TV

10 TV picks to help you avoid your family this Christmas

Sorry, so-called “loved ones”. Festive TV is so good this year you won’t get a look in. Here’s ShortList’s antisocial guide to the 18 highlights...

[Images: Sky, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Rex, Getty]

  • 10 TV picks to help you avoid your family this Christmas

    A Very Murray Christmas, Netflix, available now

    Behold Bill Murray’s all-singing, all-dancing, all-swearing, all-snarky hour-long homage to classic variety shows, directed by his Lost In Translation compadre Sofia Coppola, with contributions from famous friends including George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Michael Cera, Miley Cyrus and Chris Rock.

  • 10 TV picks to help you avoid your family this Christmas 1

    Sherlock, BBC One, 9pm, New Year’s Day

    The game is on. And this time, it’s wearing a deerstalker. Along with the Downton finale, the one-off return of Benedict Cumberbatch’s consulting sleuth is Christmas’s most eagerly-awaited show. Holmes and Watson travel back to Baker Street circa 1895 to battle the ghostly "Abominable Bride".

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    Doctor Who, BBC One, 5.15pm, Christmas Day

    This year’s yuletide Time Lord romp is a comedy chase thriller which sees the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) on the run from carols, comedy antlers and a red killer robot. Matt Lucas, Greg Davies and saucy fellow time-traveller River Song join in the galactic jollity.

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    Top Gear: From A-Z, BBC Two, 8pm, Boxing Day

    Before the money-spinning petrolhead triumvirate of Clarkson, May and Hammond flee into the sunset that is Amazon, flicking Vs, the Beeb rinses the franchise one more time with this two-part vroom through their best bits. And you’re unlikely to do a Clarkson over a lack of hot food on Boxing Day.

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    Dickensian, BBC One, 7pm, Boxing Day

    This star-studded, 20-part period drama in punchy half-hour instalments is scattered across the Christmas schedules like pine needles on a carpet. It’s classic lit with a twist: a mash-up of characters from different Charles Dickens novels, all living together on one 19th-century London street. Think Avengers Assemble wearing a top hat and waistcoat.

     

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    All Aboard! The Sleigh Ride, BBC Four, 8pm, Christmas Eve

    The “Slow TV” trend goes seasonal with a reindeer herder’s journey through snow-blanketed Lapland. No music, voiceover or cutaways, just two hours 
    of sleighbell-jingling and the noises of nature.

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    David Beckham: For The Love Of The Game BBC One, 9pm, Tuesday 29 De

    Heartwarming film following Becks’ attempt to play a football match on all seven continents in under 10 days and still get back in time for his own fundraiser at Old Trafford. Can Golden-nads do it and, even more nail-bitingly, will his wife crack a smile if he does?

     

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    Scorsese season, Sky Movies Select, 8pm, New Year’s Eve

    A sweary, druggy, fisticuffs-heavy four-day marathon of some of directorial don Martin Scorsese’s finest films. Tonight it’s a triple bill of The Color Of Money, Raging Bull and Gangs Of New York. New Year’s Day sees yuppie Quaalude binge The Wolf Of Wall Street. Saturday 2 January is a gangster double whammy of GoodFellas and Casino. Round things off with The Departed on Sunday 3 January.

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    Bond season, ITV2, 9pm, Christmas Eve

    Christmas is built in a lab for Bond films and over the next three nights, ITV2 is screening Daniel Craig’s entire pre-Spectre oeuvre. First up is high-stakes poker with old bleedin’ eyes Le Chiffre; then Christmas Day sees the arrival of Quantum Of Solace; and complete the set on Boxing Day with Skyfall. That’s 003 nights taken care of.

  • 10 TV picks to help you avoid your family this Christmas 9

    And Then There Were None, BBC One, 9pm, Boxing Day

    More star-studded period action in this lavish three-part adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery – officially the bestselling crime novel of all time. In 1939, 10 strangers with secrets are invited to an isolated island off the Devon coast and vengefully executed one by one. But whodunnit?