BBC Television travels the world to bring the whole of the UK together
this Christmas and provide viewers with a spellbinding mix of the best
in home-grown talent and programmes.
From Dibley to Hogwarts, Thailand to Neverland and the plains of Africa
to the hills alive with the sound of music, the BBC Christmas schedule
explores the four corners of the world - and exclusively uncovers Santa's
home far away from the icy North - before returning home to Albert Square.
Jana Bennett, Director of Television, says: "This Christmas, BBC TV
will take viewers on a magical journey to discover a world of heart-warming,
funny and spine-tingling programmes featuring the home-grown talent
"Actors, musicians, comedians, playwrights and artists are all
part of a winning and varied mix which sees the return of strong entertainment,
even more original comedy and more British drama.
"The mix also includes a very famous young wizard and the return
of a unique Vicar.
"I can't think of a better way of wishing our viewers Happy Christmas
than through the creative genius of the programme-makers behind these
"After a long five year sabbatical, viewers can pay a visit to
the village of Dibley this Christmas as Dawn French returns to BBC ONE
in two brand new episodes of the award-winning comedy The
Vicar Of Dibley, written by Richard Curtis.
"It will put the cream on your Christmas pudding."
Elsewhere on BBC ONE: Sherlock Holmes And
The Deadly Season sees a new mystery solved from the cobbled
streets of Baker Street; to say a final Auf
Wiedersehen, Pet Oz and the gang travel to Thailand; Martin
Shaw stars in a thrilling adaptation of PD James' Murder
Rooms; and cameras follow real lions through the heat of South
Africa for the family drama Pride
- a mix of natural history footage, animation and the voices of Helen
Mirren and Kate Winslet as two members of
a pride of lions.
The channel also sees Graham Norton hosting Celebrate
The Sound Of Music which pays hommage to the beloved Rodgers
and Hammerstein classic; Trinny and Susannah
heading off to the shops for a What Not To
Wear Christmas Special and Blackpool playing host to the Strictly
Come Dancing final.
The programme also returns for a Christmas
Special and a new yuletide extravaganza with Strictly
Come Dancing On Ice as celebrity contestants put on their skates
to bring viewers some chilly thrills and spills.
Absolutely Fabulous, My
Family, The Big Impression
and My Dad's The Prime Minister
stay firmly in the UK for festive editions of home-grown comedy and
a second annual East End celebration is thrown in Albert Square for
EastEnders Christmas Party.
Films on BBC ONE are located in the mysterious world of Hogwarts School
for the terrestrial premiere of Harry Potter
And The Philosopher's Stone and in the fairy tale world of
Far Far Away for Shrek.
Other film premieres on BBC ONE include Bend
It Like Beckham, Ai and
Testing the UK's brainpower after too much Christmas stuffing will
be the Test The Nation: 2004 end
of year quiz and Star Spell - a
star-studded special of Hard Spell. While Winners
and Losers 2004 will see whose memories stretch back a whole
And all the family can join together to watch Happy
Birthday Peter Pan - celebrating 100 years of the boy who never
This New Year's Eve, Natasha Kaplinsky will host the
run-up to midnight, and into 2005.
New Year Live will feature fireworks
and ice from the banks of the Thames, linking the chimes of Big Ben
to the best of the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh.
Culture, comedy and carols
BBC TWO goes around the world to discover the origins of The
Real Santa Claus, revealing for the first time what Father
Christmas would have really looked like and where he would have lived.
The life and art of one of Britain's most loved and revered playwrights
- Dennis Potter - provides the subject matter for a 90-minute Arena
special on BBC TWO.
Arena: Painting the Clouds - A Portrait
Of Dennis Potter is also complemented by BBC FOUR which is
screening two further Arena documentaries and a selection of his series
Out in the countryside Jimmy's Farm
returns for a festive special, the unique chat show skills of Keith
Barret provide the laughs and Scrooges less inclined to enjoy
the lighter side of Christmas can tune into the new episode of Grumpy
Classical music on BBC TWO includes Lesley Garrett
captured live in a musical extravaganza from Temple Newsam in Leeds
and highlights of this year's Glyndebourne
Terrestrial movie premieres on BBC TWO include the very best of British
filmmaking with the acclaimed BBC Films
Stage Beauty, The Mother
and I Capture The Castle.
BBC TWO will also be showing the premiere of Chocolat
starring Dame Judi Dench, Johnny Depp
and Juliette Binoche.
BBC THREE's comedy Christmas includes BBC
3 Xmas Musical: AD/BC, a soft rock celebration of the Nativity
starring Matt Berry (composer/writer) as the Innkeeper,
Matt Lucas as God, Julia Davis
as Ruth and Julian Barrat as Tony Iscarriot.
Home-grown comedy on THREE continues with Christmas specials of
The Smoking Room, Angry Kid
and a new series from Armando Ianucci 2004:
The Stupid Version plus a Christams special and a whole feast
of much-loved episdoes of Little Britain.
Previously unseen footage of Little Britain will be shown in Three's
Outtakes also including Bodies, Little Britain, Nighty Night,
Catterick and Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps.
Art on THREE can be seen via Christmas
Visions, an interactive treat with hot British artists exhibiting
their work in shop windows around the country and also through BBC THREE's
And Tracy Emin revisits her youth in the premiere
of the film Top Spot.
Christmas Angels is a festive edition
of the BBC THREE parenting hit Little Angels, helping families deal
with over-excited offspring at this time of year.
Music coverage on FOUR ranges from Isaac Albéniz's magical opera
Merlin to The
World Of Nat King Cole - shedding new light on the man behind
the voice with a unique combination of rare and unseen archive, performances,
interviews and specially shot footage.