An unmissable Christmas this year on BBC Television
This Christmas, BBC Television promises the very best in holiday entertainment including gripping drama with Doctor Who, hilarious comedy in Extras and dazzling entertainment in a Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special on BBC One; mesmerising opera and dance on BBC Two and BBC Four; a groundbreaking retelling of the Christmas story in Liverpool Nativity on BBC Three; as well as a full and fun schedule on CBBC and CBeebies to keep the children entertained.
There's also a bumper season of film premieres including Shrek II, Finding Nemo and Meet The Fockers on BBC One; Girl With A Pearl Earring, Sin City, Joyeux Noël, Howl's Moving Castle and BBC Films' The History Boys on BBC Two; a Quentin Tarantino season on BBC Three and Les Choriste as part of BBC Four's dance season.
Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision, says: "Our Christmas schedule features the finest talent British television has to offer so we invite you to gather family and friends together, sit back, relax and let us entertain you – there really is something for everyone this year on BBC Television."
BBC One reaffirms its position as the one to watch with a formidable line-up of television's biggest and brightest award-winning stars.
David Tennant stars as The Doctor in a very special edition of Doctor Who, alongside the one and only Kylie Minogue, who plays a waitress on the Titanic.
Billie Piper returns as Phillip Pullman's much-loved heroine Sally Lockhart, hot on the trail of a vexing mystery fraught with danger, in The Shadow In The North and Victoria Wood, Emilia Fox and Emma Watson head an all-star cast in a feature-length dramatisation of the classic novel by Noel Streatfeild, Ballet Shoes.
In EastEnders the biggest secret in Walford is set to be unwrapped in spectacular style as someone leaves a nasty surprise under the Christmas tree for newly weds Bradley and Stacey.
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly present a Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special, marking the end of the latest incredible series of sparkles and show-stopping moments with a special one-off programme.
And this year's comedy line-up boasts a veritable who's who of British stars including the inimitable Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who have penned an achingly funny episode of Extras, featuring inspired cameos from George Michael and Clive Owen among others.
Watch out for other star guests joining the irrepressible Catherine Tate in a special edition of The Catherine Tate Show.
Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles are reunited as one of the nation's favourite couples, Audrey fforbes-Hamilton and Richard DeVere, in a one-off return of the Seventies smash hit To The Manor Born, and Christmas editions of My Family and Not Going Out bring their own distinctive brands of humour to the party.
Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher the Frog, Jemima Puddle-Duck and Mr Fox will be delighting children of all ages in The Tales Of Beatrix Potter With The Royal Ballet – a screening of the recent performances from the Royal Opera House.
Over the holiday period there will also be two special editions of Songs Of Praise as well as two services broadcast live from Worcester Cathedral at midnight on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning.
And join a host of stars live on New Year's Eve to ring out the old and ring in the new with contributions from around the world.
BBC Two's table is laden with festive treats courtesy of, among others, Heston Blumenthal who applies his exacting culinary methods to create a truly innovative Christmas dinner for some special guests in Heston Blumenthal's Perfect Christmas.
And in Richard Hammond Meets Evel Knievel, Top Gear's very own Hamster comes face-to-face with the American stunt legend.
There are also exclusive screenings of the Royal Ballet's recent production of Romeo And Juliet and the Royal Opera House's critically acclaimed staging of Carmen.
And Arena joins celebrated entertainer Ken Dodd as the 80-year-old plays to packed houses on a tour of the UK.
BBC Two will also be broadcasting the traditional Lessons And Carols From King's College Cambridge on Christmas Eve.
And of course Jools Holland will be welcoming in 2008 with his 15th annual Hootenanny, featuring a host of stars and acts that have made their mark on the musical landscape of 2007.
BBC Three proffers a suitably alternative schedule eschewing the turkey and tinsel in favour of an alternative take on the Nativity, a Tarantino season and The Mighty Boosh.
Geoffrey Hughes, Cathy Tyson and Jennifer Ellison star in Liverpool Nativity – a contemporary retelling of the Christmas story live on the streets of Liverpool.
There's a treat in store for fans of maverick director Quentin Tarantino in the form of a season of his iconic, highly stylised and post-modern films and live material from the genius duo Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding, taking their Dali-esque dystopia on the road in The Mighty Boosh Live!
BBC Four treats viewers to a major dance season with the complete showing of Darcey Bussell's Farewell Performance before her retirement from the Royal Ballet and Darcey Bussell's Ten Best Ballet Moments in which the great ballerina presents ten seminal dances from the history of ballet.
Following in the tradition of Folk, Soul, Jazz and Classical Britannia, Dance Britannia tells the definitive story of popular dance in Britain with the use of rarely seen archive and contemporary interviews.
The channel will also be showing a series of classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films.
Little ones can look forward to a CBeebies Christmas Special featuring fun, games and their very own version of Strictly Come Dancing and CBBC celebrates with Christmas editions of The Basil Brush Show and TMi.
Viewers with HD will be able to enjoy The Tales Of Beatrix Potter With The Royal Ballet, Carmen, Lessons And Carols From King's College Cambridge and Romeo And Juliet in glorious High Definition on the new BBC HD channel.
And those whose telly watching plans are derailed by familial duties or guests outstaying their welcome can catch up on programmes they have missed using the BBC iPlayer – so this Christmas there is really no need to miss the unmissable. Find out more at bbc.co.uk/iplayer.
Notes to Editors
Programme information for weeks 52 and 1 (22 December to 4 January) will be published at bbc.co.uk/pressoffice later today.
Watch an interview on YouTube with Ricky Gervais and the cast of hit comedy Extras ahead of the star-studded Christmas special.
TV Publicity Front Desk