Gizmodo's 2015 Christmas TV Guide: Sherlock, Doctor Who and More

By Gerald Lynch on at

So, you've driven off to the sticks to spend time with the parents/in-laws/estranged kids/"every family's got one" nutcase (delete as applicable). There's no internet. They have no DVD player. It's just you and the old gogglebox. Can you make it through Christmas with just the TV for company?

We'll level with you – it's not a vintage year for TV this festive season. We've trawled through the worst of it to find the best for Gizmodo's 2015 Christmas TV Guide. Stick with us, and you'll do just fine. Maybe. Just...just make sure you've got some films downloaded to a laptop or something all the same. Just in case...

2015 Christmas TV Guide

Monday 21st December

The Golden Age of Children's TV -- 9pm, BBC Four
Remember when kids played out in the street? The days when you'd leave your door unlocked and Minecraft was just the twinkle in the eye of the sperm of Markus Persson's father? No? That's fair enough – it was bloody ages ago. But you probably do remember a time when kids watched great TV rather than the "#SPONSOREDCONTENT" of teenage YouTube celebrities. Roll back the years to the glory days of children's TV with this retrospective including the likes of Morph and The Magic Roundabout.

Don’t Miss -- Raiders of the Lost Ark -- 1.45pm, BBC1

Satellite & Cable Choice -- Star Wars: The Force Awakens - On Set -- 9pm, Sky1

Satellite & Cable Choice -- Bad Boys-- 10pm, Sky1

Satellite & Cable Choice -- Shallow Grave-- 11.20pm, TCM

Tuesday 22nd December

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa -- 10.30pm, BBC2
A-ha! Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge character is a comedy hall of famer, but the thought of him making the jump to the silver screen terrified many. Could failed radio host Partridge hold his own outside the confines of a 30 minute TV series? Absolutely. Partridge becomes the "Alpha Papa" as he becomes embroiled in the world's most mundane hostage negotiation at a local radio station. It's part Die Hard, part Tony Blackburn's Pick of the Pops, and all funny. Jurassic Park!

Don’t Miss -- Luther -- 9pm, BBC1

Satellite & Cable Choice -- The LEGO Movie -- 8pm, Sky Family

Wednesday 23rd December

The Entire Star Wars Saga -- From 10.30am, Star Wars Channel (Sky 304, Virgin 411, BT 507)
Right, there's no hiding it – December 23rd is an awful day for Christmas TV this year. It's just repeats and bad, bad films. Unless you're a Sky-subscribing Star Wars fan, that is! Sky's dedicated a whole channel to all things Star Wars, right across the Christmas period, meaning you could effectively watch every film back-to-back, around the clock from the moment you step out of work to when you step back into the office in the New Year. Think of it as a primer for The Force Awakens (or, as you'll likely have seen it already at this point a reminder of why we all got so excited in the first place).

Don’t Miss -- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade -- 1.45pm, BBC1

Thursday 24th December

It's a Wonderful Life -- 2.15pm, Channel 4
Yeah, yeah. You've seen it. We all have. Well, shut up Scrooge – if you can't make time once a year for the best Christmas film ever, then you've got no soul. If the stress of Christmas has started to get on top of you, Frank Capra's modern day fairytale will remind you that there's always something to be grateful for, even when times get tough. Go on, have a cry, we won't tell anyone.

Don’t Miss -- Back to the Future Part II -- 11.25am, ITV

Don’t Miss -- Finding Nemo -- 3.50pm, BBC1

Don’t Miss -- The Nightmare Before Christmas -- 7.25pm, ITV2

Satellite & Cable Choice -- The Terminator -- 10.20pm, Sky Movies Action / Adventure

Friday 25th December

Doctor Who -- 5.15pm, BBC1
Peter Capaldi's Doctor is reunited with his old flame River Song in this year's Christmas special. It's a comedic turn, and one that's probably a bit too lovey-dovey for it's own good by the sounds of things, but the romance is matched with marauding robots, and a surprising smattering of gore.

Don’t Miss -- Stick Man -- 4.45pm, BBC1

Don’t Miss -- E.T The Extra-Terrestrial -- 3.55pm, ITV2

Satellite & Cable Choice -- Big Hero 6 -- 12.15pm / 6.15pm, Sky Movies Premiere

Saturday 26th December

Inside LEGO at Christmas -- 8pm, Channel 4
LEGO, officially the world's best toy. Fact, no comebacks. If you've little'uns running around (or are a big kid yourself) chances are you've got some lying around having been unwrapped from under the Christmas tree at this point. Ever wondered how it got there? Channel 4 has an exclusive look inside the Danish company's headquarters as it gets ready for its annual manic Christmas rush.

Satellite & Cable Choice -- Avengers: Age of Ultron -- 2pm / 8pm, Sky Movies Premiere

Don’t Miss -- Jurassic Park -- 1.20 pm, ITV

Don’t Miss -- Skyfall -- 8pm, ITV2

Sunday 27th December

Hugo -- 3.35pm, Channel 4
Unfairly forgotten, Hugo is an underrated gem from the heady days of the 3D movie boom, the year of our lord 2011. As much an exploration of the history of film as it is a movie in its own right, it tells the tale of an orphan living between the walls of a Paris rail station, trying to fix his father's automaton. Though you won't be able to appreciate it in this Channel 4 broadcast, Hugo is also one of the best 3D films ever made too, with director Martin Scorsese really making the most of the medium.

Don’t Miss -- Oz the Great and Powerful -- 4.05pm, BBC1

Satellite & Cable Choice -- Fungus the Bogeyman -- 6pm, Sky1

Satellite & Cable Choice -- Exodus: Gods and Kings -- 5pm, Sky Premiere

Monday 28th December

Royal Institution Christmas Lectures  -- 8pm, BBC Four (continues each night, same time until Wednesday 30th)
Right, time to shake off that turkey-malaise and flex your brain muscle again. The Royal Institution's Christmas Lectures return for their annual BBC slot, and this year's theme sounds fantastic, as some of the greatest minds from across the globe explain just what it takes to survive in space. In fact, this year, it's not just the greatest minds on the planet, but some insight from one of those currently offworld, too – British astronaut Tim Peake will be reporting in to let us know how he's adjusting to life on the International Space Station.

Don’t Miss -- Behind the Candelabra -- 9pm, BBC2

Don’t Miss -- Michael Palin's Quest for Artemisia -- 9pm, BBC4

Don’t Miss -- A Frozen Christmas -- 7.05pm, Channel 4

Tuesday 29th December


The Amazing Spider-Man -- 7.30pm, ITV
Yeah so... it's another quiet day on TV. Maybe check out one of your presents, or fire up Netflix if you're not in some Wi-Fi blackout dungeon. If not, you'll have to make do with the third-best Spider-Man film today (after the first two Sam Raimi directed ones, natch). It'll tide you over until the new Spider-Kid gets makes his debut in the next Captain America film, anyway.

Satellite & Cable Choice -- Frozen -- 11am / 6.10pm, Sky Disney

Wednesday 30th December

Charlie Brooker's 2015 Wipe -- 9pm, BBC2
War, terrorism, floods, a refugee crisis, Prime Ministers, pigs and one Donald Trump. How Charlie Brooker's planning on raising a smile from a thoroughly miserable 2015 remains to be seen. But if anyone can manage a scathingly-funny whistlestop tour of a 12-month shitstorm, it's Brooker and his annual satirical retrospective.

Don’t Miss -- Great Barrier Reef With David Attenborough -- 9pm, BBC1

Don’t Miss -- Toy Story -- 8pm, BBC3

Don’t Miss -- Vertigo -- 10pm, BBC4

Thursday 31st December

We've said it before, and we'll say it again...

Don’t Miss -- Up -- 2.50pm, BBC1

Satellite & Cable Choice -- Se7en -- 9pm, Watch

Satellite & Cable Choice -- The Theory of Everything -- 5.45pm, Sky Select

Friday 1st January

Sherlock -- 9pm, BBC1
Ah, now, finally. A proper Christmas TV special treat. While another series of the Cumberbatch / Freeman fronted Sherlock may be a distant prospect, this one-off episode looks sure to delight. Returning Arthur Conan Doyle's characters to their 19th-century era of origin, detective Sherlock and sidekick Watson explore the creepy apparent resurrection of a lady, AKA, the Abominable Bride. Cue snow-covered lamplit streets, and a gadget-free investigation.

Don’t Miss -- Wreck-It Ralph -- 4.30pm, BBC1

Don’t Miss -- Pulp Fiction -- 10pm, Dave

Satellite & Cable Choice -- Kingsman: The Secret Service -- 8pm, Sky Premiere

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