Christmas TV 2017 on BBC: What's on and when - Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who, Call the Midwife, French and Saunders

Line up your Christmas viewing with our guide to what’s on the BBC over the festive season.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for telly – all  our favourite programmes get festive specials and there are plenty of magical shows to look forward to.

Christmas is a big deal at the BBC and the broadcaster has been planning accordingly to make sure there’s something to suit everyone’s viewing taste.

[Read more: Strictly Christmas line-up revealed]

Read on to whet your appetite for what there is to look forward to during 2017’s holiday season.

Strictly Come Dancing

The current series may crown its 15th winner just before Christmas, but we don’t have long to wait until the celebrities are back on the dancefloor for the festive special.

Strictly has become essential Christmas Day viewing in many homes, and this year's special offers a brilliant line-up of former contestants.

[Read more: Strictly Christmas special heads to Buckingham Palace]

Get ready to see Kimberley Walsh, Colin Jackson, Judy Murray, Katie Derham, Robbie Savage and Jeremy Vine all have a go at lifting the Silver Star trophy with their wintry routines.

Strictly Come Dancing - Christmas Day, 6.30pm, BBC One

Call The Midwife

Cosy family drama Call The Midwife lends itself perfectly to a festive episode and has been a hit with fans in recent years.

Last Christmas, we saw the midwives head to South Africa to provide their support to a struggling clinic, but 2017 will keep the cast closer to home and Nonnatus House.

[Read more: All you need to know about Call The Midwife Christmas special]

It’s 1963, the year that the Big Freeze hit London and cut off many households thanks to icy, snowy conditions – what will this mean for the expectant mothers of the East End?

Call the Midwife - Christmas Day, 7.40pm, BBC One

300 Years of French and Saunders

The major Christmas Day event for BBC One sees one of the UK’s all-time favourite comedy duos reunite in a rare episode.

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders are back together 10 years on from their last series and will put together a one-off sketch show as a festive treat.

Expect the pair’s take on current TV to include their very own versions of The Handmaid’s Tale, Geordie Shore and Love Island.

300 Years of French and Saunders - Christmas Day, 10.35pm, BBC One

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott's classic coming-of-age tale about the March sisters brings heartbreak and joy to viewers over three parts this Christmas.

[Read more: Starry cast confirmed for Little Women]

The adaptation is in good hands as it's been helmed by Call The Midwife writer Heidi Thomas, while the star-studded cast includes Dame Angela Lansbury, Sir Michael Gambon and Emily Watson.

Little Women - Boxing Day and December 27 8pm, December 28 8.30pm, BBC One

Doctor Who

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Doctor Who, and 2017’s offering is an even more exciting one than usual.

We last saw Peter Capaldi’s Doctor when he was preparing to regenerate, and we know that the special instalment will feature David Bradley playing the First Doctor, a role that originally belonged to the late William Hartnell.

[Read more: Everything we know about Doctor Who Christmas special]

Fans will also get a first glimpse of new Time Lord Jodie Whittaker as she gears up for her first full series in 2018, and will revisit popular companion Bill (Pearl Mackie) in the much-anticipated part of BBC One’s Christmas Day programming.

Doctor Who - Christmas Day, 5.30pm, BBC One

The Queen's Christmas Broadcast

Her Majesty will of course take centre stage on Christmas Day with her annual address to the nation.

Although many of the events she may mention from across the nation this year were sad ones, the Queen also has plenty to look forward to in 2018 as one grandson is set to get married, and another will become a father for the third time.

The Queen's Christmas Broadcast - Christmas Day, 3pm, BBC One


The dream version of Christmas may be all joy, cheer and goodwill to all men, but for many of us a full day cooped up indoors with the family often ends up more like a scene from EastEnders by nightfall.

What does Santa have in store for the residents of Walford this Christmas Day?

[Read more: EastEnders Christmas spoilers revealed]

It’s anyone’s guess whether we’ll be singing candlelight carols around the Square, or watching the cast turfed out of the Vic in a murderous row, but one thing’s for sure – Christmas is never a quiet one in Albert Square.

EastEnders - Christmas Eve 8pm, Christmas Day 9pm, Boxing Day 7.30pm, BBC One

The Miniaturist

BBC One is going heavy on the period drama adaptations this Christmas, with a two-parter of acclaimed Jessie Burton novel The Miniaturist.

It tells the story of a wealthy household that hides forbidden passions and secrets, intertwined in a magical tale about a mysterious carved dolls' house.

The Miniaturist - Boxing Day and December 27, 9pm, BBC One

The Highway Rat

Little children will be thrilled to see another of Julia Donaldson’s stories making it to the screen this Christmas on BBC One.

With animation based on Axel Scheffler’s drawings, The Highway Rat is the tale of a villainous rodent who terrorises animals up and down the highway by taking their food – until a wily duck comes up with a plan to put an end to his reign of terror.

The half-hour programme features David Tennant as the rat, Rob Brydon as the narrator, Nina Sosanya as the duck, Tom Hollander as the squirrel and Frances de la Tour as the rabbit.

The Highway Rat - Christmas Day, 4.45pm, BBC One

The Snow Queen

We all love a magical theatre show at Christmas, and the talented folk at CBeebies will be bringing all the excitement of the stage to their young audience with screenings of their version of The Snow Queen.

The Hans Christian Anderson classic tale was filmed at a theatre in Leicester earlier in the year in front of a live audience, and there are sure to be plenty of opportunities to watch it from the comfort of your living room over the festive period.

Small viewers can look forward to performances from some of their favourite CBeebies stars including Justin Fletcher, Andy Day, Rebecca Keatley, Cat Sandion, and Dr Ranj Singh.

The Snow Queen - throughout December on CBeebies and Christmas Day, 9am, BBC One

[Read more: Christmas TV highlights 2017]

Mrs Brown's Boys

The popular comedy will return for another Christmas special, much to the delight of fans.

All of the regular cast, including Brendan O' Carroll and Jennifer Gibney, are sure to raise a smile on Christmas evening as we pay them a festive visit.

Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special - Christmas Day, 10pm, BBC One

Mary, Mel and Sue's Big Christmas Thank You

See three of the original four Great British Bake Off stars back together as Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins provide a Christmas tearjerker.

The trio head to South Wales to sprinkle some Christmas magic on a well-deserving community.

Mary, Mel and Sue's Big Christmas Thank You - Christmas Eve, 7pm, BBC One

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella

Can't make it to the theatre this year? Never mind - you can enjoy a festive show from the comfort of your living room with BBC Two.

Popular choreographer Matthew Bourne has put his own unique twist on a classic ballet with Cinderella, and you'll have the best seats in the house when you tune in.

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella - Boxing Day, 5.35pm, BBC Two

Christmas University Challenge

Fight your way through the food overload fog to test your brain power with the finest minds around.

If you want to brush up your quizzing before taking on your family at Trivial Pursuit, here's the place to get some tips on how to win even the toughest of tests.

Christmas University Challenge - Boxing Day, 7.30pm, BBC Two


Kick off the New Year with a gritty new crime drama in the form of McMafia, a gangster series inspired by Misha Glenny's bestseller.

It follows the Godman family, Russians who are exiled in London, as their murderous past catches up with them and forces them into some terrifying situations.

The cast includes Happy Valley star James Norton as well as Faye Marsay and Juliet Rylance.

McMafia - New Year's Day, 9pm, BBC One

[Read more: McMafia - meet the cast and characters]

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