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Best Christmas TV of 2021 – From Netflix and Disney+ to the BBC and ITV

Welcome to your bumper Christmas guide.

lolly adefope ghosts christmas special, will i am the voice kids, lily collins emily in paris

Not sure what to watch over the Christmas holidays when you've finished all the mince pies and fallen out with the family after a tense game of Trivial Pursuit?

Here's our round-up of the best Christmas TV, and you can also check out a breakdown of the shows from ITV, BBC, and Channel 4, as well as our guide to the hidden gems, and best Xmas movies on UK TV, so you're fully prepared for the festive season.

Christmas on the BBC

Ghosts Christmas Special

kiell smith bynoe, charlotte ritchie, ghosts christmas special
Guido MandozziBBC

Airs on BBC One, December 23, 8.30pm

It's time to find out why stuffy Fanny (Martha Howe-Douglas) is the way she is in this episode of the ghostly comedy – and it may have something to do with flashbacks featuring her interfering mother (Jennifer Saunders).

Around The World in 80 Days

around the world in 80 days
BBC / Slim 80 Days

Airs on BBC One, December 26, 5.50pm

David Tennant is the adventurer attempting to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days to win a wager in this adaptation of the classic Jules Verne tale. Eight episodes have been made, and a second season for 2022 has already been commissioned.

Doctor Who

john bishop, mandip gill, jodie whittaker, aisling bea, adjani salmon, doctor who festive special
James PardonBBC

Airs on BBC One, January 1, time TBC

There are Daleks causing trouble in this New Year's Day episode of Doctor Who that stars Aisling Bea alongside current Doctor Jodie Whittaker. Mandip Gill and John Bishop return as companions Yas and Dan.

Christmas on ITV

Bradley & Barney: Breaking Dad at Christmas

bradley and barney breaking dad at christmas

Airs on ITV, December 24, 9pm

Father and son Bradley and Barney Walsh head out in their RV once more, this time for the Christmassy location of Iceland.

All-Star Musicals At Christmas

all star musicals at christmas

Airs on ITV, December 26, 8pm

John Barrowman hosts this singing competition in which celebrities belt out West End musical songs.

Gyles Brandreth, Ben Miller, Fern Britton and Anita Rani are among the brave warblers being judged by theatrical experts Elaine Paige, Trevor Dion Nicholas and Samantha Barks.

The Voice Kids

danny jones, will i am, pixie lott, melanie c, the voice kids
Rachel JosephITV

Airs on ITV, December 27, 7.30pm

Will.i.am, Pixie Lott and Danny Jones are joined by new judge Mel C for this junior version of The Voice.

Kids aged between 7 and 14 compete over three nights to prove their singing skills.

Christmas on Channel 4

The Great Christmas Bake Off

great christmas bake off – it's a sin cast including olly alexander, lydia west, nathaniel curtis and shaun dooley
Channel 4

Airs on Channel 4, December 25, 8pm

Four of the cast of the acclaimed drama It's a Sin get their aprons on to compete for the title of Great British Christmas Baker.

Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are the tasters once more, while Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding appear just at that vital moment when a baker's creation looks like it is about to collapse.

Travel Man: 96 Hours in Iceland

travel man 96 hours in iceland with joe lycett and bill bailey
Channel 4

Airs on Channel 4, December 27, 8pm

Joe Lycett takes over travel duties for this new series and gets an extra few hours to travel to Iceland with comedian Bill Bailey for some Christmassy sightseeing.

Taskmaster New Year Treat

taskmaster greg davies
Channel 4

Airs on Channel 4, January 1, time TBC

Greg Davies once again sits gleefully on his throne, presiding over the celebrities as they perform mad tasks in this addictive series.

Christmas TV shows on Netflix

Emily In Paris

lily collins, emily in paris season 2

Available on Netflix from December 22

Chicago marketing executive Emily (Lily Collins) is still finding her way in Paris in the second season of this comedy-drama.

Death to 2021

Available on Netflix from December 27.

Following the success of Death to 2020, here's a follow-up comedy retrospective that takes a look at the events of this year.

Diane Morgan, Samson Kayo, Hugh Grant and Stockard Channing are among the actors spoofing the year.

Stay Close

james nesbitt, stay close
Netflix/Vishal Sharma

Available on Netflix from December 31.

Cush Jumbo is the married mum with a secret past in this adaptation of Harlan Coben's thriller.

James Nesbitt, Richard Armitage, Eddie Izzard and Sarah Parish also star.

Queer Eye season 6

queer eye season 5 on netflix
Ryan CollerdNetflix

Available on Netflix from December 31.

The Fab Five return for their sixth outing to help everyone with their self-care, this time in Texas. They'll be overhauling their diets, fashion, beauty regimes, homes, and of course, considering their mental health and relationships. 'New year, New You', eh?

Christmas TV shows on Disney Plus

The Book of Boba Fett

temura morrison as boba fett, the book of boba fett

Available on Disney+ from December 29.

This spin-off of The Mandalorian is the latest series from the Star Wars universe.

Focusing on bounty hunter Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison), the series also stars Ming-Na Wen as Fennec Shand.

Olaf Presents

olaf presents

Available on Disney+ now

Adorable Frozen snowman Olaf gives his own personal interpretation of classic Disney movies like Moana, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin in a series of animated shorts.

Christmas TV shows on Sky

Hansel and Gretel: After Ever After

bill bekele as hansel, lily aspell as gretel, hansel and gretel after ever after
King Bert/Gary Moyes/Sky

Airs on Sky Max, December 23, 8pm

A family adventure from David Walliams that imagines what happened after the 'happily ever after' part of famous fairy tales.

This time it is the turn of Hansel and Gretel, who discover the witch they burned in the over isn’t quite as dead as they thought.

The Amazing Mr Blunden

the amazing mr blunden
Justin Downing/Sky UK

Airs on Sky Max, December 24, 7pm

Mark Gatiss has adapted Antonia Barber's book The Ghosts for this spooky tale.

Teenagers Jamie and Lucy find themselves in an old mansion that sends them back in time to 1821, thanks to mysterious benefactor Mr Blunden (Simon Callow).

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Tournament of Houses

helen mirren, harry potter hogwarts tournament of houses
Warner Brothers

Airs on Sky Max, December 29, 7pm

It's 20 years since the first Harry Potter movie was made, and superfans now get to show off their knowledge of the film and book franchise.

Together they get to compete for the House Cup, presided over by Helen Mirren.

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts

harry, ron and hermione in a still from harry potter and the deathly hallows part 1
Warner Bros.

Airs New Year's Day on Sky Max and can be watched via NOW.

There are more celebrations on New Year's Day on Sky Max, with following the cast as they travel back to Hogwarts to celebrate the anniversary. You can also watch all of the Harry Potter movies with a NOW Cinema Membership.

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