A sporting feast of Christmas TV crackers

TODAY 

A sporting feast of Christmas TV crackers

TOP OF THE TREE

Best of Gillette Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports 1, 7pm).

They’re billing this as a 20-year retrospective, so looks like the early Paul Dempsey era is airbrushed out. Since then, the one constant through Best, McClintock, Marsh and onto Le Tissier, Merson, Thommo, Charlie and Kammy are the lightning reactions, ready stats, shocking puns and ebullient Hartlepool celebrations of Jeff Stelling.

ICING ON THE CAKE

Torvill & Dean: The Perfect Day (BBC Two, 12.35pm).

On Valentine’s Day 1984, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean earned the highest set of marks ever awarded for a Winter Olympic ice-skating routine. The British public fell madly in love with them and a generation of children slid along the lino in their halls before landing a complicated series of salchow jumps.

STOCKING FILLER

The Ronnie O’Sullivan Show (Eurosport, 10.30pm).

Frozen out of the Beeb’s SPOTY shindig again, but there’s always a welcome for Ronnie on Eurosport. This Christmas Special features Jimmy White and Barry Hearn.

BAH HUMBUG

Hollyoaks (Channel 4, 6.30pm).

Sure he’s nearly one of our own. England rugby player Mr Una Healy makes his richly-anticipated cameo. In a never-seen-before soap plot, Big Ben will save the day after stag night escapades jeopardise a wedding.

BREAD AND BUTTER

NCAA American football, Central Michigan Chippewas v Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (ESPN, 5pm).

CHRISTMAS DAY

TOP OF THE TREE

Paddy Mullins — The Great Stayer (Setanta Ireland, 9pm).

Contributions from Jonjo O’Neill, Frankie Dettori, Robert Hall, Noel Meade, Jim Bolger, John Oxx and many more join the dots on a legendary career that brought Mullins from point-to-point schooling to a ten-time champion National Hunt trainer, including some glorious work with the iconic Dawn Run.

ICING ON THE CAKE

Kauto Star: Owning a Legend (Setanta Ireland, 2:30pm).

As we slump full of Christmas pud, festive minds may wander towards retirement and the fervent hope it will be like this all the time. No such luck, alas, for Kauto, whose pension must be grossly inadequate because he is in training to be a dressage horse, as we see here. Tough break.

STOCKING FILLER

NBA Live (BT Sport 1, from 5pm).

Replicate that queasy Christmas Day feeling by overdosing on hoops. The gluttony takes in Knicks v Wizards, Spurs v Thunder, Heat v Cavaliers, Bulls v Lakers and Clippers v Warriors.

BAH HUMBUG

Greatest Goals of 2014 (Sky Sports 1, Noon).

Unless Stephanie gets top billing, we ain’t interested.

BREAD AND BUTTER

Test matches, Australia v India (Sky Sports 2, 11.30pm), New Zealand v Sri Lanka (Sky Sports 2, 8.30pm).

ST STEPHEN’S DAY

TOP OF THE TREE

Thank GAA It’s 2014 (RTE Two, 6.05pm).

Richie Hogan fights back the tears and the crippling loneliness as he visits Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin to talk about being the only man left on the Kilkenny panel. If he can be consoled, he’ll probably reflect on another glorious year for the Cats too.

ICING ON THE CAKE

Munster v Leinster (TG4, 5pm)

Spare a thought for rugby players this time of year. While Joe Soap is enjoying his turkey sensibly, these lads have to force down at least two Christmas dinners and a tub of whey to keep the bulk up. Probably. At least they get to shake off the cobwebs with a PRO12 loosener in Thomond.

STOCKING FILLER

The Crazy Gang (BT Sports 1, 9pm).

You were just thinking how you hadn’t seen Vinnie Jones in ages, weren’t you? And you kinda missed him, despite everything. Here he is, anyway, along with Wisey, Fash, Lawrie, Beasant, The Gouldfather and the rest, talking about their madcap antics and rise to Wembley glory.

BAH HUMBUG

The Premier League big guns should always be away from home on ‘Boxing Day’, to set up a couple of muggings. This lot don’t really look like thrillers: Chelsea v West Ham (Sky Sports 1, 12.30pm), Manchester United v Newcastle (BT Sport 1, 2.30pm), Arsenal v QPR (BT Sport 1, 5.15pm).

BREAD AND BUTTER

Racing From Leopardstown (RTE Two, 1pm).

Championship, Watford v Wolves (Sky Sports 1, 5.15pm).

NBA, Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies v Houston Rockets (BT Sport 2, 6pm, 1am Sat).

Test matches, South Africa v West Indies (Sky Sports 2, 8.25am), New Zealand v Sri Lanka (Sky Sports 2, 8.30pm), Australia v India (Sky Sports 2, 11.30pm).

PRO12, Cardiff Blues v Newport Gwent Dragons (BBC Two, 1.50pm), Ulster v Connacht (BBC Two, 6.35pm).

SATURDAY

TOP OF THE TREE

PDC World Darts Championship (Sky Sports Darts, 12.30pm, 7pm).

Da da da da da da, da da da da da, da da da da da da, Ó, Ó Ó. Time to be jolted from our holiday torpor. We’re into the business end of the festivities as the action resumes at the Ally Ally with the first of the second round matches.

ICING ON THE CAKE

Lewis Hamilton: Duel of the Silver Arrows (BBC One, 1pm).

Suzi Perry, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard convene to have the craic with Britain’s newly-crowned greatest sporting personality. When that’s done, they’ll probably patronise Nico Rosberg, snigger at Sebastian Vettel and wave farewell to Fernando Alonso.

STOCKING FILLER

Domestic Football Year in Review (Setanta Ireland, 6pm).

A trawl through Irish football’s big stories in 2014, probably featuring Dundalk, St Pat’s, John Delaney and Joe McDonnell.

BAH HUMBUG

How the 2014 Ryder Cup Was Won (Sky Sports 4, 3pm).

After the overindulgence of recent days, it may be inadvisable to expose yourself to likely toxic levels of hyperbole and bluster. At least have the Alka Seltzer ready for when they get round to discussing Fergie’s crucial role.

BREAD AND BUTTER

Racing From Leopardstown (RTE Two, 1pm); Chepstow (Channel 4, 1.10pm).

PRO12, Glasgow v Edinburgh (Sky Sports 1, 2.30pm), Ospreys v Scarlets (Sky Sports 1, 5pm).

NBA, Raptors v Clippers (BT Sport 1, 8.30pm).

Test matches, South Africa v West Indies (Sky Sports 2, 8.25am), New Zealand v Sri Lanka (Sky Sports 2, 8.30pm), Australia v India (Sky Sports 2, 11.30pm).

SUNDAY

TOP OF THE TREE

Tottenham v Manchester United (BT Sport 1, 11.30am).

Or maybe that last rogue present you find underneath it? These two are often good for a raucous, hungover, seesawing affair when they meet at The Lane. Wazza did his best for Moyesy last term with a brace in a 2-2.

ICING ON THE CAKE

Senna (RTE Two, 10.30pm).

The best motor racing movie certainly (yes, including Cars 2). The best sports movie? In with a shout. Always worth another look.

STOCKING FILLER

Racing Legends: Barry Sheene (BBC Two, 9.05pm).

In the first of a new series paying tribute to Britain’s finest petrol heads, comedian Vic Reeves tells the story of the colourful motorbike great and chats with family, friends and rivals.

BAH HUMBUG

Fletch & Sav — The Best Bits (BT Sport 1, 6.30pm).

BT Sport have tried everything they know to get people to watch this Robbie Savage vehicle that screens before all its live Premier League games. It will take an even bigger effort to squeeze 30 minutes of highlights out of it.

BREAD AND BUTTER

Premier League, Southampton v Chelsea, Newcastle v Everton (Sky Sports 1, 1.55pm).

PDC World Darts (Sky Sports Darts, 12.30pm, 7pm)

Racing From Leopardstown (RTE Two, 1pm).

NBA, Pistons v Cavaliers (BT Sport 1, 9.30pm).

Premiership, Gloucester v Wasps (BT Sport 1, 2.15pm).

Test matches, South Africa v West Indies (Sky Sports 2, 8.25am), New Zealand v Sri Lanka (Sky Sports 2, 8.30pm), Australia v India (Sky Sports 2, 11.30pm).

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