The BBC has unveiled its lineup for the Christmas season, which includes the return of favorites and high-profile new dramas, as well as a healthy mix of light entertainment and compelling factual plays.
Charlotte Moore, BBC Content Manager, said: “Christmas 2021 is a time to reunite with friends and family, and this year’s must-see programming will bring everyone together to share the holiday season on the BBC.
“There is a stock full of special programs to fascinate and enchant featuring your favorite stars and characters, whatever your mood. The BBC is the place to be for Christmas and New Years entertainment.
Doctor Who will air their seasonal special on New Years Day again, featuring the highly anticipated episode with guest star Aisling Bea (Home Sweet Home Alone), Adjani Salmon (Dreaming Whilst Black) and Pauline McLynn (Father Ted).
There will be more family fantasy as Mackenzie Crook returns with two more episodes of his critically acclaimed Worzel Gummidge, with Strictly champion Bill Bailey and The A List’s Nneka Okoye joining the family as Mr. Peregrine and Calliope Jane. .
We’ll be heading back to Sainte Marie for the very first festive episode of Death in Paradise, which sees Danny John-Jules return as Dwayne Myers to co-star opposite Ralf Little, who plays DI Neville Parker.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a stopover at Nonnatus House, with this year’s Call the Midwife special focused on wedding planning as Lucille (Leonie Elliott) and Cyril (Zephryn Taitte) prepare to tie the knot.
If you’re a fan of the BBC sitcom production, you’ll also be well received with the return of Lee Mack’s Not Going Out, Brendan O’Carroll’s Mrs Brown’s Boys and the BAFTA-nominated Ghosts, who will feature a special appearance by comedy legend Jennifer Saunders.
If you’re looking for something brand new to bite your teeth into, the BBC also has a list of high profile dramas featuring some really big names.
Screenwriter Sarah Phelps has sparked a lot of interest in A Very British Scandal, which stars Claire Foy (The Crown) and Paul Bettany (WandaVision) as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, recounting their explosive divorce at the as it unfolded.
Marvel star Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Loki) and Emmy nominee David Oyelowo direct the cast of psychological thriller The Girl Before, which follows a woman “who moves into a strange house designed by an enigmatic architect.”
David Tennant will undoubtedly continue to dominate British television with Around the World in 80 Days, a new adaptation of the classic Jules Verne story about intrepid explorer Phileas Fogg.
Meanwhile, Fifty Shades of Gray alumnus Jamie Dornan teams up with Baptiste creators Harry and Jack Williams for The Tourist, which follows a man’s plight as he wakes up stranded in the perilous Australian outback.
Finally, Mark Gatiss’ latest ghost story is an adaptation of The Mezzotint for BBC Two just in time for New Years Eve, starring Rory Kinnear (No Time to Die), Robert Bathurst (Toast of London) and Nikesh Patel ( Starstruck) completing the cast.
National Treasure Sir David Attenborough will release two films for the BBC at Christmas – Wonder of Song and Mammoth Graveyard – respectively focusing on his favorite recordings of the natural world and an archaeological dig in Swindon.
Those looking to put their brains to the test can tune in to the festive editions of University Challenge, Only Connect and a reboot of The Weakest Link starring Romesh Ranganathan (which will also head a new episode of the show. comic The Ranganation).
There will be a lot more laughs from Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel, Would I lie to you ?, QI, Live at the Apollo, and for the bravest viewers, Frankie Boyle’s New World Order.
The glossy entertainment formats I Can See Your Voice, The Hit List, and The Wall also return with celebrity editions, while the Christmas Strictly Come Dancing special will bring ballroom shine to the big day.
Top Gear presenters Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff get back behind the wheel for the special episode Driving Home for Christmas, which kicks off in the Welsh village of Bethlehem before heading to Bath to deliver a massive Norway spruce top.
The Repair Shop will offer more emotional restorations of treasured heirlooms, while The Great British Sewing Bee will return with Sara Pascoe taking over hosting duties from Joe Lycett.
If you are looking for culinary inspiration, there will also be plenty of dishes served on the BBC during Christmas time.
MasterChef Champions Special will pit five of the most memorable contestants from previous years against each other, with The Professionals Rematch being a similar concept for the spinoff series, and of course you can expect a lighter Celebrity Christmas Cook as well. Off starring great personalities including Gemma Collins, Joe Swash, Joey Essex and Judi Love.
Plus, two of the UK’s most popular celebrity chefs will share their best recipes in Andi Oliver’s Taste of Home Christmas Special and Mary Berry’s Festive Feasts.
Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse will team up to catch an elusive English Salmon in Gone Christmas Fishing, while another beloved duo, Dave Myers and Si King, create a unique festive feast in The Hairy Bikers Go North for Christmas.
For the little ones there will be new episodes of The Beaker Girls and Horrible Histories, as well as Aardman’s latest animated offering Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas.
Meanwhile, Oscar-winning Olivia Colman and former Doctor Who Matt Smith are teaming up for an adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s The Superworm.
As per tradition, there will be more songs from Kings and Songs of Praise during the period, while the Royal Institution will offer more Christmas lectures, led by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.
Looking for something to watch? Check out our TV guide to see what’s going on tonight.