The Movie Waffler Sponsored Post - ‘Must Watch’ Christmas TV 2013 | The Movie Waffler

Sponsored Post - ‘Must Watch’ Christmas TV 2013

Before all the festive frolics get really out of hand, now is the time to sit down with a glass of mulled wine, a mince pie or two and plan your Christmas TV viewing.

The TV guides, free supplements and online programme schedules are already available, so make sure you don’t miss your favourites. Set your recording gear and plan those programmes well before any guests come calling.

We all know what usually happens - the one programme you really wanted to watch will be the time your long lost relatives and friends choose to pay you a visit so spend a quiet hour planning your Christmas ‘specials’ now and you’re much more likely to be full of festive cheer and yo-ho-ho if they do.

This year's schedules are packed full of the usual favourites including Downton Abbey, Dr Who, Still Open All Hours and Sherlock plus a few ‘one offs’, which will all be vying to entertain us and win the ratings war with a Christmas appearance.

Downton Abbey - a two hour special set in the summer with Shirley MacLaine making a return as Lady Cora’s mother, who of course is more than ready and able to swap one liners with the wonderful Maggie Smith. The recently ended fourth series left a few cliff hangers so will Edith find her man and keep her baby? And isn’t it about time Lady Mary chose a new husband?.

Dr Who - it's time to introduce the 14th Doctor. Peter Capaldi takes over ownership of the Tardis just in time to rescue Clara from a family Christmas dinner. The new Doctor must then take on the latest threat to the universe as we know it and it should keep the kids quiet for a while.

Gangsta Granny - an adaption of a David Walliams book, he stars alongside Julia McKenzie, Joanna Lumley, Rob Brydon and Miranda Hart. Bored schoolboy Ben has to stay at granny’s house where the most exciting thing to look forward to is usually a game of scrabble, or so he thinks!

Death Comes to Pemberley - set six years after Elizabeth Bennett married her Mr Darcy, this three part costume drama is based on a murder mystery. It stars Anna Maxwell Martin, Matthew Rhys and Matthew Goode and is just the sort of thing the BBC does best.

Great British Bake Off - a masterclass in festive fayre from the queen of baking, Mary Berry, and the dough master, Paul Hollywood. Pens and notebooks at the ready, oh and a bowl and rolling pin would be handy, as the pair give a step by step guide on how to produce stress free Christmas food.

Sherlock - one of the most highly anticipated returns to our screen, Sherlock is back. It’s been two years since we saw him last apparently leaping to his death so Benedict Cumberbatch owes his trusty sidekick, Martin Freeman (Dr Watson) and the rest of us some explanations. Dr Watson has found love in the meantime and it might not be to Sherlock’s strange taste!

Still Open All Hours - Granville (Sir David Jason), has inherited the shop from miserly uncle Arkwright, the late great Ronnie Barker. He now runs it with his son Leroy, the result of a rare one night stand, in Blackpool! Nurse Gladys is still around and watch carefully as even Arkwright manages to make an appearance.  

Strictly Come Dancing - the main series will have just finished when the Christmas special hits our screens. Expect plenty of glittering santa outfits and more ‘tens’ than usual when Ricky Norwood, Sarah Cox, Rochelle Humes and comedian Rufus Hound take to the floor.

Aside from the specials, there is plenty to keep Premier league football fans happy on Boxing Day as Manchester United travel to Hull, Arsenal entertain Cardiff and West Ham square up to Manchester City.

And If you fancy a festive flutter, Channel 4 will televise live horse racing at Kempton Park also on Boxing Day. The Grade One King George V1 steeple chase is the highlight, at 3 miles it’s not as long, nor does it have as many fences, as the Aintree Grand National course, however it attracts the cream of the crop of the long distance chasers with past winners including Desert Orchid and Kauto Star.

It all sounds fabulous but can it live up to our expectations?  If it doesn’t, it's still Christmas and with a bit of luck you’ll have a nice new ‘box set’ to sink your teeth into and oh don’t forget those leftover mince pies.

Alex Jones currently writes for a number of sporting websites and portals in the United Kingdom. Alex has been a keen fan of National Hunt racing in Ireland and the United Kingdom since watching his first Grand National race in the 1980s.