Our top guide on what to watch this festive season...


What to watch, what to watch...Christmas telly can be as divisive as Christmas lunch itself. How can you keep everybody happy while pandering to the tastes of the whole family? Well, fear not, because we’ve come up with a cracking cross-section of the best Christmas shows on the box. Now pass me that remote...



Royal Christmas Message
BBC1, ITV, Sky1 & Sky News
Christmas Day at 3pm

First broadcast  in 1957, the Queen’s Christmas Speech (as it’s informally known) is now shown in all British territories and the other 52 Commonwealth states all over the world. Expect Her Royal Highness to give a shout outs to grandson Prince Harry – after his marriage to Meghan Markle – and new arrival great grandson Prince Louis.

Alternative Christmas Message
Channel 4
Christmas Day at 3.50pm

The presenter of this year’s Alternative Christmas Message has yet to be announced, but if you’re torn between this one and the Royal one, don’t worry – Channel 4’s alternative airs right after Queen Elizabeth II’s. Previous presenters of the show have included TV’s Katie Piper, Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, ex-NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and even Marge Simpson!

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
Christmas Day at 5.30pm

Six former Celebrity contestants are coming back to take part in this year’s Strictly Christmas special. Caroline Flack, JLS’s Aston Merrygold, Ann Widdecombe, Eastenders’ Jake Wood, Anita Rani and former England cricketer Michael Vaughan will hit the dancefloor, while judges Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Shirley Ballas return too.

Luther Series 5
January 1st at 9pm

Idris Elba resumes his role as DCI John Luther in the fifth series of this hit BBC cop drama, and he has some unfinished business to attend to. His new recruit, D.S. Catherine Halliday played by Wunmi Mosaku, will be by his side as he’s forced to confront his own personal demons in the fight against corruption and the forces of evil.

Doctor Who New Year’s Day Special
January 1st at 7pm

For the first time in 13 years – since the drama's return in 2005 – the festive edition of Doctor Who will be shown on New Year's Day instead of Christmas Day. As the New Year begins, a terrifying evil is stirring, from across the centuries of Earth's history. As the Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz return home, will they be able to overcome the threat to planet Earth?