8 Shows To Curl Up To On Drama This Christmas

We’ve got the perfect selection box of classic shows to keep you cosy on the sofa this festive season. Stock up on the mince pies and enjoy.

Birds of a Feather


You might not remember, but the original run of Birds of a Feather had more Christmas specials than you can shake a cracker at, so we'll be spending lots of quality time with the first ladies of Chigwell and their ne'er do well menfolk. Well, we say Chigwell, but some of these episodes actually take Sharon, Tracey and Dorien far from their own neck of the woods, with the girls jetting off to Germany, Los Angeles and Majorca to rub shoulders with film stars, ex-rockers and, erm, lovestruck mechanics. We're looking at you, Tracey Stubbs.


It may not technically be a Christmas show, but there's something undeniably festive about the world of Pride and Prejudice. Perhaps it's the sense of tradition, the opulent settings, the sight of Darcy brooding in the corner. OK, there's nothing at all Christmassy about Darcy brooding in the corner, but we're always glad to see him doing it. Especially when it's the Firth-Darcy, in this still-definitive adaptation of Austen's great romantic comedy. Just add a tin of Quality Street and your evening is sorted.


Fans of To The Manor Born should brace themselves for a bit of time travel, because the two Christmas specials were made decades apart, and we're showing them back to back. Age shall not wither Peter Bowles and Penelope Keith, though, and they're simply sparkling as aristocratic Audrey and nouveau riche "grocer" Richard, who spar and bicker their way to true love. The first Christmas special sees them competing over creating a crib, before we whisk over to 2007 for their silver wedding anniversary, which doesn't quite go according to plan. Trivia note: Marlon Brando was a huge fan of To The Manor Born. Who'd have thought it?


No matter how chaotic your Christmas may get, you can be sure it's far, far worse for Hyacinth Bouquet (that is how her name is pronounced, we believe?). The festive specials of Keeping Up Appearance will see her dealing with a cross-dressing Elizabeth, an annoyed vicar and a sherry-sozzled Richard (we never knew he had it in him). Not forgetting a real fan favourite of an episode - the one set on the QE2, where presumably Hyacinth has no chance of bumping into Onslow and Daisy. Or so she'd like to think.


Imagine Smiler from Last of the Summer Wine in the role of Father Christmas. Now there's an image straight out of a scary gothic fairy tale, but it actually happens in one of the Christmas specials we're showing. No need to hide behind the cushion, though, as the lanky misery guts has fortunately had too much to drink and is out for the count. Bad news for Clegg and Truly, though, as they have to lug his limp body around, which does raise the eyebrows of the local plod. Make sure you catch the other special, in which Howard's womanizing ways come back to haunt him in the form of two sweaters...

Two Ronnies


As you toil over the Christmas roast, you may wish you had access to "the sage and onion bullet", which allows you to "shoot the turkey and stuff it at the same time". Alas, such a thing only exists in the marvellously bonkers world of The Two Ronnies, where you will also see the Queen's Christmas Day speech as delivered by a milkman, and very probably the only festive-themed Western musical ever committed to the screen. It all makes a strange kind of sense when you actually watch it, honest.


Few shows are as reliably familiar and comforting as Lovejoy, although we have to warn you now - this Christmas special takes us far away from the usual tranquility of quaint English villages and stately homes, and over to North Carolina, where redneck cops and angry alligators await. Our roguish antique hunter is embroiled in a tangled story involving Sir Walter Raleigh, stolen treasures, and his very own cousin, who also has the name Lovejoy and shares his talent for skullduggery. Has he finally met his match?


Almost Dickensian in its magical atmosphere, the Call the Midwife Christmas special sees Nurse Lee tackle her first festive season in Poplar. And that means cycling around in the snow and helping care for a confused and destitute old lady - a story so heartbreaking, it will make you put down the mulled wine and reach for the tissues. Oh, and there's also the small matter of Chummy and the greatest Nativity production of all time...