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The best Christmas films on TV this festive season including Christmas Day and Boxing Day 2021

Best Christmas films on TV — Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw)
Best Christmas films on TV — Paddington's fantastic first adventure is just one of the many great films you can watch on TV this Christmas. (Image credit: StudioCanal)

Here's our pick of the best Christmas films on TV so you know all the great movies you can watch on BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5.

There's always a huge range of movies available to watch on TV at Christmas, and this year doesn't look like it'll be any different! There are action-packed classics, animated movies for the whole family to enjoy, and some more recent blockbusters lined up to keep you entertained this Christmas, and our guide will help you pick from the best of the bunch.

If you're looking for more recommendations for Christmas films to enjoy, we've got guides to plenty more Christmas entertainment including the best Christmas films on Disney+, or our breakdown of the best Christmas movies or even the best Christmas movies with dogs to help you find a new festive fave. Plus, you should also check out our Christmas TV guide to learn more about all the amazing shows and festive specials that are on their way soon.

However, if you're just looking for what movies are being shown on live TV (as well as what time and what channel they're on), look no further: here's our guide to all the great movies you'll find on TV in the UK this Christmas!

What are the best Christmas films on TV on Saturday 18th December?

BBC1

Maleficent - 2:30 pm 

The Lost Boys - 12:20 am

BBC2

Great Expectations [1946] - 2:00 pm 

Whisky Galore! [2016] - 6:30 pm [7:25pm Wales]

Desperately Seeking Susan - 10:00 pm

ITV

Johnny English Reborn - 1:55 pm 

Channel  4

Bee Movie - 3:50 pm

The Equalizer 2 - 9:00 pm

Daddy’s Home 2 - 11:20 pm

Channel 5

A Sugar and Spice Christmas - 12:00 pm

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol [1951, with Jack Warner] - 5.55 pm

The Full Monty - 9:00 pm

Kinky Boots - 10:50 pm

What are the best movies on Sunday 19th December?

BBC1

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World - 1:50 pm

Spider-Man: Far From Home - 12:15 am

BBC2

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - 7:00 pm

The Invisible Woman - 11:45 pm

ITV 

License to Kill - 2:05 pm (arguably one of the best Bond movies!)

Channel 4

Rise of the Guardians - 12:30 pm

Eddie the Eagle - 3:30 pm

Catch Me If You Can - 10:00 pm

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 - 12:40 am 

Channel 5

A Unicorn for Christmas - 4:00 pm

Bond and Pam Bouvier in Licence to Kill

Licence to Kill is a classic James Bond caper.  (Image credit: Eon Productions)

What are the best movies on Monday 20th December?

BBC1

Moana - 3:05 pm

King of Thieves - 10:35 pm

BBC2

Carousel - 1:45 pm

South Pacific - 3:50 pm

ITV

The Grinch [2018] - 1:45 pm

Channel 4 

Instant Family - 11:00 pm

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 - 1:15 am

Channel 5

Beethoven - 11:45 am

A Christmas Contest - 3:25 pm

Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) with Maui (Dwayne Johnson)

Moana is a Disney favourite you shouldn't miss. (Image credit: Disney)

What are the best movies on Tuesday 21st December?

BBC1 

Saving Mr. Banks - 2:45 pm

BBC2

Doctor Zhivago - 1:50 pm

ITV

Shrek - 1:45 pm

Shaun of the Dead - 11:40 pm

Channel 4

Mr & Mrs Smith - 12:00 am

Channel 5

Gnomeo and Juliet - 11:50 am

Meet the Parents - 10:00 pm

Shrek stars Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy

Shrek's sure to get plenty of laughs this Christmas! (Image credit: DreamWorks)

What are the best movies on Wednesday 22nd December?

BBC1

Pete’s Dragon - 3:05 pm

Crazy Rich Asians - 10:35 pm

BBC2

Kiss Me Kate - 1:55 pm

Guys and Dolls - 3:40 pm

Great Expectations [2012] - 11:45 pm 

ITV

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial - 11:30 pm

Shrek 2 - 2:15 pm

Die Hard - 10:45 pm

Channel 4

Christmas in Rome - 10:20 am

Channel 5

A Christmas Stray - 5:20 pm

Bruce Willis in Die Hard

Die Hard is an action-packed Christmas classic. (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

What are the best Christmas films on TV on Thursday 23rd December?

BBC1

Cinderella [2014] - 3:15 pm

BBC2

The Battle of the River Plate - 2:00 pm

The Heroes of Telemark - 3:55 pm

Last Christmas - 9:00 pm

ITV

Sing - 1:50 pm

The Holiday - 11:00 pm

Channel 4

Office Christmas Party - 11:00 pm

Channel 5

Matilda - 5:10 pm

Meena the elephant (Tori Kelly) and Buster Moon the Koala (Matthew McConaughey) in Sing

Sing is a feelgood family movie plenty of people are sure to enjoy. (Image credit: Illumination Entertainment)

What are the best movies on TV on Christmas Eve 2021?

BBC1

Brave - 11:40 am

Frozen - 1:30 pm

Abominable - 3:00 pm

BBC2

To Catch a Thief - 1:35 pm

North by Northwest - 3:20 pm

Amazing Grace - 11:00 pm

ITV

Nativity Rocks - 11:00 am 

Channel 4

It’s A Wonderful Life - 2:00 pm

Home Alone - 6:00 pm

Channel 5

Scrooge [1970, with Albert Finney as Ebenezer Scrooge] - 11:55 am 

Christmas with the Kranks - 2:15 pm 

Deck the Halls - 4:20 pm

Anna (Kristen Bell and Elsa (Idina Menzel) hugging in Frozen.

Have a Christmas Eve singalong with Frozen. (Image credit: Disney)

What are the best movies on TV on Christmas Day 2021?

BBC1

The Secret Life of Pets 2 - 1:10 pm

Mary Poppins Returns - 3:10 pm

Last Christmas - 12:05 am

BBC2

Casablanca - 11:10 am

Meet Me in St Louis - 12:50 pm

The Adventures of Robin Hood - 5:20 pm

Pavarotti - 9:35 pm

ITV

Santa Claus: The Movie - 3:10 pm

Love, Actually - 10:40 pm

Channel 4

How To Train Your Dragon - 11:00 am

White Christmas - 12:55 pm

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York - 5:15 pm

Slumdog Millionaire - 12:20 am

Channel 5

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - 3:10 pm

What are the best Christmas movies on TV on Boxing Day 2021?

BBC1

Shaun the Sheep Movie - 10:10 am

Trolls - 11:30 am

Beauty and the Beast [2017] - 2:20 pm

Paddington - 4:20 pm

The Accountant - 12:15 am

BBC2

Singin’ in the Rain - 12:40 pm

Some Like it Hot - 2:20 pm [except Wales]

Channel 4

Home Alone 3 - 1:55 pm

Crocodile Dundee - 4:00 pm

Channel 5

Calendar Girls - 12:45 pm

The Proposal - 3:00 pm

Sister Act - 5:10 pm

Dirty Dancing - 8:00 pm

Road House - 10:00 pm

What are the best films on TV on Monday 27th December?

BBC1

Monsters Vs Aliens - 9:20 am

The Boss Baby - 10:45 am

Finding Dory - 1:30 pm

Paddington 2 - 5:55 pm

BBC2

A Star is Born - 10:05 am

Blade Runner 2049 - 9:00 pm

ITV

Hotel Transylvania - 11:45 am

Dad's Army [2016] - 2:45 pm

Channel 4

Crocodile Dundee II - 6:00 pm

Channel 5

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword - 8:00 pm

Taken 2 - 10:25 pm 

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born

'A Star Is Born' is a wonderful love story starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. (Image credit: Warner Bros)

What are the best films on TV on Tuesday, 28th December?

BBC1

Cars 3 - 10:40 am

Wallace & Gromit - Curse of the Were-Rabbit - 1:55 pm

The BFG [2016] - 3:25 pm

ITV

Despicable Me - 12:30 pm 

Channel 4

Murder on the Orient Express [2017] - 9:00 pm 

Misery - 11:15 pm 

Channel 5

Matilda - 9:40 am

The Mask of Zorro - 11:45 am

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - 5:10 pm

The Meg - 9:00 pm

What are the best movies on TV on Wednesday 29th December?

BBC1

Monsters University - 9:05 am

Big Hero 6 - 10:40 am

Inside Out - 1:40 pm

A Dog’s Journey - 3:30 pm

A Star is Born - 9:00 pm

BBC2

Bringing Up Baby - 8:40 am

The Nun’s Story - 10:20 am

The Great Train Robbery [1978] - 3:10 pm [2:40 pm in Wales]

Murder on the Orient Express [1974] - 4:55 pm [4:25 pm in Wales]

ITV 

Despicable Me 2 - 12:30 pm

Hot Fuzz - 10:20 pm

Channel 4 

Playing With Fire - 1:30 pm

Channel 5

The Glenn Miller Story - 4:35 pm

Shirley Valentine - 9:00 pm

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Hot Fuzz.

Settle in for the hilarious action-comedy movie 'Hot Fuzz' on ITV. (Image credit: Universal)

What are the best films on TV on Thursday 30th December?

BBC1

Zootropolis - 1:45 pm

The Jungle Book [2016] - 3:35 pm

Ready Player One - 10:35 pm

BBC2

Dunkirk [1958] - 9:35 am

Reach for the Sky - 11:45 am

Shadowlands - 2:45 pm [2:00 pm in Wales]

The Remains of the Day - 4:50 pm [4:05 pm in Wales]

Judy - 9:00 pm

ITV

Despicable Me - 12:30 pm

Channel 4

Deep Impact - 3:10 pm

Raiders of the Lost Ark - 6:45 pm

Channel 5

Annie - 8:45 am

My Fair Lady - 11:15 am

The King and I - 2:50 pm

What are the best movies on TV on New Year's Eve?

BBC1

Captain Underpants - 9:10 am

The Secret Life of Pets 2 - 10:55 am

Coco - 2:40 pm

BBC2

Jane Eyre [2011] -  12:30 pm 

Dad’s Army [1971] - 6:55 pm

The Aftermath - 9:00 pm

ITV

Smallfoot - 12:30 pm

Spectre - 9:00 pm

Channel 4

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events - 11:20 am

The Great Escape - 3:15 pm

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - 6:45 pm

Channel 5

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - 9:45 am

Jumanji - 12:40 pm

Hook - 2:45 pm

Night at the Museum - 5:35 pm

Coco starring Anthony Gonzalez

Coco is just one of the great family movies on TV on New Year's Eve. (Image credit: Disney)

For full listings check our TV Guide. For all the latest Christmas news go to our Christmas TV section.

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.


Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 


David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.


Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!