Our choice of programmes to watch week beginning Saturday, December 19

After We Collided (Amazon Prime, from Tue)

Last year, the film After, based on the first in a series of young adult novels by Anna Todd, went down a treat with audiences and a sequel was quickly ordered. Fans will be pleased to see it's being offered up as an early Christmas gift by Amazon Prime. This time, young lovers Hardin and Tessa are no longer together. As he falls into bad habits, she lands the job of her dreams and attracts the attentions of her handsome co-worker - although she can't get Hardin out of her mind... Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Tessa Young play the photogenic couple.

The Midnight Sky (Netflix, from Wed)

George Clooney directs and stars in this eagerly awaited adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton's acclaimed novel Good Morning, Midnight. He plays Augustine Lofthouse, a lonely scientist eking out in existence in the snowy wastes of a post-apocalyptic Arctic. He's desperately trying to contact a group of astronauts to warn them not to return to the Earth, because life as they know it no longer exists. Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo and Kyle Chandler are among the supporting cast.

Auf Wiedersehen Pet (BritBox, from Thu)

There were four series of Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement's comedy drama, which turned Tim Healy, Kevin Whately, Jimmy Nail, Timothy Spall, Christopher Fairbank, Pat Roach and Gary Holton into stars. They play a group of unemployed construction workers from across the UK who swap the dole queue for work in, initially, West Germany, and the opening run follows their misadventures in Dusseldorf. The second transports them to Spain, where they work on a villa owned by crooked businessman Ally Fraser (Bill Paterson). Both are a delight and a must-see.

Bridgerton (Netflix, from Fri)

From the grit and issues of Waterloo Road to wealth and privilege in Regency London. That's some leap to make, but Phoebe Dynevor - eldest child of Coronation Street veteran Sally - to make, but she's doing it in style. Bridgerton isn't her first entry into period drama (she's also appeared in Dickensian and The Musketeers), but it's her most high profile. She takes the lead role in an adaptation of Julia Quinn's best-selling novels, produced by Shonda Rhimes of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal fame. Dynevor plays Daphne, a member of the wealthy Bridgerton family. She's looking for love, but her hopes look set to be dashed when her good name is besmirched in a high society scandal sheet - until the rebellious Duke of Hastings enters her life. Rege-Jean Page, Nicola Coughlan and Adjoa Andoh also star, while Julie Andrews provides the voice of the mysterious Lady Whistledown.

Soul (Disney+, from Fri)

Pixar's latest animated movie was originally meant to debut in cinemas in November but, as with Artemis Fowl and the live-action version of Mulan, it's making its debut on Disney's streaming service instead - and promises to be a real Christmas treat for the entire family. Jamie Foxx provides the voice of Joe Gardner, a music teacher who finally gets a chance to perform jazz on stage after impressing other musicians at a local club. However, tragedy strikes when, during an accident, his soul is separated from his body and travels to the Great Before, the place where souls go before being reincarnated as newborn babies of transported to the Land of the Dead. Joe asks for help from souls-in-training to get him back to the Land of the Living so he can be reunited with his body, but a soul-counter called Terry has other plans for him... Tiny Fey, Phylicia Rashad and Angela Bassett are also among the vocal cast.

Saturday, December 19

Live Heineken Champions Cup Rugby Union (Channel 4, 12.30pm)

The pick of the second round of fixtures sees Leinster host Pool A rivals Northampton at RDS Arena in Dublin. Leo Cullen's Irish side are on the hunt for a record fifth title, while some Saints fans may remember the 2011 European Cup final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, when Leinster came back from 22-6 down at half time to snatch the cup out of their hands with a 33-22 triumph. Lee McKenzie hosts the coverage, with analysis from Nolli Waterman, reports by Ed Jackson and commentary from Miles Harrison.

The Masked Singer: The Story So Far (ITV, 5pm)

It all seems so long ago now, but back in January and February, The Masked Singer became one of the year's most talked-about shows. If you missed out or just need your memory jogging ahead of the second series, which starts on Boxing Day, Joel Dommett goes behind the scenes of the first run to remind us of the extravagant costumes, the hidden celebrities and the panel of Ken Jeong, Davina McCall, Rita Ora and Jonathan Ross. He'll round up some of the highlights and also bring us previously unseen interviews.

Strictly Come Dancing: The Final (BBC1, 6pm)

The fact that Strictly happened at all this year has been a bit of a miracle - the show has gone on despite some Covid-related bumps along the way. So, it's even more impressive that the standard this year has generally been so high and the leaderboard so unpredictable. Many couples who the bookies (and some viewers) had written off following the launch show have topped the table during the run. So, it really will be hard to call as we reach the final and the remaining couples prepare to perform three routines. Judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse will score their efforts, but it will be up to the viewers at home to crown the winner. Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman are hosting, and there's also music from Robbie Williams. Could he be prevailed upon to sign up for Strictly 2021?

Home Alone Story: Britain's Favourite Christmas Movie (Channel 5, 8.20pm)

It's 30 years since John Hughes's comedy classic Home Alone raked in over $500 million dollars at the box office. As well as turning child actor Macaulay Culkin into a Hollywood star, it also spawned a successful film franchise that started with the 1992 sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Critics and fans celebrate the anniversary by explaining the appeal of the film, which tells the story of Kevin McAllister, a rambunctious eight-year-old who is forced to protect his house from a pair of burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) after he is accidentally left home alone by his family during the Christmas holidays.

Idris Elba Meets Paul McCartney (BBC1, 9.20pm)

He's one of the most successful and influential songwriters in the history of pop music, but at the age of 78, Paul McCartney isn't resting on his laurels just yet. He's just released McCartney III, the third in a trilogy of albums which find him playing every instrument as well as writing ever song. (The first was his debut solo album, released in 1970, and the second came out in 1980, which saw him embracing synthesisers and electronic music.) Now, he's talking to actor Idris Elba about his life and extraordinary career. As well as sharing insights into the writing process that produced some of his best-loved works, the former Beatle will also be revealing what inspires him to continue creating and innovating.

My Generation (BBC2, 9.20pm)

It's no secret that the 1960s were a time of great cultural and social change in Britain. These shifts allowed a new generation of, largely, working class people to come to the fore, and among them was Michael Caine. He'd been acting for some time before Zulu shot him to stardom; he was also a little older than some others who made their name during the decade; that maturity perhaps means he can look back at the period with more clarity and perspective than most. Caine is the central figure in this fascinating documentary written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, who found fame around the same time via their sitcom The Likely Lads. It features a wealth of wonderful archive footage as well as interviews with the likes of David Bailey, Roger Daltrey, Marianne Faithfull, Paul McCartney, Mary Quant and Twiggy.

Sunday, December 20

Sports Personality of the Year 2020 (BBC1, 8pm)

At the beginning of the year, you may have predicted that the 67th edition of the annual awards show would be dominated by the Olympic Games and Euro 2020. However, with the outbreak of Covid-19 cancelling or postponing those and many other sporting events, that won't be the case. Nevertheless, we have had some great action in the latter part of the year, and there should still be more than enough for presenters Gabby Logan, Gary Lineker, Clare Balding and Alex Scott to chew over at Media City in Salford. Boxer Tyson Fury was among the favourites to scoop the big prize straight after knocking out Deontay Wilder in February. However, the betting is now led by F1 driver and 2014 SPOTY Lewis Hamilton, who has recently equalled Michael Schumacher's record of seven drivers' World Championships. Other contenders are snooker star 'The Rocket' Ronnie O'Sullivan, England cricketer Stuart Broad, record-breaking jockey Hollie Doyle and Liverpool FC captain Jordan Henderson.

Royal Antique Repairers (C4, 8pm)

Think of this one-off programme as The Crown meets The Repair Shop and you'll be along the right lines. Hosted by Victoria Coren Mitchell, it follows three royal repairers as they restore some incredible objects. The items include a rare and beautiful Broadwood piano, previously owned by two famous British monarchs, and a Humber Super Snipe Mark III car that claims to have the Queen Mother's fingernail marks on its interior. Victoria discovers what the objects tell us about both their former owners and the people who are returning them to their former glory.

Michael Palin's Himalaya: Journey of a Lifetime (BBC2, 8pm)

Following the success of his four-part look back at his series Around the World in 80 Days, Pole to Pole, Full Circle and Sahara, Michael Palin is back with a one-off insight into another of his BBC travelogues. In 2004, he embarked on a six-month tour of the Himalayan mountain range in a series aptly titled Himalaya. It was an often difficult yet rewarding and exciting trip, which took in the sights and sounds of India, Pakistan, the Tibetan Plateau and Bhutan, all while under the shadow of the mighty Mount Everest - he even managed to visit base camp. The affable former Monty Python member discusses his memory of making the series as well as the people he met and the places he visited, while celebrity fans reflect on the show itself.

Devon and Cornwall at Christmas (Channel 4, 9pm)

The West Country is one of Britain's favourite holiday destinations, but when the tourists go home locals remain as busy as ever. On Cornwall's Lizard peninsula, the Richards family are predictably hard-pressed running England's most south-westerly Christmas tree farm. In Newquay, fishermen Martin and Jake Gilbert know that heading out into wild seas can be worth it as their catch fetches high prices at this time of year. And over on Dartmoor, the Alfords put the finishing touches to a new shed to house their cattle for the winter.

Victoria Wood: In Her Own Words (Channel 5, 9pm)

In April 2016, Britain lost one of its greatest and all-time favourite comedians. This affectionate look back at the life and work of Victoria Wood features interviews with Jo Brand, Jenny Eclair, Gyles Brandreth, Susie Blake and the actors who worked alongside Victoria. The programme charts her rise from her upbringing in Lancashire, via her partnership with Julie Walters on Wood and Walters, the brilliant As Seen On TV and her one-woman shows that sold out London's Royal Albert Hall. There are clips, behind-the-scenes stories, and interview footage filmed over the years with Victoria herself.

Bradley Walsh's How to Win a Game Show (ITV, 9.15pm)

If you're appearing on Mastermind, the best way to claim victory is probably to swot up on your specialist subject as much as possible. But other shows are a little more unpredictable and don't always reward the person with the most extensive general knowledge. So, Bradley Walsh is giving us his guide on how to win big on the quizzes and giveaway shows. He'll also be getting insider info from Ant and Dec, Stephen Mulhern and Ben Shephard as they share their own top tips on the best ways to take home some serious prizes.

Monday, December 21

Marcus Rashford: Feeding Britain's Children (BBC1, 7pm)

Cameras follow the Manchester United and England striker as he tries to better understand the effects of food poverty and how Covid-19 has contributed to the issue. The film comes after Marcus forced the government into not one, but two U-turns in his ongoing efforts to ensure no child goes hungry. His campaign last month resulted in the government backtracking to announce free meals would be provided to disadvantaged children over the Christmas holidays. This was a repeat of the summer when the footballer successfully got the government provide free school meals during the summer holidays. The hour-long documentary offers 'exclusive insight into the decision-making, thought process and motivations' of the footballer, who was awarded an MBE in the summer, and honoured with a special award at the Sports Personality of the Year ceremony last night.

Inside John Lewis: Trouble at the Tills (C4, 8pm)

It's one of the most famous and best-loved names in British retailing, but even John Lewis hasn't been immune to the pressures of 2020. The chain has posted record losses, with profits down 65%, and announced a slew of redundancies alongside the closures of some flagship stores - and that was before it was forced to temporarily close its stores in England for three weeks during the crucial run-up to Christmas. Steph McGovern looks at the challenges John Lewis faces and what they tell us about the difficulties the rest of the high street has to contend with as more consumers turn to online shopping.

Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Off (BBC1, 9pm)

For the festive specials, John Torode and Gregg Wallace are inviting memorable celebrities from previous series to come back to the MasterChef kitchen and have another go. First up are broadcaster and journalist Janet Street-Porter, actor Christopher Biggins, DJ Dev Griffin and TV personality Vicky Pattison, who will be competing to become Christmas champion. To take the title, they must tackle some festive challenges, beginning with an Invention Test where they select their ingredients from an advent calendar. They then undertake a seasonal Pairs Test before they create their Ultimate Christmas Dinner. The second helping will feature Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood, presenter Amar Latif, actress Crissy Rock and reality star Spencer Matthews.

The Big Soap Quiz: Coronation Street v Emmerdale (ITV, 9pm)

It's been a big year for the soaps, both on and off camera, as Coronation Street celebrated its 60th anniversary and all the serial dramas had to adjust to some new filming methods. So, we'd forgive the stars if they hadn't been paying much attention this year, but Jack P Shepherd and Mark Charnock are returning as team captains for Coronation Street and Emmerdale respectively, ready to prove they are on the ball. Jack is joined by his co-stars Simon Gregson and Sair Khan, while Mark is accompanied by the farm's finest Karen Blick and Jay Kontzle.

National Theatre: Twelfth Night (Sky Arts, 9pm)

Tamsin Greig stars as Malvolia in Simon Godwin's joyous production of Shakespeare's classic comedy at the National Theatre. After a ship is wrecked on the rocks, Viola (Tamara Lawrance) is washed ashore, but her twin brother Sebastian (Daniel Ezra) is lost. Determined to survive on her own, she steps out to explore a new land, and so begins a whirlwind of mistaken identity and unrequited love. The nearby households of Olivia (Phoebe Fox) and Orsino (Oliver Chris) are overrun with passion, and even Olivia's upright housekeeper Malvolia is swept up in the madness. Where music is the food of love, and nobody is quite what they seem, anything is possible.

Upstart Crow: Lockdown Christmas 1603 (BBC2, 9pm)

Ben Elton's Shakespearean comedy makes a welcome return in a pared-down special. It's a two-hander featuring David Mitchell as the Bard (well, it would be a pretty hopeless show without its central character) and Gemma Whelan as Kate. The characters are in lockdown - not because of an early version of coronavirus, but due to the fact that the plague is sweeping across London and so the safest place to be is behind closed doors. While Kate spends her time on a number of projects, Will is desperate to create a fresh masterpiece with which to impress the new King. Unfortunately, inspiration is yet to strike.

Tuesday, December 22

The Goes Wrong Show: The Nativity (BBC1, 7pm)

It's going to be some time before we get to see Mischief Theatre, the team behind the Goes Wrong shows, in their natural habitat. They began on stage, and it's in front of a live audience, with a crowd's immediate reaction, that their gags work best. Having said that, it's pretty impressive on TV too. This time they (under the guise of the Cornley Dramatic Society) are taking on the Nativity, having been given a generous grant by a corporate sponsor. As is always the case, their best laid plans soon end in disaster. An ingenious pop-up book set turns into a lethal weapon, the Angel Gabriel becomes more interested in pyromania than miracles, there's an unexpected flash of nudity when the actors inside the donkey fall out, and the baby Jesus is eaten by a sheep. And that's just for starters...

For the Love of Britain (ITV, 7.30pm)

Julie Walters and other presenters explore the place locals call 'God's own county', Yorkshire. Julia Bradbury follows in the footsteps of one of our most famous literary families, the Brontes, exploring the windswept moors near the village of Haworth. Meanwhile, Robson Green sings shanties in the seaside resort of Whitby, and Ore Oduba hits the challenging Coast to Coast walking trail near the market town of Richmond. Plus, deep in the Dales, Ade Edmondson is our guide on the Malham Circuit, one Yorkshire's best-loved hikes.

Nigella's Cook, Eat, Repeat Christmas Special (BBC2, 8pm)

Christmas is traditionally time to eat, drink and be merry, and if any TV cook is going to encourage us to indulge a little, it's Nigella Lawson. She begins by tucking into a Linzer cookie in the garden, before heading out to enjoy a wintery walk and discuss her plans for a festive feast. It turns out she's going for a Nordic theme, including pickled red cabbage and cucumber salad and no-knead black bread to accompany smoked salmon, which will be washed down with cocktails of pomegranate fizz. There will also be Norwegian Pork ribs, before the feast concludes with doughnuts served by the fire pit.

Being Bridget Jones (BBC2, 9pm)

In 1995, diarist Bridget Jones made her first appearance in a British newspaper, sharing her relationships with men, booze and cigarettes. Though no one may have realised it at the time, she was about to become one of the defining figures of the decade. The column didn't carry a byline, but the character was the invention of writer Helen Fielding, who would go on to adapt her column into bestselling books, which would in turn become hit films. This documentary celebrates Bridget and her legacy, finding out why she struck such a chord, and how she reflects changing attitudes to women. As well as hearing from celebrity fans, the documentary also features interviews with Fielding and the friends who inspired the characters.

Christmas at Warwick Castle (C4, 9pm)

There's no time to relax after the Halloween lights go off at Warwick Castle, the medieval site built on the order of William the Conqueror back in 1068 - that's when the staff get to work transforming it into a winter wonderland. Along with dazzling decorations in the historic Great Hall and state rooms, the plan is to wow visitors with a massive 745 metre-square ice rink, a Santa experience and a brand-new light trail through the castle's grounds. But as this documentary discovers, the government's announcement of a November lockdown and then a Tier system makes the preparations harder. Can this still be a Christmas to remember for the right reasons?

All Creatures Great and Small: Christmas Special (C5, 9pm)

This revamp of the classic series went down a treat with viewers a few months back, and now it's returning for a festive edition in which matters of the heart come to the fore. We've witnessed James Herriott falling for farmer's daughter Helen in previous episodes, and now, as Tristan puts up decorations around the Farnon residence and Mrs Hall eagerly awaits the return of her son Edward, the young vet faces the prospect of losing her forever - she's due to marry wealthy Hugh on December 25. But, on Christmas Eve, as guests gather for a party, James is called away by an emergency and Helen asks to accompany him. As they help deliver a puppy, it becomes clear there's a spark between them. And, when they become stranded due to bad weather, a revealing heart-to-heart takes place...

Wednesday, December 23

Mary Berry Saves Christmas (BBC1, 6.30pm)

While most of us love eating Christmas food, some feel daunted by the idea of preparing it - after all, not everybody is a confident cook. Thankfully the ever-reliable Mary Berry is on hand to help three such members of the public get to grips with festive feasts by showing them how to make delicious yet fuss-free dishes that really epitomise the season. Lending them a hand are three celebrity sous chefs - The Repair Shop's foreman Jay Blades, TV presenter Angela Scanlon and comedian Tom Allen.

The Magical World of Julia Donaldson (BBC2, 7.30pm)

Zog, The Highway Rat, Stick Man and, of course, The Gruffalo - Julia Donaldson has created some of Britain's best-loved and best-selling children's books. Now, using interviews, home movies and specially commissioned animated drawings from her long-term illustrator Axel Scheffler, this documentary is bringing Julia's own story to life. The film uncovers the surprising inspirations behind her most famous characters and explores how her books have appealed to children and adults alike by covering serious themes in a subtle way.

Ghosts (BBC1, 8.30pm)

If you wanted proof that this delightfully silly sitcom from the team behind Horrible Histories is a hit, here it is - it's been given a Christmas special. Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) are planning to welcome his family to Button House for the first time, but given their ghostly housemates, it seems unlikely it will be a relaxing experience. Alison just wants everyone, living and dead, to have a nice time, but it turns out that it's hard to feel festive when you're deceased. However, a new arrival in the house forces Julian (Simon Farnaby) to confront his own ghosts of Christmas past, and leads to a revelation that could help everyone rediscover the real meaning of the season.

Motherland Christmas Special (BBC2, 9pm)

The sitcom that explores the cut-throat world of school-gate politics is coming back for a third series, but until then we've got a Christmas special to tide us over. Alpha mum Amanda (Lucy Punch) is throwing her Annual Season Soiree, which has a dress code (Tinsel and Tiaras), a 30ft Christmas tree, an Evil Santa and strict rules about when you can and can't drink mulled wine. Meg (Tanya Moodie) is the only one of the gang to get an official invite, but she has decided to bring Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin), Kevin (Paul Ready) and Liz (the scene-stealing Diane Morgan) along as her plus threes. Julia is grateful for any excuse to get away from her in-laws, Liz is pretending Christmas isn't happening at all and, as regular viewers will be expecting, Kevin has gone into festive overdrive.

Jennifer Saunders' Memory Lane (ITV, 9pm)

Over the years, ITV has tried to find a format to rival the success of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are. The latest sees Jennifer Saunders take, as the title suggests, a trip down memory lane with fellow There's Something About Movies team captain Michael Sheen. She gets behind the wheel of a classic E-Type Jag while he regales her with tales of growing up in Port Talbot, stopping off at various sites that have special meaning for him. He also shows her old family photographs and shares memories of growing up in the industrial town, which also spawned his fellow actors Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins. Sheen then reveals why, despite walking the red carpets of LA, London and Cannes, he decided to resettle in South Wales.

King Gary Christmas Special (BBC One, 10pm)

The Butterchurn Crescent Christmas Light Display is ready to illuminate the festive season, something the residents are all looking forward to seeing after a particularly tough idea. But the big switch-on is threatened by the fact that many of the neighbours are strapped for cash and so can't afford the bill. Gary, however, has just landed a big contract and decides to pay for it all himself - but will everyone be pleased with this arrangement? Tom Davis, who also co-wrote the script with James De Frond, heads the cast.

Thursday, December 24

Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy (BBC1, 5.55pm)

Despite some viewers' concerns when the slightly creepy first-look images were released, Mackenzie Crook's charming take on the talking scarecrow turned out to be one of the highlights of the 2019 Christmas schedule. So it's great to have him back for a new adventure. This time, Worzel Gummidge, Susan (India Brown) and John (Thierry Wickens) visit a scrapyard, where the scarecrow overhears the grumblings of his foul-mouthed old friend Saucy Nancy (Shirley Henderson). She's a ship's figurehead, who is sick of languishing on land and wants to get back to sea. The kids promise to help her return, but Worzel worries that her ship will not be waiting for her. And then there's the logistics of how they are going to get there... Watch out for guest stars Vanessa Redgrave and Brian Blessed.

The Great Christmas Bake Off 2020 (C4, 7.40pm)

Let's hope Matt Lucas truly feels at home in the tent now that his first series is over, because for this Christmas special, he won't have Noel Fielding to guide him. Instead, Bake Off: The Professionals host and Extra Slice regular Tom Allen is on co-presenting duties. They'll be joined by judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, and four former contestants, Jamie and Rosie from 2019, Ruby from 2018 and James from 2017, who are all ready to battle for the title of Christmas Star Baker. There'll also be a guest appearance from Alexandra Burke, who performs her version of Silent Night.

Would I Lie to You? at Christmas (BBC One, 7.45pm)

Rob Brydon takes charge of another edition of the hilarious panel show; regular team captains Lee Mack and David Mitchell are also in attendance, and they will be joined by Jo Brand, Joe Lycett, Joe Swash and Ruth Madeley. Among the highlights are Lycett's efforts to convince everyone he fell out with his family over the famous 'doof-doofs' at the end of EastEnders, Swash's tale of his own disastrous mishandling of a satnav and Mitchell's seemingly heroic efforts to hold up a train in order to retrieve his daughter's beloved toy.

Birds of a Feather (ITV, 9.15pm)

Following a three-year absence from our screens, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph are back as Tracey and Dorien, but all is not well. The last time we saw them, Tracey had reluctantly sold the house they all shared to Dorien, but now, they're beginning to get on each other's nerves - it doesn't help that Sharon is stuck on the other side of the world, having become trapped on a never-ending cruise during the coronavirus panic. She's clearly left a big hole in the girls' lives and now they're on the lookout for somebody to fill it. Les Dennis makes a guest appearance as Dorien's new flame Graeme (does he know what he's letting himself in for?), while Ami Metcalf also appears as Jordan, Tracey's young friend who is fully expecting a miserable festive season.

Miranda's Games with Showbiz Names (BBC1, 9.45pm)

Sadly, there's no sign of her sitcom returning in the near future, but it's good to see Miranda Hart back on the box. A few years ago, she interviewed her hero, Bruce Forsyth, for the programme When Miranda Met Bruce - and now she's hosting a one-off show that he would probably have been proud to have presented himself. In fact, it has a hint of The Generation Game about it. Three celebrity couples join her from the comfort of their own homes to take part in a series of outrageous challenges, bringing out their fun sides in the process.

Have I Got 30 Years for You (BBC1, 10.15pm)

On 28 September 1990, a pilot for a new satirical comedy show was broadcast on BBC Two. Chaired by Angus Deayton, with team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, the panellists on the first episode of Have I Got News For You were Sandi Toksvig and Kate Saunders. The success of the programme prompted a move to BBC One in 2000 and HIGNFY has since provided the inspiration for an explosion of comedy quizzes. Ian and Paul look back at three decades of the daddy of all satirical panel shows, with contributions from Ian Hislop, Paul Merton, Germaine Greer, Gary Lineker, Victoria Coren Mitchell, Ken Livingstone and Alexander Armstrong. They will be recalling memorable moments including when the duo slayed former host Deayton, as well as Brian Blessed's bellowing, Boris Johnson's numerous appearances, the friction between Ian and Piers Morgan, Roy Hattersley's no-show and Bruce Forsyth's triumphant comeback.?

Friday, December 25

Strictly Come Dancing: The Christmas Countdown (BBC1, 4.45pm)

The much-loved show's festive special, which usually features either contestants from previous series or celebs who can't commit to the regular show's long run, has become a staple part of the BBC's Christmas schedule. Sadly there isn't one this year due to coronavirus, but we're getting the next best thing - a look back at the 25 best routines ever to feature on the programme, as voted for by the public. Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman speak to the judges, professionals and celebrity guests about these iconic moments, which include perfect 10s and trophy-winning performances.

Blankety Blank Christmas Special (BBC1, 7pm)

It's the gameshow that as famously hosted by Terry Wogan, Les Dawson and Lily Savage, and David Walliams also took over for a one-off ITV revival in 2016. Those are some big shoes to fill, but if anyone can manage it, it's Bradley Walsh, who has proved time and time again that he's one of Britain's best presenters. For anyone who's unfamiliar with the format, Bradley invites the contestants to fill in the missing blanks in a question - and comedian Jimmy Carr, pop star Danny Jones, actress Emilia Fox, boxer Amir Khan, comedian Sue Perkins and presenter Anita Rani are the celebrity panel who will be trying to help them win some brilliant prizes. (Which is at least a change from the Les Dawson era, when the poor-quality prizes were a running joke.)

Call the Midwife (BBC1, 7.40pm)

It's now Christmas 1965 and everyone at Nonnatus House is preparing for a day full of traditional fun, food and festivities. But of course, this being Call the Midwife, things are not going to work out quite as they'd hoped. After Sister Monica Joan is rushed to hospital, Trixie is angry to find a subscription for a marriage bureau in her stocking and a surprise reunion for Shelagh comes ahead of a deeply moving birth. Matters start looking up when the circus arrives in Poplar, during which new friendships are forged and experiences enjoyed - but for Nurse Crane, it brings with it a potentially life-changing event. It should be a delightful episode, and paves the way for a new run in early in 2021.

Royal Opera All Star Gala (BBC Four, 7.40pm)

Katie Derham presents this special concert recorded in September. Scattered throughout the stalls of the fabulous auditorium at Covent Garden, the Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, conducted by Antonio Pappano, perform much-loved arias, duets and choruses from operas by Rossini, Donizetti, Puccini and Bizet. The international star soloists include Lisette Oropesa (soprano), Gerald Finley (bass-baritone), Aigul Akhmetshina (mezzo), Charles Castronovo (tenor), Vito Priante (baritone) and Jeremy White (bass).

Britain's Got Talent Christmas Spectacular (ITV, 8pm)

The live editions of this year's competition had to be postponed due to Covid-19, and the festive show also faced difficulties with at least three of its crew members testing positive during filming in October, forcing them into isolation and the production to shutdown. Thankfully everything got back on track in November, and we're sure that viewers will think it's been worth the hassle. Ant and Dec, fresh from the success of the revamped I'm a Celebrity, are set to host, and are welcoming back some of the most successful acts created by the show during its 14 years on air. Simon Cowell still isn't fit enough to take his place on the judging panel, so will once again be replaced by Ashley Banjo, who appears alongside Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon.

Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special (BBC1, 10pm)

At last we're getting an opportunity to catch up with Agnes and her family, during which we'll find out how they've been coping with 'the new normal'. Actually, for the Browns, life doesn't seem to have changed very much at all - Grandad has another complaint, while Buster and Dermot have new jobs. Perhaps the most important thing is that Agnes has a new tree. However, distractions are on the way as she and Winnie wait to find out if they've landed the job of delivering an alternative Queen's speech, just as they hear about a flasher who's on the loose.