This is the most wonderful time of the year – when the worlds of music and television combine to bring us much-needed festive delights during the holidays. Well, what else is there to do?
Whether you are working or looking for something to chill out for a night out or an afternoon, here we have put together a list of must-see Christmas and New Years music shows, documentaries and movies at, of course, Top of the Pops and very special live performances.
A quick note before we begin, most of these programs will be available to watch via terrestrial television on TNT.
Idris Elba meets Paul McCartney
BBC One, 9:20 p.m.
Start your party watch in the best possible way – with the meeting of two legends. In this new documentary, Luther star Idris Elba meets Sir Paul McCartney to discuss his legendary career and the creation of McCartney III earlier this year, the latest album in a solo trilogy spanning 50 years.
Shania Twain: Still The One – Live in Las Vegas
Sky Arts, 10 p.m.
Let’s go girls. Give your Christmas a little country-pop twist, courtesy of Shania Twain herself, with a live recording of her Still The One show in Las Vegas.
Cliff Richard: The Christmas King
Channel 5, 10:25 p.m.
Take a look back at the life and times of Sir Cliff Richard (who broke an official chart record earlier this year) in this documentary, which also examines the impact of Mistletoe and Wine, one of the undeniable Christmas standards of the british pop cannon. .
A Christmas story of sacred music
BBC4, 8 p.m.
One for all culture lovers out there. This film examines the history and evolution of sacred music like hymns and their connection to Christmas. It takes us back hundreds of years in the past to see how sacred music evolved into classics like Silent Night.
ITVBe, 8 p.m.
If you prepare for ABBA to (finally) release new music in 2021, revisit a collection of their biggest hits in the effervescent musical we all love to love, the sequel to which a decade later proved to be a breakthrough success in the UK official charts.
Katherine Jenkins Christmas Show
ITV, 2:15 p.m.
Watch Welsh opera star Katherina Jenkins take the stage and perform a variety of classics, with a live orchestra. (If you can’t wait to tune in, you can also watch this special show right now through BritBox).
Songs of King’s
More traditional dishes now. The annual celebration of Christmas history, starting with a single choir singer singing the opening of Once In Royal David’s City.
BBC4, from 7.45 p.m.
And not so traditional dishes. BBC4 is showing everything Elvis Presley-related from 7:45 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Celebrate the King in style, with a screening of his musical film Viva Las Vegas, then watch a Top of the Pops 2 special, with performances by artists covering Elvis’ biggest hits, including Cher and Alison Moyet.
the day of Christmas
Top Of The Pops Christmas Special
BBC One, 11:55 a.m.
A true festive tradition. Ahead of the reveal of the Official Christmas Issue 1, join Clara Amfo and Fearne Cotton for a special festive Top of the Pops featuring some of the year’s biggest hits. Stars on the scene include Becky Hill and Joel Corry and MNEK with their number 1 single, Head and Heart.
Top Of The Pops 2 Christmas
BBC4, 7 p.m.
The pop doesn’t stop, as they say. If we whet your appetite for more, BBC4 is presenting a very special compilation episode of Top of the Pops 2 later on Christmas Day, with performances rolled out of the vaults with Sir Elton John, ABBA and Elvis.
BBC2, 7:30 p.m.
A fun edition of Mastermind tonight – which features a contender whose specialty category is UK hit singles from 2000-2004.
BBC One, 5:10 p.m.
A very special edition of the popular quiz show, featured famous Christmas hitmakers from the past who won the coveted Christmas Number 1. Contestants include Jimmy Osmond, Gareth Malone and X Factor winner Ben Haenow.
Celebrity: a 21st century story
BBC2, 9 p.m.
Scheduled to be screened over four consecutive nights, this new documentary takes a look at the evolution of celebrity and popular culture in the 21st century. The first episode looks back on the rise of reality TV with Pop Idol and its final tense between Will Young and Gareth Gates. Upcoming episodes will also examine One Direction’s rise to prominence as the first social media supergroup.
new year’s eve
Top of the Pops special New Year
BBC One, 4:20 p.m.
Start your New Year’s party off on the right foot with the second of Top of the Pops’ festive specials. Joining Clara and Fearne tonight are Becky Hill, Wes Nelson and BBC Sound of 2021, indie-pop artist Alfie Templeman.
The Graham Norton Show
BBC One, 10:25 p.m.
Joining Graham and his star-studded sofa tonight (including Tom Hanks!), Sophie Ellis-Bextor is the musical guest of the evening, where she will perform her cover of Crying At The Discotheque from her hit series Kitchen Disco.
Jools Annual Hootenanny
BBC Two, 11:15 p.m.
Could it be New Years Eve without Jools Holland? Joining the esteemed host and musician tonight is a diverse lineup: 2020 Mercury Prize winner Michael Kiwanuka, Rag’n’Bone Man and Roisin Murphy, who reached their highest peak this year on the official album chart with Roisin. Machine.
Alicia Keys Rocks New Years Eve
BBC One, 11:30 p.m.
Ring in 2021 with a very special show featuring American superstar Alicia Keys, who will tinkle the ivories and, we guess, sing No One at full blast to ring in the New Year.