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BBC Announce 2018 Christmas Line-Up

As the festive season draws ever closer, the BBC have today confirmed what gifts they'll be delivering this Christmas.


Christmas wouldn't be Christmas on the BBC without the likes of Call The Midwife, Doctor Who, EastEnders, Mrs Brown's Boys and Strictly Come Dancing and this year is no different.


Over the festive period there's another appointment booked with the midwives, the Doctor pays us a slightly later than usual visit on New Year's Day, there's another dramatic Christmas Day planned in Albert Square, Mammy return for two brand new festive specials and we return to the Strictly ballroom for a festive treat. Also returning for Christmas specials this year are All Together Now, Hold The Sunset, Michael McIntyre's Big Show, Still Open All Hours, Upstart Crow, Would I Lie to You? and Not Going Out which for the first time ever will be broadcast live!


Plus there's also a brand new one-off special starring Stephen Merchant and Asim Chaudhry on BBC One called Click & Collect.


On BBC Two, Two Doors Down returns for a fourth series, there are festive specials from Upstart Crow, QI, Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo and the channel celebrates 20 years of Goodness Gracious Me with a retrospective entitled Goodness Gracious Me - 20 years innit! and comedy legend Ken Dodd is celebrated in How Tickled We Were.


When it comes to drama, there's plenty on offer including the highly anticipated return of Luther for its fifth series, as well as three brand new adaptations; Sarah Phelps' latest Agatha Christie adaptation The ABC Murders, a six-part adaptation of 19th century classic Les Misérables and a three-part adaptation of Andrea Levy’s award-winning best-selling novel The Long Song.


And on BBC Four, Mark Gatiss will be bringing the Christmas ghost story tradition back to life with The Dead Room which stars Simon Callow and tells the tale of a long-running radio horror series of the same name.


Elsewhere, Take That will mark their 30th anniversary with Take That and Us, a special one off programme on BBC One, there's another festive return of Top of the Pops


The family are all catered for with David Walliams' latest television adaptation The Midnight Gang, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Zog and an innovative interpretation of Richard Adams’ bestselling novel Watership Down by Tom Bidwell.


In factual, there are documentaries celebrating comedian Billy Connolly, writer Andrew Davies and storyteller Raymond Briggs and Romesh returns with The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan: The Arctic a Christmas special of his hit BBC Two series.


TX dates for all shows will be added to the Upcoming TV page once confirmed by the BBC


Here's some more information about some of the shows coming up over Christmas and New Year...


The ABC Murders

BBC One


John Malkovich leads the cast as Hercule Poirot alongside Rupert Grint as Inspector Crome, Andrew Buchan as Franklin Clarke, Eamon Farren as Cust, Tara Fitzgerald as Lady Hermione Clarke, Shirley Henderson as Rose Marbury, Jack Farthing as Donald Fraser, Bronwyn James in the role of Megan and Freya Mavor as Thora Grey. 


It’s 1933 and a killer travels the length and breadth of Britain via the railway network. The killer uses the alias ABC, and strikes in a methodical pattern, leaving a copy of the ABC railway guide at the scene of each of murder. As Poirot attempts to investigate he is thwarted on every front. If he is to match his most cunning nemesis, everything about him will be called into question: his authority, his integrity, his identity.



All Together Now Celebrities

BBC One


All Together Now returns with a star-studded celebrity special hosted by comedian Rob Beckett, that will see a host of famous faces singing their hearts out in a bid to win over TV’s toughest judging panel, the 100, headed up by Spice Girl, Geri Horner.


Gemma Collins, Chris Kamara, Alison Hammond, Laurie Brett, Ben Foden, Amber Davies, Omid Djalili, Sara Pascoe and Tyger Drew-Honey are the household names taking to the stage for the one-off TV event. Although not necessarily known for their singing ability, each celebrity will be hoping to give a show-stopping performance that gets as many of the 100 up on their feet and singing along.


Because, the more of the 100 who stand up and join in, the higher the celebrity scores…and the nearer they come to being crowned winner.



Call the Midwife

BBC One


As Poplar prepares for Christmas, the nuns travel to the Mother House to elect a new mother superior. Sister Julienne is the obvious replacement and must face this possibility as her future at Nonnatus House hangs in the balance.


As they ready to leave, Sister Mildred played by Miriam Margolyes, an indefatigable sister from their order, arrives unexpectedly with her hands full with four Chinese orphans on route to the Children’s Home at the Mother House.


Touched by the plight of the children at the Home, the Nonnatus family and two new nuns, Sister

Hilda played by Fenella Woolgar and Sister Frances played by Ella Bruccoleri come together to give them a Christmas Nativity that they will remember. 


Back in Poplar, Trixie returns from Portofino refreshed and with her troubles well and truly behind her and Valerie leads the baby ballet Christmas performance.



Click & Collect

BBC One


Stephen Merchant and Asim Chaudhry star as two mismatched neighbours driving across the country to pick up the one toy that will make a little girl’s Christmas dreams come true.


But will they get there before the shops shut for the festive season? Can they make it back in time for Christmas? And will they manage to avoid driving each other crazy along the way?


It's Christmas Eve and Andrew Bennett (Merchant) has somehow failed to buy the one present his six-year-old daughter really wants, Sparklehoof the Unicorn Princess.


Unfortunately, it also happens to be the must-have toy of the season, and he can’t track one down in London for love nor money. Step forward his irritating, over-friendly neighbour Dev D’Cruz (Chaudhry), who reveals he’s managed to track down the last one in the whole of the UK.


The only problem? It’s 300 miles away, up in Carlisle. And it’s click and collect on Dev’s credit card.



The Dead Room

BBC Four


Written and directed by Mark Gatiss, the 30-minute film tells the tale of a long-running radio horror series of the same name.


Simon Callow plays Aubrey Judd, the radio series’ veteran presenter and national treasure, who finds that he must adapt to changing times and tastes… But whatever happened to the classic ghost stories? The good old days? Aubrey soon discovers that all is not quiet in the eerie radio studio – and that elements of his own past are not as dead and buried as he perhaps hoped…


Mark Gatiss says ‘The Christmas Ghost Story is a wonderful and vital TV tradition and one which has found its natural place on BBC Four. A Merry Christmas to all of you at home. Pleasant dreams!”



Doctor WhoBBC One


As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring, from across the centuries of Earth’s history.


When the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?



EastEnders

BBC One


This Christmas in Albert Square, at least one person is left with blood on their hands … 


Alfie is determined to give Kat the perfect Christmas but his dreams come to a sudden halt when the truth about him and Hayley unravels in catastrophic style. As Kat’s world is shattered into pieces, chaos ensues with consequences no one can see coming.


Mick Carter is finally reunited with his beloved Linda but with revenge on his mind, Christmas will be anything but peaceful for the Carters.


New Year kicks off in dramatic style for Mel and Ray as their wedding day arrives but what does Mel have in store for her deceitful groom? As the bride-to-be puts the final pieces of her plan into place, she comes to a disturbing realisation…



Goodness Gracious Me - 20 years innit!

BBC Two


Kiss my chuddies, man, Goodness Gracious Me is 20! And to celebrate this ground shaking, award taking and mould breaking show BBC Two is looking back at some the funniest and most loved moments.


The celebration will reveal the ten most memorable sketches decided by comedy fans and will feature exclusive interviews with its stars and creators alongside other comedians who are fans of the series.



Hold The Sunset

BBC One


John Cleese and Alsion Steadman return in a festive special of BBC One's newest comedy hit.


It’s the last Christmas Edith will have with her family before she and Phil set off for their dream retirement in the Mediterranean.


Edith’s son Roger enlists her scurrilous one-time flame, Bob ‘the burglar’, to give Christmas its proper flavour, Edith’s sister Joan won’t watch the Queen’s Speech anywhere else, Queenie locks Sandra and Wendy into a wardrobe; and Phil finds himself talking to a ghost.



Les Misérables

BBC One


Andrew Davies’ six-part drama adaptation of Victor Hugo's 19th century classic Les Misérables, will delve deep into the many layers of Hugo's story, revelling in Jean Valjean and Javert's cat-and-mouse relationship, against the epic backdrop of France at a time of civil unrest.


With striking intensity and contemporary resonance, Hugo’s novel explores the struggles and triumphs of the underclass and the quest for a better life.


The series stars Dominic West as Jean Valjean, David Oyelowo as Javert and Lily Collins as Fantine. The distinguished British cast also includes Adeel Akhtar and Olivia Colman as Monsieur and Madame Thénardier, Ellie Bamber as Cosette, Josh O’Connor as Marius and Erin Kellyman as Éponine.



Live at the Apollo

BBC Two


This December, Live At The Apollo returns for its fourth annual Christmas special, welcoming some of the biggest and best comedic talent to the stage for some Yuletide frolics.


In this special festive edition of the award-winning Live at the Apollo, the funny and fabulous Sarah Millican is your host as she introduces the incredibly sharp Ahir Shah, the effervescent Laura Lexx  and king of the one-liner Gary Delaney, to the stage.



The Long Song

BBC One


Set during the final days of slavery in 19th century Jamaica and adapted from the award-winning novel by Andrea Levy, The Long Song follows the trials, tribulations and survival of a wily, strong-willed slave July (Tamara Lawrance) on a plantation owned by her odious mistress Caroline Mortimer (Hayley Atwell).


When a charming new arrival to the island, Robert Goodwin (Jack Lowden), becomes the new overseer, July and Caroline are both intrigued by his seemingly revolutionary determination to improve the plantation for the slaves and mistress alike. The cast also includes Sir Lenny Henry as Godfrey.


Three hundred years of slavery finally came to a chaotic end on the British-ruled Caribbean island of Jamaica in 1838. It is a shameful and rarely-acknowledged part of British colonial history. And though Abolition may have been the first step on the road to racial equality, it is a very long road and one upon which we still travel today.



Luther

BBC One


When the moonless shadows of London give birth to a new nightmare, DCI John Luther played by Idris Elba is once more called to immerse himself in the deepest depths of human depravity.


While the monstrous and seemingly indiscriminate killings become ever more audacious and public, Luther and new recruit D.S. Catherine Halliday played by Wunmi Mosaku are confounded by a complex tangle of leads and misdirection that seems designed to protect an untouchable

corruption.


But even as the case brings him closer than ever to the true face of evil, a reluctant Luther is forced to confront the unburied demons of his own recent past. Striding back into the line

of fire, he must choose who to protect and who to sacrifice. 


Whatever his next move, it will have devastating consequences for those around him — and change John Luther forever.


Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show

BBC One


Michael McIntyre's annual festive special returns to BBC One this Christmas, stuffed with big stars, big laughs and big surprises!


In this entertainment special recorded at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, Michael presents a night packed with Christmas treats and unmissable surprises including a special guest handing over their phone in Send to All,  another spectacular Unexpected Star and one unsuspecting member of the public gets a big surprise.



The Midnight Gang

BBC One


When the clock strikes midnight most children are fast asleep, but for the Midnight Gang the journey is just beginning. 


Based on the original book by David Walliams, The Midnight Gang tells the tale of a young boy called Tom who finds himself in the Children’s Ward at Lord Funt Hospital after being hit on the head by a cricket ball.  At the hospital he meets a scary porter, the kid—hating matron and newly qualified, and slightly nervous Dr Luppers.


Once Tom is moved to the children’s ward, he discovers The Midnight Gang, a secret gang of children who go on midnight adventures in the hospital making dreams come true. When Tom’s wicked headmaster turns up at the hospital to take him back to his boarding school, Tom must find a way to stay in the hospital to fulfil one final adventure for The Midnight Gang.


Porter is played by Alan Davies, Matron is played by Haydn Gwynne, Dr Luppers is played by Amit Shah, Headmaster is played by David Walliams, Tom is played by Oliver Zetterstrom, Sir Quentin is played by Mark Heap, Tootsie is played by Jocelyn Jee Esien. Produced by King Bert Productions.



The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan: The Arctic

BBC Two


Romesh Ranganathan travels further than he’s ever travelled outside of his cosy comfort zone as he heads to one of the coldest and most hostile environments on earth.


In this Christmas Special, he gets an insider’s guide to the Canadian Arctic and finds out if his preconceptions about this remote part of the world are right, or whether there is more to this area than the prospect of freezing to death or being eaten by a polar bear.


Travelling across frozen wastelands to spend a week in the largest territory of Canada, he will be guided by his host – Inuit athlete, movie star, youth ambassador and renowned hunter Johnny Isaaluk. As well as the beauty and the majesty of the frozen scenery Romesh will also encounter a different side to the Arctic as he gets to grips with the hunters way of life just to survive (as a vegan he’s just considered to be an incompetent hunter). He’ll also witness the erosion and resurgence of Inuit traditions, and discover why alcohol is often restricted in the communities.


So has Romesh got it wrong about the Arctic? Romesh sets off to find out if there is anything worth travelling there for.



Mrs Brown's Boys

BBC One


Exotic Mammy


It’s the festive season once again in the Brown household, and Father Damian has organised a Christmas decoration contest to support the local football team. Agnes is keen to enter, especially as it might mean getting one over her old nemesis Hilliary Nicholson.


But she is soon distracted, when Dermot and Buster give Agnes a “wifi assistant” and she has trouble figuring out what to do with it. Meanwhile, Cathy is up for a promotion at work and Dino and Rory give Buster a full make-over, so he can look the best for his internet date. It’s bound to go well, as long as she looks like she does in her photo…


Mammy’s Motel


There’s a storm blowing in Finglas and it soon claims its first victim when the pipes in Winnie and Sharon’s house burst. Thank goodness therefore for Mrs Brown who is on hand to offer a roof over their heads while repairs are carried out.


However, it’s not long before there’s a storm brewing in the Brown household too, when Agnes and Cathy discover living with best friends isn’t the picnic they’d imagined. And Agnes has yet more on her plate when she receives the news of the death of Nelly Scullie, a neighbour she never knew, or liked, and is asked by Father Damian to do her eulogy. Plus, there’s Bono’s thirteenth birthday to host.


It might all seem too much for Agnes, until Buster drops a bombshell…



Not Going Out Live

BBC One


For the first time ever, Lee Mack’s Not Going Out, is going out LIVE on BBC One this Christmas.


With no room for slip ups or mistakes (no pressure then) we join Lee (Lee Mack) and Lucy (Sally Bretton) live from their festively decorated living room, nervously discussing the Ding Dong Merrily on Live Christmas Spectacular, the Christmas variety show they’ve been strong-armed into organising to raise money for their children’s school.


But things are rarely plain sailing for our duo, as they soon come to realise, with an animal impersonator as the only confirmed performer, quality acts are worryingly thin on the ground. Who will Lee and Lucy turn to?


Surely Toby and uptight wife Anna can’t be roped in? With egg juggling and some knife throwing (CUT!) for good measure... what could possibly go wrong?



Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

BBC One


Strictly Come Dancing returns for an all-star Christmas spectacular as six of the most-loved Strictly stars return to the dance floor for a one-off special on Christmas Day.


This year the leading ladies are Anita Rani, Ann Widdecombe and Caroline Flack and the gentlemen returning to the ballroom are Aston Merrygold, Jake Wood and Michael Vaughan.


Find out more here.



Two Doors Down

BBC Two


Arabella Weir and Alex Norton return as Beth and Eric, the long-suffering Bairds whose home is often at the heart of the comedy and Elaine C Smith, Doon Mackichan and Jonathan Watson also all return.


Having been introduced in the last episode of series three, Graeme ‘Grado’ Stevely and Joy McAvoy will also be back as new neighbours Alan and Michelle.


This new series will see Beth and Eric celebrate 30 years of married bliss, while Christine will stress test the NHS with a temporary hospital stay, and the Bairds will receive a visit from Gordon’s parents Sandra and Graham, played by Maggie O’Neill and Alex Kirk.



Upstart Crow

BBC Two

It’s a bleak midwinter in the Shakespeare household as the family comes to terms with a cruel loss. But when a mysterious stranger (Kenneth Branagh) offers to share with Will (David Mitchell) a tale of redemption he becomes filled anew with love and light and hope.


Now Will has a mission – to save another soul from despair. He and his family and friends get together to save Greene (Mark Heap) from a mean and miserly life, and arrange for three midnight “ghosts” to visit him before Christmas.


Who is the stranger? Can Will and his family and friend’s efforts persuade Greene to change his ways and show some generosity to his servant Job Scratchit? (Karl Theobald) And at the end of it all could this tale of Yuletide redemption be another smash Shakespeare hit on the stage, or is its time not yet come? In short, what the Dickens is going on?



Watership Down

BBC One


Adapted for the screen by Tom Bidwell and directed by Noam Murro, these two special feature-length episodes are a tale of adventure, courage and survival and follows a band of rabbits as they flee the certain destruction of their home.


Led by, stout-hearted brothers Hazel and Fiver, voiced by James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult, the rabbits journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, towards the hope of a better life.


Watership Down’s star cast also features the vocal talents of John Boyega, Olivia Colman, Sir Ben Kingsley, Tom Wilkinson, Gemma Arterton, Peter Capaldi, Mackenzie Crook, Anne-Marie Duff, Taron Egerton, Freddie Fox, Daniel Kaluuya, Rory Kinnear, Craig Parkinson, Rosamund Pike, Jason Watkins, and Gemma Chan.


First look pictures here.



Would I Lie to You at Christmas

BBC One


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? David Mitchell is joined by Lily Allen and Noddy Holder while Lee Mack is joined by James Acaster and Sian Gibson.



The Young Offenders

BBC One


For this Christmas Special, The Young Offenders has been promoted from BBC Three to BBC One. It's Christmas week, and the residents of the estate where Conor, Jock and Mairead live have been fighting off an eviction from the council for over a month.


The residents have created a barricade to show their determination that they won't be moved to make way for the estate to be renovated, afraid that they might never get back into their homes if forced out.


The situation has been getting national media coverage and everyone involved is on edge, including the police. While all this is happening, Mairead has been sick for weeks and has to be taken to hospital, a place Conor and Jock hate. The situation proves to be more serious than thought, causing major concern for the lads.



Zog

BBC One


This heartwarming and enchanting half hour animated special will be voiced by a stellar cast of British acting talent, featuring Sir Lenny Henry as the narrator, Tracey Ullman as Madame Dragon, Hugh Skinner as Zog, Patsy Ferran as Princess Pearl and Kit Harington as Sir Gadabout.


Zog is a keen but accident-prone dragon who gets himself into mischief whilst learning how to fly, roar, breathe fire and fight knights in his first four years at Dragon School. Each year he meets a kindly young girl who patches up his bumps and bruises, but can she help him with his trickiest challenge yet: It's Year Five and he has to capture a princess!

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