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This Year's Must-See Christmas TV: Ten Shows You Shouldn't Miss

By and Morgan Jeffery
Doctor Who: Christmas Special: The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe: Matt Smith

© BBC

Everyone knows that one of the best bits about Christmas is the television. There's always bound to be a gem on the box during the festive season, and this year is no exception.

The only problem is that there are so many shows on offer that it's difficult to pick what to watch. Well, Tube Talk is here to help! It's been a struggle to narrow it down, but we've picked out ten programmes that are worth your attention. Read on to find out what's on offer...

The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff: December 19 at 8.30pm on BBC Two
It's never too early to start feeling festive, right? The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff might be airing midway through December, but it's the perfect show to get you in the mood. From the writer who pens the popular Radio 4 series Bleak Expectations, this Dickensian spoof focuses on a shopkeeper - played by Robert Webb. Actually, the cast is perfect: Stephen Fry, David Mitchell, Katherine Parkinson and Celia Imrie are among the stars taking part. Both silly and a period drama - should be fun winter viewing.

The Gruffalo's Child: Christmas Day at 6.30pm on BBC One
One of the highlights for children in the 2009 festive TV schedule was the BBC's superb animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's book The Gruffalo. This year, best-selling sequel The Gruffalo's Child gets the same treatment - with James Corden, Robbie Coltrane, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt and Rob Brydon all reprising their original roles. Shirley Henderson joins the fun for this top kids' pick!

Watch a trailer for 2009's The Gruffalo below:



Doctor Who: Christmas Day at 7pm on BBC One
Snowy landscapes, wartime drama and a peculiar man with a magical wardrobe... this year's Doctor Who Christmas special is shaping up to be the best yet! Arriving in 1940s England, the Doctor (Matt Smith) wants to give war widow Madge Arwell (Claire Skinner) and her family the Christmas of a lifetime, but will he get more than he bargained for? Alexander Armstrong, Bill Bailey and Arabella Weir also appear in this fun festive romp.

Watch the trailer for the Doctor Who 2011 Christmas special below:



Downton Abbey: Christmas Day at 9pm on ITV1
So, will it be EastEnders or Downton Abbey on Christmas night? Well, here at Tube Talk we won't be able to resist the Crawley family (and there's two whole hours of them to enjoy!). There's a big Christmas party being held at the Abbey - tree and all! - so expect some good old-fashioned festive fun. But this is Downton, and writer Julian Fellowes isn't known for skimping on the drama! Amidst the decorations and carol-singing (there has to be carol-singing, right?) we should be settling in for more Matthew-and-Mary moments and seeing what's happening after Bates's arrest. Exciting! Best enjoyed with a sparkly drink and a mince pie (if you can fit any more food in, that is.)

Downton Abbey Christmas Special 2011

© ITV



Absolutely Fabulous: Christmas Day at 10pm on BBC One
Oh sweetie, do we need to remind you? Please welcome back Edina, Patsy et al for another ridiculous outing into the world of Absolutely Fabulous. There's been a lot of hype about the show's return, and we're sure it will be able to live up to that. You'll at least be able to play a game of "spot the famous face" with stars like The Killing's Sofie Gråbøl, Emma Bunton and Dame Kelly Holmes all popping up for cameos. Champagne, darling?

Absolutely Fabulous

© BBC Pictures



The Borrowers: Boxing Day at 7.30pm on BBC One
An all-star cast assembles on December 26 for a new version of classic children's novel The Borrowers - Stephen Fry is Mildeye, a professor determined to capture the 'little people', including the Pod clan (Christopher Eccleston, Sharon Horgan, Aisling Loftus) and leather jacketed rebel Spiller (Robert Sheehan). Victoria Wood and Shaun Dooley also star in this action-packed family adventure.

The Borrowers (BBC)

© BBC / Working Title/Joe Alblas



Agatha Christie's Poirot - The Clocks: Boxing Day at 9.30pm on ITV1
Ooh, perfect! There's nothing better than a good old mystery during Christmas, and if you're feeling a bit worse for wear after your festive celebrations, then it's always a good idea to put your feet up and try to figure out a whodunnit. And let's be honest - Poirot's one of the best companions you could have! In this brand new adaptation, the excellent Jaime Winstone stars as a young secretary who discovers a corpse... and four clocks set to the same time. Shivery!

Great Expectations: December 27 at 9pm on BBC One
This is the BBC's big period drama this year, and it's a cracker. Charles Dickens's fab Great Expectations has been adapted a few times, but this is a very special version indeed. The sets are stunning - especially Miss Havisham's creepy home Satis House - and the cast is fab (Gillian Anderson, Ray Winstone, Douglas Booth and more). Wrap yourself in a blanket, because it'll make you feel cold, but you'll soon be absolutely engrossed. Whether you have no idea what happens in Great Expectations or you're a diehard fan, there's plenty to enjoy here.

Watch a trailer for Great Expectations below:



Felix and Murdo: December 28 at 10.35pm on Channel 4
Comedy duo Armstrong and Miller reunite for this new sitcom pilot, from the pen of Men Behaving Badly creator Simon Nye. In 1908, on the eve of the first London Olympics, bank clerk Felix (Ben Miller) and professional toff Murdo (Alexander Armstrong) prepare to show their no-good American rivals what for! Embarking on a bizarre training regime, the pair are soon indulging in a drink and drugs spree – Edwardian style! Silly, madcap fun.

Charlie Brooker's 2011 Wipe: December 30 at 10.30pm on BBC Four
Why not see out the year with Mr Brooker's unique take on the events that made up 2011? The sharp-witted broadcaster will be joined by Doug Stanhope, Adam Curtis and Brian Limond for a look back at the last 12 months of media madness. The London riots, scripted reality shows, the demise of the News of the World and Pippa Middleton's bum will all be topics for discussion.

Watch a clip from last year's 2010 Wipe below:



What are you looking forward to watching this Christmas? Let us know below!

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