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From Ant-Man to Zootopia, this year’s Christmas TV treats

Dan Carrier picks out a few festive plums from this year’s terrestrial television schedules

20 December, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Mark Rylance as The BFG

Christmas Eve

BBC1 2.55pm
One of the unsung masterpieces from recent animated film, Zootopia tells the story of a city where animals live side by side. Young bunny Judy Hops joins the City police force – she is surely inspired by Cagney and Lacey – and joins forces with a fox to crack a case that reveals high-level corruption. Good to look at, exciting
for the youngsters and some cracking jokes for the adults.

Alastair Sim as Scrooge

Channel Five 4.20pm
Apart form the Muppets, which comes close, this is surely the definitive film version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Made in 1951, it stars Alistair Sim as the tight-fisted meanie, and will get the most flint-hearted anti-Christmas Grinches into the spirit of things.

Christmas Day

The Jungle Book
BBC1 3.10pm
A new outing for the Kipling classic with an all-star cast lending voices to marvellous animation. Bill Murray gives life to Baloo, Idris is Alba Shere Khan, Ben Kingsley comes in as Bagheera, Kaa is voiced by Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken is
King Louie.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Channel Five 3.10pm
Dick Van Dyke leads as the inventor who comes up with such marvellous ideas as the Toot Sweet and then turns his attention, with the help of his two nippers, in to turning an old banger into a flying machine. Made in 1968, it is still gorgeous.

Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn

BBC2 1.30am
If you can stay up till the early hours, then you will be richly rewarded by checking out this moving, funny film starring Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson. Ronan is the young Irish woman who heads across the Atlantic to make her way in the world, managing the guilt of leaving family behind, of her awakening as an adult, and trying to manage a life of work far, far away.

Boxing Day

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn
BBC Two 7.45am
Animated adventure that faithfully brings the look of Hergé’s Belgian reporter to life – even if it marries two of his original tales together to create something new. Directed by Steven Spielberg.

Raiders of the Lost Ark
BBC One 1.25pm
The first, and still the best, in the Indiana series. Who doesn’t want to watch Harrison Ford seek the Ark of the Covenant, and punch Nazis in the face? Always a winner.

A Bridge Too Far
Channel Five 2.20pm
Exceptional war drama starring Dirk Bogarde, James Caan, Michael Caine and Sean Connery – directed by Richard Attenborough, and telling the story of the Allies disastrous attempt to take the Dutch town of Arnhem in 1944.

BBC One 5.40pm
Starring Mark Rylance as the gentle giant, the Roald Dahl-created adaptation looks wonderful and oozes the original charm from Dahl’s visionary story book.

Mrs Doubtfire
Channel Four 5.45pm
A comedy masterclass from the greatly missed Robin Williams, it tells the story of the TV voiceover man Daniel Hillard, who quits his job – and then has his wife walk out on him for his rampant irresponsibility. To ensure he can still see his children he returns – this time in drag as the children’s nanny.

December 27

Daniel Craig in Skyfall

ITV 8pm
One of the best Bond films for some time, starring Daniel Craig as 007, Skyfall delves a little deeper into the Bond creation myth as he tries to recover a hard drive containing the names of British agents that has fallen into the wrong hands…

December 28

The Alamo
11.55am Channel Five
The middle of a trio of John Wayne films being shown by Channel Five back to back, this is a vast historical epic about the Texans defending a small Spanish compound from Mexican soldiers, Horribly dated in tone, but worth watching it of that very reason.

December 29

Paul Rudd as Ant-Man

BBC One 7.50pm
Paul Rudd stars as petty thief Scott Lang, whose attempts at going straight to try and make amends to his ex wife and keep his daughter on his side are fairly risible. One day, he breaks into a the home of a scientist and tries on a suit he finds…a suit with some remarkable powers. Ant-Man is part of the Marvel Universe (Captain America pops up) and this first film is terrific – though, it has to be noted, this year’s sequel was even better.

Anchor Man: The Legend Continues
Channel Four 9pm
Terrible/brilliant Will Ferrell and Steve Carrell film about the terrible/brilliant anchor man Ron Burgundy, as horrible and stupid a TV personality you are likely to find on any network news channel, anywhere. Comedy gold.


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