St Stephen's Day TV tips

Your guide to what's on the box on St Stephen's Day.

St Stephen's Day TV tips

FILM: The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (BBC1, 4.40pm)

(2012) It’s the mid-19th century and Queen Victoria has declared war on all pirates who dare to sail around Britain’s waters.

The Pirate Captain is the leader of a ragtag group of seadogs. His ship-shape subordinates include Pirate with Scarf, Pirate with Gout, Albino Pirate and Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate.

Consequently, The Pirate Captain and his crew are a laughing stock.

To prove the naysayers wrong, The Pirate Captain sets out to capture a Bank of England treasure ship but inadvertently storms The Beagle and captures a young Charles Darwin and his primate manservant, Mister Bobo.

The scientist leads the pirates on a merry dance that might just end with the beleaguered Captain taking home the coveted Pirate Of The Year prize. But first they must venture to the capital without being spotted by the Queen.

Starring: [The voices of] Hugh Grant, David Tennant, Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey

FILM: Cars 2 (RTÉ One, 6.20pm)

(2011) Star race car Lightning McQueen and his pal Mater head overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix race. But the road to the championship becomes rocky as Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage. (HD)

Starring: Owen Wilson (Voice), Larry the Cable Guy (Voice). Directors: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis

SITCOM: Still Open All Hours (BBC1, 6.25pm)

Open All Hours without Ronnie Barker may have initially seemed unthinkable, but last year’s one-off Still Open All Hours got round the problem by revealing that one-time delivery boy Granville (David Jason) had taken his head out of the clouds – well, most of the time – and become a penny-pinching shopkeeper in his own right. And it proved so popular with viewers, it’s back for a full series.

Granville has to balance looking after his late uncle’s shop with keeping an eye on his handsome son Leroy, the result of a whirlwind romance in Blackpool some twenty-odd years ago, and serving the local community by selling them stock they hadn’t realised they wanted. In the opening episode, he also has to take extra security precautions, while regular customer Eric (Johnny Vegas) has a curious injury to contend with.

Is it worse than the anchovy paste-related mishap he suffered last year?

DRAMA: The Boy in the Dress (BBC1, 6.55pm)

David Walliams has quite the imagination, but that’s not news to us; this is a man who’s never too far from a good old ratings-grabber.

Now, the Beeb is airing another of his most popular books, with some TV greats brought on board for good measure. It tells the story of 12-year-old Dennis (Billy Kennedy), who leads an ordinary life, but feels different.

He wants to escape to some sort of magical world, and manages to find it in Raj’s newsagent when a chance sighting in a fashion magazine introduces him to a whole new world of creativity.

But whether he can get away with wearing a dress in the eyes of his headmaster, dad and footballing school mates is an altogether different quandary.

The programme co-stars the likes of Jennifer Saunders, Tim McInnerny, Meera Syal and James Felicity Montagu alongside David Walliams himself.

So with the Beeb telling us that this year’s festive telly line-up is better than ever, they might just be right...

ENTERTAINMENT: XPose Celebrity Special 2014 (TV3, 8pm)

Xposé looks back at the biggest entertainment stories of 2014 and from London Fashion week to The Hunger Games it’s packed with the biggest stars in Fashion and showbiz.

ENTERTAINMENT: A Christmas Cracker (UTV, 8pm)

Bradley Walsh is ITV’s golden boy these days when it comes to easy-viewing, tea-time game shows.

But we shouldn’t forget that his roots are primarily in entertaining (well, following an injury that finished him as a professional footballer – his then-preferred career), and so he’s attempting to get everyone in the Christmas spirit with a show from the Hammersmith Apollo.

And he’s got a rather varied evening lined up for us, as The Muppets drop by for a chat, with Kermit taking the opportunity to duet with Katherine Jenkins.

Meanwhile, Al Murray will be providing the funnies for the evening, and the Cirque du Soleil give a showstopping performance.

Dance act Flawless put on some moves, while the cast Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and pop band The Vamps perform.

And if that little lot doesn’t get you cheery for Chrimbo, nothing will...

FILM: Avengers Assemble (BBC1, 8.30pm)

(2012) When Asgardian demi-God Loki arrives on Earth and steals an all-powerful device from SHIELD, Nick Fury and his colleagues recruit Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America to retrieve it, while Thor also returns to bring his renegade half-brother Loki to justice.

Thanks to a witty script and assured direction by Joss Whedon, this is one of the most enjoyable superhero epics ever made. It seemed like a huge gamble recruiting so many comic book characters for one movie, but it paid off handsomely, generating 1.5billion worth of business.

After a couple of humdrum movies, with his alter ego played by two different actors, this third time is the charm for Hulk, who steals a couple of the biggest laughs of the film.

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Renner

FILM: Snow White and the Huntsman (RTÉ2, 9pm)

(2012) In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen. (HD)

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth. Director: Rupert Sanders

ENTERTAINMENT: The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2014 (Channel 4, 9pm)

This time of year has its obvious highlights – the days off work, copious quantities of turkey and the joy upon children’s faces, for instance – and others which are less eagerly anticipated, but just as enjoyable.

One of these minor pleasures is the of end-of-the-year recap shows which flood the schedules. The festive period is, it seems, the perfect time to cast a wry eye over the past 365 days’ events, recalling the last year’s more ridiculous stories, with a host of hilarious famous faces on hand to poke fun.

Jimmy Carr is, as always, asking the questions, and we’ll be playing along at home to find out whether or not we’ve been paying attention this year.

There are a lot of similar shows wedged between Santa’s arrival and the last chocolate in the tin being polished off, but this one is our favourite.

COMEDY: Birds of a Feather (UTV, 9pm)

Sharon and Tracy are going on holiday to the Canary Islands.

Well, that’s the intention, but Tracy’s fear of flying may scupper their plans.

Meanwhile, Dorien has dressed like an explosion in a paint factory, much to the delight of the studio audience at least. Other comic gems in this festive special include Dorien stocking a bookshop with copies of her literary masterpiece Sixty Shades of Green, and our Cockney molls trapped on a plane with a jolly fat bloke.

Given the fact she’s got the sort of vivid imagination that could make Jackie Collins blush, it’s not long before Dorien is chatting up her handsome fellow passenger and dreaming of getting even more up close and personal with him. However, as with all sitcoms, things don’t quite go as expected and the screeching trio find their holiday interrupted en route to paradise.

The cast includes Linda Robson, Pauline Quirke and Lesley Joseph.

FILM: Skyfall (RTÉ One, 9.10pm)

(2012) Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Whilst MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. (HD)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem. Director: Sam Mendes

FILM: In Fear (Film4, 10.45pm)

(2013) A couple go to Ireland for a music festival, but get hopelessly lost when driving through a series of country roads.

Their plight turns deadly as they are terrorised by mysterious figures lurking in the darkness, while an encounter with a seemingly harmless local brings dangers of its own.

This is a low-budget, little British cracker from The Blair Witch Horror school of improvised horror. During filming the cast got a couple of pages day-by-day with ideas, then they would improvise.

“You were led into a false sense of security because nothing would happen for a few days and you’d be sitting around talking, and then suddenly something would jump out at us and we didn’t know what it was,” explains Iain De Caestecker.

Starring: Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech

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