(updated to include 2017)

Christmas Day being the one day of the year where it is almost impossible to do anything other than veg in front of the telly, other than taking photos of empty city centres that is.

However, with a massive, and generally captive audience, what do the television bosses offer us. I seemed to recall a time when xmas day telly was dominated by a major movie in the afternoon, then it was killed off by Noel Edmunds schmaltzy do-gooding shows. So I pondered what was telly really like. Am I remembering a past more fondly than it really was, or has telly gone sharply down hill in recent years.

So I looked back through the Christmas week Radio/TV Times and compiled a listing (full list below).

What has turned up is that telly seems to go in 5 and 10-year cycles, with patterns of similar shows being run over a number of years before a new trend replaces them.

Lets look back over a lifetime of telly on Christmas Day.

As befits the BBC’s early obsession with education, its first xmas day broadcast starts with a lesson in carving the xmas turkey. Presumably aimed at people who put the turkey into the oven late and wont be eating until supper time.

In the early years, the King’s Speech was audio only, as radio was still seen as the correct place for such things, and also it was broadcast live which meant that cameras would be a hassle. Also, the King didn’t always appear on the Christmas day schedule, and was missing on some years.

In the 1930s, its good wholesome home information films. There wasn’t much in the 1940s, as BBC1 was shut-down during the war and people turned to the radio or cinema instead.

In the 1950s, there is a marked trend towards showing a short family film, and more children oriented shows.

In 1955, The King’s occasional Christmas Day broadcast was replaced by The Queen, who was still only available in audio, but she has been on the telly in some form or other every Christmas since then, except in 1959, 1960, 1963 and 1969 for some reason. During those years, she was usually replaced by Billy Smart’s Circus, and you can read into that whatever you like!

In fact, the circus became a staple part of the Christmas afternoon entertainment from the late 1950s right through to the middle of the 1970s.

1955 was also the launch of ITV, bringing a wider selection to Christmas Day — although both channels showed The Queen at the same time. 1955 also marked the final year that the BBC closed down broadcasting in the late-afternoon, probably reacting to the arrival of the new upstart in commercial television land.

A couple of years later, in 1957, The Queen was seen as well as heard on the moving picture box for the first time.

In 1960, the notion of competition possibly died a little, as both BBC and ITV put on the same sort of thing at the same time — a circus event. It seems that the big top was exceptionally popular in the 1960s.

1964 saw the arrival of BBC2 offering a respite from circuses everywhere, and in 1969 ITV dropped The Queen, but she was back the following year. Maybe words were had with the boss.

Incidentally, The Queen started with a 5 minute speech, but that has over time lengthened to a 10-minute slot on telly. Except in 1970, when she was give a full 20 minutes for some reason.

ITV had also dropped the circus by now, and was starting to run with movies, albeit not the block-busters, just safe staid family fare.

In 1977, BBC2 dropped its habit of showing The Queen at 3pm, and started what is now its tradition of a later repeat in the evening instead.

It was also in the mid 1970s that we can start to see the trend towards showing a major movie in the afternoon. There’s still some light entertainment after The Queen, but an afternoon of several short light programmes is starting to be replaced by just a couple of major shows or films.

The big shock was 1978 though — as Billy Smart’s Circus jumped from BBC1 to ITV. So we still liked the big top on xmas day then. But not for long, as the circus was dropped just a year later, and ITV started its long love affair with the James Bond movie.

1982 saw the arrival of Channel4, who initially copied BBC2 in moving The Queen to a later time. They also launched their brand new channel, by showing an old B&W movie. They were however to start a Christmas tradition, on Boxing Day, with the first screening of The Snowman.

And finally in 1987, Eastenders appeared on the afternoon schedule for the first time. It was also around this time that the blockbuster film premier started to dominate the afternoon schedule.

A Monarch, A Film Premier, A Popular Show == Christmas Day.

(Although I can only presume it was a bad year for Hollywood in 1989 and 1991)

It was however in 1993, that Noel Edmunds started his Christmas Day invasion. Still just an add-on, but his folksome dolling out of gifts was soon to replace the blockbuster movie as the Xmas day staple.

It was also 1993 that Ch4 launched its alternative Christmas Message, an initially worthy idea that was later ruined by Ch4s typical behaviour these days, or relying on celebs rather than actually interesting people.

Curiously, it was 1996 that caught me by surprise. I seemed to remember Jurasic Park as one of the big-brand movies that were shown after The Queen, but its premier was in the evening, not the afternoon. So, yes, the BBC did have big name films, I just got the time wrong.

The late 1990s was also the dominance on telly of Noel Edmunds, Rolf Harris and Terry Wogan — an unholy triumvirate.

But the new millennium broke with a break from tradition, with two blockbuster premieres on the same day. Sadly, not to last with probably a surge in sales of DVDs as soon as the 2002 schedule was announced.

Then again, in 2004, Ch4 devoted the entire day to the yellow faced cartoons of The Simpsons. In 2007, Ch4’s flirtation with its alternative Christmas Message was somewhat downgraded as the slot was moved from 3pm to a random location in the schedule. It doesn’t appear at all this year.

In recent years, BBC1 has been dominated by a blockbuster movie again, but all of the same genre, namely a children’s film, and then Dr Who and Strictly Dancing in the evening. ITV has been, well, very ITV, all celebs and soaps, while Ch4 having been an odd mixture over the years is this year just going for wall-to-wall films, plus the addition of a festive Bake Off. BBC2 sticks to its usual fare of slightly upper brow art and old comedies.

It might be another good year for DVD sales, or downloads.

Radio_Times_Christmas_cover_2013_revealed

Christmas Day Afternoons

1936
BBC1

3.00 Christmas Turkey Carving Demonstration

3.15 News Reel

3.25 A Lonely Christmas Arctic

3.30 Picture Page (fourteenth edition) Christmas Number

4.00 Close

1937
BBC1

3.00 The King`s Message (sound only)

3.05 The Rev Pat McCormick

3.10 Charles Heslop (comedy) and Irene Prador (Viennese songs)

3.30 Mr Gillie Potter

3.40 Musical Farmer, cartoon film

3.45 Alice in Wonderland

4.15 Close

1938

 

BBC1

2.50 A Christmas Party in the Children’s Ward of St George’s Hospital

3.45 Richard Hearne with George Nelson on Puddings, Christmas

4.00 Close

The war years, no telly…
1946
BBC1

3.00 The King speaks to his people (sound only)

3.10 Christmas in Children’s Hospital

4.00 Close

1947
BBC1

3.00 The King`s Message to the Commonwealth and Empire (sound only)

3.15 Party Broadcast

4.00 Close

1948
BBC1

3.00 Film : Tumbledown Ranch in Arizona

4.00 Close

1949
BBC1

3.20 For the Children : Film : Little Lord Fauntleroy

5.00 Close

1950

Nothing broadcast between 12:30 and 5pm.

1951
BBC1

3.20 Film : Wallaby Jim of the Islands

4.15 Close

1952
BBC1

3.20 Film : Swiss Miss

4.20 Interlude

4.30 Andy Pandy followed by The Flowerpot Men

5.00 Children’s Television : One Way Genie, a play

6.00 Close

1953
BBC1

3.15 Christmas Journey Round the World

4.15 Watch with Mother Andy Pandy

4.30 Close

1954

BBC1

3.15 The Season’s Greetings

4.15 Close

4.45 Andy Pandy

6.00 Association Football Results

6.05 Close

1955

BBC1ITV

3.00 The Queen’s broadcast (sound only)

3.15 A Christmas Visit to Disneyland

4.45 Watch with Mother : Andy Pandy

5.00 Children’s Television

6.00 Close

3.00 The Queen’s Broadcast (sound only)

3.15 Alice in Wonderland

4.00 Liberace

4.30 Junior Television

6.00 Closedown

1956

BBC1ITV

3.00 The Queen’s Christmas Message (sound only)

3.15 Variety Theatre of China

3.30 Grand Circus from Paris

4.30 Puss in Boots filmed by Johnny Morris

4.50 The Lone Ranger

3.00 The Queen`s Message (sound only)

3.15 Commonwealth Prospect

3.30 Musical programme

4.00 The File on Voronov, film

4.30 Buffalo Bill Jnr in “Six-Gun Symphony”

5.00 Jolly Good Time

6.00 Close

1957
BBC1ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.15 Billy Smart’s Family Party

4.00 Children’s Television

4.20 Film : Mrs Mike starring Dick Powell

6.00 News and Weather

3.00 The Queen, from Sandringham

3.15 Film : The Lady from Boston

4.30 Cool for Cats

4.45 Rin-Tin-Tin

5.15 For Children- Popeye

5.45 Film : The Big Top, a Russian film

1958
BBC1ITV

3.00 The Queen’s Christmas Message

3.15 Billy Smart’s Family Party

4.15 Film : North-West Stampede

5.30 Plapp, a film about a seabird

6.00 News

3.00 The Queen

3.15 From All of Us to All of You

4.15 Carroll Levis Junior Discoveries

5.00 Christmas in Cyprus

5.30 Spotlight on Musicals

6.05 News

1959

BBC1ITV

3.00 Chipperfield’s Circus Festival

4.00 Billy Cotton’s Christmas Party

4.45 Barrie’s A Kiss for Cinderella

6.15 News Summary

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Film : A Girl in Every Port

4.15 Happy Christmas

4.45 Richard Todd presents

5.30 Educating Archie

6.00 Once Upon a Christmas

1960
BBC1ITV

2.09 Walt Disney: the story of a man who became a legend

3.25 Appeal, on behalf of the British Wireless for the Blind Fund

3.30 Billy Smart’s Circus

4.30 What’s My Line? from Hammersmith Hospital, London

5.00 Tonight with Belafonte

5.50 News and Weather

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Grand Christmas Circus

4.05 Ice Show: Sleeping Beauty at Brighton Palladium

4.55 Pathfinders to Mars

5.25 Seeing is Believing

5.45 News

5.55 Alice Through the Looking Box

1961
BBC1ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.07 Billy Smart’s Circus

4.05 The World of Walt Disney introduced by David Jacobs

5.15 Film : Just William’s Luck

6.45 The News

3.00 The Queen

3.07 All Star Christmas Circus (Chipperfield’s)

4.20 Close Up

5.00 For Children

5.55 News

6.05 The Archbishop of Canterbury

1962
BBC1ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Billy Smart’s Circus

4.15 Puss in Boots

5.45 Hayley in Disneyland

6.50 News including The Queen

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Chipperfield’s Circus

4.10 Close-Up

5.00 Christmas Rendezvous

5.55 News

6.05 A Christmas Message by the Archbishp of Canterbury

1963
BBC1ITV

3.00 Billy Smart’s Circus

4.05 Film : Abbott & Costello Meet Captain Kidd

5.15 Sooty: Sooty’s Christmas Party

5.30 The News

3.00 The Queen

3.05 FILM: The Glass Mountain

4.42 Mahalia Jackson

4.50 Zoo Time

5.15 The Terrible Ten

5.45 Don`t Say a Word

6.10 News

1964

BBC1ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Billy Smart’s Circus

4.10 Disney Time with Julie Andrews

5.10 News

5.15 Robinson Crusoe starring Norman Wisdom

4.25 Christmas Carols from the Chapel of King`s College, Cambridge

5.10 Slask

3.00 The Queen

3.07 Richard Whittington Esquire

4.30 Don`t Say a Word

5.00 Five O’Clock Club

5.30 Ready, Steady, Go!

6.25 News

1965
BBC1ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Billy Smart’s Circus

4.00 Disney Time, with Maurice Chevalier

4.50 Mother Goose, starring Norman Vaughan and Terry Scott

6.25 News Summary

Nothing until 6:30pm

3.00 The Queen

3.07 Film : Moby Dick (1956)

5.10 Discovering Britain, with John Betjeman

5.21 Football Results

5.22 Christmas Lucky Stars

6.05 The Beverly Hillbillies

1966
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Billy Smart’s Circus

4.00 Disney Time with Rolf Harris

4.40 Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp

6.05 The News

3.00 The Queen`s Christmas Message

3.05 The World of Jacques-Yves Cousteau

4.00 Film : Oh, Mr Porter! (1937)

5.20 The Leningrad State Kirov Ballet

6.10 Newsyear 66

3.00 The Queen

3.07 Film: Sabrina Fair

5.05 Thunderbirds: Give or Take a Million

6.00 News

1967
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Billy Smart’s Circus

4.15 Disney Time with Dick van Dyke

5.00 Cinderella BBC1’s Christmas pantomime

6.30 The News

3.00 The Queen

3.10 The Royal Palaces of Britain

4.10 Amahl and the Night Visitors (b&w)

5.00 Film : Doctor in Love

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film: Fancy Pants

4.43 Many Moons, a James Thurber fairy story

5.05 Sexton Blake

5.55 News

1968
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen’s Christmas Message to the Commonwealth

3.05 Billy Smart’s Circus

4.10 Disney Time with Val Doonican

5.00 Humpty Dumpty starring Leslie Crowther and Reg Varney

6.30 The News

3.00 The Queen’s Christmas Message to the Commonwealth

3.05 The Royal Ballet present The Nutcracker

4.45 Peace on Earth The Christmas Story

5.00 Film : Lords of the Forest : Masters of the Congo Jungle

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Kelvin Hall Circus

4.10 Do Not Adjust Your Stocking

5.00 Film: The Courage of Lassie

5.50 News

6.00 Film: The Courage of Lassie, continued

1969
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 Billy Smart’s Circus Spectacular

4.10 Disney Time

5.00 Cinderella

6.30 The Main News with Robert Dougall and Weather

3.00 The Royal Ballet : The Sleeping Beauty

5.25 News Summary

5.30 Call My Bluff Christmas Edition

3.00 Film: Petticoat Pirates

4.35 Aladdin

5.50 News

6.00 All Star Comedy Carnival

1970
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.25 Billy Smart’s Circus Spectacular

4.30 Disney Time with Harry Worth

5.10 Robinson Crusoe

6.40 The Main News

3.25 The Royal Ballet in Cinderella

5.10 The Great Inimitable Dickens

6.40 It’s a Terrible Waste of an Egg

3.00 The Queen

3.20 Film: The Incredible Mr Limpet

4.45 Cinderella

5.50 News

6.00 All Star Comedy Carnival

1971
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Billy Smart’s Christmas Circus

4.15 The Black and White Minstrel Show

5.00 Aladdin

6.30 News

3.10 The Royal Ballet in La Fille Mal Gardee

4.50 The Queen

5.00 I Can See It All

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : King Solomon’s Mines

5.00 A Variety of Reg Varney

6.00 News

1972
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Billy Smart’s Christmas Circus

4.10 Dick Whittington

5.45 News

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Film : Henry V

5.15 Call My Bluff

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : That Riviera Touch

4.50 Opportunity Knocks Christmas Special !

5.35 News

5.45 All Star Comedy Carnival

1973
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.15 Billy Smart’s Christmas Circus

4.20 Christmas Panto: Robin Hood

5.55 News

3.00 The Queen

3.15 Film : Far from the Madding Crowd

5.55 The Railroader, with Buster Keaton

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows

4.50 Queen of Hearts

6.20 News

1974
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Billy Smart’s Christmas Circus

4.05 Film : True Grit

6.10 News

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Golf 74

4.05 La Traviata

6.10 Film : Henry V

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Film: Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines

5.35 News

5.45 Meet Peters and Lee

1975
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Billy Smart’s Christmas Circus

4.05 Film : The Wizard of Oz

5.45 National News

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Swan Lake

4.45 In Deepest Britain

5.35 Nice One A Cockney Wedding

5.50 Film : The Yearling

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Film : Doctor in Trouble

4.45 Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo

5.10 News

5.20 Bay City Rollers Show

1976
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.15 Billy Smart’s Christmas Circus

4.15 Film : Oliver!

6.35 Evening News

3.00 The Queen

3.15 The Snow Queen

4.20 Alice Through the Looking-Glass

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Please Sir!

5.00 New Faces Derek Hobson

6.00 News

1977
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Billy Smart’s Christmas Circus

4.10 Film : The Wizard of Oz

5.50 Basil Through the Looking Glass

6.20 Evening News

3.00 The Lively Arts – In Performance Coppélia, ballet

4.40 In Deepest Britain Waders in Winter

5.10 Celebration a portrait of the Queen’s summer jubilee tour

5.40 The Queen

3.00 The Queen

3.10 To See Such Fun, a look at four decades of film fun

4.40 Emu’s Christmas Adventure

5.40 ITN News

5.45 The Muppet Show

1978
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.20 Larry Grayson’s Christmas Generation Game

4.20 Film: The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews

7.10 Evening News

3.20 The Snow Queen a fairytale for television

4.20 Christmas Matinée: Dersu Uzala

3.00 The Queen

3.20 Film : Battle for the Planet of the Apes

4.55 Billy Smart’s Christmas Circus

6.05 News

1979
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.20 Larry Grayson’s Christmas Generation Game

4.20 Film : The Gnome Mobile

5.45 BBC News

3.00 Film : A Hard Day’s Night

4.25 Christmas Day Concert

5.30 A Christmas Carol

3.00 The Queen

3.15 The James Bond film: Goldfinger (1964)

5.10 News

5.15 3-2-1, Dickensian Xmas Show

6.15 George and Mildred

1980
BBC1BBC2ITV

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

5.15 The Paul Daniels Magic Show

6.05 Evening News

3.10 A Year in the Life of an Exmoor Man

4.10 Film : Blue Skies

5.50 Little Swallow

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film: George and Mildred (1976)

5.05 3-2-1 Pantomime

6.00 The James Bond Film: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

1981
BBC1BBC2ITV

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Larry Grayson’s Generation Game

4:10 Film : In Search of the Castaways

5:45 Jim’ll Fix It

6:25 Evening News

3:10 A Charlie Brown Christmas

3:35 Film : Uproar in Heaven

5:25 Joseph and Child

5:40 Sounds of Christmas

3.00 The Queen

3.15 Film : Dr No

5.15 This Is Your Life

5.45 News from ITN

5.50 Film : The Muppet Movie

1982
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:05 Film : International Velvet

5:10 News

3:40 The Book Game

4:10 25 Years in Space

5:20 Sellers Over Christmas : Film : The Millionairess

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Film: The Parent Trap

5.25 ITN News

5.35 3-2-1, with Ted Rogers

3.00 Magic of China

4.00 Film: The Navigator

5.05 Brookside

6.00 The Queen

 

1983
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:15 Blankety Blank

3:50 Film : Treasure Island

5:25 News and Weather

3:00 The Book Game

3:30 The Great Palace : The Story of Parliament

4:20 Henry’s Cat

4:25 Film : Meet Me in St Louis

3.00 The Queen

3.15 Film: Superman (1978)

5.40 Bullseye Christmas Special

6.25 ITN News

3.10 Skywhales

3.25 Fragile Earth

4.25 Film : Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday

6.00 The Queen

1984
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Film : Mary Poppins

5:25 News and Weather

5:30 Christmas Blankety Blank

3:25 Film : Limelight

5:35 Telly Quiz

3.00 The Queen

3.10 The James Bond Film : The Man with the Golden Gun (1974),

5.25 ITN News

5.30 Give Us a Clue

6.00 Bring Me Sunshine – A Tribute to Eric Morecambe

3.20 Film: The Young Visiters (1984)

5.00 The Queen

5.10 Giselle ballet

1985
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Children’s Royal Variety Performance

4:55 All Creatures Great and Small

6:25 News and Weather

3:30 Three in the Wild

4:30 Film : Citizen Kane

6:25 A Prize Performance : Hinge and Bracket

3.00 The Queen

3.05 The James Bond Film : Moonraker (1979)

5.30 ITN News

5.40 Name That Tune

6.10 Coronation Street

2.35 Film : The Marx Brothers at the Circus (1939)

4.15 Film : Nothing But Pleasure (1940)

4.35 The Queen

4.45 Film : The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

 

1986
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Film : Annie

5:15 News and Weather

3:20 Film : Hoppity Goes to Town

4:35 Comic Roots

5:15 Film : The Fortune Cookie

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Dumbo (1941) Première

4.20 Strike It Lucky

4.55 News

5.00 Cinderella

6.30 The James Bond Première : Film : Never Say Never Again (1983)

3.00 Glorianna opera

5.40 The Queen

5.50 Film: The Snowman (1982)

 

1987
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 EastEnders

3.40 Film : Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

5.35 News

3.10 Film : La traviata

4.55 White Nights of Dance

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Alice in Wonderland (1951)

4.30 ITN News

4.35 Disney at Christmas, Film : Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

6.45 Christmas Blind Date

2.10 The Mysteries : The Nativity

4.30 Countdown The Final

5.15 The Queen

5.25 Film : The Snowman (1982)

1988
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Film : Back to the Future

5:05 Only Fools and Horses

6:25 News and Weather

3:00 Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Concert

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Christmas Blind Date

3.55 Movie Première: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

6.05 Save The Children with Michael Crawford

2.00 Film : Show People (1928)

3.30 Film : The Snowman (1982)

6.00 Faerie Tale Theatre: Pinocchio

1989
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.15 Bread

4.05 Only Fools and Horses

5.30 News

3.00 Film : The Pagnol Trilogy : Marius

5.00 Aida from the Met

3.00 The Queen

3.15 Film : The B.F.G. (1989) animation

5.00 Home and Away

5.30 News

5.40 Strike It Lucky Christmas Special

1.10 Film: Pride and Prejudice (1940)

3.25 Birthday Dame Judi Dench

3.40 An Evening For Armenia

5.10 The Queen

 

1990
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:05 Film : ET – The Extra Terrestrial

5:00 News

3:10 Animation Now Try Again and Succeed

3:20 Henry Moore and Landscape

3:50 Film : Powaqqatal

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Film : Moonraker (1979)

5.25 News

5.30 Strike It Lucky Christmas Special

6.15 Ken Dodd at the London Palladium

2.50 Max Wall : A Life Class

3.20 The Huge Adventures of Trevor a Cat

3.30 Film: It’s a Gift

4.45 The Queen

4.55 News

5.00 Faerie Tale Theatre: Jack and the Beanstalk

1991
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Only Fools and Horses

4.40 Bruce Forsyth’s Christmas Generation Game

5.50 News

3.10 Film : The Wizard of Oz

4.50 The Staggering Years of Ferdinand de Bargos

5.20 Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Coronation Street

3.35 Film : For Your Eyes Only (1981)

5.55 This Is Your Life

3.15 Mozart: Piano Concerto in G Major

3.55 Cirque de Soleil

5.20 News

5.25 Film: The Snowman (1982)

1992
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Film : Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

5:10 News and Weather

3:00 Nigel Mansell 1992

3:45 The Maestro and the Diva

4:40 Life with Eliza

4:50 Film : Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Film : Supergirl (1984)

5.15 News

5.25 Coronation Street

5.50 Christmas Blind Date

3.00 Film : The Phantom Tollbooth animation

4.40 A Carnegie Hall Christmas Concert

6.20 The Snowman

1993
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Noel’s Christmas Presents

4:05 Film : Back to the Future III

5:55 News

2:50 A Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev

3:35 Film : Romeo and Juliet

5:35 A Grand Day Out

3.00 The Queen

3.05 Film : The NeverEnding Story (1984)

4.50 News

5.00 Beadle’s Daredevils

6.00 Film : National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

3.00 The Alternative Queen’s Message with Quentin Crisp

3.15 Christmas Star documentary

4.15 The Queen

4.25 The Snowman

4.55 Brookside

6.20 Christmas with Luciano Pavarotti

1994
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Noel’s Christmas Presents

4:10 Animal Hospital Christmas with Rolf Harris

4:45 News : Weather

4:55 The Wrong Trousers Wallace & Gromit

5:25 Keeping Up Appearances

3:00 Tricks on Two

3:10 Hard Times

4:55 Today’s the Day Christmas Special

5:25 The Carpenters at the BBC

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Mary Poppins (1964)

5.45 Bugs Bunny Looney Christmas Tales

5.55 News, Weather

6.05 Film : Sleeping Beauty (1959)

3.00 The Alternative Christmas Message the Rev Jesse Jackson

3.15 Film : The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)

5.15 War Story

5.20 News

5.30 Zig and Zag’s Christmas Special

6.00 Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush

1995
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Noel’s Christmas Presents

4.20 News; Weather

4.30 Film : Hook (1991) Première

6.45 Auntie’s Brand New Bloomers presented by Terry Wogan

3.00 Tricks on Two

3.10 La Bohème

5.05 Today’s the Day Christmas Special

5.35 Some Enchanted Evening

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Ghostbusters II (1989)

5.00 News ; Weather

5.05 The Wind in the Willows animation

6.30 Christmas in Coronation Street

3.00 The Alternative Christmas Message Brigitte Bardot

3.15 Heroes of Comedy

5.45 Coping with Christmas comic sketches

6.20 The Queen

1996
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Noel’s Christmas Presents

4.15 Brambly Hedge – Winter Story

4.40 News; Weather

4.50 Animal Hospital Goes West

5.40 Auntie’s All-New Christmas Bloomers

6.30 Film : Jurassic Park (1993) Première

3.00 Gogs

3.10 Film : Casablanca (1942)

4.50 Choir of the Year

5.30 The Queen

3.00 The Queen

3.10 The Treasure Seekers

5.00 News, Weather

5.10 Christmas with the Royal Navy

5.25 Film : Dennis (1993)

3.00 The Alternative Christmas Message Rory Bremner, as Princess Diana

3.15 Faust

6.40 The Queen

6.50 Film : The Battle of the Sexes (1960)

1997
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Noel’s Christmas Presents

4.10 Film : The Flintstones (1994) Première

5.30 Animal Hospital

6.00 Auntie’s New Festive Bloomers

3.10 Film : White Christmas (1954)

5.05 Close Up on James Stewart

5.25 Film : Madame Butterfly (1995) Première

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) starring Michael Caine Première

4.45 The Spice Girls in concert in Istanbul

5.50 News, Weather

6.00 Emmerdale

3.00 The Alternative Christmas Mesage 13yr old Margaret Gibney

3.05 Verdi’s Requiem

4.45 The Nativity

5.00 Countdown Special

5.30 Film : Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

1998
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Noel’s Christmas Presents

4.10 Animal Hospital with Rolf Harris

4.15 The First Snow of Winter

5.15 News, Weather

5.25 EastEnders

5.55 Auntie’s Spanking New Christmas Bloomers with Terry Wogan

3.10 Film : Casablanca (1942)

4.50 Choir of the Year

5.30 Nutcracker Sweeties

6.05 Film : Twelfth Night (1996)

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Christmas Disney Time

4.10 Jack and the Beanstalk

5.45 News , Weather

6.00 Emmerdale

3.00 Alternative Christmas Message – Neville and Doreen Lawrence

3.10 Film : The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery (1966)

4.50 Countdown Grand Final

5.35 Gilbert and Sullivan: the Very Models

5.55 The Queen

1999
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Noel’s Christmas Presents

4:00 Film : Jumanji (1995) Première

5:40 BBC News and Weather

5:50 EastEnders

6:20 Auntie’s Cracking New Bloomers presented by Terry Wogan

3:15 Film : White Christmas (1954)

5:10 Film : Singin In the Rain (1952)

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Ace Ventura : Pet Detective (1993)

4.45 News

5.05 Gladiators : the Final Battle

6.00 Who Wants to Be a Christmas Millionaire?

3.00 Alternative Christmas Message with Ali G

3.15 Fifteen to One quiz show

4.55 Countdown Grand Final

5.40 Film : Woodlanders (1997)

2000
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Film : The Borrowers (1997) Première

4:35 Walking with Dinosaurs Special

5:05 BBC News and Weather

5:15 EastEnders

5:45 Film : Titanic (1997) Première

2:55 The Simpsons

3:20 Film : Casablanca (1942)

5:00 Turning Points

5:05 Choir of the Year

5:45 The Woman in White

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Octopussy (1983)

5.35 News

5.45 Emmerdale

6.15 Aladdin

3.00 Alternative Christmas Message Helen Jeffries, whose 14yr old daughter died of vCJD

3.05 Father Christmas

3.35 The Bear

4.05 Fifteen to One Final

4.45 Countdown Final

5.30 The Real Joan of Arc

2001
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Rolf’s Merry Christmas

4.00 Dazzling Bloomers

4.30 News ; Weather

4.40 Film : Toy Story (1995) Première

5.55 EastEnders

6.25 The Lost World

3.10 The Royal Ballet

5.05 Weakest Link

5.50 Film : White Christmas (1954)

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : The Great Escape (1963)

6.10 ITV Evening News

6.25 Emmerdale

3.00 The Alternative Christmas Message Genelle Guzman 9/11 survivor

3.10 Film : Oliver! (1968)

5.50 Countdown

6.40 Bourne to Dance

2002
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3.10 Legend of the Lost Tribe animation

3.40 Bargain Hunt a festive special

4.20 Outtake TV with Paul O’Grady

4.50 Film : Chicken Run (2000) Première

6.10 BBC News

2.45 Swan Lake opera

5.00 Bing Crosby : In His Own Words

5.50 Film : It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Thunderball (1965)

5.30 News

5.40 New You’ve Been Framed A-Z of Christmas

6.10 Christmas Celebrity Blind Date

3.00 The Alternative Christmas Message Sharon Osbourne

3.15 Film : Death of the Nile (1978) starring Peter Ustinov

5.50 Shackleton

2003
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Dear Father Christmas

3:55 Outtake TV

4:25 Film : Stuart Little (1999) Première

5:50 News and Weather

6:00 EastEnders

1:30 Film : My Fair Lady (1964)

4:15 Die Fledermaus

7:00 Film Belleville Rendez-vous (2003) Première

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

5.15 Celebrity Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ?

6.15 News

3.00 The Alternative Christmas Message Barry and Michelle Seabourn, from Wife Swap

3.10 Film : Oliver! (1968) starring Ron Moody

5.50 Film : Some Like It Hot (1959)

2004
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3:00 The Queen

3:10 Dear Father Christmas

3:55 Film : 102 Dalmations (2000) Première

5:30 News and Weather

5:35 The Big Impression Christmas Special

6:05 Film : “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001) Premiere

2:10 Film : White Christmas (1954)

4:05 Film : Great Expectations (1946)

6:00 The Queen

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Goodbye Mr Chips

5.15 You’ve Been Framed at Christmas!

5.40 Celebrity Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ?

3.00 The Simpsons’ Christmas Message

3.05 The Simpsons

3.35 Mr Plow

4.05 The Simpsons’ Christmas Message

4.10 The 100 Greatest Christmas Moments

6.10 The Simpsons’ Christmas Message

2005
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3:10 Film : Shrek (2001) animation

4:30 Film : Toy Story 2 (1999) Première animation

6:00 My Family . . .and I’ll Cry If I Want to

3:20 Darcey Bussell : Britain’s Ballerina

3:50 Sylvia ballet starring Darcy Bussell, Roberto Bolle

5:35 The Queen

 

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Creature Comforts

3.25 Film : The Grinch (2000)

5.15 News

5.30 Christmas Creature Comforts

3.00 Jamie Oliver’s Alternative Christmas Message

3.10 The Simpsons Bye Bye Nerdy

3.40 Film : Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

5.35 Judith Weir : Armida and Other Stories documentary

6.35 Armida

2006
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 The Green Green Grass From Here to Paternity

3.55 Film : Monsters, Inc (2001) animation Première

5.20 My Family Christmas Special The Heart of Christmas

6.10 BBC News ; Weather

1.45 Cosi Fan Tutte

4.55 Duma the Cheetah

5.25 Autumnwatch with Bill Oddie

 

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Best Ever Christmas Films

4.10 Film : Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

3.00 Alternative Christmas Message by Khadija a British Muslim woman

3.10 Deal or No Deal

4.05 The Simpsons

4.35 Film : Some Like It Hot (1959)

2007
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Finding Nemo (2003) Première

4.40 Film : Shrek 2 (2004) Première

6.05 BBC News

2.45 Hetty Wainthropp Investigates

3.55 The Magic of Romeo and Juliet

4.25 Romeo and Juliet with the Royal Ballet

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Lights! Camera! The Queen!

4.10 All Star Family Fortunes

5.00 Film : The Polar Express (2004) Première

2.45 Strictly Bolshoi

4.20 The Simpsons

4.50 The Simpsons

5.20 Deal or No Deal

6.10 Film : The African Queen (1951)

2008
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Shark Tale (2004) Première

4.30 Film : Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) Première

5.45 BBC News

3.00 Hänsel and Gretel from the Royal Opera House

5.00 The Truth About Carols

6.00 Maestro : the Inside Story

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

5.45 ITV News, Weather

6.00 Emmerdale

3.00 Deal or No Deal Christmas Star

4.00 Film : Scrooged (1988)

5.50 The Simpsons

6.15 A Boy Called Alex

2009
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : The Incredibles (2004) animation Première

4.55 Shrek the Halls animation

5.20 News

5.30 The Gruffalo animation

6.00 Doctor Who

2.15 Film : White Christmas (1954) starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye

4.40 Film : La Bohème (1993) opera

6.00 The Private Life of a Christmas Masterpiece

3:00 The Queen

3:10 You’ve Been Framed at Christmas !

3:40 Film : Happy Feet (2006) Première

5:40 News

6:00 Emmerdale

3.00 The Alternative Christmas Message

3.10 Deal or No Deal : Scrooge or Santa

4.15 Film : Annie (1982)

6.35 The Secret Millionaire Changed My Life

2010
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Shrek the Third (2007)

4.30 The Gruffalo

5.00 News

5.10 The One Ronnie

6.00 Doctor Who

3.00 Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Cinderella

5.00 The Queen

5.10 Private Life of a Christmas Masterpiece

6.00 Carols for Christmas Day

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

5.00 ITV News/Weather

5.15 You’ve Been Framed!

6.00 Emmerdale

2.50 One Born at Christmas

3.50 Deal or No Deal : Scrooge or Santa

4.50 One Born at Christmas

5.50 News

5.55 Celebrity Come Dine With Me

2011
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Monsters vs Aliens (2009)

4.35 News

4.50 Film : Ratatouille (2007)

2.10 A Musical Nativity

3.10 The Prince and the Composer

4.40 Dad’s Army

5.10 Porridge No Way Out

5.50 The Queen

6.00 Chistmas University Challenge

3.00 The Queen’s Christmas Message

3.10 Film : Happy Feet (2006)

5.10 News

5.30 New You’ve Been Framed!

6.00 Emmerdale

3.00 Celebrity Come Dine With Me

4.05 News

4.15 The Alternative Christmas Message

4.20 Deal or No Deal : Deal Panto

5.20 Film : Big (1988)

2012
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Shrek Forever After (2010)

4.35 Room on the Broom

5.00 News

5.15 Doctor Who

6.15 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

1.35 Film : Singin’ In The Rain (1952)

3.15 Cenerentola

5.15 The Queen

5.25 Arena: Sister Wendy and the Art of the Gospel

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Tangled (2010)

5.00 You’ve Been Framed!

5.30 Emmerdale

6.00 Paul O’Grady: For The Love of Dogs at Christmas

2.25 Film : Scrooged (1988)

4.20 The Alternative Christmas Message by Adam Hills

4.25 Deal or No Deal’s Big Christmas Dinner

5.30 News

5.35 4thought.tv

5.40 Film : The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

2013
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 BBC News, Weather

3.20 Film : Toy Story 3 (2010)

5.00 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

6.15 Call the Midwife

2.45 The Perfect Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special

3.15 Doctor Who at the Proms

4.30 An Adventure in Space and Time

6.00 The Queen

3.00 The Queen

3.10 News

3.20 Film : Tangled (2010)

5.15 Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs at Christmas

6.15 Emmerdale

2.45 The Simpsons

3.15 Deal or No Deal

4.15 The Alternative Christmas Message

4.20 News

4.30 4thought.tv

4.35 Film : The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

6.15 Film : Home Alone 2 : Lost in New York (1992)

2014
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Puss in Boots (2011)

4.40 News

5.00 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

6.15 Doctor Who

2.45 Kiss Me, Kate At The Proms

5.00 The Queen

5.10 James May’s Toy Stories

6.15 Morecambe and Wise in Pieces

3.00 The Queen

3.10 The Queen’s Garden

4.10 News

4.20 Elf : Buddy’s Musical Christmas

5.20 New You’ve Been Framed!

5.50 Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs At Christmas

2.05 Film : Scrooged (1988)

4.00 Film : Big (1988)

6.00 Film : Arthur Christmas (2011)

2015
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast

3.10 Film : Brave (2012)

4.35 BBC News/Weather

4.45 Stick Man

5.15 Doctor Who

6.15 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

4.05 Tim Rice – A Life in Song

4.35 Film : Romeo & Juliet (1954)

6.20 The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast

6.30 The World’s Sneakiest Animals

7.30 Dad’s Army

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Cameraman to the Queen

4.10 Countrywise Winter Wonderland

5.00 Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs at Christmas

6.00 ITV Evening News

6.15 You’ve Been Framed! With Bells On

1.45 Film : The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

3.25 Channel 4 News

3.35 Alternative Christmas Message

3.45 Film : Scrooged (1988)

5.45 Film : Home Alone 2 : Lost in New York (1992)

8.00 Gogglsprogs

2016
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Frozen (2013)

4.45 The Great Christmas Bake Off

5.45 Doctor Who

6.45 Strictly Come Dancing

2.25 Film : The Artist (2011)

4.00 Dancing the Nutcracker : Inside the Royal Ballet

5.30 The Queen

5.40 The Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show : 1976

6.45 Christmas University Challenge

3.00 The Queen

3.10 ITV News,Weather

3.25 Film : The Lion King (1994)

4.55 ITV News, Weather

5.15 You’ve Been Framed! Harry’s Naughty List

5.45 Emmerdale

6.45 Paul O’Grady : For the Love of Dogs

2.25 Film : It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

4.55 The Snowman and the Snowdog

5.25 We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

6.00pm Film : Home Alone (1990)

2017
BBC1BBC2ITVCh4

3.00 The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast

3.10 Film : Cinderella (2015)

4.45 The Highway Rat

5.15 BBC News/Weather

5.30 Doctor Who : Twice Upon a Time

6.30 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

1.45 BBC Proms 2017 – Oklahoma!

4.30 Dame Vera Lynn : Happy 100th Birthday

5.30 The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast

5.35 The Morecambe and Wise Show 1977

6.45 Winter’s Weirdest Events

3.00 The Queen

3.10 Film : Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

5.50 Emmerdale

6.50 ITV News, Weather

7.00 Paul O’Grady : For the Love of Dogs

2.35pm Film : Scrooged (1988)

4.30pm Film : Dumbo (1941)

5.50pm Film : Home Alone (1990)

7.40pm The Great Christmas Bake Off

…and that’s all folks!

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Whats's on in London: today or tomorrow or this weekend

7 comments on “Christmas Telly Past — a review over the years
  1. LadyBracknell says:

    Your mentioning Radio Times’ Christmas edition, reminds me of a comedy sketch in which it was suggested that somebody borrows the microscope used to layout the Christmas schedule.

  2. Jonathan Wadman says:

    My understanding is that the Queen didn’t do a Christmas message in 1969 because the Royal Family reality series had aired earlier in the year, and either the Palace or the broadcasters felt that that was enough for one year.

  3. Simon says:

    I once saw Paul O’Grady in the pub. A ‘Spoons, of all things. Surrounded by a gaggle of handsome young male admirers, he was.

  4. Jimmy says:

    In 2015 you’ve got the Tim Rice biopic running from 06:05 to 16:35. I know he’s a colossus of the musical theatre world, but imagine the detail in such an unabridged version – everything from his bowel movements to the intricacies of Richard Stilgoe’s nasal hair.

  5. Frankie Roberto says:

    According to https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/uk-42412891 the Channel 4 Alternative Christmas special is at 3pm, from the children of Grenfell.

  6. Andree Frieze says:

    How can you discuss Christmas TV and not mention the Morecambe & Wise Xmas special? Or is that because it wasn’t actually on Xmas day?

  7. Johnny says:

    I’ve always wondered just how many times ITV have shown a James Bond film over the years. And not just at Christmas. It must run into the hundreds (theres a project for you Ian).They seem obsessed with putting on the films at the drop of a hat. There must be an OO7 fan in the scheduling dept, or ITV don’t care what they broadcast so long as there are plenty of ads to fill the coffers. I’ll go for the latter.

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