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The Week in HD – Monday 22nd December

In this special festive edition of The Week in HD, we've picked out all the best TV shows, radio series, films, sports, and Blu-ray releases coming out over the next two weeks. We've got Christmas specials, New Year's specials, and everything in between.

Also, don't forget to check out our dedicated Playlist Twitter account @WHFPlaylist for festive updates of our favourite programmes.

We'll be back in the new year for more high-def entertainment, but until then, we wish you all a very merry Christmas!

MORE: 11 of our favourite Christmas films

Blu-ray releases

Pride - Blu-ray release of the week

Pride - Blu-ray release of the week

Pride (23rd December in US; 2nd March in UK)

The feel good film of the year? Pride is certainly one of the year's most overlooked titles, telling the story of how in 1984, gay activists teamed up with the Welsh miners as they went on strike in a show of solidarity. Both groups felt victimised by the press, public and not least the government (read: Thatcher), and this film, based on true events, shows the bond between the two communities as they struggled to make their grievances about their treatment known.

There's nary a weak moment in a film that's very heartfelt and the Welsh accents are very convincing. With a stellar cast of Andrew Scott, Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy, Joe Gilgun, Russell Tovey and Imelda Staunton (who has our favourite moment of the film), Pride is the one film you must see before 2014's out.

Pre-order Pride at Amazon (opens in new tab)

NAS: Time is Illmatic (22nd December)

Twenty years after the release of Illmatic, one of the most influential rap albums in recent history, the man behind it is the focus of a new documentary remembering the moment Nas and Illmatic became a sensation.

For fans of the rapper, this is documentary food and drink, recalling the rivalries, the climate of rap in New York and the impact Illmatic had. If there's a flaw, it's perhaps that the documentary breezes through its subject's story. Nonetheless, it's an interesting, if succinct look, at the creation of a memorable album.

Buy Nas: Time is Illmatic at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Let's Be Cops (26th December)

Underrated or swiftly forgotten? Let's Be Cops seems to swing both ways on the good-or-not meter. The film sees two friends (New Girl's Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr.) dress up for a party as two cops and when they notice that they get treated differently in officers' uniforms, they decide to push as far as they can. Inevitably, they run into trouble with James D'Arcy's terrific Russian mobster, enlivening proceedings.

It can be repetitive in its jokes and more than predictable, but Let's Be Cops is a fun ride, too.

Pre-order Let's Be Cops at Amazon (opens in new tab)

The Guest (29th December)

Adam Wingard's latest film, The Guest, is a cracking genre effort with a genuinely terrific turn from former Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens. In it, Stevens plays David, who introduces himself to the Peterson family claiming to be a friend of their recently deceased son. They welcome him in, but there's something odd about him, and only Anna (Dakota Fanning lookalike Maika Monroe) seems to notice. Just who is David and what does he want with the Petersons?

With an eighties-tinged soundtrack, The Guest feels like a throwback to the pulpy, trash of that decade. A rollercoaster ride.

Pre-order The Guest at Amazon (opens in new tab)

MORE: 10 Best Blu-ray discs to test your system with

Monday 22nd December

Good Omens - Pick of the Day, 11pm

Good Omens - Pick of the Day, 11pm

Italian Super Cup Final: Juventus v Napoli Sky Sports 5 HD, 5pm

It's the first cup final of the Italian domestic season (their version of the Community Shield), and for some reason it's taking place in December.

Oddness of the date aside, this fixture sees Serie A champions Juventus take on Italian Cup holders Napoli in Doha, Qatar. With Juve enjoying a significant lead in the league, this is an opportunity for Napoli to bring them down a notch. If they win, that is.

Barclays Premier League: Stoke City v Chelsea Sky Sports 1 HD, 8pm

Stoke is not the easiest of places to go at the best of times, so to go there on a wet, cold, windy night in December won't be ideal for Chelsea. Manchester City have clawed back the eight points gap between them and Chelsea, and a win here for Mourinho's team will give them a healthy cushion as they enter the busy Christmas schedule.

The Wrong Mans BBC Two HD, 9pm

James Corden and Matthew Baynton are back for another round of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They're in trouble, again, but this time it's happened in America. In Texas.

And they're stuck in prison, without wi-fi.

Good Omens BBC Radio Four, 11pm

We don't normally list radio shows on the Week in HD, but this radio adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's most excellent book about the apocalypse is too good to miss out on.

When the Antichrist is born, the demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale are determined to stop the apocalypse from coming about because they rather like the world as it is, thank you very much. But agents from Heaven and Hell, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a witch, and four young kids with a very special leader all have their own ideas about the fate of the world.

The spellbinding six-part series continues over the next few days, and features the voice talents of Mark Heap, Peter Serafinowicz, Colin Morgan, Paterson Joseph, Josie Lawrence, Louise Brealey, and Nicholas Briggs (aka the voice of Daleks and Cybermen), with guest cameos from both the authors, too.

Tuesday 23rd December

Cabin Pressure - Pick of the Day, 6.30pm

Cabin Pressure - Pick of the Day, 6.30pm

Cabin Pressure BBC Radio 4, 6.30pm

Zurich, part one. Another radio show that we must flag up is Cabin Pressure, John Finnemore's delightful comedy series about the cabin crew of a small charter plane. After four hilarious series of misadventures and mishaps, it comes to an end in this special two-parter.

Starring Roger Allam, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephanie Cole, Anthony Head, Finnemore himself and many guest stars from episodes past.

MasterChef: The Professionals BBC Two HD, 8pm

It's the MasterChef final, and the competition has never been closer, or more delicious. All three finalists - Sven, Jamie and Ben - have served up dishes that had us drooling and had the judges breaking out into hyperboles like never before.

For the final challenge, the three chefs must cook the best three-course meal of their lives in a bid to be crowned this year's Champion. May the best chef win.

The Flash Sky 1 HD, 8pm

The Man in the Yellow Suit. Arrow went down for the long mid-season break last week, now it's time for The Flash to do the same. In this Christmas episode, all is not jingle bells and gravy for Barry as he's confronted by the man who killed his mother.

For fans of the comic book, the mere reference of anyone in a yellow suit should be a tease of where this episode is heading.

We also like how TV listings warn that this episode features 'flashing' images. Heh.

Wednesday 24th December

The Adventures of Professor Branestawm - Pick of the Day, 8.30pm

The Adventures of Professor Branestawm - Pick of the Day, 8.30pm

Cabin Pressure BBC Radio 4, 6.30pm

Zurich, part two. We bid farewell to this lovely little airdot, its zany adventures and the lovable crew as Cabin Pressure comes to an end. Martin is set to leave MJN Air to join a proper airline as a paid pilot, but does that mean the end for MJN? What will happen to Carolyn, Douglas and Arthur as their Captain leaves?

The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm BBC One HD, 8.30pm

An absent-minded professor - Professor Branestawm, whose strange inventions take his and his neighbours' lives into unexpected but exciting adventures - fends off an evil local councillor who wants to banish him from his home in Great Pagnell.

Adapted from Norman Hunter's children's stories (written over a 50-year period from 1933 to 1983), this family adventure special sees Harry Hill take on the role of the Professor, with a supporting cast of David Mitchell, Simon Day, Ben Miller and Miranda Richardson.

Skyfall ITV 1 HD, 8pm

The terrestrial debut of Skyfall hits ITV, and after the disappointment that was Quantum of Solace, this adventure is a return to form for the British spy. When Bond (Daniel Craig) is presumed dead after a mission goes wrong, M (Dame Judy Dench) and MI6 are the victims of a hack who reveals the identities of undercover agents embedded in terrorist groups around the world.

007 re-emerges and must prove that he's still the spy he was and track down the threat before it destroys MI6.

After rebooting the series back in 2006, this film feels like it's come full circle and joined up with the older Bond films. In Javier Bardem it has a charismatic villain and director Sam Mendes, not known for his action chops, crafts some terrific sequences.

Both Craig and Mendes will be back in 2015 for the next instalment SPECTRE*, starring Monica Bellucci, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Wishaw as Q, Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Monneypenny and Dave Bautista (Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy) as a henchman.

*And yes, you must write the title in all caps as if you're SHOUTING AT SOMEONE.

Thursday 25th December

Doctor Who - Pick of the Day, 6.15pm

Doctor Who - Pick of the Day, 6.15pm

Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas ITV HD, 4.20pm

Cartoon based on the 2010 Broadway musical that's based on Will Ferrell's now-classic Christmas film Elf. As cartoon Buddy (voiced by The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons) travels to New York in search of his real father, his songs charm everyone along the way.

Doctor Who BBC One HD, 6.15pm

Last Christmas. What does the Doctor want for Christmas? That's the question posed at the end of the eight series. The 2014 Christmas special sees Nick Frost don the Santa suit and bring the magic of Christmas to our grumpy old Doctor. The Tardis takes us to the North Pole for a scary, snowy adventure, and it seems Santa and his elves are here to help the Doctor save the day.

And what of Clara? It seemed like a final goodbye the last time the two travelling companions saw each other, but here they are on yet another adventure. Will it be their last? With rumours of Jenna Coleman leaving, we may have to bid farewell to The Impossible Girl for one final time.

Miranda BBC One HD, 7.15pm

I Do, But To Who? Miranda Hart's comedy series comes to an end with two half-hour specials (the second one airs 1st January). With Gary and Mike both having proposed in the series three finale, who will Miranda choose? Will she finally find happiness and live happily ever after?

Blackadder's Christmas Carol BBC Two HD, 8.30pm

A parody of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Blackadder is the nicest man in Victorian London, who's visitied by three ghosts that show just how miserable he will be if he continues on his path of kindness and goodwill to others.

"Bad guys have all the fun", he decides, and becomes the bitter, insulting and scathing Blackadder we all know and love.

EastEnders BBC One HD, 9pm

This is probably going to be the least-festive and merry Christmas special on the menu tonight, what with a car crash in the trailer and Lucy Beale's killer still on the loose. And then we find out that someone is getting killed off on New Year's Day.

They'd best get Sherlock Holmes on the case and try to salvage some Christmas cheer for once.

Downton Abbey ITV HD, 9pm

A Moorland Holiday. We haven't kept up to date with Downton Abbey, but what we do know about this two-hour long (yes, two hours!) special is that George Clooney turns up and tries to kiss Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess. That'll be interesting.

QI BBC Two HD, 10.30pm

No L. Carrie Fisher is one of the guest panellists on tonight's festive edition of QI. She's joined by Bill Bailey, Jimmy Carr and Alan Davies as Stephen Fry tells us many interesting facts about...well, look at what day it is.

The Infinite Monkey Cage Christmas Special BBC Radio 4, 11pm

The Infinite Monkey Cage series is a fantastic listen anyway, but throw in Brian Blessed and Rev Richard Coles debating the science behind Christmas with Prof Brian Cox and Robin Ince, and it's a hilarious and interesting hour of radio to listen to while you do the washing up.

Friday 26th December

The Boy in the Dress - Pick of the Day, 6.55pm

The Boy in the Dress - Pick of the Day, 6.55pm

Barclays Premier League: Manchester United v Newcastle United BT Sport 1 HD, 3pm

Last year, a rather middling Manchester United team lost at home Newcastle, but under Van Gaal you sense it won't be quite the case this time. United's defence is still porous, but with Falcao in amongst the goals they could have the firepower to sink a resurgent Newcastle team.

The Boy in the Dress BBC One HD, 6.55pm

A heartwarming story about a 12-year-old boy, crossdressing, divorce, fathers and sons, adapted from David Walliams's story of the same name (with illustrations by Quentin Blake.)

David Walliams's stories are fast becoming an alternative Christmas TV tradition. We had Mr Stink and Gangsta Granny in the preceding years, and this year's story about a young boy who crossdresses, copes with missing his mother, and hopes for acceptance from his father is sure to be another treat.

Starring Jennifer Saunders, Tim McInnerny, Meera Syal, James Buckley, and a special cameo by Kate Moss.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Channel 4 HD, 8pm

What They Become. With S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra congregating at the ill-fated entrance to the alien city, only Skye and Raina have the power to unlock the key to the city. But as Skye comes face-to-face with her father, she discovers her true purpose and origin.

An excellent mid-season finale and a cliffhanger that's sure to keep us coming back for more.

Saturday 27th December

Top Gear: Patagonia Special - Pick of the Day, 8.30pm

Top Gear: Patagonia Special - Pick of the Day, 8.30pm

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One ITV HD, 7pm

The franchise that kicked off the spate of part one/part twos that we're currently enduring is on TV the day after Boxing Day. The first part sees Harry, Ron and Hermione leave Hogwarts and go on the search for horcruxes, the seven objects that Tom Riddle aka He Who Must Not Be Named, split his soul into to achieve immortality.

It's a task that proves harder than they thought and without Professor Dumbledore to guide them, they struggle with the task of ending Voldemort once and for all. Part One is a slower, bleaker entry in the series, full of character development but light on action. It's the pause before the storm that is Deathly Hallows: Part Two.

Top Gear: Patagonia Special BBC Two HD, 8.30pm

For this very special Christmas episode, Clarkson, May and Hammond set off on a 1,600 mile journey across the sparsely-populated, ever-changing landscape of the Patagonia region in South America.

Riding in three V8-engined sports cars, they encounter snow, waterfalls, broken bridges and a lamb - before getting chased off by angry Argentinians.

The Haunting of Radcliffe House Channel 5 HD, 9.35pm

Last year, Mark Gatiss brough back the tradition of have ghost stories during Christmas with his adaptation of M. R. James's The Tractate Middoth, and we're pleased to see another ghostly tale on the schedule this year.

Matthew Modine, Olivia Williams, Antonia Clarke, and Steve Oram head the cast in this spooky story about demonic rituals, murder and ghosts. Best watched with the curtains drawn shut and a cup of hot chocolate.

Sunday 28th December

House of Fools - Pick of the Day, 10pm

House of Fools - Pick of the Day, 10pm

Barclays Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United BT Sport 1 HD, 12pm

Less than 48 hours after they play Newcastle Utd, United travel down to White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham. Spurs haven't been playing all too well in recent weeks, but they've been picking up the wins and will be looking for another here.

John Carter (of Mars) BBC Two HD, 6pm

John Carter was something of a flop when it came out in 2012, but the negativity covered up what is a decent, fun film from director Andrew Staunton (Finding Nemo). Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is transported to Mars (aka Barsoom), where becomes a man of incredible abilities: leaping huge distances with one jump and having superhuman strength. There he meets Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) who needs his help to avert a civil war that could wipe out her home.

Top Gear: Patagonia Special BBC Two HD, 8.30pm

With an angry mob at their heels, can the three presenters finish their challenge and reach the southermost part of the continent?

House of Fools BBC Two HD, 10pm

The Christmas Affair. Comedy double act Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer are back, and after a Christmas present goes up in flames (literally), they're taking their festive plans to Phil Collins's mansion, via an underground boat.

With Matt Berry and Morgana Robinson joining in as partners in crime, this Christmas special ushers in the brand new six-episode series of House of Fools, which starts in February 2015.

Monday 29th December

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures - Pick of the Day, 8pm

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures - Pick of the Day, 8pm

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures BBC Four HD, 8pm

Ever wondered how all the electrical gubbins in your house came about?

Danielle George, the Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering (which is an awesome job title), takes us on a journey through the highs and lows of electrical engineering to show how all the gadgets that we take for granted have evolved into these super-smart essentials. Continues over the next two nights at the same time, on the same channel.

Barclays Premier League: Liverpool v Swansea City Sky Sports 1 HD, 8pm

Monday Night Football sees Liverpool take on Swansea. One team is ahead of expectations while the other is failing to live up to them. There's a possibility, however slim, that Swansea go into this match as slight favourites.

The Bourne Ultimatum ITV 2 HD, 10pm

The closer of a fantastic action trilogy sees Matt Damon's Jason Bourne finally remember how he came to become this super-spy-super-fighting machine. That memory sends him back to New York (via London, Spain and Morocco), to where it all began and, for Bourne and the Treadstone program that created him, where it ends.

Tuesday 30th December

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Channel 5 HD, 3.25pm

If you've never seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang then here's the chance to tick this family favourite off the list. A wacky inventor (Dick van Dyke) creates a flying car, but a foreign government wants it and will resort to anything to get to their hands on it.

You'll forgive us if we don't remember much of the plot (despite it being a Roald Dahl adaptation of an Ian Fleming novel), as we're still having nightmares about escaping the cluthes of the Child Catcher and his evil employers - the child-hating Baron and Baroness Bomburst of Vulgaria.

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part Two ITV HD, 8pm

The second part of Harry's mission to destroy the horcruxes. Warning: it contains death, sadness, death, an awesome battle scene at Hogwarts, more death and sadness as J K Rowling takes a leaf out of Joss Whedon's book and kills your favourite character. Again.

Still, a moving and enjoyable end to a fantastic film series.

Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe BBC Two HD, 10pm

Charlie Brooker takes a sardonic, satirical look back at the biggest and worst media news coverages of the year. And if you haven't seen his Christmas special yet, head to 4oD and watch Black Mirror: White Christmas - chilling, thoughtful and brilliant storytelling about tech paranoia.

Wednesday 31st December

Mapp and Lucia - Pick of the Day, 9pm

Mapp and Lucia - Pick of the Day, 9pm

Mapp and Lucia BBC One HD, 9pm

Thursday 1st January 2015

Esio Trot - Pick of the Day, 6.30pm

Esio Trot - Pick of the Day, 6.30pm

Roald Dahl's Esio Trot BBC One HD, 6.30pm

Mr Hoppy is a shy old man, and he's been in love with Mrs Silver, the woman who lives in the apartment below him, for years.

Noticing her love for her pet tortoise and her laments that he doesn't grow any bigger, Mr Hoppy sets up an adorable plan of multiple tortoises and silly spells to woo Mrs Silver.

A charming Roald Dahl adaptation, starring Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench with a characterful little tortoise named Esio Trot (it's tortoise backwards!)

David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies Sky 1 HD & 3D, 7pm

After the fascinating, adorable (and sometimes harrowing) Life Stories, Attenborough focuses his attention on the winged beasts of our animal kingdom. You can see all the feathers and swooping in 3D, too.

Friday 2nd January

The Musketeers - Pick of the Day, 9pm

The Musketeers - Pick of the Day, 9pm

The Musketeers BBC One HD, 9pm

Our quartet of swashbuckling heroes are back in a brand new Friday night, post water-shed timeslot. We've been promised a darker and sexier series two, with Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnan fighting and seducing their way through France.

There's a new baby heir to protect, too, although the prince's parentage is questionable. And with Peter Capaldi trading in his moustache for a blue police box, Marc Warren steps in as the new villain, the dastardly Comte de Rochefort.

'Til next year!