The festive season is upon us, and the BBC’s Christmas TV schedule has been announced, with brand new programmes, films and specials.
Some of the highlights for this year include A Very British Scandal, starring Claire Foy, a new adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days starring David Tennant, a Doctor Who special, two brand new films from Sir David Attenborough, two Mrs Brown’s Boys specials, and even Shaun the Sheep in a new adventure.
The BBC’s Christmas programmes and specials will air across the various BBC channels – but everything will also be available to watch on-demand, on BBC iPlayer, which has recently been overhauled with a brand new look.
The exact airdates for some of the programmes haven’t been announced yet – but they will all air (or start airing) during the 2021 festive season and into New Year’s Day.
Here’s the full list of this year’s highlights:
BBC Christmas 2021 TV Schedule
BBC One (And on BBC iPlayer) –
Around The World In 80 Days
An epic adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel, the eight-part series stars David Tennant as the intrepid explorer Phileas Fogg, Ibrahim Koma as the mercurial Passepartout and Leonie Benesch as young journalist Abigail ‘Fix’ Fortescue.
Following an outrageous bet, Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, take on the legendary challenge of circumnavigating the globe in just 80 days, swiftly joined by aspiring journalist Abigail, who seizes the chance to report on this extraordinary story.
The series has been adapted by a team of renowned writers led by Ashley Pharoah (Life On Mars, Ashes To Ashes, The Living And The Dead) and Caleb Ranson (Child Of Mine, Heartless).
A Very British Scandal
Written by Sarah Phelps, A Very British Scandal focuses on the divorce of the Duke (Paul Bettany) and Duchess of Argyll (Claire Foy), one of the most notorious, extraordinary and brutal legal cases of the 20th Century.
This three-part drama turns the scandal inside out to explore the social and political climate of post-war Britain, looking at attitudes towards women, and asking whether institutional misogyny was widespread at the time.
The Girl Before
The Girl Before tells the story of Jane played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who gets the chance to move into a beautiful, ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect played by David Oyelowo.
There’s just one catch: occupants have to abide by his list of exacting rules. Jane starts to feel the house changing her in unexpected ways, but when she makes the shocking discovery about her predecessor Emma played by Jessica Plummer, she’s forced to confront unnerving similarities
Created, written and executive produced by JP Delaney, the limited four-part series is adapted from Delaney’s own best-selling novel of the same title.
Jamie Dornan stars as a British man who finds himself in the glowing red heart of the Australian outback, being pursued by a vast tank truck trying to drive him off the road.
An epic cat and mouse chase unfolds and the man later wakes in hospital, hurt, but somehow alive. Except he has no idea who he is. With merciless figures from his past pursuing him, The Man’s search for answers propels him through the vast and unforgiving outback.
Death In Paradise Christmas Special
Fans of Death in Paradise are in for a Caribbean Christmas treat this December with the first-ever feature-length episode.
Concluding the tenth anniversary celebrations, the festive 90-minute special, which stretches from a grey damp drizzly London all the way to the warm sparkling beauty of idyllic Saint Marie, will see the return of Danny John-Jules as charismatic Officer Dwayne Myers, for this celebratory episode.
Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard
Four years ago a couple walking round a freshly dug gravel pit just outside Swindon noticed something unusual protruding from the mud. It was the top of a huge fossilised leg bone of a mammoth.
Sally and Neville Hollingworth, both keen amateur fossil hunters, had stumbled across the discovery of a lifetime – a mammoth graveyard in the old prehistoric riverbed of the Thames.
When Sir David Attenborough heard about their remarkable finds, he was keen to see them for himself. Since he was a boy, he has been smitten with the lure of hunting fossils. He joins biologist Prof. Ben Garrod and a team of archaeologists and palaeontologists as they carefully excavate the quarry where the bones were found.
The Wonder Of Song
Sir David Attenborough chooses his favourite recordings from the natural world that have revolutionised our understanding of song. Each one – from the song of the largest lemur to the song of the humpback whale to the song of the lyrebird – was recorded in his lifetime.
The oldest, when he was just five. The most recent, only a few years ago. And one was made by him. “There are seven recordings of song that have particular interest for me,” he says. “Some are lovely, some are surprising and one almost broke my heart. But all of them broke new ground”.
Call The Midwife (Series 11)
Series 11 begins with a Christmas special set in December 1966. Christmas promises to be a memorable one at Nonnatus House as Lucille (Leonie Elliott) and Cyril (Zephryn Taitte) prepare for their upcoming winter wedding.
The Nonnatus team are faced with their busiest Christmas Day ever as the Maternity Home is filled with expectant Mums to be, each with their own challenging case. Luckily Mother Mildred (Miriam Margolyes) is on hand to support the team.
Mrs Brown’s Boys
This year, we’re getting two special episodes of the beloved series – for Christmas and New Year.
Mammy’s Mechanical Merriment
It’s Christmas in Finglas once again. Agnes has been recruited to the church choir, but she’s under strict instructions from Father McBride that there’s to be no singing and certainly no dancing.
That’s not the only thing off-limits, a Christmas tree shortage means Buster has to get even more creative than usual trying to impress Agnes by any means necessary.
Meanwhile, Dermot and Buster have organised this year’s festivities at Foleys and are holding a Murder Mystery night in aid of alcoholic greyhounds. What could possibly go wrong?
This New Year is all about reconciliation and fresh starts in the Brown household but not everyone seems to have got the message.
Grandad’s brother, Micky, is fresh out of prison when he decides to stop by for a visit. Everyone except Grandad is suspicious when he shows up asking for five thousand euros to invest in a South African gold mine.
Doctor Who New Year’s Day Special
The Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and friends will kick-start 2022 with an action-packed spectacular episode set to air on BBC One on New Year’s Day.
The festive special will feature guest stars Aisling Bea (This Way Up, Living With Yourself, Quiz), Adjani Salmon (Dreaming Whilst Black, Enterprice) and Pauline McLynn (Father Ted, Shameless).
The festive episode is the first of three Doctor Who Specials airing in 2022. The second Special airs in Spring and Jodie’s final feature-length Special (in where the Thirteenth Doctor will regenerate), will transmit in autumn 2022 as part of the BBC’s Centenary celebrations.
Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas
A new half-hour special from the multi-award-winning independent animation studio Aardman, featuring Shaun, Timmy and the Flock – as well as some new characters – in a mischief-filled festive caper.
The Flight Before Christmas sees Shaun’s seasonal excitement turn to dismay when a farmhouse raid to get bigger stockings for the Flock inadvertently leads to Timmy going missing. Can Shaun get Timmy back before he becomes someone else’s present? Prepare for a ‘Santastic’ adventure as everyone learns the true value of Christmas!
Superworm is a comic hero with a difference. Super-long, super-strong and big-hearted, he and his best friend Butterfly are always helping all the other garden creatures – whether he’s saving baby toad from a major road, rescuing beetle from down a well, or even becoming a skipping rope to entertain some bored bees.
The first-rate voice cast will be headlined by Oscar-winner Olivia Colman as Narrator and Emmy nominee Matt Smith playing the hero, Superworm.
Two brand new one-hour films directed, created and starring Mackenzie Crook and inspired by the classic books by Barbara Euphan Todd.
Twitchers: After a raging thunderstorm, a flock of rare choughs turn up at Scatterbrook Farm. Keen to seize the opportunity of scaring such a rarely sighted bird, Worzel enlists the help of Susan and John. But their plans are soon scuppered once word of the choughs gets around and a group of avid twitchers move in before he’s even had his chance.
Calliope Jane: Susan and John are excited when they learn that F R Peregrine’s Travelling Fair is coming to Scatterbrook for one night only. But as much as he’d love to join his friends, Worzel can’t be seen wandering around by humans. He recalls the legend of a fairground with an enchanted organ.
It’s believed that, with the right music, the organ has the power to send humans to sleep so that scarecrows can enjoy the rides without the fear of being seen.
At the museum, Aunt Sally finds herself agreeing to go on an adventure with another ex-fairground attraction, Calliope Jane, and it turns out Worzel isn’t the only scarecrow who wants to attend the fair…
Love is all around Walford this Christmas as two couples prepare for their yuletide nuptials and families celebrate for the first time together. The halls may be decked, presents wrapped and mistletoe prepped but Albert Square is home to many secrets and plenty of residents desperate to reveal the truth over the turkey.
The Trueman-Fox’s are celebrating love with Denise, Jack, Chelsea and Gray heading towards wedded bliss but with Whitney following her gut instinct and Kim anxious to expose Phil’s crimes, the journey towards winter wedding joy is set to be icy.
The Weakest Link Christmas Special
The Weakest Link is back on BBC One and iPlayer this Christmas, with a brand new host. BAFTA award-winning comedian Romesh Ranganathan will bring his own twist to one of the world’s most iconic quizzes.
Romesh is joined by 8 celebrities, each with their own connection to Christmas who will have to work as a team to try to win a maximum prize of £50,000 for their chosen charity.
Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel
Bafta Award-winning Michael McIntyre hosts this special festive episode of The Wheel. Three famous faces – actor Danny Dyer, Radio and TV presenter Zoe Ball and comedian, actor and writer David Walliams – compete to complete The Wheel in an attempt to win money for their chosen charities this Christmas.
Bradley Walsh hosts a fun-filled festive special of the legendary gameshow. A panel of six celebrities to fill in the missing BLANKS and help win some brilliant prizes for some very lucky contestants. He’s joined by Angela Rippon, Richard E Grant, Tom Allen, Sarah Millican, Mel B and Danny Jones.
I Can See Your Voice Christmas Special
The addictive play-a-long singing game show is back on the BBC for a fun-filled festive special. Paddy McGuinness hosts and is joined by Celebrity Investigators, Jimmy Carr, Alison Hammond and Amanda Holden plus special guest Leona Lewis.
The player hoping to win £10,000 is joined by Gabby Logan and together they will need to tell the difference between the good and bad mystery singers, without ever hearing them sing a note!
Not Going Out
Lee Mack’s multi-award-winning hit show returns to BBC One and iPlayer this Christmas with a trip to the Panto.
It is Christmas and Lee (Lee Mack) is not happy that Lucy (Sally Bretton) had booked tickets to the Pantomime. Especially given the star of the show is Lucy’s teenage crush, Jason Donovan.
The critically acclaimed and much-loved sitcom is back with a special Christmas episode.
In the run-up to the festive season, Kitty becomes convinced that Santa has made an early stop at Button House when Mike and Alison discover a man living in a tent on their grounds.
The ghosts’ advice on how to deal with him leaves much to be desired, but eventually, Mike and Alison learn that they have more to offer this Christmas than they realised.
Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
Strictly Come Dancing returns to the Ballroom for an all-star Christmas special as six Strictly stars take to the floor in a bid to be crowned Christmas Champions 2021.
The Christmas special will start with a sensational group routine featuring the celebrities and their professional partners, alongside the Strictly pros. And, as well as dancing, there’s plenty of music, with two very special performances from Jamie Cullum and Gary Barlow and Sheridan Smith.
The Hit List
It’s time for a star-studded Christmas Special of The Hit List! The three teams joining Marvin and Rochelle Humes for this festive episode are actors and EastEnders stars Jake Wood and Tamzin Outhwaite, Choirmaster Gareth Malone and Saxophonist Yolanda Brown and comedians Alex Brooker and Ellie Taylor.
The Wall Vs Celebrities Christmas Specials
Hosted by Danny Dyer, with questions voiced by TV legend Angela Rippon, the ultimate combination of strategy, general knowledge and luck returns to BBC One and iPlayer this festive season with two celebrity specials.
The first episode is an EastEnders special, as Walford favourites Maddy Hill and James Bye take on the biggest game on TV. Will The Wall play grinch on this festive occasion or can Maddy and James win big for their charities?
The second episode to air over the festive period features award-winning stand-up comedian Sarah Millican alongside her husband and fellow stand up Gary Delaney, as they take on The Wall in a bid to walk away with a cash prize for their chosen charity.
Would I Lie To You? At Christmas
Rob Brydon is back in the host’s chair for a festive edition of the award-winning comedy panel show Would I Lie To You? And as ever, David Mitchell and Lee Mack are the lightning-quick team captains.
Over the course of the show, a stellar cast of celebrity guests reveal amazing stories about themselves. But are they telling the truth, or are they making it all up?
Top Gear – Driving Home For Christmas
In this festive episode, Chris Harris, Paddy McGuiness and Freddie Flintoff aren’t choosing their own cars, but instead choosing for one another. Yes, it’s time for Top Gear Secret Santa!
The Repair Shop
Christmas is just around the corner, and tucked away in a frosty corner of the British countryside, the Repair Shop barn is already bustling as the dedicated team of Christmas craftspeople prepare for their biggest and busiest ever holiday season repairing Treasured Christmas keepsakes.
The Great British Christmas Sewing Bee
Brand new host Sara Pascoe throws a Christmas Sewing Bee extravaganza. To help her get into the festive spirit, she welcomes celebrity sewer Rev Kate Bottley, actors Antony Cotton and Kiell Smith-Bynoe, plus presenter Anneka Rice into the Sewing Room.
Under the watchful eye of judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant, the four brave celebrities follow a pattern for a Christmas jumper, they transform a charity shop bundle into fancy dress outfit and create dresses from Christmas past.
The Great British New Year Sewing Bee
It’s New Year on The Sewing Bee, with four more celebrities being invited into the Sewing Room to try their hand at creating party clothes.
Winner of Drag Race UK Lawrence Chaney, comedian and writer Rose Matafeo, singer Claire Richards from Steps and journalist Kirsty Wark all get behind their sewing machine and give it a go.
MasterChef Champions Special
For the very first time, five of the most memorable amateur champions return to the MasterChef kitchen in a cooking contest to rival any other.
The competitors are: Tim Anderson – Champion 2011, Ping Coombes – Champion 2014, Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed – Champion 2017, Kenny Tutt – Champion 2018, and Irini Tzortzoglou – Champion 2019.
Each of them is back to show how far their food and careers have progressed and to compete for the title of MasterChef Champion of Champions 2021.
MasterChef: The Professionals Rematch Special
Four of the most memorable chefs from past series return to show how far their food and careers have progressed and face demanding challenges set by the MasterChef judges Monica Galetti, Marcus Wareing and Gregg Wallace.
Competing this year are: Philli Armitage-Mattin – Finalist 2020; Jamie Park – Finalist 2017; Santosh Shah – Finalist 2020 and Bart van der Lee – Finalist 2020.
Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off
Ten of the most memorable celebrities from past series come back to compete in two festive-themed specials.
Hosted by MasterChef Judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode, reality star Gemma Collins, actor and TV Presenter Joe Swash, actor and entertainer Les Dennis, singer Mica Paris, broadcaster the Reverend Richard Coles, Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse, reality star Joey Essex, former professional football player Neil Ruddock, comedian Judi Love, and actor and national treasure Su Pollard compete to see who can take home the title of Christmas champion and the all-new Celebrity MasterChef Golden Whisk trophy.
Sports Personality Of The Year
BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021 will take place on the evening of 19 December live on BBC One and iPlayer from Media City in Salford.
Presenters Gary Lineker, Clare Balding, Gabby Logan and Alex Scott will celebrate a sensational 12 months of incredible sporting action as well as champion the unsung heroes in our communities who do so much inspiring work at grassroots level.
The Graham Norton Show
The Bafta award-winning chat show, featuring the biggest celebrities and the brightest conversation on television. Graham Norton presents his traditional end of year show with very special guests who are guaranteed to bring plenty of great conversation and lots of laughter to New Year’s Eve on BBC One and iPlayer.
New’s Year’s Eve Concert
BBC One promises to see 2021 out in style with a music extravaganza for the whole family to enjoy. This special concert will count viewers down to 2022 and will feature a major artist plus big surprises too as BBC One plays host to a late night New Year’s Eve party that the entire nation is invited to.
BBC Two (And on BBC iPlayer) –
Beauty and the Beast: A Comic Relief Pantomime for Christmas
The world’s funniest AND most star-studded pantomime is back! The return of the popular Comic Relief Pantomime written by Ben Crocker and The Dawson Bros.
It’s 1922 and in the heart of an old English college, Edward Williams receives an engraving of an unknown country house. An imposing facade. A sweeping lawn. And, just perhaps, something else…?
Laced with M. R. James’ trademark terror, The Mezzotint will guarantee a chill in the air for viewers this Christmas. Rory Kinnear (Years & Years, No Time To Die) stars as Williams, alongside Robert Bathurst (Cold Feet, Downton Abbey) as Garwood, and Frances Barber (Doctor Who, Semi-Detached) as Mrs Ambrigail.
What is the true essence of Christmas? Is it the glimmer in a schoolboy’s expectant eye as he opens his pillowcase on Christmas morning and tucks into a delicious walnut and a bruised tangerine?
Or, is it a Christmas episode of a TV show that is slightly longer than usual to make it appear “special”? Find out the answer in this Christmas episode of Mandy, starring Diane Morgan as our eponymous heroine. It is slightly longer than usual.
Two Doors Down
Two Doors Down returns with another festive special of the hit comedy centred around a family and their insufferable neighbours.
Having been away in the Highlands last year, we’re back on home turf in Latimer Crescent. And it’s all merry and bright over at Michelle and Alan’s as they welcome the neighbours for a wee pre-Christmas get together… But the festive atmosphere soon turns a little fraught.
Frankie Boyle’s New World Order 2021
Frankie Boyle returns with his New World Order end of year special where, with the help of his guests, he’ll dissect the bewildering year that was 2021.
Live At The Apollo
This December, the BAFTA-nominated Live At The Apollo returns with its sixth Christmas special, welcoming some of the biggest and best comedic talent to the stage for some festive funniness.
In this special festive edition of the award-winning Live at the Apollo, the fabulous Jason Manford is your host as he introduces Maisie Adam and Nabil Abdulrashid to the stage.
Christmas University Challenge
The BBC’s Christmas present to the UK’s student population is a brief let-up in the weekly grilling they’re getting from Jeremy Paxman.
Instead, they can join the rest of us as we watch this special festive season of ten episodes, for which we invite distinguished graduates to compete on behalf of their university or university college.
Mortimer And Whitehouse: Gone Christmas Fishing
Paul Whitehouse’s Christmas gift to Bob Mortimer this year is to take him on a quest to catch an elusive English Salmon. So the pair head to the beautiful rivers Eden and Tyne around Newcastle to start their Gone Christmas Fishing seasonal adventure.
There are plenty of laughs, a few tears and some big surprises in this hour-long special episode, which will leave you well and truly immersed in the Christmas spirit.
The Morecambe and Wise Show 1970 – The Lost Tape
As a Christmas treat for comedy fans, this is a complete episode of The Morecambe and Wise Show, that had been considered ‘lost’ for over 50 years.
Eric’s son Gary Morecambe discovered the programme in an unmarked film can in 2020, and now it has been lovingly restored and can be enjoyed in full for the first time since being first broadcast on October 8th 1970.
The show, written by the legendary Eddie Braben, was episode one of Eric and Ernie’s first series to appear on BBC One, and was originally watched by over 14 million viewers.
As well as some classic sketches from Eric and Ernie, the show also features songs and music from Paul Anka, Patricia Lambert, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, and the boys themselves rounding things off with a burst of Bring Me Sunshine.
The Ranganation Christmas Special
Romesh Ranganathan, winner of the 2021 BAFTA TV Award for Comedy Entertainment Performance, returns alongside his celebrity guests, the Ranganation themselves and of course his mum Shanthi to take a festively funny and topical look at modern Britain in a special Yuletide edition of The Ranganation.
The Hairy Bikers Go North For Christmas
The Hairy Bikers are back on the road, and this time they’ve got their sights set on creating the most fabulous Northern festive feast for their nearest and dearest.
Dave Myers and Si King hail from opposite sides of the North and feel it’s been far too long since their families have been together around one table for a proper celebration.
So they’ve hatched a plan to ride the backbone of the North, the Pennines, from top to bottom, to meet, taste and be inspired by the best food artisans and producers around.
They’ll then create a Christmas dinner using ingredients they find, to treat their families to the best Northern Xmas ever.
Mary Berry’s Festive Feasts
Dame Mary Berry is ready to teach three truly hapless cooks how to create a fantastic Christmas Feast to surprise someone special.
The kitchen novices are invited to Mary’s home to share their ambitions for the feast and tell her all about the deserving person they want to spoil.
After selecting some recipes that are sure to impress, they will be trained up by Mary herself. She’ll demonstrate tricky techniques while giving her pupils helpful critique and pointers along the way. But once they wave goodbye to Mary and head home, it’s up to them to practice in their own kitchens… will they be able to replicate Mary’s mouth-watering dishes?
Andi Oliver Taste Of Home Christmas Special
Andi Oliver is a chef and passionate foodie and she’s eaten in some really amazing places – but what really excites her isn’t fancy restaurants, it’s the special meals and food celebrations people cook at home. Most of all at Christmas.
Across this warm-hearted and entertaining episode, three households will proudly share their treasured family recipes and traditions with Andi, and demonstrate how a simple meal can help tell the story of a whole city – its culture, its spirit and its history.
Only Connect Christmas Special
Victoria Coren Mitchell is back in the host’s chair for a one-off special of Only Connect: the series where knowledge will only take you so far. Patience and lateral thinking are also vital.
Quentin Blake: The Drawing Of My Life
BBC Two celebrates one of Britain’s best-loved artists: the illustrator and author Sir Quentin Blake.
He tells the story of his creative life in his own words – and, of course, with his own pictures – by making a major new work exclusively for this film. Viewers will see him fill a thirty-foot long canvas with classic characters and key moments from his career.
In the second of three special programmes celebrating the gardening year, Adam Frost hosts the show from his garden.
Nick Bailey visits the winter garden at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire. He meets the head gardener and deconstructs the winter garden, which lies all but dormant during the summer months, before bursting into life and colour with a host of beautiful plants with the onset of winter.
In the third and final of the three specials, Monty Don creates a winter interest container filled with seasonal favourites including hellebores, cyclamens, violas, crocus and ferns. He also shares his tips on how to care for house plants over winter and plans for the growing season ahead by sorting seeds – a rewarding job at this time of year.
Inside The Factory – Christmas Cards
In this new Inside the Factory Christmas Special Gregg Wallace visits the Woodmansterne card factory in in Watford, Hertfordshire.
We Brits spend a staggering 1.7 billion pounds on cards annually, but we are really enthusiastic for greetings in the festive season! Spending a whopping 900million pounds on them every year. Gregg is following one of this factory’s bestselling cards, The Red Stag.
Madonna at the BBC
A look back at a selection of magical Madonna moments on a range of BBC shows – from her first-ever Top of the Pops appearance with Holiday in 1984, right up to the present day.
Madonna: Truth or Dare
A behind-the-scenes look at Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition tour, which saw the Queen of Pop perform to 800,000 people across Japan, the USA, Canada, Sweden, Spain, the UK, Italy and France.
This intimate film, which was last broadcast on the BBC in 2003, explores Madonna’s relationships with her dancers, crew, family and friends – including her famous encounters with Warren Beatty, Sandra Bernhard and Kevin Costner.
Adele at the BBC
Adele has broken records, won numerous awards and has recently released her highly anticipated fourth album, 30. This programme takes a trip back into the BBC’s archives to look again at how it all started for one of the 21st century’s biggest music stars.
These performances include her first-ever TV appearance on Later…with Jools Holland, in 2007, on which she sang Daydreamer – a debut that announced a new star was born.
Lady Gaga at the BBC
From the moment her debut single Just Dance hit the top of the UK charts, Lady Gaga has captivated music fans across the world.
This collection of her appearances on the BBC over the years underlines exactly why she’s considered one of the most creative, innovative stars of the 21st century.
Jools’ Annual Hootenanny
Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra welcome in the New Year with Jools’ Annual Hootenanny 2021/2022.
Joined by host of stellar guests, they’ll bring viewers a spectacular festive party, direct to their homes.
This year’s show takes place at Riverside Studios in London and will see performances and interviews with a range of artists.
A Musical Family Christmas with the Kanneh-Masons
This Christmas, BBC Two viewers are invited to join a very special festive celebration with the Kanneh-Mason family.
The seven exceptionally-talented classical musical siblings will treat audiences to seasonal performances of their favourite Xmas music such as ‘Mary’s Boy Child’, ‘We Three Kings’ and Tchaikovsky’s ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’.
Gareth Malone’s Christmas Concert
In this seasonal special, choirmaster Gareth Malone heads to Blackburn – one of the areas of the country hardest hit by the pandemic – to create a concert that celebrates the work of NHS staff and other keyworkers.
In the Royal Blackburn Hospital, and surrounding town, Gareth comes across a wealth of amateur musical talent. Working with them to devise and rehearse musical performances that reflect their experiences over the last year, he uncovers a range of moving stories about how the town has pulled together through the pandemic.
New Year’s Day Concert Live From Vienna 2022
Petroc Trelawny is host for the Vienna Philharmonic’s annual New Year’s Day Concert from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna.
In these uncertain times, the concert will look to send a New Year’s greeting of hope to the world, as it welcomes back an audience to the hall following last year’s edition, which was impacted by the ongoing global pandemic.
BBC Four (And on BBC iPlayer) –
2021 Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution
In this year’s Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution:
Going Viral: How Covid Changed Science Forever – Professor Jonathan Van-Tam takes a deep dive into the fascinating and varied world of viruses.
Built at the 2,300m summit of the Julierpass in south-east Switzerland is a tower, an extraordinary 30 metre high red wooden structure which was unveiled in late 2017.
Out of time and place, it stands in splendid and magisterial isolation – but will be dismantled in August 2023 – a tribute to the fleeting nature of theatre performance.
Whilst it remains in use, this film uses its many evocative spaces to stage the ultimate musical portrait of isolation: Schubert’s song-cycle Winterreise (or Winter Journey), telling of a young man’s wintry self-isolation as he wanders in the open, wracked with emotional turmoil.
CBeebies (And on BBC iPlayer) –
The Night Before Christmas
CBeebies Christmas Show is back starring CBeebies favourites such as Justin Fletcher, Jennie Dale, Nigel Clarke and many more.
The Night Before Christmas is an original theatre show based on the poem of the same name, created by a team of writers and scripted by Nathan Cockerill.
It tells the story of one Christmas Eve when the Wish Taker took all of the children’s wishes meant for Father Christmas, and how young Holly was determined to get them all back.
It’s Christmas and Bluey is very focused on being good to get more presents. But when a game of Verandah Santa leaves cousin Socks upset, Bluey must learn the virtue of kindness.
Tish is left in charge of the Christmas Tree decorations, but Bobby keeps getting in the way of her plans.
Numberblocks – The Twelve Days Of Christmas
The Numberblocks present a special numbery version of the festive favourite featuring a Christmas train that flings gifts into the air. What could possibly go wrong?
Learn about counting, adding and number patterns in this animated Christmas special from the Numberblocks.
Alphablocks – Letters To Santa
Stan Elf is on a mission to deliver all the letters to Santa. Can the Alphablocks help him and save Christmas?
This animated seasonal special has fun with letter teams and clusters, and includes magic words such as bells, elf, gifts, jolly and sled.
My World Kitchen
Join Dougie as he makes a delicious festive classic; a Christmas yule log! He has invited his friends to try it but will they like the taste of the redcurrants inside his yule log?
Take a festive trip to Fluffytown for a bumper double-length Love Monster special – A Very Merry Unicorn Day – with special guest star, the Emmy award winning Rosamund Pike as Glitterhorn.
CBBC (And on BBC iPlayer) –
Andy and The Band
Andy and his band are back with a mission to save Christmas! Santa has a major supply problem at Christmas HQ which only The Odd Socks can help with. Can they turn it round in time for the big day?
The Beaker Girls
It will be a Christmas to remember for the Beaker Girls. As a storm blows in there are some surprise re-appearances in Cooksea and an unexpected festive arrival as Jess and Tracy rediscover the meaning of family at Christmas time.
BBC Teach Live Lessons will be holding a Winter themed programme for 5-7 year olds (Key Stage 1/First Level), on 1 December online on BBC Teach and on CBBC as part of the Bitesize Learning Zone.
The Winter Live Lesson will explore seasonal changes and winter weather and encourage children to make observations about their environment.
On 15 December, a Christmas Live Lesson will look at the story and history of the festive holiday period, go behind the scenes at a panto, and learn how to make an excellent Christmas bake to share with the family.
The programme for primary schools, will link to curriculum objectives around citizenship and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
Horrible Histories: Cracking Christmas
In Horrible Histories: Cracking Christmas, meet the 18th century man whose job was to walk a thousand turkeys from Norfolk to London – he set off in September, and yes, they did have shoes.
Step aside Santa, we’ve got the other Christmas spirits, including Joulopukki, the Finnish Festive Goat. Don’t miss the stories behind the first ever Christmas tree, the first nativity scene, why Henry VIII thought Elizabeth’s gift was boring, and how the Romans celebrated Saturnalia by giving rubbish presents. And Charles Dickens sings us out, Slade stylie, revealing how the Victorians first introduced many of the Christmas traditions we enjoy today.
Blue Peter Christmas Special
The Blue Peter Christmas special is presented by Adam, Mwaksy and Richie and Henry the Dog. Featuring a studio packed with special guests, festive performance and post from kids who have been awarded their very own badge.
Jacqueline Wilson’s Wonderful World
In celebration of Tracy Beaker creator, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, BBC Children’s will be bringing the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Jacqueline Wilson’s Wonderful World to BBC iPlayer this December as this multimedia orchestral adventure is filmed with a live audience at the Barbican.