Christmas TV schedule 2022: Festive specials on BBC, ITV and Channel 4

Saving the best till last!

a collage showing the BBC Christmas TV schedule with shows Happy Valley and Call the Midwife
(Image credit: Future/BBC)

Festive entertainment at it's finest - check out the Christmas TV schedule for all the details on what to watch and when this December.

A Call the Midwife Christmas special (opens in new tab), the long anticipated arrival of Happy Valley season 3 (opens in new tab) plus a Great British Bake Off (opens in new tab) festive feature length? Forget what's under the tree, the real treats are on your screen this month. 

BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have all unveiled details of what entertainment will be airing during the holiday season, with the exciting line-up including Christmas specials of your favourite shows, plus new stories brought to life by some of Britain's most beloved and best actors. All you've got to do is secure your sofa spot and have the Celebrations tub at the ready on these particular dates.

Christmas TV Schedule 2022 - Highlights

BBC

  • The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse - Idris Elba and Tom Hollander have lent their voices to this charming animated adaptation of Charlie Makesy's bestselling children's novel. A great family watch this festive season, the story follows the unlikely friendship of a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse who come together to help the boy’s search for home. (Expected Christmas Day - time TBC)
  • Call the Midwife (Christmas Special) - Yes your favourite midwives are back with another festive installment that's set to have you crying both tears of joy and sorrow. Will Matthew be taking the next step in his relationship with Trixie? (Christmas Day: 8pm on BBC One)
  • Strictly Come Dancing (Christmas Special) - The Strictly Christmas Special 2022 line-up (opens in new tab) has been officially announced with 5 celebrities from the world of TV and entertainment taking a twirl on the ballroom floor in this festive episode. Who'll impress the judges and take home the glitterball this December? (Christmas Day on BBC One - time TBC)
  • Happy Valley season 3 - IT'S HAPPENING! After a seven-year hiatus, Sarah Lancashire returns as Catherine Cawood in the beloved BAFTA-winning series. There's rumours the no-nonsense copper has plans to retire - but how likely will this be with Tommy-Lee Royce still in the picture? (Sunday 1st January 2023: 9pm on BBC One)

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  • Mayflies - Line of Duty (opens in new tab)'s Martin Compston stars alongside Extras and Agatha Raisin actress Ashley Jensen in this Scottish drama adapted from the Andrew O'Hagan book. It's a coming of age story that follows a friendship and it's challenges over 30 years. (Release date TBC)
  • Death in Paradise (Christmas Special) (opens in new tab) - It's back to Saint Marie this festive season with a spooky storyline involving Commisioner Selwyn on the cards. The official synopsis reads: "Christmas in Saint Marie takes a spooky turn this year when an old case of Selwyn's comes back to haunt him following the murder of a true crime podcaster on the hunt for a missing child. Marlon is forced to spend the night in a haunted house and Darlene takes a hard look at her life choices. And after a chance encounter in an airport car park, could love finally be in the air for Neville Parker?" (Last year's special aired on Boxing Day at 7:30pm on BBC One)
  • Strike: Troubled Blood - Private detective Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke) and his case-solving partner Robin Ellacott (Holliday Grainger) are back on the BBC this Christmas. And it's sure to be a gripping watch as the two try to solve a Cornish cold case from over forty years ago. (Release date TBC)
  • Inside No. 9 (Christmas Special) - Corrie's Shobna Gulati and Four Weddings and a Funeral's Simon Callow guest star in this disturbingly spooky Christmas story set in a 'haunted' church. They join Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith in a festive outing of their award-winning anthology series. (Release Date TBC - BBC 2)
  • Detectorists - Andy (Mackenzie Crook) and Lance (Toby Jones) reunite for a feature length special about the metal detecting enthusiasts. Friendships are threatened, a mysterious relic is unearthed and the future of The Danebury Metal Detecting Club remains in jeopardy. (Release Date TBC - BBC 2)
  • Motherland: Last Christmas - The mums are back and battling through the Christmas holidays at home. Joanna Lumley returns as Felicity - aka Amanda's impossible to please Mother-in-law. (Friday, 23 December: 9:30pm on BBC One)

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  • The Smoos and the Smeds - This one's a family must-watch. The Beeb have adapted another heartwarming tale from acclaimed children author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler (the geniuses behind The Gruffalo). Adjoa Andoh, Bill Bailey, Rob Brydon, Sally Hawkins and Meera Syal make up the star-studded cast in this cosmic adventure about rival clans the Smoos and the Smeds. (Release date TBC)
  • Ghosts (Christmas Special) - The residents of Button House are returning for a special episode. It's understood that the whole Ghosts cast are returning (with the exception of Katy Wix). All we know is gift-giving isn't so easy to pull-oof when you're from another dimension. (Release date TBC)
  • The Cleaner (Christmas special) - Greg Davies reprises his role as Wicky in this 30-minute special. A blood-soaked crime scene in an ice cream parlour is all that stands in the way of Wicky's Christmas Day plans - winning first prize in Weasel’s Christmas raffle: an actual horse. (Friday 23 December: 9pm on BBC One)
  • Mrs Brown's Boys (Christmas and NYE special) - Love it or hate it Brendan O’Carroll’s comedy is back with two festive installments in December. Expect more carnage from the 'mammy' prone to meddling in her six children's lives. (Release date TBC)
  • Two Doors Down (opens in new tab) Christmas Special - The synopsis reads: "As the snow begins to fall, it’s a welcome break at the coffee shop after a spot of Christmas shopping where Christine surprises the neighbours with some uncharacteristic festive generosity." (Friday 23 December: 10pm on BBC One)
  • Masterchef (Christmas special) - John Torode and Greg Wallace are back and donned out in their Christmas jumpers in these 2 festive Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Cook-Offs. One episode will see Happy Monday’s legend Bez, Athletics World Champion Iwan Thomas MBE. Pop star Josh Cuthbert and opera singing superstar Lesley Garrett CBE compete to be crowned Celebrity MasterChef Christmas Champion 2022. Whilst Dancer AJ Pritchard, Actor Chizzy Akudolu, British Drag Performer Kitty Scott-Claus and reality star Megan McKenna, go head to head to be crowned Celebrity MasterChef Festive Champion 2022. (Release date TBC)
  • Antiques Roadshow (Christmas Special) - From a 4,000 year-old pull-along toy, to one of the first personal computer consoles; the Roadshow team explores how toys and our notions of childhood have changed over time in this merry Christmas special. (Release date TBC)
  • The Repair Shop (Christmas Special) - Jay, Will and the gang are back and spreading Christmas cheer by lovingly restoring a number of treasured Christmas keepsakes: a bike, a tired harmonium, a clockwork train set and a beloved 80-year-old bear. (Release date TBC)

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  • The Great British Sewing Bee (Christmas special) - Some celebrity sewers turn their hands to some Christmas crafting in this special that sees Sara Pascoe, Esme Young and Patrick Grant return. The TV stars are tasked with creating a pattern for a Christmas apron and turning a sack full of children's hand me downs into a novelty outfit for a baby. (Release date TBC)
  • Mary Berry's Ultimate Christmas - The Dame is back and instructing us on how to cook the ultimate Christmas dinner. She's joined by Angela Hartnett, Monica Galetti and Rylan Clark who share tips and help demolish the tasty feast. (Expected Decmeber 19: 9pm on BBC One)
  • My Life At Christmas - A three-parter with actress and comedian Sally Phillips (aka Shazza from Bridget Jones). Each episode sees her team up with a different celebrity - presenter Reverend Richard Coles, author Lemn Sissay and Strictly’s Shirley Ballas, to explore how their memories of Christmas reflect career, family, life and faith changes. (Release date TBC)
  • Top Of The Pops (Christmas Special) - Hosted by Radio 1’s Clara Amfo and Jack Saunders, the 60-minute special gives us a review of 2022 in music. (Release date TBC)
  • Cliff at Christmas - In this one-hour special for BBC Two, Sir Cliff Richard chats to Sara Cox about his 64-year career - expect some festive performances. (Release date TBC)
  • The Graham Norton Show - Graham's back and toasting you into the new year witha fabulous line-up of guests: Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman, Top Boy’s Michael Ward, actor Hugh Laurie, comedian Romesh Ranganathan and Lioness Leah Williamson. (New Year's eve on BBC One - time TBC)

Some of your favourite BBC game shows are also getting festive. Expect Christmas specials of Michael McIntyre's The Wheel, Blankety Blank, The Hit List, Question of Sport, Pointless, University Challenge, Would I Lie to You, QI and Festive House of Games. Then there's festive outings at Animal Park and the Countryfile presenters that aren't to be missed.

David Attenborough will also be returning to the BBC this Christmas in two nature documentaries. Expect follow ups to his acclaimed Frozen Planet II (Worlds of Wonder) and Dynasties (Macaque).

And as for you Whovians out there frantically googling Is there a Doctor Who Christmas special in 2022? (opens in new tab), sadly there won't be any new episodes in 2022, but read more about the big announcement for 2023.

ITV

  • Doc Martin Christmas Special - Martin Clunes returns for the very last time as Doc Martin for the aptly named Last Christmas in Portwenn. To soften the sadness there's some festive fun weaved into the storyline that sees a plan to stage a lantern parade go awry. (Release date TBC)
  • Britain's Got Talent: The Ultimate Magician - Stephen Mulhern hosts this one-off BGT special that will see the country's best and biggest magic acts go head to head to win a £50,000 cash prize. Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams return to the panel with magic legend Penn Jillette filling in for Simon Cowell. (Sunday 18 December: 8pm on ITV1)
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  • Ant & Dec's Limitless Win Christmas Special - The Geordie duo are joined by celebrity pairs trying to conquer the Limitless ladder for a charitable cause of their chosing. (Release date TBC)
  • Britain Get Singing - Christmas karoake is getting the celebrity treatment in this one off special hosted by Capital FM DJ Roman Kemp. Stars of five of ITV's biggest shows - Love Island, The Chase, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Loose Women - will be competing against each other, karaoke style. They'll be hoping to impress judges Will.iam, Alesha Dixon, Adam Lambert and Jason Manford. (Release date TBC)
  • Royal Carols: Together at Christmas - Buckingham Palace have confirmed that the Princess of Wales will host a holiday carol concert (opens in new tab) at Westminster Abbey for the second year in a row. This year's will prove to be extra special though, as the family honour the passing of the late Queen in September 2022. To be filmed on December 15, it will air on ITV not long after. (Release date TBC)

Channel 4

  • The Great Festive Bake Off (Christmas Special) - Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are back in the tent with Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas in a Christmas edition that also celebrate Channel 4 ’s 40th anniversary. Gaby Roslin, Tony Robinson, Miquita Oliver, Terry Christian and Claire Sweeney will all be putting their baking skills to the test in the hopes of being crowned Christmas Star Baker. (Release date TBC)
  • Sandi Toksvig's Tiny Christmas Challenge - Sandi Toksvig presents this one-off special that sees two teams of amateur crafters take on the challenge of transforming a miniature alpine cabin into the ultimate Christmas retreat. World-record holding micro-sculptor Dr Willard Wigan MBE and interior designer Laura Jackson hea dup the judging panel. (Release date TBC)
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  • The Last Leg (Christmas special) - Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe are joined by special guests for a bumper special of festive fun, seasonal sketches and some very merry leglessness. (Release date TBC)
  • Joe Lycett's Got Your Back (Christmas Special) - The synopsis reads: "Comedian Joe Lycett fights for justice on behalf of the public. Famed for his own epic battles with petty officials and dodgy scammers, Joe campaigns on behalf of people who've been wronged by corporate giants, caught out by dubious claims and hoodwinked by fraudsters. With celebrity guests, hidden camera investigations and fun in studio, this is your chance to join Joe in his quest for justice. This Christmas special sees Joe take on some of his biggest targets yet, as he aims to right some final wrongs before the year is out." (Release date TBC)
  • Jon & Lucy's Christmas Sleepover - It's back for a second year running. The comedic couple will be joined by Romesh Ranganathan, Tom Allen and Judi Love in this one-hour special. Amongst the laughter, you'll see the married comedians also performing benefit gigs at schools for families struggling during the cost of living crisis. (Release date TBC)

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.