Christmas TV 2020: What to watch this week (21st-27th December)
The biggest week of the TV calendar, where we traditionally sit at home watching the box while eating as many mince pies as we can fit in our bodies, is finally here.
The rest of 2020 might have stolen Christmas’s thunder in terms of sitting at home doing nothing, but at least this time around we’ve got plenty of festive telly.
Here’s what’s coming up this week:
1. 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown
The comedy word game gets a festive makeover for 2020, with regulars Jimmy Carr, Susie Dent and Rachel Riley. Jon Richardson and Sarah Millican face off against Sean Lock and David Mitchell, while David O’Doherty joins Susie.
Monday December 21 on Channel 4 at 9pm
2. Upstart Crow
The great bard finds himself in lockdown as the plague ravishes London, in this tongue-in-cheek tribute to Shakespeare and 2020. David Mitchell and Gemma Whelan star.
Monday December 21 on BBC Two at 9pm
3. The Big Quiz
Stephen Mulhern hosts this battle of the brains between the cast of ITV’s beloved soaps. Jack P Shepherd captains a Coronation Street team comprising Simon Gregson and Sair Khan, while Emmerdale‘s Mark Charnock takes the leads a team including Karen Blick and Jay Kontzle.
Monday December 21 on ITV at 9pm
4. All Creatures Great and Small
In the festive edition of the drama based on the works of veterinarian James Heriot, as James and Helen get trapped in the foggy Dales on the night of her wedding. Nicholas Ralph and Rachel Shenton star.
Tuesday December 22 on Channel 5 at 9pm
Sandi Toksvig and Alun Davies return for a festive edition of the quiz show, joined by
Chris McCausland, Justin Moorhouse and Holly Walsh. Festive-themed questions include how to get a reindeer into a submarine, plus the show aims to set two Christmas-themed world records.
Tuesday December 22 on BBC Two at 9.30pm
6. Jack & the Beanstalk: After Ever After
David Walliams’ comedy exploration of what happened after Jack felled the beanstalk and defeated the giant, starring Sheridan Smith, Blake Harrison, and Walliams himself.
Wednesday December 23 on Sky One at 8pm
7. The Midnight Sky
George Clooney stars in this science fiction premiere, which sees the superstar actor take on the role of the last scientist on Earth following a devastating global catastrophe.
Wednesday December 23 on Netflix
8. Cinderella: A Comic Relief Pantomime for Christmas
A star-studded TV pantomime for Comic Relief, starring Olivia Colman as the Fairy Godmother and Helena Bonham Carter as the evil stepmother Lady Devilia.
Christmas Eve on BBC Two at 8.15pm
9. Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse
Dawn French stars in a new comedy drama about a six-year-old Roald Dahl’s adventure to meet beloved author Beatrix Potter. Based on a true story.
Christmas Eve on Sky One at 8.15pm
10. Birds of a Feather
The comedy returns for a very special festive outing, in which Dorien now rules the roost as a Chigwell homeowner while Sharon is stuck on a cruise ship in Costa Rica. Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph star.
It’s Christmas 1965 at Nonnatus House but the festivities don’t seem to be quite going to plan! Sister Monica Joan is rushed to hospital, Trixie’s dress allowance has been replaced with a marriage bureau consultation, and the circus is in town.
Christmas Day on BBC One at 7.40pm
12. Britain’s Got Talent ITV 8pm
A new Christmas special bringing together some of the talent show’s most beloved acts from the past fourteen years to collaborate together. Ant and Dec host, while Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams and Ashley Banjo are our judges.
Christmas Day on ITV at 8pm
13. Mrs Brown’s Boys
It’s not Christmas without a disaster at the Brown matriarch’s house, is it? In 2020, Buster and Dermot have new jobs raising awareness of the dangers of coronavirus, while Winnie and Agnes are more interested in winning a chance to perform an alternate Queen’s speech.
Christmas Day on BBC One at 10pm
A scandalous new Regency-London set drama produced by American TV great Shonda Rhimes. Based on the bestselling novels of Julia Quinn, the series stars Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page, withs Julie Andrews as narrator.
Christmas Day on Netflix
15. The Masked Singer
The singing contest that championed mask-wearing ahead of its time returns for a new series on Boxing Day, in which audiences must guess the famous faces performing in disguise. Rita Ora, Jonathan Ross and Davina McCall all return, joined by newcomer Mo Gilligan.
Boxing Day on ITV at 7pm
16. Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2020
The celebrity quiz show returns with its 2020 edition to try to make light of the year’s events. Jimmy Carr is the question master, joined by James Acaster, Stacey Solomon, David Mitchell, Maya Jama, Richard Ayoade and Joe Lycett.
Boxing Day on Channel 4 at 9.05pm
17. Black Narcissus
Gemma Arterton stars in this new adaptation of Rumer Godden’s novel, which tells the story of a group of Anglo-Catholic nuns who travel to the Himalayas on a mission to rebuild the Palace of Mopu and open a school.
Finally, the end of 2020 is nigh – and it’s bringing us a whole host of festive treats.
This month, we’ve got the return of exciting original series like Tim Roth thriller Tin Star (December 10), the TV releases of huge blockbusters like Little Women (December 11) and new festive specials like David Walliams’ After Ever After: Jack and the Beanstalk (December 23).
There are also festive editions of our favourite Sky comedies, including The Russell Howard Hour and A League of Their Own (both December 17).
It looks like this festive season is going to be a good one!
Here are our top NOW TV picks for December 2020:
1. Raised by Wolves: Season 1
Available on December 5
Available on December 7
Available on December 8
4. Tin Star: Liverpool
Available on December 10
5. Little Women
Available on December 11
6. The Russell Howard Hour: Christmas Special
Available on December 17
7. A League of Their Own: Christmas Special
Available on December 17
8. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: The Musical
Available on December 20
9. After Ever After: Jack and the Beanstalk
Available on December 23
10. Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but online streaming is so delightful…
December here and so is the final instalment of Netflix’s 2020 offerings. We’ll be seeing 2020 out in style, with this month’s releases including classics such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (December 1), star-studded new releases such as The Prom (December 11) and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (December 18) and return of old favourites like The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (December 31).