The Week in HD - Monday 24th December
Welcome to The Week in HD, where it's Christmas Eve today! So here's a special bumper issue where I'll be suggesting all the Christmassy specials that I've circled in my TV guide - so there might be plenty that I've missed out, along with some classics that may not be in HD, but hey, it's Christmas so everything goes - and I'll also be extending the week to bring in the new year.
There might also be a Doctor Who Christmas special that I might be quite excited about.
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a brilliant new year!
Monday 24th December - CHRISTMAS EVE
Nativity! - BBC HD - 3.55pm
The sequel starring David Tennant is currently out in cinemas, but the original is a sweet and fun film about two warring schools battling to be the best-reviewed nativity show in town. Everyone's favourite Martin Freeman is the reluctant teacher put in charge of his school's nativity, but only after telling everyone that his ex-girlfriend (now a Hollywood producer) will be coming by to turn the nativity into a film. Except they haven't spoken in years...
The Lady and the Tramp - BBC1 HD - 5.05pm
Classic Disney animation about a posh pedigree pooch who falls in love with a streetwise but charming mongrel. If the spaghetti scene doesn't make your heart flutter and go 'aww', you're worse than Voldemort.
The Snowman and the Snowdog - 4 HD - 8pm
The original animated tale of The Snowman first aired 30 years ago on Channel 4, and this magical sequel revisits the spirit of Raymond Briggs' magical Christmas tale of friendship and loss. A young boy moves into a new house with his mother, and discovers a snowman's hat and scarf hidden in a box underneath the floorboards of his room. He hurries outside to build the exact same snowman, but with a dog at its side.
Merlin - BBC1 HD - 8.15pm
The Diamond of the Day, part 2. The last ever Merlin episode, after five years of fun and magic and silliness and some rather lovable characters. As the battle for Camelot rages between Arthur and Morgana, Merlin's moment of destiny arrives. Can he save Arthur? Will he be able to save Camelot? And will he finally reveal that he has magic? Let's hope so, Merlin fans.
Outnumbered - BBC1 HD - 9.35pm
Christmas Special. The Brockmans have enough trouble dealing with their own family, and while Christmas with the kids would have been havoc enough, they've foolishly decided to invite the entire neighbourhood around for dinner, too. I almost don't feel sorry for them.
Tuesday 25th December - CHRISTMAS DAY
The Queen's Speech in 3D - BBC HD/3D - 3pm
Another one for the history books, as this year's Christmas message broadcast ensures the Queen will become the first ever Royal to be broadcast in 3D.
Room on the Broom - BBC1 HD - 4.35pm
From the creative team that brought you The Gruffalo, this animated film tells the story of a kind witch who invites an assortment of animals on to her broom, much to the annoyance of her cat. Is there enough room for everyone on the broom? And can they help save the witch from a fearsome dragon? With the voices of Gillian Anderson, Simon Pegg, Rob Brydon, Timothy Spall, Martin Clunes and Sally Hawkins.
Doctor Who - BBC1 HD - 5.15pm
The Snowmen. London, 1892. There's murderous telepathic snowmen with sharp teeth terrorising everyone, and old friends in the form of Madam Vashtra, Jenny and Strax the Sontaran are trying to stop the evil Dr Simeon from ruining Christmas for all the children on Earth. The Doctor is all gloomy and reclusive by the loss of his best friends, flying all alone in a new-look Tardis, and is in no mood to help anyone this Christmas. Has he completely deserted humankind? Maybe Clara, the sprightly new companion, will help change his mind...
Call the Midwife - BBC1 HD - 7.30pm
It's Christmas at Poplar and there's an abandoned baby left on the steps of the convent. As the whole community helps out with food and tracing the mother, Nurse Jenny Lee finds herself involved in a heartbreaking mystery surrounding an elderly local woman, while newly-married Chummy is set on producing the perfect nativity play.
Downton Abbey - ITV1 HD - 8.45pm
It's a two-hour special for Downton, but it takes place in the summer, and the Crawleys head off to the Highlands for a bout of shooting and some merriment. Back at home, there's plenty of drama as the servants prepare for the country fair.
Scoop - BBC HD - 11.10pm
Scarlett Johansson plays an aspiring journalist who's been tipped off about a serial killer who might be posing as a dashing aristocrat (Hugh Jackman) in London - but starts to fall in love with him. Comedy/mystery film from Woody Allen, who also plays a cynical magician.
Wednesday 26th December
Royal Institution Christmas Lectures - BBC HD - 8pm
The Modern Alchemist, Air: The Elixir of Life. In the first of this year's Christmas Lectures, Dr Peter Wothers explores what the alchemist knew about the air we breathe, and reveals secrets about how medieval alchemists would enthrall and dazzle their audience with simple chemical reactions. We see how modern knowledge of these elements can be used to control fire, defy gravity, and harness the power of a lightning storm. The cast of the musical Loserville joins in and a periodic table of the 118 elements is created using the audience members of the Royal Institution.
The Girl - BBC HD - 9pm
While the Hollywood version starring Anthony Hopkins revolves around the iconic Psycho and Janet Leigh, this film focuses on Alfred Hitchcock during the filming of The Birds in 1962, and his obsession with the star of the film, an unknown model named Tippi Hedren. Starring Toby Jones, Sienna Miller, Imelda Staunton, and Penelope Wilton.
Miranda - BBC1 HD - 9pm
I didn't know series 3 of Miranda was starting today! But now I do and Penny's threatening to cancel Christmas if Miranda doesn't sort her life out by getting a proper job or a proper man. So Miranda follows Stevie into an office job, and finds out if she and Gary are 'just friends'. Hah. Such fun.
Thursday 27th December
Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out - BBC1 HD - 5.15pm
Christmas feels empty without Wallace and Gromit, so here's the first outing for the Aardman duo, all the way from 1989. Eccentric inventor Wallace loves cheese. Like, really loves cheese. So when he settles in one night and finds that he's completely out of cheese, he decides to go someplace that is chock-full of cheese. And hey, everyone knows that the moon's made out of cheese... So Wallace builds a rocket and he and his faithful Gromit go to the moon in search of... toast. No, just joking. Cheese.
The Gruffalo's Child - BBC HD - 5.30pm
A sequel of last week's The Gruffalo sees a simple inversion of the original story. The Gruffalo's young daughter goes on a solitary wander into the woods one night, hoping to meet the Big Bad Mouse, despite her father's warnings. Snake, Owl and Fox (Rob Brydon, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson) are back, along with the voice talents of Helena Bonham-Carter, Robbie Coltrane, James Corden and Shirley Henderson in this delightful little animated story.
Royal Institution Christmas Lectures - BBC HD - 8pm
The Modern Alchemist, Water: The Fountain of Youth. Can drinking water really help you rejuvenate/live longer, or is the key to eternal youth not drinking any water at all? Can balloons save the gas crisis? And what happens when the two most reactive elements of the periodic table, caesium and flourine, meet each other?
Restless - BBC1 HD - 9pm
An adaptation of William Boyd's wonderful WW2 espionage thriller was inevtiable. Hayley Atwell plays Eve Delectorskaya, a young Russian woman whose brother is murdered during the Second World War, and is persuaded to spy for the British by the charming Lucas Romer (Rufus Sewell). The story switches between two time frames: one involves the increasingly dangerous missions that send Eve all over Europe, the other takes place in 1976, where the older Eve (Charlotte Rampling) is telling the truth of who she is to her daughter Ruth (Michelle Dockery). The two part drama concludes tomorrow.
Friday 28th December
The Borrowers - BBC HD - 4pm
A fun live adaptation of Mary Norton's classic children's books about a race of tiny people, the Borrowers, who live under the floorboards and survive by 'borrowing' bits and pieces from the larger 'human beans'. After being discovered by one such bean, Arietty and her family are forced to flee and find new dwellings, while also running from the clutches of Professor Mildeye, who is obsessed with catching and exposing the Borrowers. Starring Christopher Eccleston, Sharon Horgan, Aisling Loftus, Robert Sheehan, Stephen Fry, and Victoria Wood.
Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers - BBC1 HD - 5.10pm
More clay animation fun from Nick Park. It's Gromit's birthday, so Wallace gives him a pair of mechanical trousers that are more trouble than they sound. And then they rent a room to a very suspicious (and creepy) looking penguin.
Royal Institution Christmas Lectures - BBC HD - 8pm
The Modern Alchemist, The Philosopher's Stone. Turning base metal into gold is the ultimate alchemy party trick. But is it possible? Harry Potter fans will know all about Nicholas Flamel, a good friend of Albus Dumbledore's, who created the Philosopher's Stone and lived until the grand age of six hundred and sixty five. This might sound nonsense, but on tonight's final lecture, Dr Peter Wothers discovers how we could use the earth's elements to learn to levitate, turn carbon dioxide into diamonds, and lead into gold. All magical stuff, indeed, as we find out what happens when you set fire to a diamond.
Restless - BBC1 HD - 9pm
The concluding half sees Eve sent on her most challenging mission yet - to cosy up to an adviser to President Roosevelt, as Britain tries to persuade America to enter the war. As emotions run high between Eve and her spymaster/lover Lucas, the present-day Eve (now named Sally in 1976) is convinced someone has found her true identity and is trying to kill her. As the two stories intertwine, Eve sends her daughter Ruth to find out who wants her dead.
QI - BBC HD - 10pm
Part 1 of a compilation show of all the best bits from this year's series J. Featuring Stephen Fry, Alan Davies, and a gaggle of guest panellists.
Saturday 29th December
Formula 1: 2012 - What a year - BBC1 HD - 1pm
Jake Humphrey, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard look back on a record-breaking year, with seven different winners winning the first seven races, some spectacular races between rivals, and the epic conclusion that crowned Sebastian Vettel as the youngest and only champion to win three titles consecutively.
Olympics - BBC1 HD - 2pm
London 2012: A Golden Games. Of course we want to relive all of the glorious moments that made the summer of sport so special.
Sunday 30th December
Dara O Briain's Science Club - BBC HD - 8pm
In the final episode of the series, Dara and his team of scientists (and guests James May and Professor Brian Cox) look at the science behind music. They explore how music is linked to our emotions, how rhythm is being used in ground breaking research to treat Parkinsons' disease and whether computers are ruining music. Plus, Mark Miodownik takes apart an electric guitar.
Neil Armstrong: First Man on the Moon - BBC HD - 9pm
An exclusive account of Neil Armstrong's life, featuring interviews and contributions from family and friends, many of whom have never spoken publicly before, and archived footage that has never been broadcast before. From his childhood during America's Great Depression, to his historic flight to the moon, and to his private life after the Apollo 11 mission and his death in August 2012, we see the man behind the myth as never before.
Blade Runner - BBC HD - 11.30pm
I have never seen Blade Runner. This shall change tonight, as I finally watch Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic (it's the 2007 final cut version), which involves Harrison Ford tracking down rogue replicants in Los Angeles in the future, here known as 2019. It could still happen...
Monday 31st December
The Sound of Music - BBC1 HD - 3.10pm
A musical nun, a widowed captain with seven children, and the hills of Austria. You know this one.
Tuesday 1st January
Mary Poppins - BBC1 HD - 1.35pm
A mysterious but kind entity who only comes when children are in need, and helps to save the day with much cheeriness and quirkiness, a human sidekick, and travels with an object that is bigger on the inside? Nope, it's not the Doctor, it's Mary Poppins! (She might be a time lady, though).
Up - BBC1 HD - 6.30pm
One of Pixar's best, this animated story is about lonely 78-year-old widower Carl who ties thousands of balloons to his house in hopes of floating away to South America to fulfill his lifelong dream. It's only when he's up in the air that he realises he's got some hitchhikers: a boy scout named Russell and his talking dog Dug, who provide Carl with much annoyance and much needed companionship. Also, Kevin.
'Til next year...