Advent Blog – 10 TV Shows to Watch this Christmas

River Song

River Song is back!

When I was a kid I would go through the Radio Times and carefully mark up everything I would be watching over Christmas and New Year’s. Now I have three kids of my own and I struggle to get a turn on the TV so I have to be a tad more discerning and either pick things we will all watch together or choose things I really want to see if I’m going to use the I-pay-for-the-TV-so-I-say-we’re-watching-this-when-you-pay-for-the-TV-you-can-choose-what-we-watch card.

1. Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC1 Christmas Day 5:15pm) We never miss Doctor Who in our house. I love that it’s a staple of Christmas time now. I’m mourning the loss of Clara, who was one of my favourite companions but at least River Song is back for this one.

2. We’re Doomed! The Dad’s Army Story (BBC2 Tuesday 22nd 9pm) I have always loved Dad’s Army. I remember watching it when I was very young. This dramatisation of the making of the show looks like it’s going to be loads of fun and I’m shocked at how much John Sessions looks like Arthur Lowe. Can’t wait.

Dad's army cast

3. And Then There Were None (BBC1 Boxing Day 9pm) One of my favourite Agatha Christie books. I wrote a film called 8 Lunatics, which is currently moving towards production. I’ve always pitched it as the bastard child of Agatha Christie and Wes Craven and this book is the inspiration for the Christie part of that. Great book (despite a strange little anti-semitic rant about a character we never even meet) and this version looks fab.

4. Sherlock (BBC1 New Year’s Day 9pm) I think Steven Moffat’s a brilliant brilliant writer (even though I’ve been pestering my agent to get me a job writing Doctor Who for years and have not even got close). Sherlock comes and goes far too quickly (3 episodes every couple of years) and this is only a one-off so it’ll come and go even faster. Savour it while you can.

Sherlock Holmes

5. Jamie’s Night Before Christmas (Ch4 Christmas Eve 7pm) I mentioned in a previous list how much I love Christmas cookery programmes and Jamie Oliver’s in particular. So I’m there.

6. Harry Price: Ghost Hunter (ITV Sunday 27th 8:30pm) This looks great. I think Rafe Spall’s a terrific actor and I love the idea. I worked briefly a couple of years ago on a Houdini project that sadly didn’t go anywhere but he was a big debunker-er (that’s a word, right?)

7. Dickensian (BBC1 Boxing Day 7pm & 8:30pm) This may be terrible or it might be brilliant. We’ll see. I love the idea and the aforementioned 8 Lunatics is being directed by the son of one of the actors in this so I’m definitely tuning in.

Cast of Dickensian

8. The Bridge (BBC4 Saturday 19th 9pm) Season 3 comes to a close. I love a bit of Scandi-noir and The Bridge has always been my Scandi-Noir of choice even over The Killing. Thought I would really miss Kim Bodnia’s Martin but Sofia Helin’s Saga is more than enough to keep me watching.

9. Walking the Himalayas (Ch4 Sunday 27th 8pm) I was working on a project about Henry Stanley’s search for Dr David Livingstone when Levison Wood was Walking the Nile. I started watching because it was relevant to what I was researching but quickly became hooked so I’m looking forward to seeing Levison do some more walking. He could have done Walking to the Shops but seems to have decided on something a bit tougher.

10. Lost Christmas (BBCnone) Everyone who worked on this had hoped it would become a bit of a Christmas staple but the BBC clearly don’t agree and have decided not to show it this year. The DVD will be playing on Christmas Eve in the Logan household. Feel free to do the same.

About David

Screenwriter and Novelist.

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