It would take a cynical heart to hate all Christmas television. Sure, there’s lots of cheesy (in a bad way), derivative nonsense on at this time of year, but when is that never the case? Let’s face it: Christmas television has given us some of the best moments of television.
Whether it’s Den serving Angie divorce papers on Eastenders, Tim and Dawn getting together on The Office or Del Boy and Rodney unwittingly chasing away muggers in a Batman and Robin costume, Christmas specials offer us some of the most memorable TV moments. Here are some that will hopefully giving us a few more this year …
Doctor Who - BBC One - Christmas Day - 5.45 pm
Doctor Who on Christmas Day is pretty much an institution. Why this is the case, we’re not so sure. Doctor Who was never really something shown on Christmas since its inception in 1963. Indeed, there weren’t really any Xmas specials of Doctor Who until the programme was revived in 2005.
Yet, watching the good doctor fighting robot Santas, Cybermen and various beings from outer space has become a tradition in recent times. Even people who don’t normally watch the programme tune in to watch the Whoster ward off those who threaten humanity’s existence. For Doctor Who aficionados, there is probably no greater present, as the casual fans may just well have kept the great franchise alive.
Sherlock - BBC One - New Year’s Day - 9 pm
Oh, Steven Moffat … What have you done to us? First your revamping of Doctor Who and reminding the nation why cancelling it in 1989 may have been misjudged, and now Sherlock, perhaps one of the best bits of programming to ever be cast onto television. You devil, you! Yes, Sherlock may have disappointed us a little in the past, but when you reach such heady heights as this show has, that can be forgiven. Always inventive, always original and always fun - even when miscued - Sherlock is pretty much a must-watch at any time of the year.
The Great British Bake Off - BBC One - Christmas Day - 4.45 pm
Ah, BBC … I see what you did there. Placing TGBBO just before Doctor Who, and getting people’s tummies rumbling just as they settle down for a massive meal. You rascals! Oh, and all that pent-up Xmas rage you’ve been itching to take out on family members? Take it out on Paul Hollywood instead!
Revolting Rhymes - BBC One - Boxing Day & 27th December - 6.30 pm
An adaptation of three of Roald Dahl’s poems, all parodying well-known fairy tales. It is likely that all of Dahl’s versions of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf and The Three Little Pigs will be present. We could say it’s for the kids, but the reality is that the grown-ups love it just as much, if not more.
2016 Wipe - BBC Two - 29th December - 9 pm
Christmas has its cheer, but what about the bile and the bitterness? Sure, there’s Scrooge, but even he turns into a lily-livered, soft-hearted bleeder by the end of it all. This is where Charlie Brooker comes in, wiping away the sparkly niceness with a dose of much-needed meanness medicine.
You’ll notice that all of the above are on BBC. We’re not biased, but most of the tosh that’s on the BBC throughout the rest of the year is made up for around Christmas. The BBC should be happy: it’s the one time of year it becomes tolerable (with the honourable exception of their nature documentaries and occasional comedy gem). The best Christmas present license payers can hope for! Get your money’s worth and watch all the above this Xmas!