TV tonight: Our highlights for New Year's Day

The thirteenth Doctor must face off against the Daleks in the New Year's Day special.

The Doctor Who festive special is just one of the gems tonight...

Doctor Who is back on our screens for a festive special, while The Serpent - the new thriller that everyone is talking about - starts on BBC1. Here's what else you shouldn’t miss tonight. 

  • Our hand-selected recommendations for what's on TV tonight include three TV shows, a film and the latest trending need-to-binge-on-now box set 
  • Keep up to date with the latest soap spoiler storylines on TV tonight with our daily soap synopsis 
  • For more information about what’s on TV tonight see our TV Guide 

What's on TV tonight 

Our expert TV journalists have picked the best things on TV tonight... 

Best TV shows on TV tonight

Doctor Who - Revolution of the Daleks, 6.45pm, BBC1

Doctor Who Christmas TV tonight

The thirteenth Doctor must face off against the Daleks in the New Year's Day special... (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: BBC/James Pardon)

The 13th Doctor and her pals have travelled to the far corners of the universe since starting their journey together back in 2018, but two of them bid an emotional farewell to the TARDIS tonight! This festive special sees Jodie Whittaker's Time Lord incarcerated in an alien prison, while back on earth, Graham, Ryan and Yaz stumble upon a sinister Dalek plot. Luckily Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) shows up in the nick of time. ★★★★★ SMA

The Serpent, 9pm, BBC1

The Serpent TV Tonight

The Serpent is based on true events (Picture: BBC/© Mammoth Screen) (Image credit: BBC/© Mammoth Screen)

Tahar Rahim and Jenna Coleman descend into a world of obsession, deceit and murder in this drama about the crimes of real-life serial killer Charles Sobhraj. Set in Asia in the 1970s, this opening episode follows the French villain and his partner Marie-Andree as they prey upon Western travellers who wander off the streets of Bangkok and into their web. Tahar is wonderful as the charismatic killer, while Jenna Coleman couldn't be further from Victoria in her most sinister role to date as Sobhraj's besotted partner. ★★★★ SMA

Dancing on Thin Ice, 9pm, ITV

Torvill and Dean in Dancing on Thin Ice

Torvill and Dean are back with a new show (Picture: ITV) (Image credit: ITV)

Skating legends Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean travel to Alaska hoping to perform their iconic Bolero routine on a frozen lake, but climate change makes finding the perfect spot almost impossible. Their search takes them deep into the wilderness, where they discover the devastating impact of melting ice on the environment and the Alaskan people. Yes, they do perform, but it's bittersweet when they realise that the stunning backdrop is in serious danger of disappearing. ★★★★ HD

Best box set to watch on TV tonight

The Fall, BBC iPlayer, series 1 to 3

TV tonight The Fall

Jamie Dornan stars alongside Gillian Anderson in chilling BBC crime drama, The Fall (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: BBC/Artists Studio/Steffan Hill)

If you're looking for a gripping new box set to get your teeth into this Christmas, then look no further than The Fall on BBC iPlayer. The series, set in Northern Ireland, sees DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) called in to solve a grisly Belfast murder. The series also stars Jamie Dornan, better known as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades film series, who gives a chilling portrayal of killer Paul Spector.

Best film to watch on TV tonight

The Greatest Showman, Channel 4

TV tonight The Greatest Showman

Celebrate the New Year arriving with The Greatest Showman (Picture: 20th Century Fox) (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Being done playing X-Men superhero Wolverine, Hugh Jackman went back to what he really loves best: belting out tunes and hoofing around in musicals. This laughably rosy, but gloriously entertaining, take on Victorian circus impresario PT Barnum's early days is a perfect Jackman vehicle - big routines and catchy songs. Zac Efron's appearance crystallises the idea this is a big-budget High School Musical for grown ups. ★★★★ NP

Live sport

  • Everton v West Ham United, 5.30pm, Sky Sports
  • Manchester United v Aston Villa, 8pm Sky Sports

Soaps on TV tonight

  • Emmerdale, 7pm - hour long special
  • EastEnders, 8pm - hour long special
  • Coronation Street, 8pm - hour long special

If you watch just one thing on TV tonight… 

Don't miss The Serpent - a gripping new series to get your teeth into.

Not found anything you want to watch on TV tonight? Check out our TV Guide. 

Happy viewing!

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.