TV not to miss

CHRISTMAS EVE

FILM PICK: Quantam Of Solace

RTE One, 9.20pm

Daniel Craig’s second outing as James Bond wasn’t quite as enjoyable as Casino Royale, but his attempts to thwart a group planning to take over Bolivia’s water resources does produce plenty of exciting action.

Outnumbered

BBC One, 9.20pm

A Christmas special sees the Brockman family (above) all set to go away for the holidays. But then Grandad ends up in hospital, causing much guilt-laden deliberation about what to do, and typically forthright interventions from the junior branch of the clan.

Bill Bailey: Dandelion Mind

Channel 4, 10.55pm

A live show from the well-read comedian has him musing on such subjects as celebrity, TV and creationism. Musical interludes include a disco re-working of Gary Numan’s classic track, Cars.

CHRISTMAS DAY

Wall-E

RTÉ One, 12.40pm

Excellent animated sci-fi fare from the Pixar stable. Set on Earth in the distant future, Wall-E is the little robot who has discovered a secret that just might save the planet, and also discovers the love of his life along the way.

FILM PICK: Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince

RTÉ One, 3.40pm

This 2009 offering was the sixth film in the Harry Potter series. It has the maturing young wizard exploring the past of Lord Voldemort, and also experiencing stirrings of strong emotion for Ginny Weasley. Possibly the best film of the franchise.

EastEnders

RTÉ One, 9pm

Full of Christmas cheer and bursting with seasonal goodwill? An hour of EastEnders will soon sort you out. In fairness to the long-running soap, the heaps of misery are served up with dollops of decent drama. Cue the tension between Max and Derek, revelations about Phil’s stalker and a nasty fire. Bravely, it’s going up against Downton Abbey in a ratings battle.

ST STEPHEN’S DAY

FILM PICK: The Chronicles Of Narnia — The Lion, the Witch And The Wardrobe

RTÉ One, 3.30pm

Hugely enjoyable adaptation of CS Lewis’s classic tale of four children who find a secret world through a wardrobe in an English country house during the Second World War. Familiar adult faces include James McAvoy as Mr Tumnus the faun and Tilda Swinton as the White Witch.

Dublin V Kerry — The Myth And The Magic September 2011

RTE Two, 7.30pm

Looks back at an All-Ireland final which came with a lot of historical baggage and a weight of expectation. In many ways, it was a game that lived up to the hype, producing an amazing finish in which reclusive goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton emerged as the hero of the hour.

TUESDAY

The Queen,

RTÉ One, 10.30pm

Whatever your feelings about the British monarch, Stephen Frears’ take on Elizabeth II’s actions after the death of Diana is an impressive film. As ever, Helen Mirren is superb in the title role.

FILM PICK: Babel

RTÉ Two, 11.50pm

Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu followed up 21 Grams with another weighty masterpiece. An ensemble cast includes the likes of Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael García Bernal as four seemingly-separate stories around the world are slowly woven together. Unfortunately, the fact that it’s 143 minutes long could mean it’s one for the recorder at this time of night.

WEDNESDAY

FILM PICK: The Quiet Man

Film4, 2.30pm

John Wayne, and Maureen O’Hara star in John Ford’s 1952 tale of an Irish-American returning to the home country to reclaim his family farm. “We Danahers are a fightin’ people.”

The Zoo: A Christmas Special

RTÉ One, 6.30pm

Keeping exotic wild animals in a zoo in Ireland can be a challenging task at the best of times, but this one-off special shows how last year’s record low temperatures brought a whole new set of challenges. We see behind the scenes at Dublin Zoo as a litter of pups from one of the hunting dogs have to be seen by the animal care team, while other African animals have to be kept nice and warm. On the other hand, the Arctic conditions also helped other animals feel right at home as the amul tigers, snow leopards and grey wolves all revelled in it.

Kilkenny v Tipperary — The Trilogy

RTÉ Two, 8pm

Players from the teams who’ve faced off in the All-Ireland final over past three years talk about those memorable games that produced joy and heartbreak for both sides.

Des Bishop — Best Bits

RTÉ Two, 9.30pm

Des Bishop is a fairly constant presence in our media, but this show has the advantage of presenting a sort of greatest hits from three of his DVDs: Live At Vicar St, Fitting In and Tongues.

THURSDAY

FILM PICK: United

RTÉ One, 11.40pm

Seen earlier this year on the BBC, this film starring David Tennant (above) is a fairly decent attempt at telling the tale of the Busby Babes of Manchester United and the tragedy that befell them at the Munich air crash in 1958.

The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town

TG4, 1am

With lavishly-priced Bruce Springsteen gig tickets working their way into many Irish stockings this Christmas, perhaps this documentary on his 1978 album will be of interest. Footage captures the rehearsal process and the studio scenes for the record.

FRIDAY

Bear’s Wild Weekend With Miranda

Channel 4, 8pm

Comedienne Miranda Hart heads to the Swiss Alps with Bear Grylls, where she will struggle for laughs as she faces her greatest fears traversing a glacier and abseiling down a waterfall.

FILM PICK: X-Men Origins: Wolverine

RTÉ Two, 9.15pm

The fourth instalment of the X-Men franchise has Hugh Jackman (above) shining in a film that explores how his Wolverine character developed from childhood.

The Graham Norton Show

BBC One, 10.20pm

The west Cork man presents a compilation of clips from his best shows during the year.

Charlie Brooker’s 2011 Wipe

BBC Four, 10.30pm

The wonderful Charlie Brooker takes a unique look back on the events that made the TV news during the year.

Thin Lizzy — Bad Reputation

BBC Four, 1.25pm

Part of the Legends series, this excellent documentary relates the tale of Phil Lynott’s band, one of the most successful Irish groups ever whose rock ’n’ roll lifestyle eventually led to the lead singer’s tragic end at the age of 36.

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