Des O'Driscoll previews the best of Christmas TV
Strictly Come Dancing
BBC One, 8.50pm
Three couples have made it into the final and perform their last sequences before a winner is voted on. A results show follows at 8.50pm.
The Bourne Ultimatum
RTÉ Two, 9.30pm
Paul Greengrass directs Matt Damon in the third instalment of the highly enjoyable franchise.
It’s A Wonderful Life
Frank Capra’s all-time classic pops up in various parts of the Christmas schedule, and if you haven’t seen it in while, the 1946 tale is well worth another look. Jimmy Stewart and co work every time.
The School Around The Corner From Cork
RTÉ One, 5.10pm
Ray D’arcy has a revival of the show on Christmas Day, but this original from 50 years ago features Paddy Crosbie chatting to school children on Leeside. Possibly filmed at Collins Barracks, RTÉ recently discovered tapes of the show that they believed had been destroyed.
Joanna Lumley: The Search for Noah’s
The affable presenter says she has always been fascinated by the story of Noah and the great flood. In this documentary, she tries to decipher if there is any truth behind the tale, travelling through Turkey, Oman and India piecing together evidence from scientists, religious texts and popular lore.
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
RTÉ Two, 6.25pm
Harrison Ford and Cate Blanchett star in this 2008 revival of Steven Spielberg’s film series.
Kitchen Hero Christmas Special
RTÉ One, 8.15pm
Donal Skehan is in Austria to check out that nation’s Christmas culture and also get inspiration for some seasonal treats. Apple strudel and a visit to a schnapps distillery are both on the menu. How bad.
Outnumbered Christmas Special
BBC One, 9.35pm
The Brockman kids are growing up fast, but it’s good to have them back for this one-off, with series five to follow next year. This episode has the family throwing a party for their neighbours, but all does not go to plan.
Room On The Broom
BBC One, 4.35pm
If you want to distract the smallies for a while on the big day, this animated adaptation of the book by Julia ‘Gruffalo’ Donaldson may be just the thing. A kind witch with a grumpy cat allows too many animals onto her broom with disastrous consequences.
RTÉ One, 5.10pm
This 2009 animation from the Pixar stable is part of a superb afternoon of children’s viewing from RTÉ. But don’t just leave this one to the little folk. Deservedly nominated for a best film Oscar, it really is a movie that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.
Call The Midwife — Christmas Special
BBC One, 7.30pm
This semi-factual drama was a huge success in its debut season, and given the subject matter, it isn’t a surprise that the show is being wheeled out as the BBC’s flagship drama over the holidays. The midwives and nuns are busier than ever, but their routine is interrupted when an abandoned newborn is discovered on the steps of the convent. It all makes for rather emotional fare.
School Around The Corner
RTÉ One, 8pm
Ray D’Arcy steps into the shoes of Paddy Crosbie and visits children in Waterford, Cork and Dublin to hear them talk about such subjects as their best friends, how Santa gets down the chimney, etc.
St Stephen’s Day
It’s Boxing Day, innit, so there’s a full programme of fixtures. Nottingham Forest v Leeds United (Sky Sports 1, ko 12.15pm) in the Championship should have several Irish players involved, as will Aston Villa v Tottenham Hotspur (Sky Sports 1, ko 5.30pm) and Stoke City v Liverpool (Sky Sports 1, ko 7.45pm).
Excellent animated version of The Little Mermaid from Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese director who also gave us Spirited Away.
St Stephen’s Night With Vincent Browne
Ho ho ho — the ghost of political disasters past is joined by the Rubberbandits and various other guests for a review of the year.
RTÉ Two, 10.10pm
Documentary on the thrice weekly chatshow from the early 1990s. Not all of it worked, but Shay Healy, Ann-Marie Hourihane and co often provided a must-see show if you wanted to be in on the following day’s equivalent of the water cooler conversation. Watch out for the likes of Gina Moxley and Anne Enright in the sketches, and also the classic clips from Kevin McAleer in his heyday. In political terms at least, the show’s most significant moment came when former justice minister Seán Doherty, spilt the beans on Charlie Haughey’s complicity in a phone-tapping scandal.
Sup As An Tobar
RTÉ One, 8.30pm
Recently retired broadcaster Pat Butler chooses a selection of his favourite Irish language documentaries from the RTÉ archives over the past 50 years.
Mumford And Sons Live At Red Rocks
RTÉ Two, 11.40pm
U2 recorded a fine concert film at the famed Colorado amphitheatre, but now it’s the turn of the hugely popular London band.
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