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Take That, Ken Dodd and Morecambe and Wise: BBC unveils Christmas TV schedule


A Take That special, a look back at the career of Ken Dodd and two lost Morecambe and Wise episodes are among the highlights of the BBC’s Christmas schedule, which has been revealed today.

Take That mark their 30th anniversary with a special one-off programme for BBC One. while BBC Two will air Ken Dodd: How Tickled We Were, exploring the long life and work of the man described by many as “the last great music hall entertainer”.

And for the first time since their original broadcast in 1968, two episodes of Morecambe & Wise will be played on BBC Two this Christmas after the original colour tapes were lost for 50 years.

The two, black and white episodes were found in a derelict cinema in Sierra Leone and have been transformed back into colour by decoding colour information within the copies.

Idris Elba returns as Luther


Other BBC One highlights over the festive period include the much-anticipated return of iconic drama Luther, Sarah Phelps’ adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, plus a six-part drama adaptation of 19th century classic Les Misérables.

There are familiar BBC One festive favourites including specials from Call The Midwife, Doctor Who, Mrs Brown’s Boys, Hold the Sunset, Still Open All Hours, EastEnders and Strictly Come Dancing, plus a live special of Not Going Out and brand new comedy Click & Collect.

In documentary, the illustrious careers of comedian Billy Connolly, writer Andrew Davies and storyteller Raymond Briggs are explored; and natural history programming includes frozen action Spy In The Snow, Gordon Buchanan’s Grizzly Bear Cubs and Me, Christmas Sky with Chris and Michaela and Snow-Wolf.

Animated adventure Zog sees author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s accident-prone dragon come to life featuring a stellar voice cast including Sir Lenny Henry, Tracey Ullman, Hugh Skinner, Patsy Ferran and Kit Harington. There’s more family fun with The Midnight Gang, adapted from David Walliams’ book.

Other BBC One highlights are here.

BBC Two will explore the life of Ken Dodd

BBC Two 

Celebrating 20 years, Goodness Gracious Me – 20 years innit!, features exclusive interviews with its stars and creators alongside other comedians who are fans of the series as the show’s ten most memorable sketches are revealed.

There’s also a fourth series of Two Doors Down, as well as festive specials from Upstart Crow, QI, Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo.

Other highlights are here.

Simon Callow stars in The Dead Room

BBC Four

Mark Gatiss brings the Christmas ghost story tradition back to life with The Dead Room, a chilling new tale starring Simon Callow.

Fellow musicians, journalists and fans including KT Tunstall, Travis frontman Fran Healy, Edith Bowman, Toyah Willcox and Alan McGee celebrate Fleetwood Mac with a selection of their best loved songs.

And After the Screaming Stops is a powerful, raw and fascinating insight into one of pop’s original boy bands: Bros.

And in a special seasonal edition of his acclaimed series, film critic Mark Kermode celebrates one of the most perennial of all genres: the Christmas movie. 

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, says: “Once again this year, Christmas promises to be a very special time on BBC television. We’ve got a wonderful array of stars to keep everyone entertained and ready to enjoy the best in drama, entertainment, comedy and documentaries over the festive period. We want to offer something for everyone and give all our audience something magical they can enjoy together – wherever they may be.”

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