19/12/2014 07:40 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Christmas TV 2014: Must-See Festive Telly This Year


Christmas telly is a great British tradition, but it can be hard to keep up with the jam-packed festive TV schedules, so we've put together a list of what not to miss on the box this year to help you plan ahead.

Whether you're a family with young children or teens or a mix, here are our top picks for the festive schedules this year to keep everyone entertained, from Frozen-mad toddlers to Strictly-loving Granny.

Christmas Eve

The Muppet Christmas Carol (4.50pm, Channel 4): This is truly one for all the family, with Michael Caine helping the iconic puppets put their own unique spin on the Charles Dickens' festive classic. The ghosts can be a little bit scary, but the host of memorable songs should put all fears to rest.

Toy Story 3 (6.25pm, BBC1): There's laughter and tears aplenty in this stellar third installment of the adventures of Woody, Buzz and the gang. When a grown-up Andy donates them to a nursery, the toys must band together as they adjust to a whole new world and meet new friends - and enemies. A treat for adults and kids alike.

The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm (8.30pm BBC1): Harry Hill is the mad boffin in this adaptation of Norman Hunter's series of short stories. David Mitchell and Ben Miller co-star in the comic romp, which sees the eccentric Prof's peculiar inventions getting him into all sorts of mischief.

Christmas Day

Puss in Boots (3.10pm, BBC1): A slightly limp spin off from the Shrek series, starring professional Spaniard Antonio Banderas as the cat who wears boots yet no clothes. While parents will probably find it a bit of a snoozefest, kids are more likely enjoy the goofy characters, cheesy gags, and third-act peril.

Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas (4.30pm, ITV): The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parson lends his voice to this stop-motion animated musical, which sees Buddy - played by Will Ferrell in the hit 2003 movie Elf - travel to New York to meet his real father, spreading Christmas spirit on the way.

Strictly Come Dancing (5pm, BBC1): Six memorable contestants of Strictlys past reunite for a one-off festive special. This year Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Rachel Stevens, Chris Hollins, Russell Grant, Lisa Riley and Louis Smith will be dusting off their dancing shoes to wow judges Len, Bruno, Darcey and Craig once more.

Doctor Who (6.15pm, BBC1): If your number one complaint about Doctor Who is that it's a bit too daft, you won't like the sound of the Christmas special, which sees the Doctor and Clara trapped in the Arctic fighting off monsters with the help of a certain jolly man in red. But kids are bound to thrill to the icy escapades.

Miranda (7.15pm, BBC1): Join Miranda Hart as she says goodbye to her beloved fictional self, who will be falling over for the last time this Yuletide. This is the first of two final specials, with the second airing on New Year's Day. With Christmas providing ample social situations to embarrass oneself spectacularly, it's bound to be 'what I like to call' a fitting send-off.

Frozen at Christmas (8pm, Channel 4): Mystified by the overwhelming obsession that seemingly every child under nine has with Disney's Frozen? Let this documentary about the hit musical's journey to world domination elucidate you. Featuring interviews with cast, crew, celebs and avid viewers, it attempts to get to the bottom of why so many fans just can't 'let it go' (sorry!).

Downton Abbey (9pm, ITV): One for the grown-ups and teens, this year's Downton special sees everyone's favourite aristocrats and their ever-shifting legion of downstairs drudges off to spend the festive season with Rose's new hubby and his family. Expect the traditional Downton blend of dark secrets, slightly lighter secrets, and extremely tense dinner parties.

Boxing Day

The Boy in the Dress (6.55pm, BBC1): David Walliams' childrens book comes to the small screen, following a 12-year-old boy with a secret - he likes to put on a dress and become his alter ego Denise, much to the confusion of his dad and teacher. Funny and thought-provoking.