Five shows you absolutely cannot miss this Christmas

Wondering what to watch this Christmas? Here are our top picks...

Forget about turkey and tinsel, it's TV that dominates our living rooms at Christmas.

We scour the bumper Radio Times and plan in advance what we'll be watching while stuffing mince pies, Celebrations and god knows what else down our necks even though we're already way past full.

But what are the shows we'll be watching on our TVs this year as food and booze sloshes around nauseatingly in our bellies?

Here are five you really don't want to miss - they're so good they may even take your mind off the indigestion…  

Call The Midwife (BBC1)

Call Midwife

(Credit: BBC)

Call The Midwife is a real Sunday night tearjerker: mums love its nostalgic tales of harsher but sometimes happier times and so do dads (though they pretend not to).  

This Christmas outing finds the gang bringing babies into 1959 in the kinds of unimaginably harsh conditions we've come to expect from the show. How bad can it get? Try delivering babies and keeping the locals calm when news breaks of an unexploded bomb in Poplar. Christmas celebrations are naturally put on hold, but at least there's tea and biscuits and a little romance. There's only one question - where is Chummy?

Gangsta Granny (BBC1)

A granny who was once an international jewel thief takes her bored grandson on an adventure he'll never forget in the TV adaptation of David Walliams' novel Gangsta Granny.

Ben - whose parents are obsessed with Strictly Come Dancing - finds his granny's passion for Scrabble and staying in a real bore. However, he soon finds out there's more to her than knitting when they embark upon their wild adventure.

Starring Walliams, Miranda Hart and Rob Brydon, Gangsta Granny will get the whole family to put down their new toys and watch something together - at least for a while.

Downton Abbey (ITV1)


(Credit: ITV)

We all love a bit of Downton - as many as 10.5 million of us tuned in for the finale of series four and the festive episode is likely to be another absolute ratings stonker.

The two-hour special of the Sunday staple finds the Crawley family (and their many servants) heading for the bright lights of London where they stumble across - heaven forbid - a full-blown royal scandal. Shock horror, but why have they swapped the sprawling Downton estate for the Smoke?

The family has travelled to Buckingham Palace for Lady Rose's 'coming out' - but what goes wrong we don't really know. What we do know is Shirley MacLaine returns as Cora's outspoken American mother - look out for a few terse words between her and Maggie Smith! 

Still Open All Hours (BBC 1)

G-g-g-Granville…. Whether young or old, you're bound to have seen Ronnie Barker's skinflint shopkeeper Arkwright on the telly at some point.

Writer Roy Clarke struck comedy gold with the story of wily Arkwright and his impressionable young dreamer of a nephew, Granville, played by David Jason.

Now, nearly three decades since it was last shown, the show is making a special comeback, with Jason's Granville having inherited the shop from his uncle. In Still Open All Hours Granville has moved up in the world, swapping his dilapidated pushbike for the shopkeeper's brown coat. As well as wearing the same jacket as Arkwright he also has his own dogsbody - son, Leroy. Some things never change.

still open all hours

(Credit: BBC)

Sherlock (BBC 1)

If you've been avoiding watching Sherlock because of your wife's crush on Benedict Cumberbatch, this Christmas may be the time to stop being churlish. Why? Because this really is grade-A telly.

Alternatively, if we're preaching to the converted then you may be wondering how Sherlock looks so sprightly after falling to his supposed death from a hospital roof at the end of the past series.

Spread across three 90-minute films, this sprawling story should answer your questions - with episodes titled the Empty Hearse and His Final Vow offering the odd clue. And if you are a jealous husband sick of the missus swooning over Holmes' preening and posturing, you'll likely warm to Dr Watson's new love interest.


(Credit: BBC)

What are you most looking forward to watching this Christmas? Tell us in the comments below...