Our writers turn a speculative eye on the Christmas TV specials we’re all looking forward to make the 2014 festive season. With some excitement and a critical eye we also look back to past Christmas specials that were just so popular with a festive flashback.
Strictly Come Dancing: Jingle bells and glitter balls, it can only be one thing: the Strictly Christmas Special! The festive fun hits the ballroom, with six new celebrities waltzing their way into millions of homes this Christmas. The hit show is no stranger to a Christmas special, having broadcast ten Christmas specials over the years, and with the success of the current series, it looks more than likely that this will continue for the foreseeable future. Also, the Christmas special should show off the show to those who do not normally watch it, so next year’s series is likely to be even bigger!
Doctor Who: Fresh of the back of Peter Capaldi’s debut series, the Christmas special of Doctor Who looks set to send audiences into a spin. With rumours of Jenna Coleman’s departure, and the fantastic Nick Frost as Santa, it is an episode not to missed, by fans and families alike. With viewing figures almost certainly reaching 8 million, this all but ensures another series of the show next year, and after a spellbinding series, this episode ought to highlight just how incredible Capaldi is as the eponymous hero, leading on to his next series, where he can show this off all over again.
Downton Abbey: The most recent series of Downton Abbey was a little underwhelming, and it seems like this years Christmas special might be the only thing to save the series which seems to be flagging creatively, even if it is maintaining viewing figures. Downton Abbey is at its best when it is in the middle of conflict and drama, during war time and emotional moments, and it would be nice to see the show to return to weightier matters. People may have complained at the death of Matthew Crawley last Christmas, but it got people talking. This year’s Christmas episode is set to be away from the Abbey, but for the first time in several series is set at Christmas, and could see the exit of firm favourites Daisy and Branson, it remains to be seen whether the show can return to its former glory.
Miranda: With the not ‘such fun’ news that the two-part festive special this year will mark the end of Miranda Hart’s much loved, semi-autobiographical comedy, there is much speculation as to how our favourite funny woman will be leaving us. More pressingly, however, after the agonising cliffhanger at the end of Series 3, the question of who Miranda will say ‘yes’ to needs to be answered. Who will she choose? Will it be the happy ending we’ve all been rooting for with Gary? Or will she marry Mike and make ‘Mirachael’ a reality? Either way, it’s sure to be a highlight of the TV schedule this Christmas.
Friends: You can’t go wrong with a classic episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S at any time of year and what could be more heart-warming for the festive season than a wedding in the snow? With Phoebe and Mike’s ceremony finally ready and organised, despite Monica driving everyone mad as planner, the episode looks set to end in disaster when a snowstorm leads to arrangements falling to pieces. However, with Joey stepping in as minister and everyone pulling together, it ends with a magical celebration that’s guaranteed to get any Scrooge into the Christmas spirit. With even Chappy the dog making it down the aisle, the episode, tight-packed with hilarious one-liners and scenarios, guarantees to provide festive fun for all the family.
Blackadder: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has been adapted for film and TV but the best edition of this and one of the best christmas Tv specials of all time was Blackadder. Set in the Victorian era the special took Edmund Blackadder to visit his prebious ancestors who are of course familiar to the audience. A particular highlight is viewing Queen Victoria and Prince Albert cavort about in traditional Blackadder fashion. The special wasn’t directly linked to a particular series but allowed several to be referenced and used in the ‘ancestors’ scene. The well-known comedy of the troupe of course hold this special together and cement it as a classic Christmas TV Special.