The best films on TV this Christmas

From Lego figures to the Gallagher brothers, there's films for everyone on TV this Christmas.
From Lego figures to the Gallagher brothers, there's films for everyone on TV this Christmas.
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CHRISTMAS may be a time for exciting TV specials. But the schedules are always packed with exciting film premieres and classic movie favourites too.

Here are the best films to catch on TV this Christmas.


The Great Gatsby

Christmas Eve, BBC2, 9.30pm

The glitz and glamour of Baz Luhrmann’s big screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel is certain to send you off on that final sleep before Santa with dreams of sequins and lavish excess.

Avengers: Age of Ultron will be on BBC1 on the 30th of December. Picture: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Avengers: Age of Ultron will be on BBC1 on the 30th of December. Picture: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

It follows the life of millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) at the height of the Roaring Twenties in New York.


Christmas Day, BBC1, 3.10pm

Starring Lily James as Cinderella, Disney’s live-action re-imagining of the eponymous fairy tale brings pumpkin carriages and glass slippers to a new audience.

Supersonic - this 2016 documentary that charts the rise of Oasis. Picture: A24

Supersonic - this 2016 documentary that charts the rise of Oasis. Picture: A24

Expect this one to make perfectly magical, family-friendly viewing.

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Boxing Day, BBC, 2.10pm

Shaun the Sheep has carved his own successful path after first charming audiences in Wallace & Gromit. His first feature length film follows a popular children’s TV programme, and boasts even more amazing stop-motion animation.

The film is notable for featuring no dialogue, with all the action being conveyed through movement and expression. It’s joyful, and very clever.

Big Hero 6

December 27, BBC1, 4.10pm

This computer-animated film from Disney offers a heartfelt and surprisingly interesting spin on the current superhero craze.

It tells the story of Hiro Hamada, a young robotics whizz who forms a team – the highlight of which is his cuddly, inflatable robot companion, Baymax – to combat a masked villain.


December 27, BBC1, 10pm

Britpop fans get their own festive film treat in the form of this 2016 documentary that charts the rise of Oasis, from their formative years to the height of their ’90s success.

Featuring interviews with members of the band and never-before-seen video of concerts, interviews and raucous backstage footage, it’s a must for music aficionados.

Gone Girl

December 29, BBC1, 9.15pm

Masterfully adapted by screenwriter Gillian Flynn from her own gripping novel, David Fincher’s suspenseful thriller sees a suburban husband under suspicion and trial-by-media when his wife suddenly goes missing.

Rosamund Pike was nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars for her co-starring role alongside Ben Affleck. It’s a riveting watch.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

December 30, BBC1, 8pm

This 2015 ensemble superhero movie from the Marvel universe sees Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Thor team up once again to save the world: this time from an artificial intelligence obsessed with bringing about human extinction.

Action-packed scenes shine in this big-budget blockbuster starring Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and more.

The Lego Movie

New Year’s Eve, Channel 5, 5pm

Everything is awesome in Channel 5’s big festive premiere, in which Emmet, an ordinary Lego figure, finds himself helping to stop a tyrannical businessman from gluing everything in the Lego worlds into his vision of perfection.

With comments on non-conformity and self-expression, this is a fun film that runs much deeper than its blocky premise. Kids and adults alike will be chuckling along.


Get the Christmas weekend started early with Bill (December 23, BBC2, 6pm), a comedy from the Horrible Histories team about the early life of Shakespeare. For kid-friendly fare on Christmas Eve, try Dreamworks’ animated sci-fi adventure Home (BBC1, 4.10pm), starring Jim Parsons and Rihanna.

Boxing Day sees the first terrestrial TV appearance from fun-filled dinosaur caper Jurassic World (ITV1, 6.40pm), a belated premiere for the Robert Downey Jr. starring Sherlock Holmes (ITV2, 9pm), and its sequel – A Game of Shadows – follows a week later (January 3, ITV2, 9pm).

2014 musical fantasy Into The Woods (BBC2, 8pm) provides New Year’s Eve entertainment, and film fans are spoilt for choice on the first day of 2018, with Maleficent (BBC1, 5pm), Spectre (ITV1, 8pm), Pitch Perfect 2 (Channel 4, 9pm), and the Russell Crowe-starring Noah (BBC2, 10pm) all on New Year’s Day.


December 23 sees a double-bill of Christmas feel-good factor with Cool Runnings (BBC1, 1.15pm) and Frozen (BBC1, 2.50pm), while you can get into the spirit on Christmas Eve with with The Santa Clause (BBC1, 10.30am), and two versions of Charles Dickens’ famous Christmas tale with Scrooge (Channel 5, 4.15pm) and bonafide Christmas classic The Muppet Christmas Carol (Channel 4, 6.30pm).

Kickstart Christmas Day with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (ITV1, 9.25am), and round it off with either Home Alone (Channel 4, 5.50pm) or the original Miracle on 34th Street (More4, 6pm).

Boxing Day sees more feel-good films in the form of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (ITV1, 9.25am), ET (ITV1, 3.30pm) and Back to the Future (Channel 4, 6pm).


December 23 – Despicable Me (ITV1, 4.30pm), “Crocodile” Dundee (Channel 4, 6.10pm), Gravity (ITV2, 7.10pm), The Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies (ITV1, 8pm), The Wolverine (Channel 4, 9.00pm), Gladiator (Channel 4, 11.20pm).

Christmas Eve – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (ITV2, 6.50pm), Casino Royale (ITV2, 9pm).

Christmas Day – Signin’ in the Rain (Channel 5, 1.05pm), Toy Story 3 (BBC1, 1.20pm), Dumbo (Channel 4, 4.30pm), Snow White and the Hunstman (E4, 7.30pm), Skyfall (ITV2, 7.45pm), Les Misérables (More4, 8pm).

Boxing Day – Mary Poppins (BBC1, 3.45pm), The Little Mermaid (Channel 4, 4.20pm), Song of the Sea (Channel 4, 6.40pm), The Green Mile (More4, 9pm), Four Weddings and a Funeral (Channel 4, 11.10pm).

December 27 – I, Robot (E4, 7.30pm), Jaws (ITV4, 10.05pm).

December 28 – Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (BBC2, 11.30pm), Flight (Channel 5, 9.00pm).

December 29 – Up (BBC1, 2.25pm), Brave (BBC1, 4.20pm), Footloose (Channel 5, 5.10pm).

December 30 – Alice in Wonderland (BBC2, 6.10pm), Bridesmaids (ITV2, 9pm), The Mask (ITV1, 11pm) Speed (Channel 4, 11.20pm).

New Year’s Eve – Groundhog Day (Channel 5, 2.55pm) Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time (BBC2, 5.15pm).

New Year’s Day – Dances with Wolves (BBC1, 1.35pm), Mrs Doubtfire (Channel 4, 5.30pm), Titanic (E4, 7pm), The Hangover (ITV2, 9pm), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (BBC1, 11pm).

• This article originally appeared on our sister site the inews.