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WHAT TO WATCH Christmas Eve

'Twas the night before Christmas and on TV this year...

This Christmas Eve, the best telly to enjoy includes festive specials of Bake Off, Beyond Paradise and Not Going Out as well as a Christmas ghost story from Mark Gatiss and a new Christmas drama on Sky starring James Nesbitt and Timothy Spall.

Here are 5 TV shows you can't miss this Christmas Eve...

1. The Heist Before Christmas

Christmas Eve at 8pm on Sky Max

James Nesbitt and Timothy Spall star in this year's Christmas drama on Sky, The Heist Before Christmas, which follows what happens when twelve-year-old Mikey Collins, who’s dirt-poor and hates Christmas, finds two Santa Clauses in the woods.

One has just robbed a bank and is on the run with the cash, played by James Nesbitt and the other claims to have fallen out of his sleigh, played by Timothy Spall. Mikey has no time for this second guy as he’s well past believing any of the Jingle Bells, spirit-of-the-season rubbish, even if his little brother Sean insists on treating the old man like a superstar.

Instead, Mikey’s determined to get his hands on the bank robber’s cash, convinced that this is the answer to giving his family the Christmas they all crave. But as Mikey risks everything for the loot, he comes to realise that maybe the spirit of Christmas is alive after all.


2. The Great Christmas Bake Off

Christmas Eve at 8.15pm on Channel 4

For this year's Christmas special of The Great British Bake Off, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith face the 'Baker Ghosts of Christmas Past' with one baker for each year Bake Off has been on Channel 4.

Heading back into the tent this Christmas are Sophie from Series 8, Dan from Series 9, Amelia from Series 10, Linda from Series 11, George from Series 12 and Carole from Series 13, before ending their festive celebration with a performance from the Citizens of the World Choir.


3. Beyond Paradise

Christmas Eve at 9pm on BBC One

Following a successful first series earlier this year, Death in Paradise spin-off Beyond Paradise is back for a Christmas special as Humphrey and his team are baffled by a set of reverse burglaries where items are left behind rather than taken.

With their only credible suspect being Santa, it’s a race against time to find the real culprit in time for Christmas. The only clues are a pile of ash and glove fibres at each location. With four open cases counting against them, and police HQ breathing down their necks, the team are up against it.

They must figure out how the victims are connected, catch the person responsible and save the station in time for the festivities. But when the team make a breakthrough with an unexpected connection to 1973, it’s a bittersweet discovery that makes them reconsider the true meaning of Christmas.


4. Not Going Out

Christmas Eve at 10pm on BBC One

This Christmas, Not Going Out is marking its 100th episode with a Christmas special in which Lee makes a big effort to create the perfect Christmas for his family by agreeing to Lucy's wish to do something charitable for once.

They invite a lonely old pensioner from the nearby care home to join them for Christmas dinner, only to discover that Wilfred is not allowed to drink alcohol.


5. A Ghost Story for Christmas Lot No. 249

Christmas Eve at 10pm on BBC Two

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a ghost story and this year Mark Gatiss has adapted Arthur Conan Doyle's short story, Lot No. 249 for BBC Two, starring Kit Harington and Freddie Fox.

It's 1881 and Old College in Oxford plays host to three very different young academics: Abercrombie Smith, a model of Victorian manhood, clean of limb and sound of mind; Monkhouse Lee, a delicate and unworldly student from Siam; and the strange and exotic Edward Bellingham, whose arcane research into Ancient Egypt is the talk of the campus.

Could Bellingham’s unnatural experiments bring the breath of life to the horrifying bag of bones tagged Lot No.249?

An end-of-Empire chiller, Lot No. 249 also stars Colin Ryan, John Heffernan, James Swanton, Jonathan Rigby and Andrew Horton.




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