With one more day to go before we can put this traumatic year behind us, it’s a perfect time to put our feet up and enjoy distracting festive television.
Comedy takes centre-stage on BBC One as Not Going Out has its first-ever New Year’s Special, while new sitcom Pandemonium shows us a very realistic 2020 holiday. As well as Mastermind and MasterChef specials tonight, there are enough diverse shows to suit all tastes today.
Here are the top picks of the best Christmas TV for Wednesday 30th December:
Happy Feet Two – 11:30am, ITV
A follow-up to the 2006 smash hit, this snowy sequel sees Mumble’s son Erik struggle to realise his dancing talents just as Antarctica faces apocalypse. With the voices of Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Ava Acres, Sofia Vergara, and P!nk.
Celebrity Mastermind – 6:30pm, BBC One
The classic quiz show returns as four celebrities take a seat in the iconic black chair for a no frills, no fuss general knowledge test. Presenter Scarlett Moffatt, music broadcaster Matt Everitt, news presenter Lucrezia Millarini and comedian Stephen K Amos are in for a grilling tonight, with specialist subjects including Bottom, the Glastonbury festival, Die Hard, and Fela Kuti. Perhaps one of the questions will be on whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas film…
MasterChef The Professionals: A Festive Knockout – 8pm, BBC One
They may be professionals, but this concluding episode sees them performing a very relatable task: making dishes out of Christmas leftovers. This time it is 2011 finalist Steve Barringer, 2019 finalist Exose Grant Lopo-Ndiga, 2018 finalist Oli Martin and 2019 finalist Olivia Burt showing the judges Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti, and Gregg Wallace how far they’ve come.
Stephen Fry’s 21st Century Firsts – 8:30pm, ITV
A fitting reflection as we near the new year, the supremely knowledgeable Stephen Fry takes a look back at the 21st Century so far, which has produced rather a lot of firsts. From social media to smartphones to sat-navs, these new inventions have transformed our everyday lives. Fry interviews both experts and ordinary people involved in these advances.
Not Going Out Christmas Special – 9pm, BBC One
(C) Avalon – Photographer: Mark Johnson BBC/Avalon/Mark Johnson
Despite being briefly cancelled in 2009, Not Going Out has gone on to achieve an impressive 10 series and has become a regular fixture in the BBC’s Christmas line-up. It’s a New Year-themed episode this year and a party at Lee and Lucy’s unsurprisingly doesn’t go to plan. Everyone begins making resolutions with 40 minutes to New Year’s Eve and friends and family’s suggestions get a bit too personal. Look out for Bobby Ball in one of his last TV performances.
Tom Allen Goes to Town – 9pm, Channel 4
A travel show set in Wakefield, this special sees comedian Tom Allen stay with a local family in Wakey for a week during which he explores Wakefield Cathedral, views one of the world’s largest rhubarb crops, and enjoys drive-in fish and chips. Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp also joins him to host a night at the Theatre Royal, concluding with a special sing-along involving hundreds.
Ghost – 9pm, Channel 5
Channel 5 is having a Patrick Swayze double bill tonight – first up is his breakout hit Dirty Dancing with Jennifer Grey (which is getting a sequel soon), followed by his other iconic romance Ghost. When Swayze’s character Sam is murdered, his ghost enlists the help of a psychic (Whoopi Goldberg) to save the life of his lover Molly (Demi Moore).
Pandemonium – 9:45pm, BBC One
For a double whammy of laughs on BBC One tonight, stick around for very 2020 one-off comedy Pandemonium. Filmed by their youngest son, Pandemonium follows the Jessop family as they abandon their California travel plans for a low-key summer holiday. In December. In Margate.
Featuring a great cast including Katherine Parkinson, Jim Howick, Alison Steadman, and Tom Basden, Pandemonium might prove to be a very relatable sitcom for families who have had to drastically change their holiday plans this year.
Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.