The 12 TV Shows Of Christmas..

There are only 38 shopping days left until Christmas. This means most of us have 37 days until we have to start thinking about what to buy. So as you busy yourself with forgetting to buy gifts until absolute crunch point, let OTB take the stress out of another vital element of the Chrsitmas break: your TV viewing schedule. Television is a vital part of the season, providing a much-needed break from family discussion and general gaiety and there’s no excuse for being unprepared so read on for 12 must-views next month..

Twelve celebrity cameos…Little Crackers, Sky 1
This year’s ensemble comedy cast comedy extravaganza will air on SKY 1 and will feature a number of celebs sharing cherished childhood memories in the show’s tried-and-tested sketch show format. Expect Christmas crackers such as Johnny Vegas and Harry Hill and maybe a few turkeys – is Barbara Windsor really a worthy comedienne? Either way, the second of this yuletide treat is sure to raise a few smiles. Here’s a taste of last year’s special, featuring Stephen Fry..

Eleven Dickensian dramas… Dickens Season, BBC
Kicking off in early December, the BBC has commissioned a drama marathon of Dickensian proportions. We are expecting a lot from this Christmas drama banquet, you could say we have “Great Expectationsâ€?… and in fact, the glistening centrepiece of this banquet will be the aforementioned book of the same name (set to star David Suchet and Ray Winstone no less). Also look out for The Mystery of Edwin Drood with Alun Armstrong et al.

Ten Lords a leaping… Downton Abbey Xmas Special, ITV
Sunday is now a Downton-free zone *sob*.. Following the end of series two of the astonishingly popular ITV series, fans up and down the country have been mourning its loss. But Julian Fellowes is a generous chap and his gift to the nation is a big shiny episode of DA which will feature Nigel Havers as ‘handsome aristocrat’ Lord Hepworth. Now we think of it, it’s a wonder he hasn’t appeared before..

Nine gift-wrapped daleks… Doctor Who Xmas, BBC One
Seven year olds (and their parents) will be delighted to hear that Dr. Who will be making a festive appearance again this year. Matt Smith will return as the time lord and, following a dedicated campaign by his fans, Bill Bailey will make a cameo in the hour long special. Claire Skinner from Outnumbered and Alexander Armstrong will also star as the gang embark on a magical and mysterious adventure deep in the heart of war-torn England.. This is the only image available at the moment. Run Doctor Run!

Listen to Bill Bailey chatting to Graham Norton about his role…it’s very exciting!

Eight tongues-in-cheeks…Hacks, Channel 4
Penned by Drop the Dead Donkey writer, Guy Jenkin, this one hour special will take a comedic side-swipe at certain tabloid papers and their dubious behaviour. Set at a fictional paper and starring Claire Foy, Alexander Armstrong (again!?) and Russ Abbott, this should ignite a bit of sherry-fuelled fun. Inspired by the notorious hacking scandals that engulfed the British ‘dead tree press’ earlier in 2011, Hacks (a working title) is set in the news room of a fictional newspaper where the pressure to get a story and beat the competitors is intense..

Seven massive dresses…. Big Fat Gypsy Christmas, Channel 4
Big Fat Gypsy star Paddy Doherty has already vowed to beat the X Factor contestants to the number one spot by releasing a festive track of his own, and C4 have now confirmed that a BFG Xmas special will be hitting our screens. Filmed at home with Paddy and wife Roseanne, copious amounts of egg nog may be required if we are to make it through this Big Fat Noel.

Six burly pirates….Treasure Island, Sky 1
Some of the most bizarre but delightful casting choices in TV history have resulted in Eddie Izzard, Philip Glenister and Elijah Wood sharing the small screen this Christmas. Sky 1 is bringing Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island to life once more and, in Izzards words, it should be “bad assâ€?. As a pre-Christmas treat, why not indulge yourself with a first glimpse…

Five gold rings… Ab Fab, BBC One
The girls are back in town. For three glorious episodes over the festive season, Eddy and Patsy (Lumley and Saunders) will return to TV complete with bubbly and bad taste. The pair were spotted filming on Bond Street back in August and after a seven year absence, it is almost time to say “hello daaaarlingâ€? to the original glitterati queens.

Four budding robbers…. The Bank Job, Channel 4
This week-long event will go boldly where no game show has gone before. Viewers are given the chance to win some big bucks by competing to pull off a heist. The competition starts online and each night, one lucky winner emerges with a briefcase of loot. On night five the winners return to compete for a Christmas present that Santa would not be able to fit in his sleigh – bajillions of cash.

Three more pints… Fast Freddie, The Widow And Me ITV1
Christmas would not be Christmas without a poignant drama which throws into things into perspective. It also wouldn’t be Christmas without a whole heap of presents and loads of food, but let’s go with poignant drama for a moment. Laurence Fox (Lewis) stars as a wealthy salesman convicted of drink driver who has to do community service over the festive season. Though initially gutted, he soon meets some extraordinary people and finds that Christmas is about more than spending money and eating trifle…

Two Chrimbo crooners… Michael McIntyre Christmas Day, BBC One vs. Michael Buble – Home for Christmas, BBC
After unceremoniously abandoning his position on the Britain’s Got Talent panel, Michael McIntyre has skipped straight over to the BBC and landed himself a slot on Christmas Day. The floppy-haired comic will be interviewing “big nameâ€? guests and providing plenty of laughter while over on ITV, another Michael will be working is magic. Heart-throb Buble will be crooning out classics and apparently doing a duet with Kelly Rowland in “Home for Christmasâ€?. Let battle commence.

And a Partridge in a pear tree… Partridge Christmas, Sky Atlantic
After selling the broadcast rights to web series, Mid Morning Matters, to Sky Atlantic, Steve Coogan is considering a Christmas special to remember. In true Coogan style, details are scant at the moment. But it will be the first time since Partridge has appeared in a fresh TV episode since 2002. Get the bubbly on ice…

If it involves Alan punching a guest with turkey again, we’re excited:

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