The BBC 2020 festive schedule has been revealed - here's what's on TV this Christmas

Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 2:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 2:31 pm

The BBC has announced its festive slate of programmes, revealing what viewers can expect to see on their televisions come the festive period.

“Let’s face it, it’s been a difficult year, unlike any other,” said Charlotte Moore, BBC’s chief content officer, “so we’ve pulled out all the stops this Christmas to keep people entertained and bring comfort and joy when we need it most.”

A much sought-after Gavin and Stacey Christmas special might not be happening this year, but with programmes across the BBC’s channels and iPlayer, there will be countless festive shows to enjoy while digesting the turkey.

We’ve rounded up just a few of the highlights below.

What’s on BBC One?

On the BBC’s flagship channel, viewers can look forward to Strictly: The Christmas Countdown on BBC One, where the public will vote for the 25 most memorable dances from series gone by.

Sir David Attenborough narrates a one-off programme, Meerkat: A Dynasties Special, and Lee Mack will return for a special episode of his sitcom Not Going Out.

These will broadcast alongside previously announced Christmas specials, including a Doctor Who special and lockdown-themed episodes of The Vicar Of Dibley.

This year's Christmas episode of Doctor Who – Revolution Of The Daleks – will see John Barrowman reprise the role of alien hunter Captain Jack Harkness, as he aids Yaz, Ryan and Graham in their battle against the show’s most famous villains.

In Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy, Mackenzie Crook returns as the talking scarecrow for a one hour film, while the haunting Black Narcissus sees Gemma Arterton as Sister Clodagh, a 1930s nun heading a mission to the mysterious Himalayasn palace of Mopu.

Brand new series The Serpent stars Jenna Coleman and tells the story of the capture of one of Interpol’s most wanted men in 1970s Thailand, and new comedy Pandemonium stars Alison Steadman and sees the Jessop family spend a “summer” holiday in Margate in December.

What's on the other channels?

On BBC Two, The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne shines a revealing life on a man who has personified rock and roll for over 50 years, and there’s plenty for comedy fans to enjoy, including Frankie Boyle’s dissection of 2020 in Frankie Boyle’s New World Order 2020.

Comedian Romesh Ranganathan heads to the Hebrides in The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan, while Sara Pascoe discovers the world’s most endangered jobs in Last Woman on Earth, and acclaimed series Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Christmas Fishing returns for an hour-long Middlesbrough based special.

Christmas quiz fans are well catered for, with Christmas University Challenge and Only Connect testing the grey matter; the year will end as it so often does with Jool’s Annual Hootenanny.

Zog and the Flying Doctors is a new animation narrated by Lenny Henry (Image: BBC)

BBC Four brings the culture with a specially filmed stage version of Uncle Vanya featuring Toby Jones and Richard Armitage, and The Royal Ballet All Star Gala – which was filmed in October – reunites the full Royal Ballet Company with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House after seven months apart.

The Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution return in 2020 with three different lecturers, and The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross: Winter Collection will offer words of encouragement as the late-artist paints tranquil scenes of the natural world.

When can I watch it?

As yet, broadcast times and dates have not been announced; these will be shored up nearer to broadcast.

The Beeb’s festive line-up aims to provide “laughter with new comedy and entertainment shows, escapism with riveting new drama and natural history, heart and warmth with special episodes of your favourite shows, and companionship from many of the nation’s biggest stars.”

"There’s something for everyone and as always it promises to be a very special time of the year on the BBC,” said Moore.

For more information on the BBC’s Christmas output, head to the broadcaster’s website

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, the Yorkshire Evening Post