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BBC One unveils Christmas lineup

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Giants from the worlds of comedy, prehistory and the cinema are the key ingredients of a rich Christmas schedule on BBC ONE that offers viewers the biggest and the best family party, destined to run for almost two weeks in a massive £42 million season of programmes..

On Christmas Day, Victoria Wood with all the Trimmings and The Royle Family line up alongside the terrestrial premiere of the blockbuster movie Titanic and The Ballad of Big Al, the extraordinary real life story a dinosaur that roamed the earth 147 million years ago.

Special goings-on in Albert Square in two seasonal visits to EastEnders and Angus Deayton’s irreverent presentation of some early appearances by today’s celebrities in Before They Were Famous V complete the peak time line up at the heart of the festive season.

Lorraine Heggessey, Controller of BBC ONE said: "This is my recipe for giving the whole family something really special for Christmas – really good dishes which are home grown produce that’s served with care. This year, we’ve got a particularly fresh line up that will appeal across the generations. We haven’t abandoned traditions, we’ve given them a modern flavour and come up with treats in every genre.

"I take great pride in this schedule that offers the first science programme ever to be scheduled on Christmas Day through to some of the best original comedy showcasing the UK’s most talented comedians. It brings drama that ranges from warring families in the 17th century in Lorna Doone through warring families in the 21st century in The Sleeper to a heartwarming tale of a modern day David versus a big business Goliath. BBC ONE’s strong holiday schedule is a tribute to the hundreds of programme makers and performers who have created it."

Christmas highlights

Friday 22 December


* Mirrorball sees the Ab Fab gang back together for a brand new comedy special written by and starring Jennifer Saunders, and co-starring Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield and Jane Horrocks. The setting may be different, this time in the wonderful world of West End musicals, but the writing and the performances are as brilliant as ever.

Christmas Eve

* In keeping with the time of year and the BBC’s commitment to religion, which will see nearly six hours of religious programmes this Christmas on BBC ONE alone, Christmas Eve gets off to a spiritual start as the morning service comes for the first time ever from Sandringham. Viewers will be able to join Her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal family at a special service.
* With smoking muskets, stolen kisses and one of the greatest villains of all time, brought sumptuously to life by an all-star cast, the timeless classic Lorna Doone headlines the festive season on BBC ONE with an action-packed romance for all the family.
* Auntie’s Sparkling Bloomers is followed by the blockbuster film Independence Day.
* The They Think It’s All Over team finish off the evening in hilarious fashion with a seasonal quiz.

Christmas Day

* Immediately before the Queen’s Christmas Day message, Jim Davidson spends time entertaining the troops aboard HMS Invincible in Homeward Bound for Christmas
* The Ballad of Big Al recreates the extraordinary life of a male Allosaurus - the lion of the Jurassic - using the most advanced computer animation, state of the art animatronics and photo-real backgrounds. The Ballad of Big Al begins in the nest and continues through his first fight and first romance to his ultimately sad and untimely end. The second part of the special on Boxing Day reveals the real life scientific detective story behind Big Al.
* Two visits to EastEnders
* Kate Winslet and Leonardo di Caprio star in one of the biggest films of all time. Titanic gets its terrestrial premiere.
* Victoria Wood has a great big figgy pudding of a show, with a host of top stars (including Julie Walters, Alan Rickman, Richard E Grant and Derek Jacobi) in plum roles in Victoria Wood With All the Trimmings.
* Nana enjoys a snowball as The Royle Family gathers round the box for a Christmas special
* Angus Deayton presents Before They Were Famous V - probably the worst moments in the lives of major celebrities.

Boxing Day

* The terrestrial premiere of 101 Dalmatians begins the evening in true family style.
* The second part of Lorna Doone follows as RD Blackmore’s classic tale of young lovers, brutal outlaws and warring families comes to a close.
* Then comes the wonderfully spine tingling horror story of The Sleeper. Eileen Atkins, Anna Massey, George Cole, Ciaran Hinds and Michelle Collins star. If you have ever had the Christmas from hell – and the mother in law to go with it – you’ll know what this feels like.
* And to warm up the evening after The Sleeper with some humour comes a seasonal special of Kiss Me Kate with Caroline Quentin.

Thursday 28th December

* Colin Firth stars in the title role of Donovan Quick in this reassuring tale of a mysterious stranger who transforms the lives of a family –particularly the life of their disabled son. A modern day Don Quixote, he galvanises the local community and builds a successful one-bus company against all the odds - and the efforts of a national bus company.

Saturday 30th December

* Lenny Henry in Pieces sees the actor, comedian, transatlantic sailor and jungle adventurer in a new one-off sketch show, introducing a host of new characters.
* Impressionist Alistair McGowan is joined by a host of star turns in Alistair McGowan’s 2000 Impressions

New Year’s Eve

* The final moments of the community’s year on the island of Taransay approach as they prepare to cast off in Castaway 2000 - but not before a live broadcast sees out the year.
* Angus Deayton says his inimitable Goodbye 2000 in an A-Z of all things ‘noughties’

New Year’s Day

* David Nobbs (The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin) has brought the Edwardian romp Gentlemen’s Relish to the screen, with Billy Connolly, Sarah Lancashire and Douglas Henshall in the starring roles.
* The first episode in an aspirational new series sees Michelle Collins and Paul Kaye swapping inner city life for Two Thousand Acres of Sky as part of small Scottish community.

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