Christmas TV highlights to look out for this festive season
- Henry Northmore
- 6 December 2018
Including the BBC's annual Agatha Christie adaptation, the new Watership Down miniseries and Netflix's The Christmas Chronicles
Sitting round watching TV in your pyjamas is one Christmas tradition we can all get behind. Thankfully there's always a load of old movies, a few perennial favourites, the odd premiere and a ton of specials to keep you entertained. So if you need a break from the family festivities, settle back, relax and stick on the telly.
Why do murders in country manors feel like the perfect Christmas TV? There's a new Hercule Poirot in town as BBC turn to The ABC Murders for their annual Agatha Christie adaptation. A three-part murder mystery with John Malkovich making his debut as the idiosyncratic Belgian detective, the cast of suspects includes the likes of Rupert Grint, Andrew Buchan, Tara Fitzgerald and Freya Mavor.
New Year is always a let-down. And Ben Wheatley (Sightseers, Kill List) taps into that schadenfreude in Happy New Year, Colin Burstead on BBC Two over Hogmanay. In this dysfunctional drama, NYE celebrations take a dark turn when Colin's (Neil Maskell) estranged brother (Sam Riley) arrives unexpectedly. Wheatley is also planning on using the same characters for a new TV series later in 2019.
Jodie Whittaker has well and truly proved herself in Doctor Who, so it's no surprise to see a Christmas special on the calendar. Staying with sci-fi, there's a new version of HG Wells' classic The War of the Worlds (BBC One) starring Eleanor Tomlinson, Rafe Spall and Robert Carlyle. 'The version of The War of the Worlds that I wanted to make is one that's faithful to the tone and the spirit of the book,' explains writer Peter Harness, 'but which also feels contemporary, surprising and full of shocks: a collision of sci-fi, period drama and horror. There is nothing cosy or predictable about Wells' novel, and that's what I want to capture in the show.'
Meanwhile, Kurt Russell dons the furry red suit for his take on Santa in Netflix brand new movie The Christmas Chronicles which looks like good clean family fun with a cheeky twinkle in its eye, and will be available from November 22.