Viewers will be treated to a line-up of stellar television this Christmas Day as broadcasters air a string of hotly anticipated festive specials.
One-off episodes of Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing and Call The Midwife will grace the screens throughout Monday evening in a tough battle for viewer ratings.
Bookmakers have tipped the extra helping of Strictly to be the most popular programme of the night, with both Coral and Ladbrokes recently offering odds of just 4-5 on the show having the highest audience figures, followed by 6-1 for Call The Midwife and 4-1 for Doctor Who.
Vying for this year’s most-watched Christmas Day show are:
Doctor Who, BBC One, 5.30pm.
Jodie Whittaker will make her debut as the first female Time Lord while Peter Capaldi makes his last appearance as the 12th Doctor in this snowy episode, also featuring returns from first Doctor David Bradley and Victoria star Jenna Coleman as former companion Clara Oswald. The episode, entitled Twice Upon A Time, will also mark the last for seven-year show runner Steven Moffat, who will hand over the baton to Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall.
Strictly Come Dancing, BBC One, 6.30pm.
Stars from throughout the show’s history will join judges Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas – and presenters Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly – for a special edition competition just days after soap star Joe McFadden and Katya Jones claimed the 2017 glitter ball trophy. Judy Murray, Kimberley Walsh and Jeremy Vine are among the former stars dusting off their dance shoes for the episode, while the pros kick off a royal tea dance at Buckingham Palace.
Call The Midwife, BBC One, 7.40pm.
It will be a white Christmas at Nonnatus House as a huge blizzard – a nod to the record-breaking Big Freeze of 1962-3 – puts a spanner in everybody’s plans, including a Jack And The Beanstalk pantomime. Among the usual helping of happiness, heartbreak and childbirth ahead of series seven next year, there will be a special guest appearance from EastEnders’ Anita Dobson.
EastEnders, BBC One, 9pm.
It would not be Christmas without a festive visit to Albert Square, and Mick and Linda aim to make it their best yet as they mark both their last holidays at the Vic and renewing their wedding vows. But the seasonal cheer will be limited as new revelations – in the form of incriminating voicemail messages discovered by Stacey Fowler – could spell the end for Max Branning.
Mrs Brown’s Boys, BBC One, 10pm.
Fans will be introduced to a new Rory following the departure of actor Rory Cowan from the team. With actor and creator Brendan O’Carroll unable to resist any opportunity for a gag, Cowan’s replacement will be revealed as the result of a session of plastic surgery. His identity is still “under wraps”.
300 Years Of French & Saunders, BBC One, 10.35pm.
Beloved comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders reunite after a decade to share highlights from their hit sketch show, and, of course, throw in a couple of new ones. They will also mark the occasion of the show’s 30th anniversary with guest appearances from friend and Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley, as well as Eleanor Tomlinson reprising her role as Demelza as the pair parody hit period drama Poldark.
Victoria, ITV, 9pm.
After festive episodes of both Emmerdale and Coronation Street, ITV will transport viewers to the 19th century for a two-hour Victorian Christmas. Tom Hughes’s Prince Albert will bring seasonal cheer and Christmas trees into the family, despite protests from some of the more conservative members of the household, including his pregnant royal wife (Jenna Coleman).
The Great Christmas Bake Off, Channel 4, 7.40pm.
New to the broadcaster’s billing this year will be the first of the two-part seasonal return to the big white tent. Former contestants Paul Jagger and Beca Lyne-Pirkis will be joined by 2016 fan favourites Selasi Gbormittah and Val Stones for the one-off contest, hosted by judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith and presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding. Part two will follow on New Year’s Day, with former hopefuls Benjamina Ebuehi, Rob Billington, Rav Bansal and Sandy Docherty competing for the star baker title.
For film lovers, there will also be a line-up of family classics throughout the day, including Dr Seuss’ The Lorax (Channel 4, 11.05am), Santa Claus (ITV, 12.50pm), Toy Story 3 (BBC One, 1.20pm), Cinderella (BBC One, 3.10pm), Scrooged (Channel 4, 2.35pm), Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (ITV, 3.10pm), Dumbo (Channel 4, 4,30pm), Oliver! (Channel 5, 3.10pm) and Home Alone (Channel 4, 5.50pm).