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BBC announces Christmas schedule

BBC announces Christmas schedule
A Christmas episode of Doctor Who spearheads the BBC's festive lineup, announced today.

The episode, one of a number of specials airing over the period, will be the centrepiece of BBC One's schedule on Christmas Day.

In 'The Christmas Invasion', the first episode to feature David Tennant as the new Doctor, a monstrous race known as the Sycorax attempt to take over the world. Meanwhile, Rose and boyfriend Mickey come under attack from a sinister brass band of masked santas and her mum Jackie tries to fend off a killer Christmas tree.

Other popular shows airing Christmas specials include French and Saunders, The Green Green Grass, My Family, Still Game, Strictly Come Dancing and Catherine Tate. Dame Judi Dench and Geoffery Palmer return as Jean and Lionel for two As Time Goes By Reunion Specials and Graham Norton revives The Generation Game for a celebrity special called The Generation Fame.

Casualty and Holby City will come together for another two-episode crossover based around a devastating tunnel collapse while in EastEnders, Alfie (Shane Richie) finally leaves Walford for good.

Ronnie Barker's final television appearance, a Two Ronnies Christmas Special filmed earlier in the year, will also get an airing. The episode will feature a specially recorded introduction from Ronnie Corbett in tribute to Barker, who died in October.

Original shows planned for the Christmas period include a new adaptation of Sweeney Todd with Ray Winstone, a recreation of the comic novel Three Men In A Boat and a new production of The Merry Widow with Lesley Garrett.

BBC Three plans a Christmas special of Johnny Vegas comedy Ideal as well as a two-night, Little Britain marathon hosted by Matt Lucas and David Walliams. BBC Four will air a season of programmes built around Sherlock Homes author Arthur Conan Doyle, with documentaries examining his own prowess as an investigator and a man obsessed with Holmes.

Films on the Christmas slate include Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, Chicago, Toy Story 2, Spy Kids and Signs.

"Christmas is one of the biggest times of the year for shared viewing," said Jana Bennett, director of television at the BBC. "With this in mind, we have put together a lineup that we believe everyone can enjoy together. In addition, through our digital channels, we are able to broaden the BBC's holiday lineup by running a rich variety of great comedy, drama and arts that complement the mainstream offering."

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