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Saturday 17 December



Equestrian: Olympia - Puissance

Clare Balding presents highlights from last night’s Puissance at the London International Horse Show.

The Puissance – best described as the equestrian high-jump – is always one of the star attractions at the Olympia show. Last year’s contest was won by Englishman Ben Maher, who was the only rider to clear the wall after it was raised to 7ft 3.

Commentary comes from Michael Tucker and Andy Austin.

Strictly Come Dancing - Final

The wait is finally over and the glitterball trophy is clearly in sight, as Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly bring the ultimate dance showdown - the Strictly Come Dancing Grand Final, live from Blackpool’s glittering Tower Ballroom.

After sashaying their way past the competition over the past 11 weeks, the final dancing duos take the floor by storm, performing a number of show-stopping routines, full of lifts, tricks and surprises.

As the tension builds in this final show, the legendary venue plays host to a ballroom and Latin extravaganza, as the remaining couples battle to be crowned the ultimate dancing champion of 2011.

Who has saved their best dance for last and who will outshine the rest with their spectacular showdance? With all the surprises and excitement so far in the competition it could be any of the fantastic contestants' night.

As always, the fearsome foursome are on hand and will be offering their critique but for this week only, the all-important votes from the viewers at home will determine the winner. Find out in the Results Show, which can be seen on the same night as the final, which couple has won the public’s hearts to lift the glitterball trophy.

Strictly Come Dancing is simulcast on the BBC One HD channel.


With Morgana at the head of a vast Southron army, a deadly net is closing in around Camelot, as the drama continues.

When the sorceress strikes, the ferocity of her attack forces everyone to run for their lives - even Arthur. But Morgana won't let him escape that easily. And so begins a chilling hunt.

Can Merlin save the King from Morgana's clutches? Or has Arthur's luck finally run out?

Colin Morgan plays Merlin with Bradley James as Arthur, Katie McGrath as Morgana, Nathaniel Parker as Agravaine, Richard Wilson as Gaius, Angel Coulby as Gwen, Tom Hopper as Sir Percival, Eoin Macken as Sir Gwaine, Adetomiwa Edun as Sir Elyan and Rupert Young as Sir Leon.

The guest cast for this episode are Terence Maynard, who plays Helios, Ben Daniels, who plays Tristan and Miranda Raison, who plays Isolde.

Strictly Come Dancing - Results

Sir Bruce Forsyth, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman present the eagerly awaited Strictly Come Dancing Grand Final Results Show, live from Blackpool’s glittering Tower Ballroom.

Having performed an array of Latin and Ballroom routines earlier this evening, the finalists have pulled out all the stops with a number of show-stopping routines, full of lifts and tricks. After sweating it out for the last time on the dancefloor, they will now find out their fate and discover who will foxtrot out of the ballroom with the esteemed glitterball trophy.

Viewers can now find out who brought an extra sparkle to their dances and which couple, in the public’s view, shone through against the others. The wait for the Strictly Come Dancing Champion 2011 is finally over!

Strictly Come Dancing is simulcast on the BBC One HD channel.



Justin's House

There’s fun, laughter and mischief in the final episodes of the current series of Justin’s House.

In Saturday’s episode, Little Monster is very sad but Justin and Robert have no idea why. Nisha (from Same Smile) arrives with a special Box of Tricks and she and Justin try to find ways of improving Little Monster’s mood. Justin, having been splatted with five custard pies, tries to clean himself up with an “old rag”. It is then that Robert discovers what’s making Little Monster feel so low.

On Sunday, Justin should have read the instructions before feeding a seed Mr Bloom had given him with special plant food. The seed turns into a monstrous plant which threatens to eat the whole house. Little Monster gets blamed for everything that the plant does. With help from Mr Bloom, who has discovered Justin’s mistake, Little Monster hatches a plan to catch the plant and prove her innocence.

Sunday 18 December



Fern Britton Meets ... Brian Blessed

In the last of the series Fern Britton has an encounter with the owner of one of Britain’s loudest and most recognisable voices - Brian Blessed.

Brian has often played larger than life characters, from Fancy Smith in Z Cars to Vultan in Flash Gordon. But Fern discovers a quieter side to Brian - he is fascinated by religion and, in particular, Jesus.

As well as talking about his varied acting career, Brian movingly describes his teenage breakdown and a life-long love of adventure that has taken him up Everest three times. Friends Stephen Fry and Virginia McKenna pay tribute to one of our most flamboyant performers.

Lost Christmas

Starring Eddie Izzard, with Jason Flemyng, Geoffrey Palmer and Larry Mills, this CBBC family drama is an urban fairytale from the backstreets of Manchester.

It is Christmas Eve and everyone is getting ready for the big day; everyone that is, except for Anthony, a strange, enigmatic being who wakes up in the street, not knowing where he is or what he’s here to do. But Anthony has a remarkable ability: the power to find the lost.

Is Anthony’s ability real, or just an illusion?

Young James Herriot

The adventures of James Herriot in his early years as a student vet at Glasgow Veterinary College can be seen on BBC One this Christmas, in a series inspired by the character and early works of James Herriot.

It’s Thirties Glasgow and James Herriot, an idealistic young man, arrives to study at the city’s Vet College. He will go on to become Britain’s best-known and best-loved vet, but Herriot’s beginnings in the profession were not auspicious. This is the story of the making of the man, a story of a young man with hope in his heart, not much money in his pocket and the desire to do good.

His first day in Glasgow is miserable. He falls foul of his professors, he antagonises local tradesmen, and he is left homeless after his would-be landlady does a runner with his rent.

His luckless introduction to veterinary medicine provides some amusement for two older students. Whirly Tyson is one of only two women at the Vet College, while Rob McAloon is a playboy and perennial student. They see something in Herriot that others don’t and take him under their wing. He moves in with them and Whirly’s glamorous aunt, whose intentions towards Young James may not be as honourable as he would like.

James meanwhile acquires his first patient; an ailing dray horse that he spots being mistreated by a local haulier. James insists the horse needs rest, but the man needs the horse to work or he won’t be able to support his small son. With the boy facing the prospect of the poor house, young Herriot has to make some crucial decisions.

James Herriot is played by Iain de Caestecker, Whirly Tyson by Amy Manson and Rob McAloon by Ben Lloyd-Hughes.



Equestrian: Olympia - World Cup

Clare Balding introduces live coverage from the London International Horse Show, where the feature event is the World Cup show jumping qualifier.

The biggest names in the sport will be out in force at Olympia, which is the seventh of 12 legs culminating at next year’s global final in The Netherlands. Last year’s event was won by Englishman Michael Whitaker on GIG Amai.

Commentary comes from Michael Tucker and Andy Austin.

A Night With The Stars

Professor Brian Cox goes unplugged in a specially recorded one-hour programme from the lecture theatre of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. In his own inimitable style, Brian takes an audience of famous faces and members of the public on a journey through some of the most challenging concepts in physics.

With the help of guests including Simon Pegg, Jim Al-Khalili, Sarah Millican, James May and Jonathan Ross, Brian shows how diamonds - the hardest material in nature - are made up of nothingness; how things can be in two places at once; why everything we see or touch in the Universe exists; and how a diamond in the heart of London is in communication with the largest diamond in the Cosmos.

Weaving stories around mind-bending physics, Brian will be guide, host and ring-master, asking questions we never thought we needed to ask.

Monday 19 December




Yusef’s announcement that he is taking Zainab and Kamil to Pakistan today throws Zainab’s world upside down. With Yusef controlling her every move, Zainab is forced to take drastic measures but her actions have huge consequences.

It’s the day of Ian and Mandy’s wedding and while Ian is getting everything ready for his big day, Mandy is having doubts about their future. Will Mandy go through with the wedding?

Zainab is playbed by Nina Wadia, Yusef by Ace Bhatti, Ian by Adam Woodyatt, Mandy by Nicola Stapleton and Pat by Pam St Clement.

Young James Herriot

On his first field trip James finds himself in the middle of what he believes is a potentially deadly cattle epidemic that threatens a local farm. The farmer and his future son-in-law are split over what to do until James intervenes. When his youth and inexperience get the better of him he makes a diagnosis that could spell slaughter for the cattle and ruin for the farm. But is he sure he has made the right decision?

The smooth-talking McAloon meanwhile has a close encounter with a pampered sheep and quickly spots an opportunity to line his pockets at the expense of their anxious owners.

While James and McAloon are out in the field Whirly Tyson has been tricked into staying at the Vet College. This leads to another run-in with the sexist Professor Gunnell, but this time Whirly will have her revenge.

James Herriot is played by Iain de Caestecker, Whirly Tyson by Amy Manson and Rob McAloon by Ben Lloyd-Hughes.



The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff

The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff Christmas Special is the first of a new four part comedy adventure set in the Dickensian world of Jedrington Secret-Past played by Robert Webb.

Jedrington is a fine, upstanding family man and the owner of The Old Shop of Stuff, Victorian London's most successful purveyor of miscellaneous odd things.

The Christmas Special sees Jedrington and his wife Conceptiva (The IT Crowd's Katherine Parkinson) on Christmas Eve. The busy yuletide joy of Jedrington and his family is shattered when Malifax Skulkingworm (Stephen Fry), a lawyer with a flinty heart and an evil hat incarcerates Jedrington’s shop, wife and children in London’s most notorious debtors’ prison, The Skint. What is behind Skulkingworm’s sinister plan? Will Jedrington rescue his family in time for Christmas? And is there more to the name of Secret-Past than meets the eye? All will be revealed in a tale of hidden wills, brave urchins, giant clocks, misery, joy and treacle.

David Mitchell (That Mitchell & Webb Look), Celia Imrie (Nanny McPhee), Pauline McLynn (Father Ted), Una Stubbs (Til Death Us Do Part) and Johnny Vegas (Ideal) also appear in this Victorian comedy adventure written by Mark Evans who penned the cult Radio 4 Dickensian comedy Bleak Expectations.

On the Red Button, viewers can enjoy even more comedy content from The Bleak Old Shop Of Stuff which reveals how the programme is part of a unique experiment. It is the first television programme in over 117 years to be made using traditional Victorian television making techniques. Red Button viewers will see how the relatively fearless cast and crew coped with steam cameras, on-set urchins and the occasional cholera outbreak behind the scenes.

Tuesday 20 December




Zainab fears for her son when Yusef refuses to tell her where Kamil is. Scared about what Yusef will do, Zainab is forced to go along with his lies. Meanwhile, Masood is enraged that Zainab has allowed Kamil to be with someone else and he takes matters into his own hands.

With Bianca due home tomorrow, Ricky panics that Mandy may reveal all about the night they spent together and he manipulates Ian into taking her away.

Elsewhere, things are still strained between Kat and Alfie but they put on a united front to Jean. However, Jean seems to be showing signs that all is not well but Kat refuses to see them, adamant that she will look after her.

Zainab is played by Nina Wadia, Yusef by Ace Bhatti, Masood by Nitin Ganatra, Jean by Gillian Wright, Max by Jake Wood and Kat by Jessie Wallace.

Young James Herriot

James struggles to balance politics and his career when he meets Jenny’s parents, Lord and Lady Muirhead. As if being totally captivated by their daughter isn’t enough, he is also instantly smitten by their dog, Freda, a beautiful Gordon setter.

There are introductions all round as Mrs Munro’s charismatic friend and sometime lover Oskar, a Jewish artist, arrives for a visit. While James is instantly drawn to Oskar’s warmth and party spirit, Jenny recoils from the meeting and leaves abruptly, much to James’s confusion.

All becomes clearer when the Muirheads invite Gunnell and Ritchie to a special gathering and their Fascist sympathies are revealed, leaving Professor Richie concerned for James’s future. Matters come to a head when Freda falls ill and the Muirheads’ politics interfere with her treatment.

Whirly meanwhile faces her tribunal hearing after her revenge on Gunnell and James inadvertently makes life very difficult for her with some unguarded comments. He is facing problems of his own with final exams looming and with the drama surrounding the Muirheads there’s a real chance that his first year at vet school could be his last.

James Herriot is played by Iain de Caestecker, Whirly Tyson by Amy Manson and Rob McAloon by Ben Lloyd-Hughes.




Christmas is the busiest time of year for a vicar – and the worst time for a vicar’s wife – as Tom Hollander stars in the final episode of Rev.

Adam is full of ideas for his first Advent in London. However, he soon discovers that Christmas at St Saviour's is quite different to his sleepy Suffolk parish. He's under pressure from the Archdeacon to maximise seasonal profits, the diary's packed with unusual events and he's up at the crack of dawn every morning to cook breakfast at the homeless shelter.

Exhausted, with a permanent hangover and Midnight Mass looming, he's in no mood for a house guest - least of all Alex's cantankerous father, Martin (Geoffrey Palmer)...

Tom Hollander, Olivia Colman, Steve Evets, Miles Jupp, Lucy Liemann, Simon Mcburney, Ellen Thomas, Geoffrey Palmer, Jimmy Akingbola, Severn Brand, Katie Males and Eliza Newman star.

Thursday 22 December




Zainab is at her wits’ end as Yusef fails to reunite her with her son but she continues to go along with his actions in order to get Kamil home safely. Meanwhile, Masood finally finds out about Zainab’s plight and he forces her to tell him exactly what is going on. However, Masood is shocked when he inadvertently sees evidence of Yusef’s abuse and he vows to get his son home.

Life at The Vic is strained and Jean is clearly not coping. Kat is determined to look after Jean but when she wanders off with Shenice, they all panic and set off in search for them. Realising that something has to change for the safety of his family, Alfie secretly makes a phone call.

Meanwhile, Ricky receives some bad news about Bianca’s release, will Bianca make it home for Christmas?

Zainab is played by Nina Wadia, Masood by Nitin Ganatra, Yusef by Ace Bhatti, Ricky by Sid Owen, Bianca by Patsy Palmer, Kat by Jessie Wallace, Alfie by Shane Richie, Jean by Gillian Wright and Shenice by Lily Harvey.

BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2011

Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Jake Humphrey present the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year, live from MediaCityUK, Salford.

This star-studded event features some of the greatest names in world sport, and climaxes with the presentation of the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy - an award chosen by viewers live on the night from a shortlist of 10 contenders.

This year promises to be a close contest with some outstanding sporting performances making for a number of strong contenders for the main award. The 2010 winner was jockey AP McCoy.

Other awards on the night include a very special Lifetime Achievement Award, Team of the Year, Coach of the Year, Overseas Sports Personality, Young Sports Personality of the Year, Sports Unsung Hero and the Helen Rollason Award for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.

The show will also re-live the highs and lows of the big sporting moments of the year, including the Rugby World Cup, the World Athletics Championships, the Ashes, the Tour de France and gripping F1, football and golf seasons.

This eagerly anticipated event attracts the top names in sport - alongside the nominees will be many former winners, plus some of the world's greatest Olympians as we begin the countdown to next year's Games in London.

Friday 23 December




Just when Zainab thinks she is going to be reunited with her son, Yusef wickedly tells her that he cannot be manipulated. However, Masood is determined not to give up but when he finds out that Yusef has taken Zainab to get Kamil, he races against time to save his family.

Alfie is deeply concerned when he finds Jean still at The Vic. Kat insists that she can look after her but Alfie confronts Kat, telling her that she is using Jean as a distraction from their real problems.

Elsewhere, Bianca returns home but Ricky is feeling guilty about the night he spent with Mandy and thinks he should admit the truth.

Yusef is played by Ace Bhatti, Zainab by Nina Wadia, Masood by Nitin Ganatra, Bianca by Patsy Palmer, Ricky by Sid Owen, Jean by Gillian Wright, Kat by Jessie Wallace and Alfie by Shane Richie.



The Many Lovers Of Miss Jane Austen

To mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility, Professor Amanda Vickery, one of the leading chroniclers of Georgian England, explores the ebb and flow of Austen’s popularity and the hold her fiction has on us now.

In this 60-minute programme, Vickery considers what it is about her plots and characters that continue to delight, amuse, console and provoke. Her fans insist her current popularity is due to the timelessness of the fictional world Austen created, but for Vickery the question is: Why have her novels gone in, and out, of fashion?

What interests Amanda is how different periods and generations have looked for their own reflection in the characters and plots of the novels. She wants to work out what that says about them, as well as about Austen. Interviewing a variety of literary scholars, film directors and costumed devotees who attend the Austen conventions, Vickery also views the Sotherby’s sale of an incredibly rare, handwritten manuscript of an unfinished Austen novel.

This programme is part of the Books on the BBC 2011.

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