Bumper Season of specials on the BBC this Christmas

The BBC promises the very best in entertainment for all the family this Christmas with a fabulous collection of seasonal specials from viewers’ favourite rogrammes.

Christmas specials for Gavin And Stacey, The Royle Family, Strictly Come Dancing, Shooting Stars, My Family, Rab C Nesbitt, Peter Serafinowicz and Lead Balloon all feature in a talent-packed Christmas schedule, which also includes Top Of The Pops one-offs on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, and a Top Gear special from Vietnam.

Blackadder also returns for a one-off documentary – Blackadder Rides Again. Mesmerising music and performance feature on BBC Two and BBC Four with sumptuous fairytale opera Hansel And Gretel; the New Year’s Day Concert, live from Vienna; composer Howard Goodall exploring The Truth About Carols and acclaimed actor Simon Russell Beale telling the story of one of the most popular pieces of sacred music ever written in Sacred Music: The Story Of Allegri’s Misere.

Thrilling drama comes courtesy of The 39 Steps starring Rupert Penry Jones; a very special edition of Doctor Who; spine-tingling ghost story Crooked House; as well as an explosive Christmas cracker for the Mitchells in EastEnders.

Wallace And Gromit return to the small screen with a special new adventure for BBC One, A Matter Of Loaf and Death. Lark Rise To Candleford is also back with a captivating seasonal tale and Alan Davies reprises his role as Jonathan Creek with an exciting new mystery to solve.

There’s a spectacular selection of films, including the television premieres of Shark Tale, Wallace And Gromit In The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, Superman Returns, The Chronicles Of Narnia – The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, Pirates Of The Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest, Madagascar and Starter For Ten.

Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision, says: “We’ve really pulled out all the stops this year to ensure a truly wonderful holiday schedule featuring the very best of British talent in a great line-up of exciting seasonal specials, from The Royle Family and Gavin And Stacey to Shooting Stars and Strictly Come Dancing.

“With exciting drama including The 39 Steps and Wallace and Gromit’s A Matter Of Loaf And Death as well as stunning performance from Hansel And Gretel to Sacred Music there really is something for everyone. The whole family will be able to sit back, relax and let the BBC entertain them.And, of course, viewers can always catch up on BBC iPlayer if they miss out – while many programmes will be shown on BBC HD.”

Songs Of Praise on BBC One prepares for the season with four special advent programmes including a packed concert at the Royal Albert Hall and a celebration of Sir Cliff Richard’s career and there’s Carols From King’s on Christmas Eve as well as Midnight Mass and Christmas Day Mass.

Other musical highlights include Doctor Who At The Proms, recorded this summer at the Royal Albert Hall; a look behind the scenes of hit summer series, Maestro, in Maestro: The Inside Story; celebrations of swing music and progressive music in The Swing Thing and Prog Rock Britannia and the return of TOTP2 with fabulous party guests including Wham!, Aretha Franklin and Culture Club.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales features as a guest in a special edition of the Antiques Roadshow from Dumfries House in East Ayrshire. Nigella Lawson and the Hairy Bakers cook up a storm in the Christmas kitchen while there’s a very different look at how your Christmas dinner really gets to your plate in BBC Three’s Kill It Cook It Eat It Christmas special.

Younger viewers can enjoy powerful family drama Dustbin Baby, based on the novel by best-selling author Jacqueline Wilson – with a star-studded cast including Juliet Stevenson, Dakota Blue Richards and David Haig – as well as festive editions of ChuckleVision and Pinky & Perky.

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