6 CAN’T MISS Christmas Day TV shows - all previewed and rated!

Trxie and Shealgh in the Call the Midwife Christmas special - A Christmas Day TV highlight
(Image credit: Neal Street/BBC)

You have to see these shows!

Christmas Day TV this year promises to be a cracker!

1. Call the Midwife Christmas Special, BBC1, 7.45pm

Call the Midwife Christmas

Christmas Day TV doesn't come much bigger than a Call the Midwife festive special!

The ‘Welcome home’ bunting is out for Trixie’s (Helen George) return. But festive plans are thrown into chaos when ‘indefatigable’ Sister Mildred (a sensational Miriam Margolyes) turns up with four Chinese orphans. When the nuns then have to vote for a new Mother Superior, it’s a treat to finally see the much-mentioned Mother House and to witness an edgier side to Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) as she really doesn’t want the job!

The sisters also find themselves organising a Nativity and dealing with a mysterious pregnant woman, while back in Poplar, the midwives turn into ‘the Beverley sisters with rubber gloves’ as they face an emergency birth. Rating: *****

2. Torvill & Dean, ITV, 9.15pm

Torvill & Dean ITV, Christmas 2018

Torvill & Dean promises to be a great watch

In 1984, ice-dancers Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean became national treasures after winning gold with their Bolero routine at the Winter Olympics. This heart-warming one-off drama stars Poppy Lee Friar (Ackley Bridge) and Will Tudor (Humans) as the duo, with Anita Dobson as Jayne’s coach, Stephen Tompkinson as Jayne’s father, and Jaime Winstone as the instructor who first paired Chris and Jayne. Rating: ****

[Our guide to the best Christmas films]

3. The Great Christmas Bake Off, Channel 4, 8pm

Noel and Sandi welcome four old friends back into the tent tonight, including break-out star Liam Charles. The four will face the usual set of three challenges before one of them is named Christmas star baker! We’re promised Paul and Prue in jazzy jumpers and rockers The Darkness performing their hit, Christmas Time. Perfect! Rating: *****

4. Paul O’ Grady: For The Love of Dogs at Christmas, ITV, 5.55pm

All Paul O’Grady wants for Christmas is for the Battersea residents to get new homes so that he doesn’t give in to temptation! Today Paul is smitten with a cute, withdrawn westie and finds himself bottle-feeding dozens of rescued puppies, as he tries to spread some Yuletide joy. Rating: *****

5. Zog, BBC1, 4.50pm

Zog BBC1 Christmas 2018

Zog will be a Christmas Day TV highlight for the kids!

Accident-prone young dragon Zog (voiced by W1A’s Hugh Skinner) is forever getting into scrapes as he learns to fly, breathe fire and roar in this 30-minute animation based on the much-loved children’s book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

Luckily, Zog finds a friend in young Princess Pearl (Patsy Ferran), who patches him up after each misadventure and who would much rather be a doctor than a princess. Brought to the screen by the same team who gave us The Gruffalo and The Highway Rat, this is an enchanting tale, beautifully narrated by Lenny Henry, with Tracey Ullman a delight as Zog’s long-suffering teacher Madame Dragon. Rating: *****

6. Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, BBC1, 5.30pm

EastEnders star Jake Wood in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special

EastEnders star Jake Wood in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special

Hurrah – the 2018 festive extravaganza reunites iconic couple Ann Widdecombe and Anton Du Beke! Also back are 2014 champ Caroline Flack, 2015 semi-finalist Anita Rani, 2012 contender Michael Vaughan and 2014 hip-swinger Jake Wood. Rating: *****

David Hollingsworth

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 working for 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 for 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!