What to watch on TV this Christmas

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Once the presents have been opened and the crackers pulled, there’s nothing nicer than sinking back into your La-Z-Boy sofa and enjoying some festive telly.

The weather outside might be frightful but the Christmas shows on TV are delightful. Gather your friends and family, stock up on seasonal snacks and enjoy relaxing on your sofa or armchair in front of the best of this year’s Christmas entertainment.

Here are our top picks for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day:

Christmas Eve

The Tiger Who Came to Tea – 7.30pm on Channel 4

Judith Kerr’s classic children’s book about a greedy tiger who drops in unexpectedly on Sophie and her mother and eats them out of house and home has been brought to the small screen with a new animation for Christmas Eve. Narrated by David Walliams, this is a great option if you want something to help your children relax and unwind before they head to bed and wait for Santa’s arrival.

Cinderella: After Ever After – 8pm on Sky One and NOW TV

Have you ever wondered what happened to Cinderella and her Prince Charming after the wedding bells stopped ringing and they settled into living happily after? This hour-long Christmas special for all the family takes a humorous look at life after the fairytale with David Walliams and Sian Gibson playing the roles of the less than happy couple. Once the excitement of escaping her ugly sisters wears off, Cinderella soon realises there is more to making married life work than fitting your foot into a glass slipper.

Martin’s Close – 10pm on BBC4

If you enjoy curling up on the sofa and watching something tense and spine-tingling, check out Martin’s Close – an adaptation of a creepy short story by MR James. Telling the tale of John Martin’s murder trial in 1684 before the notorious “hanging judge” George Jeffries, this 30-minute drama reveals that everything is not quite as it seems.

Christmas Day

The Snail and the Whale, 2.30pm on BBC One

Julia Donaldson is fast becoming as synonymous with Christmas as the Queen’s speech, with BBC One airing an animation based on one of her popular children’s stories every year. This Christmas, it is the turn of The Snail and the Whale, a charming tale of a globetrotting snail who decides to leave his rock behind and travel the world with a humpback whale, voiced by Rob Brydon.

Call the Midwife – 7pm on BBC One

The Christmas special of Call the Midwife has now become a regular part of the festive TV schedule and this year will herald the start of the ninth series of the period drama. This 90-minute episode sees the midwives from Nonnatus House leave the familiar streets of Poplar for an island in the Outer Hebrides where Mother Mildred, played by the hilarious Miriam Margoyles, has decided to set up a clinic.

The Great Christmas Bake Off – 8pm on Channel 4

Christmas is a time for great food and over-indulgence so what better excuse to sneak in a few more sweet treats than the special festive edition of Great British Bake Off. Judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood and presenters Sandy Toksvig and Noel Fielding will be joined by some of the better known bakers from seasons past. This include Yan from the 2017 series and Briony from 2018. The show will also include a performance of Rockin’ All Over the World by Status Quo.

Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special – 8.30pm on BBC One

Fans of Gavin and Stacey have waited a whole decade for another episode of the much-loved sitcom where romance bridges the gap between Wales and Essex. Viewers will finally get to find out how their favourite characters are doing in this hour-long special in which Gavin’s family prepare to celebrate Christmas in Barry. All the original cast members - Ruth Jones, James Corden, Matthew Horne, Joanna Page, Rob Brydon, Larry Lamb, Melanie Walters and Alison Steadman – are in attendance making this a must-see for anyone who loved the series.

Boxing Day

Worzel Gummidge, 6.20pm on BBC One

Those who remember watching Jon Pertwee as Worzel Gummidge in their childhood may be interested in taking a walk down memory lane this Boxing Day. This two-parter brings the story of a walking, talking scarecrow up to date with Mackenzie Crook taking the title role. In this latest version, John and Susan are children placed in foster care at Scatterbrook Farm when they discover Worzel after filming him on their smartphone. And because this is a 2019 retelling, there’s an environmental message thrown in for good measure. The second episode will be screened at 7pm on Friday, December 27.

Paddington 2, 7.20pm on BBC One

BBC One’s big Boxing Day film this year is Paddington 2 – the second big screen outing for the adorable Marmalade-guzzling, duffle coat wearing bear from deepest darkest Peru. This time, Paddington wants to buy his beloved aunt Lucy a rare pop-up book for her 100th birthday. However, when a thief steals the book, Paddington ends up in a whole lot of trouble and has to face the possibility of a life behind bars. After the film finishes, Paddington fans can switch over to BBC2 for a documentary about Michael Bond, the author of the Paddington Bear books. Paddington: the Man Behind the Bear starts at 9pm.

Susan Hill’s Ghost Story: The Small Hand, 9pm on Channel 5

If you want to finish your Boxing Day celebrations with something a bit spooky, try this ghostly tale of an antique dealer who discovers a childhood secret as a result of being haunted by a young boy. Starring Douglas Henshall as the dealer who gets lost on his way to visit a client, the thriller is an adaptation of a novel by Susan Hill, the author of The Woman in Black.