Hello everyone, and welcome to The Week in HD, where Christmas is almost, practically, pretty much here.

This Christmas special of the The Week in HD is our guide to all the must-see high-definition TV shows, films and sports and Blu-ray releases to grace your screens over the holiday period.

You can also get daily updates on what's on by following our twitter feed  @TodayinHD.

 

Monday 23rd December

Arsenal v Chelsea Sky Sports 1 HD, 7pm

Another big clash at the top of the table as Arsenal take on Chelsea in the Monday night match. With Arsenal hoping to bounce back after shipping six goals to Man City in their last match, and Chelsea looking to jump above Arsenal with a win, expect a spicy, hot blooded encounter.

 

Jane Eyre BBC Two HD, 8.30pm

Let's round off this bleak and gloomy rainy day with an appropriately atmospheric Jane Eyre adaptation. Mia Wasikowska stars as the young and strong-willed Jane, who survives her unhappy childhood to become a governess, only to fall in love with her employer Mr Rochester (played by Michael Fassbender). But he harbours a dark secret that threatens to mar their happiness.

 

Would I Lie To You? BBC One HD, 8.30pm

David Mitchell and Lee Mack are back for a Christmas special of this comedy panel show, with Miranda Hart, Stephen Mangan, Barry Cryer and Miles Jupp sharing embarassing and funny stories that may or may not be true. Rob Brydon hosts.

 

Tuesday 24th December

 

The Gruffalo BBC One HD, 9am

Start Christmas Eve bright and early with this charming animated tale about a tiny mouse who goes through the woods in search of a nut. Along the way, the mouse (voiced by James Corden) meets many woodland creatures, all who warn him of the feared creature that lives in the forest - the Gruffalo.

 

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Channel 5 HD, 3pm

Our eyes lit up when we saw Scoundrels listed in the TV guide.

Although it's not a Christmas film (not even close), it does feel like one of those perennial classics that should be shown around Christmas. With great performances from Michael Caine and Steve Martin, Scoundrels is about two con men who try to extort $50,000 from a young woman (Gleanne Headly) as part of a bet.

Safe to say it all ends in hilarious circumstances.

 

Fantasia BBC Two HD, 4.15pm

This stunning 1940s Disney film was a milestone in animation, with animated vignettes set to classical music. From the famous The Sorcerer's Apprentice where Mickey has to stop enchanted brooms from taking over, to dancing hippos, to seasons changing to the tune of Tchaikovsky, to a fearsome devil bringing forth his minions and spreading darkness over the world, Fantasia is a sensory masterpiece.

 

Finding Nemo BBC One HD, 5.55pm

Pixar's finest. We guarantee you won't be able to stop humming 'Just keep swimming, just keep swimming' all day long. Or calling things 'squishy'.

 

Die Hard 2 E4 HD, 9pm

Or to call it by its full title, Die Hard 2: Die Harder. And it certainly does find new ways to… die harder in this explosive, expletive-laden sequel to the great Bruce Willis-starring original. And what's even better is that it's set during Christmas!

So, get into the Christmas spirit by watching John McClane take on a bunch of military terrorists, as the bullets, fists and insults fly.

 

QI BBC Two HD, 9pm

Kris Kringle. Stephen Fry gets us all into the festive spirit with Alan Davies, Jo Brand, Phil Jupitus and Brendan O'Carroll.

 

Not Going Out BBC One HD, 10pm

The House. Lee Mack and friends are back with a new series. In the festive opener of series seven, Lee tries to give Lucy the perfect Christmas by inviting her parents and Daisy over to a snug cottage in the countryside. But the cheery mood is cut short when they think the cottage is haunted...

 

Wednesday 25th December

Christmas is here! That means presents, turkey and family members arguing over nonsensical things!

 

Toy Story 3/Tangled BBC One HD & ITV 1 HD, 3:20pm

A choice to be had here with two Disney films on at the same time. Toy Story 3 is the finale of a memorable trilogy which kickstarted Pixar's run of success all the way back in 1995.

The third film lays claim to being the best of the bunch, as Andy (Buzz and Woody's owner) has grown up and is on the verge of going to college.The toys are donated to a nursery nearby where they meet Lotso, (voice brilliantly by Ned Beaty), who's not what he (it?) seems to be.

While we're loath to label films for a specific audience, Tangled is more geared towards girls but there's still stirring derring-do for others to enjoy.

While it's not quite the measure of some of Disney's past classics, it's still an enjoyable film, with some great comedy beats from the horse (above) in particular.

 

Elf Sky Movies Christmas HD, 4pm

We have a confession to make. We've never seen Elf. Which is strange as it has become one of the Christmas movies to watch.

Still, with the return of Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy in the Anchorman sequel, this is a good opportunity to see the actor wreak havoc as the tallest elf in history in a more kid-friendly film.

 

The Muppets Christmas Carol, Channel 4 HD, 4:35pm

The best Muppets film there is. Is there any other reason you need to watch it?

 

Call the Midwife ITV HD, 6.15pm

Christmas Special. 1958 is drawing to a close, but all Christmas festivities have been put on hold as a bomb is discovered close to Nonnatus House. The midwives, nuns and residents of Poplar are thrown into chaos and confusion, with the midwives tasked with looking after the evacuated families while the bomb is defused safely.

 

Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor BBC One HD, 7.30pm

It's time for Silence to fall, and end the reign of the Eleventh Doctor. It's Matt Smith's final episode as the bow-tied fez-wearing time lord, and he whisks Clara away from a family dinner to a backwater planet, where the universe's deadliest species have gathered.

Yes, there will be a regeneration. Yes, there will be tears. And yes, we will see Peter Capaldi introduced as the 12th Doctor on Christmas Day. Geronimo!

 

Downton Abbey ITV HD, 8.30pm

It's not Christmas for the Crawleys - bah, humbug! - it's sunny and warm(ish), and they've decamped to their London residence for this Christmas special. The Americans are in town, Lady Rose's debunte ball leaves them embroiled in a royal scandal, and there aren't (apparently) going to be any deaths.

 

The Tractate Middoth BBC Two HD, 9.30pm

Writer and director Mark Gatiss brings back the tradition of MR James ghosts stories during Christmas with this chilling story of vengeful spirits and family feuds.

When young student Garrett helps a relative find a particular book in the university library, he finds himself drawn into an old family feud, and discovers that the relative's intentions are less than scholarly. Their search for the ancient Hebrew book - The Tractate Middoth - brings forth a hateful and malevolent spirit from beyond the grave.

 

MR James: Ghost Writer BBC Two HD, 10.05pm

We continue the night's celebration of one of the greatest Victorian supernatural writers, MR James, whose ghost stories continue to chill and scare.

Mark Gatiss, lover of everything gothic and mysterious, steps into the mind of this conservative and Anglican writer and travels from his childhood home Suffolk to Eton and Cambridge, to find the inspirations for his tales.

 

Thursday 26th December

 

Room on the Broom BBC One HD, 9am

Another lovely little animation from the same people who gave us The Gruffalo, this short film is about a kind witch who tries to fit her woodland friends on her broom. Her cat disapproves, until they have to save the witch from a fearsome dragon.

 

Elysium - Blu ray

A spectacular looking film, but we can't help but feel a little disappointed by what Elysium has to offer story-wise.

Showcasing District 9 director Neil Blomkamp's intriguing designs, Elysium is about Matt Damon's former criminal Max, who's given five days to live when he's hit by a blast of radiation at the place he works.

His only salvation? Getting a ticket to reach the Elysium space station and use one of their machines to get rid of the cancer. A bit Michael Bay-esque in its execution, it is, nevertheless, worth a watch. And speaking of Michael Bay…

 

Pain & Gain - Blu-ray

Is Pain & Gain Michael Bay's redemption? Not quite. After three turgid Transformers films (yes, we're inclduing the original), Bay's back to his small-scale beginnings. Despite that, he still has a taste for excess and blowing (smaller) things up.

Based on a real-life, true crime story, it does take some liberties with the source and overdoes the style on some occassions, but Pain & Gain can be a dark, caustic comedy about three dim body builders looking to achieve the American Dream by stealing it.

Both films are out on Blu-ray on Boxing Day.

 

Manchester City v Liverpool BT Sport HD 1, 5:15pm

If Arsenal versus Chelsea wasn't exciting enough, City take on league leaders Liverpool at the Etihad on Boxing Day. The second of two matches on BT Sport, can City do to Liverpool what they did to Arsenal and knock them for six?

 

Still Open All Hours BBC One HD, 7.45pm

Sir David Jason reprises his role as Granville in this one-off Christmas special. Granville has inherited the shop from his uncle Arkwright, and is now helped by his rather handsome son Leroy, who has plans to modernise the delivery method. Elsewhere, Granville attempts to get a date with his old flame Mavis, while familiar old customers still frequent the shop.

 

Death Comes to Pemberley BBC One HD, 8.15pm

What happens after the 'happily ever after' ending of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice? Murder, apparently. Flash forward six years after Lizzie and Darcy finally tie the knot, and there's a murder at Pemberley Hall.

A fantastic cast headed by Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Rhys, the murder mystery (adapated from P.D James's novel) also stars Matthew Good, Jenna Coleman and Rebecca Front.

 

The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2013 Channel 4 HD, 9pm

Jack Whitehall and Jonathan Ross, Dara O Briain and Kristen Schall, Noel Fielding and Richard Ayoade - these three teams take the ultimate quiz to find out who remembers the most about 2013. We barely remember what happened before September. Jimmy Carr hosts as usual.

 

Friday 27th December

Back to the Future trilogy Sky Movies Great HD 2:10pm

Sit back and enjoy the whole Back to the Future trilogy, erm, back to back, as Michael J. Fox's Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd's Doc Brown get involved in some time-travelling shennanigans.

Our favourite one? Probably the original which mixes a great sci-fi concept with some smart humour.

 

Cloud Atlas Sky Movies Sci-Fi & Horror HD 4:20pm

More after the break

Somewhat underappreciated on its release, Cloud Atlas is a film full of ambition, weaving in and out of six stories (all of which star the same set of actors), as it tells a story of destiny, enslavement and ultimately freedom.

That might not sound like your ideal cup of tea, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a film that was as narratively ambitious as this one was in any a year.

 

Death Comes to Pemberley BBC One HD, 8.15pm

After the dramatic events in the woods and with Wickham once again painted as the baddie, Lizzie attempts to reassure the staff and guests at Pemberley Hall that all is well. But all is clearly not well, as Darcy becomes aloof once more as he strives to protect his household. Have they really caught the right culprit?

 

Saturday 28th December

 

Formula 1: A Record Breaking Year BBC One HD, 1.15pm

Suzi Perry, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard look back on the 2013 Formula 1 season, which saw Sebastian Vettel breaking more records than we can keep track of. The youngster (he's only 26!) is only the third driver ever to have won four consecutive world titles, and his dominance doesn't seem to be slowing down one bit.

It wasn't all good news, though, as 2013 bid farewell to Mark Webber, and Pirelli's tyre problems continued to overshadow the racing. Bring on 2014.

 

The Princess Bride Channel 5 HD, 4pm

Highly quotable, with some memorable performances and an excellent sense of comedic timing, The Princess Bride is a film that's great fun to watch despite its age.

 

Star Wars IV: A New Hope ITV HD, 6:30pm

Could we really leave a Star Wars film off the list? Not likely, and while Empire Strikes Back is the best one, ITV appears to be showing all six films in a row.

While many aren't fans of the prequel trilogy, the original trilogy still holds up, even in these new, special edition forms. Unless you want to watch the whole saga in one go, A New Hope is probably the best place to start, transporting viewers back to a time before we even knew what midichlorians were.

 

Ice Age: Continental Drift Sky Movies HD Family, 8pm

We're having trouble differentiating the Ice Age films from one another, but so long as Continental Drift gives Scrat the squirrel a prominent place in proceedings, we will not complain one jot.

 

Death Comes to Pemberley BBC One HD, 8.15pm

The concluding episode of this fun period-mystery-drama. The trial ends and all the evidence points to Wickham. He's due to be hanged, but a surprising turn of events leads to a suspect much closer to home. Can they catch the real murderer in time?

 

Sunday 29th December

Iron Man Three Sky Movies HD Premiere, 11:55am

Iron Man Three sees the return of Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark in his own solo mission as he battles some of his own demons, and gets involved with Ben Kingsley's Mandarin.

While it's the best of the Iron Man films, it perhaps doesn't quite reach the cinematic heights of Avengers Assemble despite some clever action and a reveal that's guaranteed to pull the carpet from right out underneath you.

And it's set at Christmas. For absolutely no reason we can decipher. But that makes it a Christmas film and a fine one at that.

 

The Karate Kid Sky 1 HD, 2pm

No, not that one, the other one – the good one. We're going all the way back to the eighties so expect some shocking hair, some desperately bad clothes, and some great villains.

In every way a step up from the (okay) remake, this was the film that kicked off a lot of children balancing on one leg, trying to do the crane kick.

And failing.

 

Easy A Film 4 HD, 10pm

The last film of what feels like exhaustive week of film-binging, Easy A stars Emma Stone as a squeaky clean student who takes advantage of her school's rumour mill to improve her social standing.

It's the kind of smart and confident teen comedy that doesn't happen as often as it should.

 

Monday 30th December

 

Bridge to Terabithia BBC One HD, 9.10am

A gorgeous tale of friendship and grief. Two lonely children become best friends while playing in the woods about a magical land that only they can see - but their newfound friendship is overshadowed by troubles at school and at home.

It will break your heart, and it will make you cry. Watch it.

 

Wall-E BBC One HD, 2.45pm

Stunning Pixar animation about a little robot on an epic journey to save the Earth.

 

Mary Poppins BBC One HD, 4.15pm

The original Supernanny, but with questionable magic and catchy songs.

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark BBC Three HD, 9pm

Indiana Jones goes in search of the Ark of the Covenant. You know the rest.

 

The Thirteenth Tale BBC Two HD, 9.30pm

Powerhouse performances from Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman in this film about a biographer and a dying novelist who delve into each other's dark pasts.

 

Tuesday 31st December

 

How to Train Your Dragon BBC One HD, 4pm

Excellent Dreamworks animation about a young viking who goes against his family's history of dragon-killing to become friends with a fearsome dragon. Features the cutest dragon in the world - Toothless.

The sequel comes out in cinemas in July 2014.

 

The Graham Norton Show BBC One HD, 10.15pm

Count down the minutes to the new year with this special year-end show, with the Monty Python crew, Joan and Jackie Collins and the Anchorman 2 cast.

 

Wednesday 1st January 

Happy new year! Spend the day recovering from the night before with some excellent films and shows. Starting with...

 

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? BBC One HD, 10.20am

One of the best films ever made, by Robert Zemeckis of Back to the Future fame. Disney and Warner Brothers combined their powers in 1988 to make this brilliant live-action-meets-animation film about a murder in Toon Town.

Contains scenes of cartoon violence and logic.

 

The Lord of the Rings trilogy Sky Movies HD Action & Adventure, 3.30pm

What better way to welcome 2014 than with a 10-hour marathon of the most epic fantasy trilogy ever. All the races across Middle Earth join together to destroy the One Ring to stop the evil Sauron from taking over. Again.

 

Sherlock BBC One HD, 9pm

The Empty Hearse. Sherlock is back! The consulting detective returns from the grave after two years when London is under threat of a huge terrorist attack. But if he thinks that everyone and everything will be as he left it, he’s in for a surprise. John has moved on, Anderson is not what he once thought him to be, and even London has changed. As Sherlock reacquaints himself with his city and his friends, we only have one question: how did he survive the fall?

 

See you in the new year!

 

By   Kobina Monney &  Kashfia Kabir

 

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