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Top Family Telly over Christmas 2017

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Whether you are fans of animation, prefer watching classic Christmas comedies or just want to enjoy the Strictly Christmas special on your own with a box of Quality Street, you can’t beat a bit of family telly over the festive break.

Here are our top picks of kids programmes, family films and – of course – musicals to catch over the next few weeks.

Highlights for us include:

  • five Julia Donaldson animations
  • classic Disney such as Dumbo, Mary Poppins and Bednobs & Broomsticks
  • TV specials including comedy ‘A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong’ and ‘All Star Musicals’
  • Flashbacks to the 80s with Santa Claus: The Movie, Dirty Dancing and Footloose

Saturday 23rd December

0930am – BBC 2 – The Muppets (2011, PG) adventure, comedy, family

2.50pm – BBC 1 – Frozen (2013, PG) Disney animation featuring songs such as ‘Do You Want to Build A Snowman’, ‘Love Is An Open Door’ and ‘Let it Go’

4.30pm – ITV – Despicable Me (2010, PG) animation, adventure, comedy

5.05pm –  Channel 5 – ‘Elf The Musical’ Live

Christmas Eve

10.30am – BBC1 – The Santa Clause (1994, PG) comedy, drama, family

3.20pm – BBC 2 – Guys and Dolls (1955) musical featuring songs such as ‘Luck Be A Lady’ and ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat’

5.20pm – Channel 4 – The Snowman (Raymond Briggs animation)

5.55pm – Channel 4 – The Snowman and the Snowdog (animation)

6.30pm  Channel 4 – The Muppet Christmas Carol (1999, U) family comedy musical featuring songs such as ‘Scrooge’ and ‘It Feels Like Christmas’

6.40pm – ITV – All Star Musicals. West End legend Michael Crawford will guide seven well known celebrities through an all singing, all dancing musical theatre extravaganza!

6.50pm – ITV2 – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005 PG) adventure, comedy, family


Christmas Day

9.00am – BBC1 – CBeebies The Snow Queen

9.25am – ITV – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) PG-13, comedy

11.25am – ITV2 – Peter Pan (1953) Disney animation featuring classic songs such as ‘You Can Fly’


1.55pm – Channel 4 – Father Christmas (Raymond Briggs animation)

1.20pm – BBC One – Toy Story 3 (2010, U) animation, adventure, comedy

1.20pm – Channel 5  – Singin’ in the Rain (1952, U) classic musical starring Gene Kelly

3.10pm – Channel 5  – Oliver! (1968, U) classic musical featuring songs like ‘Food Glorious Food’, ‘You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two’ and ‘As Long As He Needs Me’

6.05pm – Channel 5 – ‘Elf – The Musical’ Live (repeat)

12.50pm  – ITV – Santa Claus : The Movie (1985, PG) adventure, family, fantasy

1.45pm – BBC2 – Proms 2017: Oklahoma! Concert performance of the classic Rodgers 7 Hammerstein musical featuring songs such as ‘Oh What A Beautiful Mornin’, and ‘People Will Say We’re in Love’ – look out for our very own Sarah Lark performing!

3.10pm – BBC1 – Cinderella (2015, PG), drama, family, fantasy

4.30pm – Channel 4 – Dumbo (1941) classic Disney animation featuring songs such as ‘Baby Mine’ and ‘When I See An Elephant Fly’

4.45pm – BBC1 – The Highway Rat. Thirty minute animation of the Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler picture book, voiced by a stellar cast headed up by David Tennant and Rob Brydon

5.50pm – Channel 4 – Home Alone (1990, PG) comedy, family

6pm – More4 – Miracle on 34th Street (1994, PG) family, fantasy

6.30pm – BBC1 – Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

8pm – More4 – Les Misérables (2012, PG-13) musical starring High Jackman featuring songs such as ‘Do You Hear the People Sing’, ‘On My Own’ and ‘I Dreamed a Dream’

9.00pm  – BBC2 – Tom Jones and Beverley Knight’s Gospel Christmas (one for the Baby Gospel fans!)

Boxing Day

9.00am – BBC1 – Tinkerbell and the Legend of Neverbeast (2014, U) animation, adventure, fantasy

11.25am – ITV – Cats and Dogs : The Revenge of Kitty Galore (2010, PG) action, comedy, adventure

1.45pm – BBC1 – Stick Man (another delightful Julia Donaldson animation)

2.10pm – BBC1 – Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015, PG) animation, adventure, comedy

3.30pm – ITV – E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982, PG) family, sci-fi


3.45pm – BBC1 – Mary Poppins (1964, U) classic Disney musical with Dick van Dyke and Julie Andrews, featuring wonderful Sherman Bros. songs such as ‘Feed the Birds’, ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’, ‘Step in Time’, ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’

4.20pm – Channel 4 – The Little Mermaid (1989, U) Disney animation musical featuring songs such as ‘Under the Sea’ and ‘Part of Your World’

6.30pm – BBC1 – Snow Bears. A fun packed snowy adventure about baby polar bears

10.00pm – Channel 5 – Dirty Dancing (1987, PG-13) 80s-tastic film with an amazing soundtrack


Wednesday December 27th

10.45am – BBC1 – The Princess and the Frog (2009, U) Disney animation with songs by Randy Newman

12.10pm – BBC 2 – The Red Shoes (1948, PG) drama, music, romance (for any older ballet fans in the house)

2.20pm – BBC1 – Shrek 2 (2004, PG) animation, adventure, comedy

3.45pm – BBC1 – The Gruffalo (animation) another Julia Donaldson classic

4.10pm – BBC1 – Big Hero 6 (2014, PG) animation, action, adventure


Thursday December 28th

5.40am – Channel 4 – Holiday Inn (1942) musical starring Bing Crosby & Fred Astaire featuring the song ‘White Christmas’

7.20am – Channel 4 – The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004, PG) animation, adventure, comedy

10.20am – BBC1 – Kung Fu Panda (2008, PG) animation, action, adventure

2.20pm – BBC1 – Shrek the Third (2007, PG) animation, action, adventure

3.45pm – BBC1 – The Gruffalo’s Child. Another charming animation of the Julia Donaldson book

7.00pm – Channel 4 – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (animation)


Friday December 29th

3.50pm – BBC1 – Room on the Broom (animation of the Donaldson/Schaffer picturebook)

4.20pm – BBC1 – Brave (2012, PG) Pixar animation, adventure, comedy

5.10pm  – Channel 5 – Footloose (1984) musical drama/romance starring Kevin Bacon, with amazing 80s soundtrack including “Let’s Hear it for the Boy’, ‘Footloose’ and ‘Holding out for a Hero’!


Saturday December 30th

7.35am – BBC2 – Tinkerbell and the Pirate Fairy (2014, U) Disney animation, adventure, family

1.15pm – BBC1 – 102 Dalmatians (2000, U) adventure, comedy, family

4.25pm – ITV – Despicable Me 2 (2013, PG) animation, adventure, comedy

7.10pm – BBC1 – A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong. Comedy from Mischief theatre, creators of West End & Broadway Hit The Play That Goes Wrong


New Year’s Eve

11.50am – Channel 4  – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (animation, repeat) 

1.40pm – BBC1 – Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971, U) classic Disney musical with Sherman Bros. songs such as ‘Eglantine’, ‘Portabello Road’ and ‘Beautiful Briny’

5pm – Channel 5 – The Lego Movie (2014, PG) animation, action, adventure

8pm – BBC2 – Into the Woods (2014, PG) musical fantasy by Stephen Sondheim featuring songs such as ‘It Takes Two’ and ‘Noone is Alone’


New Year’s Day

6.25am – BBC2 – Stick Man (repeat)

9.15am – Channel 5 – On the Town (1949) classic musical starring Gene Kelly & Frank Sinatra with music by Leonard Bernstein, featuring the infamous song ‘New York New York’

11.25am – Channel 5 – Oliver! (1968) (repeat)

12.25pm – BBC1 – The Highway Rat (repeat)

3.30pm – ITV – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005, repeat)

3.35pm – Channel 4 – Ice Age : The Meltdown (2006, PG) animation, action, adventure

6.55pm – BBC1 – Grandpa’s Great Escape (adaptation of David Walliams’ children’s book)

list compiled using the Radio Times, UK Christmas TV, BBC, Channel 4, i Newspaper, iMDB and Digital Spy websites