It’s that time of year again when we start to look ahead to the festive period and plan our lazy days in front of the telly with family, friends and loved ones. Whether you’re aboard or in the UK, the Christmas period is always jammed packed with great entertainment for all ages and tastes and this year is no different. Whether it’s Downton Abbey’s final hurrah or the usual cliffhangers in the soaps, here’s our rundown of the shows you dare not miss this holiday season:

The Sound of Music – Live

With a final date still yet to be confirmed, ITV will be broadcasting a two-and-a-half hour adaptation of The Sound of Music live, starring Kara Tointon as Maria and Julian Ovenden as Captain Georg von Trapp. He and Kara are joined by Katherine Kelly as Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Alexander Armstrong as Max Detweiler.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

The BBC will take us back to The Blackpool Tower again, as the stars of this year’s Strictly hit the dancefloor to display their best moves for a festive show for all the family. After officially leaving his long standing post and retiring from television presenting in 2013, Bruce Forsyth will be making a welcome return to co-host alongside Tess Daley. And as a Brucey bonus, Take That have been confirmed as musical guests for this one off festive extravaganza!

Cilla Black Tribute Special

As one of TV’s most loved stars, 2015 saw the sudden loss of the hugely popular Cilla Black, who unexpectedly died in August this year. As a fitting tribute to her legacy, ITV will be transmitting a show dedicated to her life on television and in music. A source close to ITV has reportedly stated that “they see Cilla as true ITV royalty and want to reflect that in a huge telly extravaganza”. What a great send off!

The Soaps

It wouldn’t be a Coronation Street Christmas special without a shock return from at least one of the central characters, and this year it’s the turn of Jenny Bradley, who left the cobbles earlier this year. As for Eastenders, the focus of attention will be on the Carter family, as it seems apparent that Linda will tell the square she was raped by her brother-in-law Dean Wicks. Just the usual cheerful festive time in Albert Square then!

Meanwhile in Emmerdale, viewers will finally get closure as it’s revealed who shot Robert Sugden. But just as that mystery’s solved another one begins, with Chas Dingle terrified after discovering she’s being stalked. Ooh the drama!

 

Downton Abbey

The much-loved period drama says it’s fond farewell in a feature length episode that is bound to be a tearjerker. You have been warned to have the hankies at the ready for the emotional finish! After her absence in season six, Lady Rose will return to the Crawley manor, but it could be at the worst time possible as Violet Crawley is set to be involved in a shocking final storyline. Could it all end with an unthinkable cliffhanger? We’ll have to wait and see at 9pm on ITV, Christmas Day.

The Jonathan Ross Show

With an unbelievable nine years in the hot seat, Jonathan Ross promises to deliver a superb line up for this year’s round up talk show as guests include David Walliams, Barbara Windsor, Lewis Hamilton, Jimmy Carr, Ed Sheeran and Idina Menzel. With the final transmission date yet to be confirmed on ITV but likely to be close to new year, it’s the perfect way to round off 2015 and is sure to be quite a party!

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