BBC Television is delighted to unveil its Christmas programming for 2015 which includes a wonderful array of unique and quality shows for all the family to enjoy.
From bringing to life the characters of Charles Dickens’ iconic stories in Dickensian, Stickman and David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy, to performances of Carmen and Andrea Chenier from the Royal Opera House, comedy from John Bishop, Russell Howard and Detectorists or to family favourites such as Strictly Come Dancing, Still Open All Hours and Sports Personality of the Year, BBC Television has something for everyone this Christmas.
Mark Linsey, Acting Director of BBC Television, says: “Christmas is a time for coming together and I’m thrilled that, as ever, the BBC has a fantastic line up of family favourites and new shows for all to enjoy. Across the channels, we have an outstanding range of distinctive programmes that display our commitment to bringing viewers the very best in ambitious, quality television. 2015 is set to be our best yet.”
Dickensian sees Scrooge, Fagin and Miss Havisham amongst many more of Dickens’ seminal creations intertwine in 19th century London. A wealth of stories sourced from the novels provide the backdrop with a few twists and turns along the way. Other dramas sitting at the heart of BBC One’s schedule this Christmas include the return of two critically acclaimed detectives, Luther and Sherlock, and the adaptation of the best-selling crime novel of all time, And Then There Were None.
Call the Midwife delivers another much loved Christmas special. As Poplar readies itself for Christmas 1960, Nonnatus House is rocked when Sister Monica Joan goes missing.
On a remote human colony on Christmas Day, the Doctor is hiding from Christmas Carols and Comedy Antlers. But when a crashed spaceship calls upon the Doctor for help, he finds himself recruited into River Song’s squad and hurled into a fast and frantic chase across the galaxy.
Meanwhile, Christmas on Albert Square is set to be one of the most explosive yet. Families at war will lead to tragedy and the worlds of some Walford residents will come crashing down around them.
Christmas worship on BBC One will be broadcast from two magnificent settings this year: Midnight Mass live on Christmas Eve will come from the spectacular setting of St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Southwark, London and Christmas Day morning live will be a Church of England service from the beautiful Bath Abbey.
On New Year’s Day, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, reflects on some of the major global events in the past year and visits a school in Kent to hear the inspiring stories of pupils who are aiming for a bright future in 2016.
The Christmas Big Sing on BBC One will be a feast of carols and festive music from the Royal Albert Hall, hosted by Sally Magnusson and David Grant, and the much-loved Christmas Eve celebration of carols and readings, Carols from King’s, returns to BBC Two.
For music lovers, Top of the Pops returns on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, as does Jools Holland with his annual Hootenanny. BBC One will present the annual fireworks display to see out 2015, whilst BBC Two and BBC Four celebrate the New Year with the 75th anniversary of the New Year’s Day concert from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted this year by Mariss Jansons. BBC Four will also present performances of Carmen and Andrea Chenier from the Royal Opera House.
Amongst the many family offerings, children and adults alike will be charmed by the magical adaptation of Stickman written by Julia Donaldson, voiced by Martin Freeman and Hugh Bonneville and narrated by Jennifer Saunders. For the first time on BBC One, Shaun the Sheep has his own 30-minute special with The Farmer’s Llamas continuing Aardman Animations’ festive tradition.
The family programmes continue with an adaptation of David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy, starring Walliams himself, telling the story of 12-year-old Joe who has everything he could ever want from his billionaire father, except for a friend. Following its nomination at the BAFTA Children’s awards, Professor Branestawm returns for a second adventure with Harry Hill. For younger children, the annual CBeebies Christmas Show returns to BBC One with an adaptation of the classic Alice in Wonderland and there are Christmas specials for Danger Mouse and the Clangers.
Alongside a raft of specials from BBC Comedy, including Still Open All Hours, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Citizen Khan, Boomers and Not Going Out, Catherine Tate returns for two new episodes of everyone’s favourite Nan. Meanwhile BBC Two reveals the story behind one of the nation’s most-loved comedies in the dramatisation, We’re Doomed: The Making of Dad’s Army and celebrates a Gert Lush Christmas with Russell Howard’s eagerly awaited debut comedy-drama, whilst the Detectorists make their Christmas debut on BBC Four.
David Walliams hosts a brand new sketch show spectacular recorded in front of a studio audience with very special guest, Joanna Lumley. John Bishop and Michael McIntyre will keep the laughter coming with their own Christmas specials, as will QI, Mock The Week and Live at the Apollo. On BBC Two, Jack Whitehall and his Dad return with a special end of year edition of Backchat and Charlie Brooker takes a look back at the year with his 2015 Wipe.
As the excitement builds towards the final of Strictly Come Dancing 2015, this year’s Christmas special will see six of the most-loved contestants from previous series take to the floor. Whilst Bruce Forsyth makes a welcome return to BBC One as host of the Strictly special, alongside Tess Daly, Alexander Armstrong steps in to present Bruce’s Hall of Fame. Some of the UK’s best-loved entertainers celebrate the artists who inspired their careers, putting a modern twist on the most famous acts of all time. Meanwhile on BBC Two, Darcey Bussell steps out from Strictly to meet the heroes and dancers who transformed male ballet.
David Attenborough presents a landmark series for BBC One uncovering the history and secrets of the Great Barrier Reef. The series will use pioneering camera technology and draw on the latest research to investigate the reef in revelatory ways. BBC One will also follow the precarious first months of an Emperor penguin chick as it grows up in the world’s most extreme nursery in the Antartic winter. And on BBC Two, wildlife cameraman, Gordon Buchanan realises a lifelong dream when he travels to the Democratic Republic of Congo to spend time with a family of gorillas.
The first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station joins BBC Four’s RI Lectures this year as Dr Kevin Fong reveals How to Survive in Space. BBC Four will also take viewers on a magical, real-time sleigh ride through Lapland’s frozen wilderness. The enchanting two-hour journey, following in the footsteps of the channel’s Slow Week last spring, will give viewers a glimpse of a winter wonderland not normally seen by anyone other than the Sami people.