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The Giz UK Guide to Essential Christmas Telly

By Kim Snaith on at

While your TV guide may trick you into thinking there's nothing worth watching apart from Eastenders and Coronation Street (spoilers: people fight, people cry, someone probably dies), you'll be happy to know that this year's festive line-up is actually pretty full-on.

You might want to make some space on your Sky+ box though, as you'll probably want to record some of these for later. Here's our picks of the best on telly over the next couple of weeks...

Humans (18th December, 9pm on Channel 4)

The finale of Channel 4's hit robo-drama is incoming on Sunday 18th. It may not be the most festive thing to hit your tellybox in the next few weeks, but if you've been following Humans, you definitely don't want to miss this season's close, filled with revenge, doubts and, of course, synths.

The World's Most Expensive Toys (22nd December, 9pm on Channel 4)

When I was a kid, one of my favourite things to play with was my nan's salad spinner (true story). I had more expensive actual toys, sure, but that salad spinner was unbeatable in terms of entertainment factor (what can I say, I was a weird kid). However, some kids aren't happy playing with archaic kitchen utensils. Some would much rather have a £22,000 doll's house, or a crystal-encrusted rocking horse. This documentary lets us envy the spoilt brats of billionaires and the ridiculous shit they get bought for Christmas.

The Grand Tour (From 23rd December, Amazon Prime)

The Christmas special of Clarkson, Hammond and May's Top Gear-but-not programme takes the trio to the arctic circle for a full-on wintery vibe. There's also discussion about car-related gifts, but as ever, don't expect any serious suggestions. It'll be available to stream on Amazon (free for Prime subscribers) from midnight on 23rd December.

Peter Kay's Christmas Shuffle (Christmas Eve, 10.05pm on BBC)

Back in 2001, Peter Kay was the funniest comedian around. Unfortunately, he's not really had any new jokes in the last 15 years, and we're still all expected to laugh at "GARLIC BREAD?!" like the first time we heard it. His Christmas Shuffle is an ode to just that, delivering a mash-up of the best bits from his career. Still, there's going to be some clips from Phoenix Nights in there, so it's worth it for that alone.

Through the Keyhole (Christmas Eve, 10.30pm on ITV)

Mister Lemon is back doing what he does best, making lewd jokes and rummaging around in 'celebrity' drawers, but this time with a festive twist: the houses are kitted out in Christmas decorations (shocking). It's a precursor to a new series that will continue in January.

The Great Christmas Bake Off (Christmas Day, 4.45pm and Boxing Day, 7pm on BBC1)

It's the grand farewell of the British baking institution as we know it. This special Christmas two-parter is our last chance to enjoy Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood and Mel and Sue together as they should be. The contestants will be bakers from past series, invited back to create special festive delicacies. Apparently, there's also a Salvation Army band in the tent. Let's just hope they've got some space heaters in there too, otherwise they'll all be freezing their buns off...

Doctor Who (Christmas Day, 5.45pm on BBC1)

The year-long wait is almost over for a visit to the only doctor we're ever excited to see. The Doctor Who Christmas special looks set to be a good 'un, packed with plenty of familiar faces and... a superhero? If you want a sneak peek at what you've got to look forward to, the BBC released an extended teaser last month for Children in Need.

The Last Dragonslayer (Christmas Day, 5.45pm on Sky One)

This is probably the first and last chance you'll ever get to see Ricky Tomlinson dressed as a wizard, and for that reason alone I think Sky's one-off drama The Last Dragonslayer is worth a watch (or at least Sky+'ing). It's more of a family offering, but looks to have some impressive CGI in the way of dragons, and a good selection of familiar British actors.

LEGO's Big Christmas (Boxing Day, 8pm on Channel 4)

Anyone mildly interested in LEGO will be aware of how secretive the massive company is about what happens behind closed doors. This exclusive documentary follows last month's opening of the brand new flagship store in London – the largest LEGO store in the world. You'll get to see a six-metre high Big Ben being built, as well as a five-metre long replica Underground train.

Inside No. 9: The Devil of Christmas (27th December, 10pm on BBC2)

This darkly comedic series from Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith may have passed under the mainstream radar during its last two seasons, but it's definitely worth a watch. Every episode is a standalone feat of genius filmmaking, telling short individual stories about strange, funny, and sometimes downright sinister happenings, all set in a different house numbered 9.

Jonathan Creek (28th December, 9pm on BBC1)

Everyone's favourite sleuth is making a return for the first time since March 2014. Alan Davies' character has been much-loved since the 90s, and this 90 minute special sounds like it's going to be back on form. Entitled 'Daemons' Roost', Mr. Creek gets himself embroiled in a macabre legend of demon summoning. Warwick Davis guest stars.

Sherlock (New Year's Day, 8.30pm on BBC1)

Season 4 of everyone's favourite detective kicks off on New Year's Day. The ever-enigmatic Benedict Cumberbatch is on form as ever, but he's perhaps not the focus of this episode: his trusty sidekick Watson and his wife are becoming parents to a wee bundle of joy.