What's on TV over Christmas?

Obviously we know that the The Sound of Music, The Great Escape and a Bond film or three are likely to be making an appearance on TV this Christmas, but what else is there to get stuck into? Forget the Queen's speech - we've rounded up a selection of the best things on TV this Christmas so fetch yourself a sherry and a mince pie, put your feet up and enjoy.

 

Doctor Who

When?
Christmas Day

What time?
18.00

Where?
BBC 1
Why
Sci-fi gold



The "new" doctor, Matt Smith, has been with us for a year since his debut last Christmas. The festive Doctor Who special is fast becoming a popular tradition and this year's instalment is a time-travelling adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel, A Christmas Carol. Sir Michael Gambon joins the cast as an elderly miser who is the only one that's capable of lifting the mysterious fog that threatens thousands of lives.

This is one of the most lavish programmes that the BBC produces and is sure to be packed full of scorching special effects and cutting one-liners that will have all you fellow geeks champing at the bit. If previous experience is anything to go by, then this is one Christmas special that you don't want to miss.

 

Alice in Wonderland

When?
New Year's Eve

What time?
20.00

Where?
Sky 3D/Sky Movies Premiere
Why?
3D



One of the big draws in Sky's Christmas schedule for 2010 is Tim Burton's reworking of Lewis Carroll's classic children's tales. Not only is Sky screening the UK TV premiere of the film, it's also showing it in 3D. Johnny Depp stars as the Mad Hatter in this candy-coloured adventure that bears all the hallmarks of Burton's usual "creepy fairytale" style.

Along with Avatar, Alice in Wonderland has been one of the big titles to breathe life into the third dimension, so the appearance on Sky's 3D channel is something of a boon. Well, it is for those that have already bought a 3D TV anyway. Otherwise you'll just have to make do with the 2D version on Sky Movies Premiere.

 

Upstairs Downstairs

When?
Boxing Day

What time?
21.00

Where?
BBC 1
Why?
Lavish visuals



Ashes to Ashes' Keely Hawes stars in this remake of the classic period drama following the lives of a houseful of aristocrats and their live-in servants. Set in 1936, this is set to be a sumptuous drama with plenty of lavish costumes and scenery for you to enjoy on your big, fancy telly.



We realise that this might not be one for all the hot-blooded males out there, but try to console yourself with the fact that it will give you several hours of peace from "er indoors when you can finally get your hands on the kids" new Scalextric.

 

Jools' Annual Hootenanny 2010

When?
New Year's Eve

What time?
23.00

Where?
BBC 2
Why?
Surround sound heaven



If you're planning a night in on New Year's Eve, then this is essential viewing. Now in its 18th year, the annual hootenanny is back with music maestro Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, along with a host of musical guest stars.

This year Jools will be joined by antipodean pop princess Kylie, The Who's Roger Daltrey and first lady of rockabilly, Wanda Jackson as well as plenty of others. As usual, the new year will be brought in by The Pipes and Drums of the First Battalion of The Scots Guards. Crank up the surround sound system, sit back and enjoy.

 

Avatar

When?
Christmas Eve

What time?
20.00

Where?
Sky Movies Premiere/Sky 3D

Why?
3D


James Cameron's Avatar is considered to be top dog when it comes to 3D films and it's easy to see why. The epic sci-fi adventure is a masterclass in CGI, with the eye-popping visuals being perfectly suited to 3D viewing. The futuristic story tells the tale of a human mining colony on a faraway moon that comes to blows with the local tribe of Na'vi (the blue things on the poster).

Sky will be showing the film in all its three-dimensional glory on its 3D channel, and will also be screening the conventional 2D version on Sky Movies Premiere. If you're lucky enough to have a 3D TV, just make sure you've got enough glasses for all the family to avoid any arguments.

 

Fulham vs West Ham

When?
Boxing Day

What time?
11.30

Where?
Sky Sports 1/Sky Sports HD

Why?
Quality footie time


Assuming that the snow has melted by then, the traditional Boxing Day football fixtures will be going ahead as usual and will no doubt be the highlight of Christmas TV for many footie fans, particularly those with no interest in Doctor Who or costume dramas.


With both teams in desperate need of points, this is set to be a thrilling encounter. It could also get scrappy, so be prepared to see plenty of yellow cards and maybe even a few reds. If one match isn't enough, then you can also catch Aston Villa vs Tottenham at 17.15 on the same channels.

 

It's a Wonderful Life

When?
27 December

What time?
18.45

Where?
Sky Movies Classic

Why?
Movie gold



Christmas simply wouldn't be Christmas without Frank Capra's feel-good festive masterpiece. Jimmy Stewart stars as hard-working George Bailey - a man who has reached the depths of despair on Christmas Eve. It's only when his guardian angel, known as Clarence, shows up that he realises how many people's lives he's touched and everything he's done for his local community.

It might be a tad sentimental, but it's still one of the best films ever made. If you're not bawling your eyes out by the final scene (or holding back manly tears, at the very least) then you must have a heart of stone.

 

Arsenal v Chelsea

When?
27 December

What time?
19.00

Where?
Sky Sports 1/Sky 3D

Why?
3D



If you're already set up for 3D at home then you'll be pleased to hear that the big match on bank holiday Monday will be shown in three dimensions. The two big London sides will clash when Arsenal face Chelsea at the Emirates. The Blues won the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge 2-0 in October, so all eyes will be on Arsenal to return the favour.

For those that don't have a 3D setup at home, fear not, as the match will be shown in 2D on Sky Sports 1, and you won't have to worry about having enough specs to go round.

 

David Attenborough's Flying Monsters

When?
27 Christmas Day

What time?
17.00

Where?
Sky 3D

Why?
3D



Written and presented by the legendary David Attenborough, this documentary is all about the evolution of pterosaurs and is one of the first 3D programmes to be commissioned by Sky. This is exactly the kind of content that's perfectly suited to 3D viewing and Sky is so confident that it's already lined up a follow up with Attenborough called Penguin Island 3D.

Following its airing on Christmas Day Flying Monsters will be released in theatres in IMAX cinemas around the world in 2011. It will return to Sky 3D later in the year.