27/11/2012 10:48 GMT | Updated 27/11/2012 10:50 GMT

BBC Christmas TV Schedule: 'Call The Midwife' Going Head To Head With 'Downton Abbey'?

The BBC has unveiled its Christmas TV line-up, with 'Call The Midwife' reportedly going head to head with ITV's 'Downton Abbey'.

The Sun reports the Beeb's drama about the nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House in London's East End, will start at 8pm, overlapping with Julian Fellowes' drama, which has spanned the First World War and is now set in the roaring Twenties, by 15 minutes.

call the midwife

'Call The Midwife' Christmas special

Both typically get around 10million viewers. The festive edition of 'Call The Midwife', starring Jessica Raine, Sheila Reid and Miranda Hart, will see an abandoned baby discovered on the steps of the convent, with the whole community rallying round to provide food and clothing, and to try to trace his mother.

Meanwhile, 'Downton Abbey' fans have been told to keep "tissues at the ready" for this year’s special when the Crawley family will head to a Scottish estate - filmed at Inveraray Castle - to visit cousins, against a backdrop of deer stalking and shooting in the Highlands.

Here's a taste of what else the BBC has in store for the Christmas period...

The new series of 'Miranda' sees Penny threaten to cancel Miranda’s Christmas if she doesn’t sort her life out. Among other things, she forces her daughter on a detox.

A festive special of 'The Royle Family' finds Ricky Tomlinson returning as Jim and Sue Johnston back as Barbara, who claims: "If you can't spoil your family at Christmas, when can you?", having spent a whole two hours in Poundland.

David Attenborough's latest Africa project will see the TV icon exploring the vast and diverse continent.

Christmas and New Year specials of 'Top of the Pops' are hosted by Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates. The biggest pop party on TV will feature exclusive performances from many of the young acts who've topped the charts this year and the all-important recap of who has secured the coveted Christmas Number 1 spot.

There's an Olympics-themed version of retro sports entertainment series 'Superstars'. Gabby Logan hosts this special revival, as 16 of Team GB’s medal-winning athletes from London 2012 compete for this legendary sporting accolade.

A seasonal edition of 'Strictly Come Dancing' will see the final three couples take to the floor for a night of show-stopping routines to see who will be crowned King or Queen of the ballroom 2012.

doctor who

'Doctor Who' festive episode

'Doctor Who' episode 'The Snowmen' is set in 1892 on Christmas Eve. The festive snow-covered fairytale becomes a nightmare when a chilling menace threatens Earth. An unorthodox young governess, Clara, calls on the Doctor for help. But the Doctor is in mourning, reclusive and determined not to engage in the problems of the universe. The special episodes stars Matt Smith, Jenna-Louise Coleman, Richard E Grant and Tom Ward.

Bafta winning Irish sitcom 'Mrs Brown's Boys' sees Agnes Brown find herself facing her busiest Christmas yet. Spiritual son Trevor is visiting from the missions, grandson Bono is sleeping over on Christmas Eve, and there are three new faces to feed on Christmas Day now that Agnes’s youngest son Dermot is the father of triplets.

The final ever episode of cult hit 'Merlin' is also scheduled to air over the Christmas holidays. The Beeb promises the legend will "draw to a spectacular and emotional end".

William Boyd's drama 'Restless', which has Hayley Atwell, Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, Michelle Dockery and Charlotte Rampling in its cast, poses the question what becomes of your life when everything you thought was solid and certain about it turns out to be a fantastically complicated lie?

And finally, David Walliams adaptation 'Mr Stink', which stars Hugh Bonneville, Walliams, Sheridan Smith, Johnny Vegas and Pudsey the dog, will bring some family comedy to the schedule. It tells the story of lonely 12-year-old Chloe (Nell Tiger Free), who invites local tramp Mr Stink (Hugh Bonneville) and his dog Duchess (Pudsey) to hide out in her family’s garden shed.

Downton Abbey Christmas

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