last Leg Christmas Bash – Channel 4, 10 p.m.
Catch up with Adam Hills and co for the funniest Christmas party on TV, full of celebrity special guests.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse – BBC One, 4:55 p.m.
Charlie Mackesy’s beloved illustrated book gets a TV adaptation of the story of a boy’s unlikely friendship with a group of animals that aid him in his quest to get home.
Songs of King’s – BBC Two, 6:15 p.m.
The traditional Christmas Eve broadcast returns, including festive favorites to bring the soundtrack to your last-minute prep.
Royal Carols: Together at Christmas – ITV, 7pm
If you can’t get enough of Christmas carols, join Kate and Prince William for a royal carol of classical Christmas music.
Read more: The best movies on TV at Christmas
Britain starts singing – ITV, 8:05 p.m.
Choirs made up of stars from Love Island, The Chase, Loose Women, Emmerdale and Coronation Street take part in a festive competition judged by will.i.am, Alesha Dixon, Adam Lambert and Jason Manford.
The Great Christmas Bake Off – Channel 4, 8:25 p.m.
A celebrity special from the hit baking contest features former Channel 4 stars Gaby Roslin, Sir Tony Robison, Miquita Oliver, Terry Christian and Claire Sweeney battling to become a star baker.
the day of Christmas
The Smeds and the Smoos – BBC One, 2:30 p.m.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without an adaptation by Julia Donaldson, and this one about a love story between two rival families features the voices of Bill Bailey, Adjoa Andoh, Rob Brydon and Sally Hawkins.
Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special – BBC One, 5:10 p.m.
Celebrities take to the dance floor for a unique Christmas episode that has become a Christmas Day staple – but who will be crowned champion?
Soaps – BBC, ITV
All soap opera fans know that some of the best drama and laughs of the year come from Christmas Day soap operas – make sure you don’t miss EastEnders, Emmerdale and Coronation Street.
Call the Midwife – BBC One, 7:55 p.m.
There’s something particularly festive about Call The Midwife’s Christmas special, and this year’s snowy episode will feature a talent show and a fresh start for midwives.
Read more: The best Christmas TV specials to stream in 2022
Doc Martin Christmas Special – ITV, 9:05 p.m.
Earlier in the year, Doc Martin reached the end of its final season – but this time it really is the end as the festive special gives us one last date with the Doctor.
Mrs. Brown’s Boys – BBC One, 10:25 p.m.
Although Mrs Brown’s Boys hasn’t aired a full series since 2013, it never misses a double Christmas and New Year’s special. In the first episode, Cathy introduces a creepy new boyfriend and Agnes gets stuck in her take care of her terrifying twins.
The day after Christmas
The Biggest Snowman – Channel 4, 7:30 p.m.
Sue Perkins is back to host another episode of this celebrity snowman-building competition, with former contestant Laurence Llewellyn Bowen on hand to offer styling tips.
Death In Paradise Christmas Special – BBC One, 8pm
Soak up the winter sunshine on Boxing Day as Ralf Little returns to the Caribbean for a festive episode of his crime drama.
The Voice Kids – ITV, 8:30 p.m.
The little kids with big voices are battling to be the singing series champion for three nights, with episodes continuing on Tuesday and concluding on Wednesday.
The Big Fat Quiz of the year 2022 – Channel 4, 9 p.m.
Jimmy Carr hosts the annual quiz with celebrity teams including Stephen Merchant, Katherine Ryan, Richard Ayoade, Maisie Adam, Jonathan Ross and Rose Matafeo.
Detectors – BBC Two, 9 p.m.
The sitcom returns for a feature special. The Danebury Metal Detecting Club is under threat from the developers, but could a discovered relic be the answer to their problems, or will it make matters worse?
tuesday 27 december
Frankie Boyle’s New World Order 2022 – BBC Two, 10 p.m.
The controversial comedian gives a sometimes offensive but always hilarious recap of the year with a few celebrity guests.
Wednesday, December 28
Ephemera – BBC One, 9pm
Martin Compston, Tony Curran and Ashley Jensen star in this adaptation of Andrew O’Hagan’s novel. It’s a heartbreaking tale of old friends reconnecting when one of them is diagnosed with terminal cancer and continues on Thursday.
Thursday, December 29
Farewell Doc Martin – ITV, 8:30 p.m.
The beloved drama finally came to an end with its Christmas Day special, and now the cast and crew are sharing some of their favorite memories along with behind-the-scenes secrets.
Prince Andrew: The Musical – Channel 4, 9 p.m.
It’s a typical Channel 4 approach to a thorny issue – a tongue-in-cheek musical about one of the most controversial members of the Royal Family.
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Friday, December 30
MasterChef Christmas Special – BBC One, 9pm
Famous faces who have graced the Celebrity MasterChef kitchen before – with mixed results – are coming back for another shot at the trophy.
new year’s eve
The last stage of the year – Channel 4, 9 p.m.
Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker are joined by celebrity guests Rylan, Sue Perkins, Ellie Simmonds, Tom Davis, Desiree Burch, Baroness Warsi and Mike Wozniak in this two-hour New Year’s Eve extravaganza.
Graham Norton’s New Year’s Show – BBC One, 10.25pm
The chat show host rings in the New Year with guests including Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Hugh Laurie, Romesh Ranganthan, Leah Williamson, Callum Scott-Howells and Madeline Brewer.
Jonathan Ross New Year’s Comedy Special – ITV, 10.35pm
Covering all the talking bases, Jonathan Ross will also lead the New Year’s Eve broadcast – this time, with a comedy special.
Jools Annual Hootenanny – BBC Two, 11:30 p.m.
Jools Holland returns with their annual New Year’s Eve party, this year featuring George Ezra, Self Esteem and Cat Burns among many other artists.
New Year’s Day
The Masked Singer – ITV, 6:30 p.m.
Everyone’s favorite singing competition returns with a crazy new line of costumes disguising mysterious contestants.
The Great New Year Bake Off – Channel 4, 7:40 p.m.
Pay another celebratory visit to the Bake Off tent, this time hosting former contestants Chigs, Lottie, Manon and Antony.
Read more: The best celebrity feuds of 2022
Happy Valley – BBC One, 9 p.m.
Finally back after a six-year absence, Sally Wainwright’s crime thriller starring Sarah Lancashire and James Norton returns for a third and final season.
Mrs. Brown’s Boys – BBC One, 10pm
The second of the sitcom’s celebratory specials returns, where fans will get answers about what’s really going on with Cathy’s creepy new boyfriend.
monday january 2
Frozen Planet II: Worlds of Wonder – BBC One, 8 p.m.
Sir David Attenborough’s superb nature documentary returns for a special episode that brings together highlights from the chilling series.
Stone House – ITV, 9pm
Real-life husband and wife Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes star in this drama about the life of the famous disgraced minister.
Festive Special Gogglebox – Channel 4, 9 p.m.
To complement the festive schedules, the Gogglebox team has set their sights on the best and most memorable Christmas TV of 2022.
Watch: First look at The Smeds and The Smoos