Doctor Who – 25th December, 5:30pm, BBC1
This year’s Christmas episode of Doctor Who will go down in TV history as Capaldi’s last and Jodie Whittaker’s premiere – the first female doctor in 55 years. The episode will also be Steven Moffat’s last, handing over to Chris Chibnall, writer for the much loved Broadchurch.
The programme will see the Doctor and his companion Bill, Pearl Mackie, stranded in an Arctic snowscape. The baddies are “enchanted glass people” who steal their victims from frozen time. Mark Gatiss (Mycroft from Sherlock) will be playing a WW1 captain who is destined to die in the battlefield but gets dragged into the Doctor’s adventure. Making a return to the show, David Bradley, the first ever Doctor, will play the time-lord as well; both him and Capaldi fight against regeneration.
This promises to be a Doctor Who special that will look back at the past but also towards the future. It will make a statement and is testament to how the BBC is developing: slowly dragging themselves into the 21st Century. It should be, and can be, watched by all.
The Miniaturist – 26th December, 9:00pm, BBC1
Adapted from a best-seller and critically acclaimed novel, The Miniaturist looks to be the drama not to miss this holiday. Described as a “genre-defying spooky period thriller”, the two part drama is set in the late 1600s and follows main character Nella Oortman. After moving to a new city, Amsterdam, Nella is gifted a miniature doll’s house which she begins to furnish. Slowly it becomes apparent that some of the miniature items are replicas of her own, much larger, furniture – they begin to predict the future with disturbing accuracy.
Jesse Burton is the writer who thought up the story and did so after failing to break into her dream acting career, little did she know she was creating a job for herself in the process – Jesse stars as an extra in the ball scene. The book was part of a large bidding war and for Jesse it was a delight to have her first novel become so popular. The TV adaptation features Anya Taylor-Joy as Nella Oortman and Alex Hassell as her new husband Johannes.
Big Fat Quiz of the Year – 26th December, 9:00pm, Ch4
For all comedy lovers out there, Big Fat Quiz of the Year (BFQY) is an absolute must. As always, this years show is hosted by Jimmy Carr and has guests Richard Ayoade, Noel Fielding, David Mitchell, Big Narstie, Katherine Ryan, and Roisin Conaty. Although sometimes deemed ridiculous as guests get drunk and mess around, BFQY is a great way to reflect on your year. Why not watch and compete with friends and family, the winner could finish the box of Quality Streets? The thing I’m most looking forward to is Jon Snow’s music report where we can catch him boogie-ing to a popular tune of 2017.
Royal Institution Christmas Lectures – 26th December, 8:00pm, BBC4
“The Language of Life” – this year’s televised lectures focus on the science of communication and are led by Professor Sophie Scott, whose special interest is in the neuroscience of voices, speech and laughter. Lecture One will teach us about the human voice, touching on how the voice box works and how our laughter links us to our animal heritage. Lecture Two will investigate the hidden code of communication and Lecture Three will examine how and when humans first evolved language.
Perhaps sometimes overlooked during the Christmas period, science lectures can seem unimportant compared to great films and dramas. However, the episodes are aimed at all ages and so can be understood by all the family. You’re guaranteed to learn something new and interesting and hopefully it will inspire families to discuss science within their home – instead of it being an unknown subject kept to the realms of labs and school.
First Dates at Christmas – 25th December, 9:00pm, Ch4
If you haven’t already watched one of the many episode of First Dates then you’re missing out. I would argue that it is one of the most honest, heartwarming and cosy programmes I have discovered this year, three words which I believe are principal to the Christmas period. The show is set in a restaurant and is filmed with a fixed rig – similar to Big Brother or 24hrs in A&E. Members of the public arrive at the restaurant for blind dates with people the production company have matched together. After their dinner date, the couple reflects on their experience and decide in front of camera whether they would like to see each other again.
The Christmas special will feature new faces as well as familiar ones who return to the restaurant after an unsuccessful previous date. Channel 4 also allude to some exciting news: the first First Dates baby! Fred, the Maître d’ of the restaurant, lays on charm and happiness, providing a perfect programme to snuggle down to by yourself or with family.
After looking through the Christmas Radio Times and circling everything I’d like to watch (quite a lot), it was very tricky to cut down my selection to just 5. Therefore, if you have more time for the television, then I’d like to recommend: Miranda Does Christmas, 26th December, 9:00pm, Ch4; The Great Christmas Bake Off, 25th December, 7:40pm, Ch4; and Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show, 24th December, 8:30pm, BBC1.