Christmas TV schedule: The best and biggest movies to watch this festive season

Hanna Flint
Yahoo Movies UK Contributor
A Muppets Christmas Carol is a must-watch this festive season

We’re well into December and already the TV schedules have been littered with festive films and blockbuster movies and when it comes to Christmas week it’s going to be hard to pick just which ones to watch.

Yahoo Movies UK has you sorted though as we’ve selected some of the biggest and best movies to watch this festive season, including a few which are airing for the first time on British terrestrial TV.

So bookmark this page or take some notes so you’re prepared for a rather special cinematic Christmas…

Friday 22nd December

Harrison Ford wielding his whip in ‘Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade’ (Paramount)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1.45pm (BBC1)
The third instalment of Steven Spielberg classic action franchise sees Harrison Ford’s adventurous archaeologist on the hunt for his Holy Grail scholar father (played by Sean Connery) who has been captured by Nazis.

The Hunger Games 8pm (E4)
In the first of three dystopian movies, Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen, a teen who volunteers to take part in a to-the-death competition orchestrated by the elite Capitol but in doing becomes a figurehead for a rebellion brewing across the Districts.

Bridget Jones’s Diary 10.40pm (ITV1)
Renee Zellweger warms hearts as Bridget Jones, the everywoman caught up in a love triangle between Hugh Grant’s womanising Daniel Cleaver and Colin Firth’s pompous Mark Darcy. Still the best movie in the trilogy no Christmas can go by without a watch of this rom-com inspired by Pride and Prejudice.

23rd December

Disney has said it will end its distribution agreement with Netflix for subscription streaming of new releases starting in 2019, including popular film franchises like “Lion King” and “Frozen”.

Cool Runnings 1.15pm (BBC1)
Nothing like an inspirational sports movie to get you into at Christmas and what better choice than the story of a Jamaican bobsleigh team entering the Winter Olympics. John Candy is brilliant as the beleaguered coach trying to whip his comical team into shape.

Frozen 2.50pm (BBC1)
Disney’s mega successful animated musical is back once again this Christmas as it follows sisters Elsa and Anna as they try to save their kingdom from perpetual winter. Featuring songs “Let It Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” you’ll struggle to not sing-along to this feel good classic.

Gravity 7.10pm (ITV2)
Alfonso Cuarón’s gripping space drama follows two astronauts – played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney – stranded in deep space with no link to Earth or hope of rescue. Together they desperately try to find a way back home which sees them venturing further into deep space.

Christmas Eve

West Side Story is on Channel 5 at 1pm on Christmas Eve (AP Foto/Cortesía de MGM Home Entertainment)

West Side Story 1pm Channel 5
This classic musical inspired by Romeo and Juliet follows two rival gangs in New York – the Sharks and the Jets – and the tragic love affair that blossoms between Tony and Maria, who are on different sides of their long-running feud. Brilliant songs and dance numbers support an incredible narrative that makes this movie a classic.

Guys And Dolls 3.20pm BBC2
Another New York-based musical, this time with Marlon Brando taking the lead as Sky Masteron, a gambler who is challenged to take a female missionary (Jean Simmons) to Havana, but they end up falling for each other. The film also stars Frank Sinatra as well as some classic songs that you’ll be singing along to too.

Christmas Day

Early posters for ‘Scrooged’ featured the tagline “Bill Murray is back amongst the ghosts. Only this time, there’s no-one to call” in reference to his earlier hit ‘Ghostsbusters’.

The Highway Rat 4.45pm BBC1
David Tennant lends his voice to the titular character who steals food along the highway in this digital animated adventure based on Julia Donaldson’s children’s book. A colourful follow-up to The Gruffalo that the kids will enjoy.

Scrooged 3.55pm Channel 4
Based on A Christmas Carol, Bill Murray plays a selfish and conceited TV exec who is visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve who is forced to confront his past actions and potentially horrifying future. one of Murray’s classic comedies that shouldn’t be missed.

Skyfall 8pm ITV2
One of Daniel Craig’s best outings as Bond, Skyfall follows the spy after a mission goes wrong and the MI6 is left exposed. Bond must go underground to foil the evil plot of Javier Bardem’s Silva who is hoping to settle an old score with M (Judi Dench).

Boxing Day

Jurassic World (Universal)

Singin’ in the Rain 1pm, Channel 5
One of the greatest movies ever made, Gene Kelly stars as a silent film star who falls for a chorus girl providing the singing voice for his co-star as films transitioned from silent to sound. An epic love story with epic songs that will melt your heart this Christmas. 

ET: The Extra Terrestrial 4pm ITV
Another Spielberg classic, ET tells the story a marooned alien who befriends a young boy dealing with his parent’s divorce. Together they team up to help ET get back to his ship so he can go home, while finding love and hope with each other. Make sure you have some tissues handy.

Jurassic World ITV 6.50pm
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard take the lead in the first refresh of the Jurassic Park franchise which sees them battle a genetically-enhanced dinosaur that has escaped and is tearing the now-theme park apart.

27th December

Big Hero 6 will be hitting UK screens on December 27th (Disney)

Small Soldiers 11.10am Channel 4
A set of Commando Elite action figures programmed with military technology spring to life and start a war against their enemies, the Gorgonites, with two teens caught in the middle. Tommy Lee Jones and Frank Langella lend their voices to toy leaders, Chip and Archer, respectively, in this fun and action packed comedy

Big Hero 6 4.10pm BBC1
Loosely based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name, Big Hero 6 follows robotics prodigy Hiro and his inflatable robot Baymax as they join together with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes. Like every Disney animation there’s a heartwarming storyline that will make you laugh and cry.

East is East 12am Channel 4
This brilliant British comedy features the late Om Puri as the patriarch of a mixed raced English-Pakistani family who rules his household with a firm hand. He wants to assimilate to British life but also wants his children to retain their Pakistani culture, which they constantly fight against.

28th December

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa airs on December 28th (StudioCanal)

Kung Fu Panda 10.20am (BBC1)
Po the panda (Jack Black) goes from noodle shop worker to kung-fu master wannabe when, unexpectedly, he must fulfil an ancient prophecy and study the skills with his idols, the Furious Five.

Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa 11pm (BBC2)
Steve Coogan’s hilarious alter-ego finds himself in the middle of a hostage struggle at the radio station where he works. He helps and hinders the police as they try to rescue the hostages and subdue the disgruntled employee with a shotgun.

About a Boy 12.10am (Channel 4)
Hugh Grant’s rich and selfish Will is forced into an odd friendship with quirky 12-year-old Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) after pretending to be a single dad to pick up women. Soon enough, their personalities are rubbing off on one another in the right way as Marcus learns how to be more cool and Will more grown up.

29th December

Gone Girl will air on BBC1 on December 29th (20th Century Fox)

Brave 4.15pm (BBC1)
This Disney adventure follows impetuous Scottish princess Merida who balks at her mother’s idea of marriage but ends up causing trouble in the kingdom after seeking help from a witch. She must team up with her mum to settle the unrest and restore her family.

Gone Girl 9.15pm (BBC1)
Based on Gillian Flynn’s brilliant thriller novel of the same name, Ben Affleck plays a former New York writer whose glamorous wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) has vanished, believed dead, and he is fast becoming the prime suspect.

Four Weddings and a Funeral 11.05pm (Channel 4)
This classic British rom-com follows Hugh Grant’s awkward Charles who falls for an American girl (Andie MacDowell) at a wedding and continues to see her at further events, believing they are meant to be together despite their bad timing.

30th December

Avengers… already back in the saddle for the fourth movie – Credit: Disney

The Wizard of Oz 10.40pm (ITV3)
After a tornado seemingly sweeps her house up and deposits it in a foreign land called Oz, Dorothy and Toto must follow the yellow brick road to find the wizard and make their way back home, with a little help from a scarecrow, cowardly lion and tin man on the way.

Labyrinth 1.10pm (Channel 5)
After complaining about looking after her baby brother, teenager Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) journeys through a maze to save him from the goblin king, played by the late great David Bowie in one of his finest performances.

Avengers: Age of Ultron 8pm (BBC1)
Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye reteam to take on new robotic threat, Ultron, who was created by one of their own, and is hell-bent on destroying the world. 

New Year’s Eve

Hugo hits screens on New Year’s Eve

Bedknobs and Broomsticks 1.40pm BBC1
Angela Lansbury plays the witch-in-training who enlists the help of three young wards entrusted to her during WWII’s Battle of Britain to help combat the Nazi menace. Live-action and animation collides in this fun film for all the family.

Hugo 2pm (Channel 4)
Martin Scorsese took a break from thrillers and dramas to make this family film about an orphan boy who lives in the walls of a train station during 1930s Paris. Asa Buttlerfield plays the titular orphan who teams up with Chloe Moretz’s Isabelle to discover the mystery behind the automaton left to him by his father.

Clueless 12.10am ITV
Amy Heckerling’s modern-retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma sees Alicia Silverstone as a spoilt yet popular high school student who means well by playing matchmaker to her friends and teachers alike.

New Year’s Day

The Lego Movie is playing on New Year’s Day (Warner Bros.)

Groundhog Day 3pm, Channel 5
Bill Murray plays an arrogant weatherman who after reporting from the annual Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself trapped in a time warp that forces him to relive the same day repeatedly. Another Murray comedy classic with Andie MacDowell for added pleasure.

Maleficent 5pm BBC1
Disney’s live-action prequel to Sleeping Beauty sees Angelina Jolie in the titular role depicting the events that led to her taking on the role of evil fairy and cursing young Aurora. But all is not as it seems as the villainess shows that maybe she’s not as evil as cinematic history has made her out to be.

The Lego Movie 5pm Channel 5
The movie that gave us the brilliant song, “Everything is Awesome”, follows Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary LEGO figurine who is mistaken for the Special — an extraordinary being and the key to saving the world from an evil tyrant (Will Ferrell).

The Lego Movie is available to buy on Blu-Ray and DVD on Amazon and at other retailers.

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