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Christmas TV: Top Ten Picks

Overwhelmed by the jam-packed Christmas TV listings? Unsure which shows to watch? Kate Barlow and Gemma Horton bring you the top ten shows to watch out for

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The Christmas TV line-up has been announced and it is time to begin arguing about which show should take priority on the television once you've eaten too much turkey, only to remember that there is always the beauty of catch-up TV to solve (almost) all your family dramas. Once again, as Christmas TV takes over our screens, the question has to be: which shows are worth watching? Here are our top ten picks.

bake-off-christmas-special (1)

The Great British Bake Off


In this one-off baking masterclass, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood show the viewers how to make a host of festive treats. For anyone wanting to give some baking a go this Christmas, even just to take some of the pressure off the parents, these baking tips are perfect for making this year a stress-free Christmas.
17th December, BBC Two

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjLitilQHIE

Educating Yorkshire at Christmas



Mr Mitchell is back as Channel 4's brilliant documentary centring on Yorkshire's Thornhill Community Academy returns for a one-off Christmas catch-up, as we get to check the progress of many of the series' favourite characters.
19th December, Channel 4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMOOLd_44Mo

Doctor Who



After the 50th Anniversary delivered spectacular TV, we're being spoiled again with another Doctor Who episode for Christmas Day. Doctor Who teams the Doctor with Clara as he rescues her from a family Christmas dinner to battle the dangerous creatures lurking in space. In all fairness, the dangerous creatures do tend to be those sitting around the table at Christmas, each of them eyeing up the turkey with pure hunger. The teasers for the new episode already promise Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels and The Silence; all of the classic Doctor Who villains. With Matt Smith bowing out, we finally get to see Peter Capaldi take charge as the 14th Doctor. The Time of the Doctor is not one to be missed if the ads are anything to go by.
25th December, BBC One

Downton Abbey Christmas Special



It seems odd that Downton has decided to celebrate Christmas by setting their episode six months after the end of series four, meaning it is in the summer. Either that or it's a deep message about global warming; the former seems more likely. The episode shows the Crawley family heading to Buckingham Palace for Lady Rose's 'coming out' party as she is accepted into the upper tier of society. It isn't all joy as Robert is forced to protect his family after a scandal emerges which could also threaten the British monarchy. Buckingham Palace isn't the only star in the show as Cora's mother returns for another faceoff with the Dowager Countess Crawley. Downton is set to be livelier than last year when Matthew was killed off and Christmas was ruined for multiple fans. That's the hope, anyway.
25th December, ITV

Strictly Come Dancing



A Christmas special and the final? Just days apart? Christmas really is treating the fans of the hit dancing show. After 12 weeks of watching celebrities dance around the ballroom floor, one couple will finally be announced as the winner of the series. Who it will be, no one knows yet, but Strictly is bound to be a must see. The final looms with the prospect of a show dance, special musical guests and a new winner. The best part is we only need to wait four days after that for the Christmas special. This year's line up includes The Saturday's singer Rochelle Humes, Bros star Matt Goss and DJ Sarah Cox. With other celebrities also taking part, Strictly will hope to dominate the ratings on Christmas Day with their festive edition of the show, but then it is goodbye until Autumn for the nation's favourite dancing show.
25th December, BBC One

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2vCXTQv98c

Call the Midwife



This year offers another festive special from Poplar as the nuns and nurses return to celebrate Christmas in the year 1958. The last series may seem like an age ago, with the final episode airing all the way back in March, but it doesn't take long to re-familiarise yourself with the show's charming characters. Old storylines are brought to a close as fans finally get to witness the wedding of Shelagh (or Sister Bernadette as we know her) and Dr Turner. However, there are plenty of new surprises in store; the discovery of an unexploded bomb gets the episode off to a dramatic start, while the closure of Nonnatus House means the nuns are looking for new dwellings. Bring on Series 3, which is to be aired early next year.
25th December, BBC One

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uTbD9bBGnc

Gangsta Granny



Last year it was Mr Stink, now David Walliams' new Boxing Day TV adaptation is based on his book Gangsta Granny. With a superb supporting cast, including Miranda Hart, Joanna Lumley, Rob Brydon and Julia McKenzie, not to mention Walliams himself, this family comedy is based on an 11-year-old boy's (rather dull) relationship with his grandma. If last year's adaptation is anything to go by, Gangsta Granny is set to be another Christmas hit.
26th December, BBC One

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lN3kcraf-KQ

Still Open All Hours



Open All Hours was Roy Clarke's hugely popular sitcom starring David Jason and Ronnie Barker, and now it is back for a Christmas special with Sir David Jason taking the lead of Granville, the shop's owner. His son Leroy has swapped his old delivery bike with a much more attractive mode of transport and he has more female admirers than Granville ever wished he had. Open All Hours may have been a comedy before most of our eras, but it is one of the classics and it is bound to bring the family together on Boxing Day, reminiscing over the past. Besides, a bit of light comedy is bound to bring a smile to faces when people realise they have enough turkey to make sandwiches for the coming weeks.
26th December, BBC One

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhmgTlVXbxw

Death Comes to Pemberley



This TV adaptation of PD James' re-imagining of the married life of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy is set to be a must-see this Christmas. Particularly appropriate given the fact it is the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice, this three-part drama offers a proper 'who dunnit' murder mystery, with no less than Mr Wickham as the victim. Set six years into the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy, this suspense-filled costume drama features many of Austen's best-loved characters.
26th December, BBC One

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Vq4s8n8vxw

Sherlock



#SherlockLives is what has been teasing us for weeks on end. Of course we already knew that Sherlock was alive, as shown by the end of series 3, but what we really want to know is how he faked his own death. The wait ends on New Year's Day when Sherlock returns in the first of three episodes. The first is entitled The Empty Hearse and it begins two years after The Reichenbach Fall with Dr John Watson moving on with his life and finding a new romance. With Sherlock thinking that everything is how he left it, he couldn't be much more wrong. Everything has changed and with it there comes a new threat of a huge terrorist attack. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman return to their roles as the detective and the doctor, but will their friendship be in jeopardy after Sherlock's time away? Hopefully not, the 'bromance' is what makes this series so joyful to watch, and the days until it returns cannot go quick enough.
1st January 2014, BBC One

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