Are you well and truly into the festive season yet? If you’ve been following Sara’s advice in our Christmas survival guide, you’ll already be delving into that box of Quality Street or browsing the internet for your Christmas disguise …
For those of you hoping to put your feet up and the telly on, we’ve created the Alternative Christmas TV Guide – a little light-hearted relaxation, in case you struggle to let your minds wander too far from the job.
Start wrestling for the remote right now. Here are our top picks this festive season:
QI Christmas Special, 22 December, 22.00, BBC2
Did you know that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was actually a girl, or that a traditional Czech Christmas dinner consists of fried and breaded carp with potato salad or plum sauce? Expect an array of Christmassy facts, traditions and customs as host Stephen Fry and his right-hand man Alan Davies are joined by Carrie Fischer, Bill Bailey and Jimmy Carr for this festive edition of QI.
Harry Hill in Professor Branestawm Returns, Christmas Eve, 17:20, BBC1
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again. That’s the unspoken motto of eccentric inventor Professor Branestawm, played by Harry Hill – not the most challenging role for him. Based on the books by Norman Hunter, which first launched in 1933, this adaptation sees the professor return for an invention contest in the chocolate-box village of Pagwell. Has Branestawm met his rival in fellow Professor Algebrain, played by Steve Pemberton? With guest stars including Diana Rigg, Matt Berry, Sophie Thompson and David Mitchell, this is not something you want to miss.
The Great History Quiz, Christmas Eve, 21:00, BBC2
Put yourself in your students’ shoes and watch the Great History Quiz! Host Kirsty Young is in charge of this one-off quiz that doesn’t require too much history knowledge. The subject is the Tudors, with two teams of TV historians answering questions viewers might actually know the answers to. There’s a round where salvaged parts of the Mary Rose are passed around and another involving tasting unusual foodstuffs from the time. Fielding questions about gout and syphilis are team captains Lucy Worsley and Dan Snow.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Christmas Day, 12.50, Sky Movies Greats
No school has experienced as much turmoil as Hogwarts, yet it continues to thrive. And for that, we can only applaud the senior leadership team. Professor Dumbledore leads by example … and we all want an office like his.
Gogglesprogs, Christmas Day, 20:00, Channel 4
Gogglebox is back, but with a twist as children under the age of 13 offer their honest and hilarious thoughts on the best and worst television of the year. What did they think of the Great British Bake Off, the general election and the fate of Cecil the Lion? We all know that kids can come out with some corkers so this is bound to be worth a watch. Think Steph and Dom, but with smarties instead of champers!
Britain’s Favourite Children’s Books, Boxing Day, 18:30, Channel 4
The current king of children’s literature, David Walliams, hosts this countdown show of our favourite kids’ books. As celebrities such as Miranda Hart and Rob Brydon recall their favourite childhood tales, David will be chatting to some of his favourite authors including Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Bond and Julia Donaldson. Look out for some famous faces contributing some readings.
Billionaire Boy, New Year’s Day, 19:00, BBC1
David Walliams is back with another light-hearted television adaptation of one of his bestselling children’s books. This one is about a poor factory worker, Len Spud (John Thompson), who invents a new toilet roll and becomes a multimillionaire. New additions to his household include a gold-digging girlfriend played by Catherine Tate (with a Geordie accent and a blonde wig) and a kind-hearted celebrity butler (Warwick Davis). The only thing his son Joe is missing is a friend. Luckily, one comes along in the form of a school dinner lady (a cameo appearance from Walliams himself). Tune in for some thought-provoking plot twists.
The Key’s Kate Gilliford is adamant that Christmas day will not be complete without a dose of Downton (Christmas Day, 20:45, ITV). Check out Key insights on Christmas Eve for her finale-inspired post.