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TV Tonight: our highlights for Thursday, Dec. 23

TV tonight Jennifer Saunders guest stars as Fanny’s mother.
Jennifer Saunders guest stars as Fanny’s mother. (Image credit: BBC)

On TV tonight, Jennifer Saunders makes a scene stealing guest appearance in Ghosts on BBC1, David Walliams and Sheridan Smith star in Hansel & Gretel: After Ever After on Sky Max/Now and choirmaster Gareth heads to Blackburn for an emotional project in Blackburn Sings Christmas with Gareth Malone on BBC2. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss on TV tonight.

  • Our hand selected recommendations for what's on TV tonight include three TV shows, a film, live sport 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

Ghosts, 8.30pm, BBC1

TV tonight Martha Howe-Douglas and jennifer Saunders as Lady Button and Lavinia.

Martha Howe-Douglas and Jennifer Saunders as Lady Button and Lavinia. (Image credit: BBC)

Mike and Alison usually stay pretty upbeat, despite the chaos that their resident phantoms cause, but they seem to be running out of seasonal cheer when a strange man, Nicholas (Justin Edwards), camps in the grounds of Button House... The highlight of this spectre-tacular yuletide episode comes in the surprisingly poignant flashbacks to stern Edwardian spook Lady Button’s life, when Jennifer Saunders gives a scene-stealing turn as her snooty mother Lavinia. A superb blend of festive heart and hilarity. 

★★★★ CC 

Hansel & Gretel: After Ever After, 8pm, Sky Max/NOW

TV tonight Bill Bekele and Lilly Aspell in the titular roles

Bill Bekele and Lilly Aspell in the titular roles. (Image credit: Sky)

David Walliams’ fabulous reworkings of fairy tales are an annual tradition now, and this fun-packed sequel to Hansel and Gretel sees Sheridan Smith on sensational form as the vengeful witch. And David is a hideous but hilarious troll! Packed with laughs and a huge dollop of love, it’s a perfect Christmas watch. 

★★★★ CC

Blackburn Sings Christmas with Gareth Malone, 8pm, BBC2

TV tonight Gareth brings post-lockdown festive joy

Gareth brings post-lockdown festive joy. (Image credit: BBC)

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a singalong, and choirmaster Gareth delivers festive cheer by the sleigh-load. Travelling to Blackburn, hit hard by COVID-19, Gareth finds amateur musical talent at every turn, from the hard-working NHS staff at Royal Blackburn Hospital to survivors of the virus in the wider community. Look out for an uplifting surprise concert during Blackburn’s annual Christmas lights switch-on. As always, it’s emosh. 

★★★★ RF  

Best box set to watch on TV tonight

The Witcher, season 2, Netflix

TV tonight monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill)

Monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill). (Image credit: Netflix)

The epic fantasy show returns for a second series, picking up following the devastating Battle of Sodden. With monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill) grieving the loss of Yennefer, he’s forced to take Princess Cirilla (Freya Allan) to his childhood home of Kaer Morhen to protect her from the Continent’s kings, elves, humans and demons striving for supremacy, as well as from her own strange powers of foresight. Look out for a cracking new guest cast, including Simon Callow and Silent Witness star Liz Carr as eccentric legal team Codringher and Fenn, who may be able to reveal something about Cirilla’s mysterious bloodline.

Best film to watch on TV today

Elf, 9.35pm, Sky Cinema Christmas/NOW

TV tonight Will Ferrell stars.

Will Ferrell stars. (Image credit: Sky)

This hilarious comedy is as much a Christmas classic as It’s a Wonderful Life. It sees little baby Buddy mistakenly taken to the North Pole by Father Christmas and growing up with elves without ever realising he’s human. When he learns as an adult what he is, Buddy (Will Ferrell) goes off in search of his real parents, discovering that hard-nosed businessman James Caan is his daddy, a man none too pleased at having a 6ft 2in son who dresses as an elf and behaves like an eight-year-old. And it’s out of this relationship that comedy stardust is made. 

Live Sport

  • World Darts Championship, 7pm, Sky Sports Main Event/NOW

Soaps on TV tonight

If you watch just one thing on TV tonight…

Don't miss Ghosts on TV tonight – a guest appearance by Jennifer Saunders adds an extra special sprinkle of festive magic.

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

Happy viewing!