IT’s just days away from TV overload, so make sure the remote control batteries are in working order as there will be plenty to switch onto, or even switch off from, over the festive season.
This is no more obvious than Christmas Day evening when the main channel offerings at 8.45pm have a choice of an hour of gloom and heartache in ‘EastEnders’ (BBC1) while over on ITV1 there’s two hours of bracing Highland air as Lord Grantham and family head to Scotland for a summer break in ‘Downtown Abbey.’
While the “toffs on holiday” might prove a ratings winner, the BBC aims to steal a march earlier in the evening with a special edition of their award-winning ‘Call the Midwife’ as a baby is abandoned on the steps of the convent.
As before, the schedules are bursting with premiers and repeats of more than 300 feature films (many of which get recorded but never watched) plus special compilations looking back at long-gone favourites, something that can’t be levelled at another series of ‘Waterloo Road,’ which returns with three troublesome pupils --Dynasty Barry, Kacey Barry and, of course, Barry Barry.
That’s one of the delights for the New Year, but until then here is a random selection of festive programmes.
Wednesday 19th - It’s “watch one, record one” time with the final episodes of ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ (BBC1) and ‘The Town’ (ITV1).
Thursday 20th - Final challenge for the remaining four in ‘Young Apprentice’ (BBC1).
Friday 21st -- Three hours of celebrity-driven fund-raising for six charities in ‘Text Santa’ (ITV1)
Saturday 22nd - Strictly Come Dancing BBC1. Which couple are going to walk off with the glitterball trophy in the finals of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’? Sunday 23rd - Another mystery over, or not with a third series planned, for Brody, Carrie and co in ‘Homeland’ (C4).
Monday 24th - I hope Posh gets to smile sometime as ITV1 screen ‘Spice Girls’ Story’ to tie in with ‘Viva Forever!’ a showcase of their hits now running in London’s West End, which has been panned by critics.
Christmas Day - Laughs are guaranteed with a two-hour look back over the past three decades in ‘C4’s 30 Greatest Comedy Shows.’
Boxing Day - A triple treat for Hitchcock fans on BBC2 starts with ‘The Girl,’a retelling of the relationship between the director (Toby Jones) and actress Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller).
Thursday 27th - Stand-up comic John Bishop plays a radio DJ who treads the boards as a first-time actor in the comedy drama ‘Panto!’ (ITV1).
Friday 28th - Time to name those money-spinning tunes as DJ Mark Radcliffe reveals his top10 in ‘The Richest Songs in the World’ (BBC4).
Saturday 29th - Climbed Every Mountain: The Story Behind the Sound of Music- The title says it all as the film approaches its half century.