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Best Christmas TV 2021: Shows to watch this year, from Around the World in 80 Days to Strictly Come Dancing

The new adaptation of Around the World in 80 Days arrives on Boxing Day (Picture: BBC)

Forget coming together, spreading festive cheer and decking the halls – this Christmas, we’re looking forward to snuggling on the sofa and binging a whole load of great telly.

There are festive specials of our favourite shows coming our way as the nights draw in, as well as new additions to the schedule which are sure to spice things up this season.

Whether it be terrestrial TV or streaming services, there’s enough to get you into the Christmas mood – or, distract you from the frivolities altogether with something totally different.

There are reboots of childhood favourites, new takes on acclaimed dramas, festive comedies and sci-fi series sure to satisfy all viewers.

These are our picks of the best Christmas TV series and specials to look out for.

A Very British Scandal 

Paul Bettany and Claire Foy star in the new series (Picture: BBC)

It was back in 2018 when Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw starred in the excellent series A Very English Scandal, exploring the Thorpe affair of the 1970s. Now, the series has been switched up to A Very British Scandal, starring Paul Bettany and Claire Foy and taking a look at one of the most notorious legal cases of the 1960s across three new episodes.

Claire will play Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, while Paul will play the Duke of Argyll – the two characters at the heart of a bitter divorce battle, which was hit with accusations of forgery, bribery and manipulation which resulted in one of the biggest media storms of its time.

Release date: December 26 at 9pm on BBC One

Doctor Who 

Jodie Whittaker is back this Christmas (Picture: BBC Studios/Ben Blackall)

Current Doctor Who series Flux is well and truly off and running, with Jodie Whittaker preparing her last appearances in the TARDIS next year. Also coming up is a New Year’s Day special, marking the first of three specials before Jodie’s final episode airs in autumn 2022.

It’s Christmas, it’s Doctor Who – the schedules wouldn’t be the same without it, would it?

Release date: January 1 on BBC One

The Tourist

The intriguing drama arrives later this year (Picture: BBC)

Jamie Dornan leads the cast of this intriguing thriller, which sounds like a cross between Jason Bourne and Memento, all set in the Australian outback – what’s not to like?

The 50 Shades of Gray star plays a Brit who is barged off the road by a monster truck in an unexplained road incident, before waking up injured with no memory of who he is, who the figures from his past chasing him are, or why he’s in Australia at all.

The BBC show also stars the likes of Hugo Weaving, Shalom Brune-Franklin and Danielle MacDonald.

Release date: TBA

The Book of Boba Fett

The Star Wars icon is back (Picture: Disney)

If you find yourself wishing to escape to a galaxy far, far away this Christmas, you’re in luck.

Mandalorian spin-off The Book of Boba Fett is taking the Star Wars extended universe to whole new levels on Disney Plus this year and focusing on one of the most iconic characters in the entire franchise.

In the second season of The Mandalorian, it was confirmed that Boba had survived his fall into the Sarlacc Pit that occurred in the original Star Wars film trilogy, after fans spent decades believing that the legendary bounty hunter had died. After the post-credits scene for The Mandalorian saw Boba take the throne of Jabba the Hutt in Tatooine, who knows where the new series will take him next.

Release date: December 29 on Disney Plus.

Mariah’s Christmas: The Magic Continues

No Christmas playlist would be complete without the music of Maria Carey, and the pop icon is teaming up with Apple for a second festive special this year.

Mariah’s Christmas: The Magic Continues will see the All I Want For Christmas singer team up with artist Khalid and Kirk Franklin for the first and only performance of their new single, Fall in Love at Christmas.

Last year’s special was a blast, featuring the likes of Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and Snoop Dogg, and if it’s half as fun this year we’ll be in for another treat.

Release date: December 3 on Apple TV+

Ghosts 

The cult series is back this Christmas (Picture: BBC)

Fans of the cult BBC comedy Ghosts have been waiting patiently for new episodes after series three, and it’s been confirmed that the show is coming back for a Christmas special.

There’s a new face joining the cast alongside Charlotte Ritchie, Kiell Smith-Bynoe and Martha Howe-Douglas too, with Jennifer Saunders taking part in the new episode, which was filmed during the making of the series three.

Release date: TBA

The Mezzotint

The ghost tale is coming this festive series (Picture: BBC/Adorable Media/Michael Carlo)

If you’re in the mood for a spooky gothic tale this festive season, this BBC adaptation of Victorian writer MR James’s story The Mezzotint could be the one for you.

The new drama focuses on a man who finds a mysterious photograph of a country house, which appears to have a life of its own. All is not as it seems, with the original story packed with chilling twists and turns.

Sherlock and League of Gentlemen star Mark Gatiss directs, while the likes of Rory Kinnear, Robert Bathurst and Frances Barber starring.

Release date: TBC 

Call The Midwife

Would it be Christmas without Call The Midwife? (Picture: BBC / Nealstreet Productions / Sophie Mutevelian)

There’ll be a host of familiar faces returning to Poplar to take part in the Call the Midwife special, including Miriam Margolyes’s Mother Mildred who missed the 10th series of the show.

Fans won’t have long to wait long before new episodes arrive earlier, with series 11 airing in January.

Release date: December 25 on BBC One

The Witcher 

Henry Cavill is back to fight a bunch of terrifying monsters in The Witcher season two on Netflix, playing demon hunter Geralt of Rivia as he goes up against the most terrifying adversaries yet in the upcoming series.

The second instalment of the epic fantasy will see Geralt escort the magically-powered Ciri to safety at his childhood home of Kaer Morhen, providing viewers with further insight into his past.

Release date: December 17 on Netflix

Around the World in 80 Days

Adventurer Phileas Fogg is coming to the small screen this Christmas, with David Tennant stepping into this new adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.

There are some big names attached, not least composer Hans Zimmer and Christian Lundberg who provided the soundtrack, as Tennant and co-stars Ibrahim Koma and Leonie Benesch head out on a romp across the globe during the eight-part series.

The good news is, while the series hasn’t landed yet, we already know there’s going to be a second run of the comedy drama too.

Release date: December 26 on BBC One 

Strictly Come Dancing

The hit show unveiled a star-studded Christmas line-up (Picture: BBC/Guy Levy)

The current series of Strictly is proving one of the most entertaining in years, and there’s more to come after the champion is named, too.

There’s a special programme coming our way on Christmas Day, which will see some Strictly favourites from years gone by take to the ballroom.

There are some big names involved, with The Repair Shop’s Jay Blades, Fred Siriex, Mel Giedroyc, Moira Stuart, Anne-Marie and Adrian Chiles all battling it out on the dancefloor.

Release date: December 25 on BBC One

 


Credit: Original article published here.

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