Nine things to watch this Festive Season

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The festive period is the perfect excuse to put your feet up and enjoy the array of films, TV shows and Christmas specials on offer.

From festive films at the cinema, to binge worthy box sets that are perfect for that time between Christmas and the New Year, (when no one really seems to know what day it is) and the one-off specials, there is plenty to get stuck into.

We’ve put together a handy guide of watch to watch this Christmas. Someone pass the mince pies.

Box Sets:

The Crown – Netflix, seasons one, two and three available now

Oscar-winning Olivia Coleman steps into role as Queen Elizabeth II, taking the reins from Claire Foy who played the Monarch in the first two seasons of the Netflix smash. Coleman isn’t the only change as every character has been recast to reflect the move forward in time!

Season three of The Crown spans from 1964-1977. Alongside the major historical events of the time, the show will also focus on the turbulent marriage of Princes Margret (Helena Bonham-Carter) and Lord Snowden (Ben Daniels), and a young Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Camilla (Emerald Fennel).

If the previous two seasons are anything to go by and given its star-studded cast, The Crown season three is going to be a great series.

When to watch – evenings over the festive period

Big Little Lies – Sky Atlantic, all episodes available now

Adapted from the best-selling book from Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies follows the enviable lives of three mothers. At least that’s until their world starts to unravel following a murder.

Originally made as a mini-series, a second season was commissioned after the rave reviews and huge response to the show. It features an all-star cast, including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz and Shailene Woodley, whilst season two sees Meryl Streep join the cast!

When to watch – when you need a break from anything Christmas-related

Stranger Things – Netflix, seasons one, two and three available now

Set in the fictional Hawkins, Indiana in the 1980s, this Netflix show provides a serious dose of 80s nostalgia and has developed a real cult following.

After a young boy vanishes, the residents of a small-town start to uncover a whole host of terrifying supernatural forces taking place, that turns the community upside down. We won’t say too much more, as you’ll want to get stuck in and find out the twists and turns for yourself!

When to watch – on those days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and you’re stuck for what to watch next

Films:  

Last Christmas – November 15, cinemas

Emilia Clarke stars as Kate, a down on her luck elf who works in an all-year-round Christmas store in Convent Garden. She meets Tom (the impossibly charming Henry Golding, from the hit Crazy Rich Asians) as she tries to pull her life together. Set to a soundtrack that features Wham and George Michael, it’s one to lift the festive spirits.

When to watch – when you need something to REALLY get you in the seasonal spirit

Frozen 2 – November 22, cinemas

Let it goooo, let it goooo… Yep, that’s right, Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Kirstoff are back, almost six years after the original. Frozen 2’s trailers haven’t given much away in terms of plot, but it involves the gang heading to a new enchanted land to find out the origins of Elsa’s powers.

If the first film is anything to go by, this soundtrack is set to dominate the airwaves for the foreseeable future. Altogether now… Let it goooo, let it goooo…. 

When to watch – once the children have broken up from school for the Christmas holidays

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - December 19, cinemas

This is it. The conclusion of the new trilogy and an end to the nine-film Skywalker saga spanning decades. Even if you’re just a passing fan, you’ll want to head to the cinema to see this.

Following on from the events of The Last Jedi, the film picks up as Rey, Poe, Finn and the rest of our heroes are gearing up for a final battle with Kylo Ren and the First Order.

As well as being the final chapter of the long-running franchise as we know it, this is officially Carrie Fisher’s last film following on from her untimely death. Previously unused footage from the last film has been included giving the screen legend a fitting send off. Pack the tissues as well as the popcorn. 

The Christmas Specials:

Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special – Christmas Day, BBC One.

Nearly 10 years after the last series ended, Gavin and Stacey return to our screens for a one-off special.

It’s been written by creators and stars, James Corden and Ruth Jones and plot details have been kept tightly under wraps. However, several lucky journalists have had a sneak preview and so far, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Roll on Christmas Day, it’s going to be lush.

When to watch – Christmas Day, duh

A Christmas Carol – dates to be confirmed, BBC One

This may be a three-part special rather than a one-off, but it just wouldn’t be Christmas without the Dickens classic.

Taking on a decidedly dark vibe in comparison to previous adaptations, Guy Pearce is the latest actor to become Ebenezer Scrooge, as he is visited by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. Andy Serkis features as the Ghost of Christmas Past, whilst Stephen Graham plays the role of Scrooge’s deceased business partner. 

When to watch – maybe keep this for when the kids have gone to bed, TheMuppet Christmas Carol this isn’t 

Top Gear Christmas Special – date to be confirmed, BBC Two

Earlier this year the latest iteration of the long-running motoring show was met with rave reviews from critics. The new line-up of Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuiness and Chris Harris return for a Christmas special, the first in four years.

Nothing has been revealed just yet, but it promises hijinks and banter aplenty from the trio ahead of the new series that lands sometime in 2020.

When to watch – when you need a crowd pleaser that everyone will enjoy