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WHAT TO WATCH 12-18 December

This week's best telly is bursting with Christmas specials from Mortimer and Whitehouse, Romesh Ranganathan, The Real Full Monty, Vicky McClure and Gordon, Gino and Fred plus Ant & Dec look back on this year's I'm A Celeb and of course the Strictly semi-final!


Here are 7 TV shows you can't miss this week...


1. Strictly Come Dancing

Saturday 12th at 7pm and Sunday 13th December at 7.30pm on BBC One


The countdown to Christmas is really on now as this year's Strictly Come Dancing reaches its semi-final and each of the five remaining couples will have to perform twice to impress Craig, Shirley and Motsi as well as the viewers at home as only four can make it through to next weekend's Grand Final.


But just who will fall short of the final? And who will go on to lift that glitter ball. Unlike most years, it's been a really unpredictable series with all semi-finalists - apart from Bill Bailey - reaching the top of the leaderboard. But could all that be about to change?


After a couple of weeks each in the dance-off, could Jamie Laing and Maisie Smith find themselves in the dance off again? Or will Ranvir Singh and HRVY find themselves in that dreaded position in such a crucial week of the competition?


During Sunday's results show, Little Mix will perform Break Up Song and the night opens with a dramatic routine by the professional dancers set on a revolving stage!


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2. Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Christmas Fishing

Sunday 13th December at 9.10pm on BBC Two


When the third series of Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing ended in September, the BBC were quick to confirm that a fourth series would be on air in 2021. Since then, it turns out Bob and Paul have shot an hour-long festive special, and the good news is that we get to see it this week!


We follow Bob Mortimer as he returns to his childhood roots in Middlesbrough to fish the Rivers Esk and Tees with his dear friend and angling mentor Paul Whitehouse. As well as trying to catch the glorious grayling, Bob also tries to ignite the joy of Christmas in Paul, who thinks the magic of the season has been long lost to commercialism.


Bob helps to cook a memorable turkey dinner with all the trimmings and hosts their office party for two, featuring a special guest appearance by a secret Santa who has a rather familiar face.


Together they chat to a fellow Middlesbrough lad, singer Chris Rea, about his unique memories of Yuletide, before he drives home for Christmas and they stay in fishermen’s cottages in the beautiful harbour village of Staithes.


They also take to the North Sea to see what they can catch before moving further north to stay in a very magical place on the moors. Will Paul finally begin to see the pleasure of Christmas through Bob’s eyes? A big surprise at the end of the programme could guarantee it!


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3. I'm A Celebrity...a Castle Story

Sunday 13th December at 8pm on ITV


If like me, you've been missing your nightly castle fix since Giovanna Fletcher was crowned Queen of the Castle on I'm A Celeb, you'll be pleased to learn that Ant & Dec are back to present a one-off look back at this year's series.


The hour-long special will combine the best bits from the series as well as interviews with the celebrities including finalists Giovanna Fletcher, Jordan North and Vernon Kay as well as Shane Richie, Sir Mo Farah, AJ Pritchard, Jessica Plummer, Russell Watson, Victoria Derbyshire, Beverley Callard, Ruthie Henshall and Hollie Arnold MBE.


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4. The Christmas Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan

Sunday 13th December at 9.10pm on BBC Two


With foreign travel all but forbidden, for this year's Christmas special of Misadventures, Romesh Ranganathan is heading to the Hebrides to find out if you can really have a proper adventure so close to home, spending a week visiting the isles of Skye, Harris and Lewis.


Guiding him through the journey is Donald Macsween, or Sweeney to his friends, a local crofter from the far north of Lewis, a place that lies as far north as Greenland. During their trip, Romesh is shown the spectacular rugged beauty of the islands and what at first glance looks like Caribbean sandy beaches... only utterly freezing.


Rom tries his hand at the Highland Games, does his best to avoid feeling up a sheep’s testicles during a day spent on Sweeney’s farm and spends a chaotic afternoon with St Kilda's local band Peat and Diesel, the biggest thing to hit the Western Isles for decades.


But it is also a trip full of surprises as Rom finds a community that is at times uncomfortable with the sheer number of people now visiting the islands and sees why its people are having to fight so hard to preserve their local culture.


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5. The Real Full Monty on Ice

Monday 14th & Tuesday 15th December at 9pm on ITV


The Real Full Monty always proves to be an emotional watch and this year as the show returns for its fourth year, a brave new line-up of celebrities will be put through their paces for the biggest and most daring show yet.... as for the very first time, the new line-up of brave celebrities will perform their routines by doing the full monty on ICE, in a winter wonderland spectacular.


The petrified class of 2020 will be led by Ashley Banjo and Coleen Nolan, joining forces once again to put them through their paces for the biggest and most daring show yet, all to raise awareness of cancers in intimate areas of the body and the crucial importance of early self-checks to help save lives. And with less health checks taking place during lockdown for crucial early diagnosis, the message has never been more important.


Stepping up to reveal all on ice this year are Dame Jenni Murray, Linda Lusardi, Shaughna Phillips, Hayley Tamaddon and Dr Zoe as well as Gareth Thomas, Jamie Lomas, Jake Quickenden, Bob Champion, Perri Kiely and Chris Hughes - who all have stories to tell about how cancer has touched their lives or those closest to them.


To push them even harder, Ashley has asked some of the former Dancing on Ice professional skaters to perform with the celebrities and DOI’s Dan Whiston will be creating some amazing ice dance routines to get everyone into the Christmas spirit.


The fresh set of male and female stars will learn their whole super-sized routine from scratch, before revealing all to the nation in two 90-minute specials to demonstrate the importance of shedding body inhibitions and making checks in intimate areas to prevent cancer.


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6. Vicky McClure's Dementia Choir at Christmas

Wednesday 16th December at 7.30pm on BBC One


Just over two years ago, in Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure, Vicky took to the stage at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham with her choir of people all living with dementia to perform in front of 2000 people.


Now, in this heart-warming 30-minute seasonal special, Vicky tells the story of the choir through lockdown leading up to a very special Christmas performance with members of the English National Opera at the London Coliseum for one choir member.


Mick is living his bucket list while he can and wants to sing on a stage one last time. He knows he’s coming to London to sing, but he has no idea where or that Vicky’s also arranged for her co-star on Line of Duty, Adrian Dunbar to sing with him.


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7. Gordon, Gino and Fred: Desperately Seeking Santa

Wednesday 16th December at 9pm on ITV


This week it was announced that Gordon Ramsay, Gino D'Acampo and Fred Sirieix have agreed to three more series and two more Christmas specials of their brilliant Road Trip series - meaning brand new episodes right until 2023!


But before all that, Gordon, Gino and Fred are back together for another extraordinary culinary Christmas adventure as Gino arranges a trip to the ultimate winter wonderland destination as the boys and their trusty RV will be in the official home of Santa, Lapland, to experience a treasure trove of festive fare and meet Father Christmas in person.


Gino has a letter he wants to hand deliver to Santa from his daughter Mia, Fred is keen to witness the once in a lifetime wonder of the Northern Lights and Gordon is eager that they all encounter the culinary delights of the country and chow down on some reindeer meat.


As the three foodie friends seek out the best the country has to offer their expert palates, they’ll face plenty of off menu distractions. This is the land of ice swimming and saunas, snowmobiles and huskies, and it wouldn’t be a Gordon, Gino & Fred Road Trip, unless they got snowballs deep in everything this extraordinary country has to offer


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