TV Guide 2019-12-21

First, our Top 31 Picks for the Week Ahead.

Saturday: The Chase and In for a Penny have their Christmas specials (ITV). We probably won't see Celebrity Mastermind or Pointless (BBC1).

Sunday: The Top Class final tells us the smartest school (CBBC). Easier questions on Stephen Mulhern's Christmas Celebrity Catchphrase (ITV), with Davina McCall and Jarvis Cocker. Dancing on Ice at Christmas (ITV) launches the new series. TV's Greatest Gameshow (Challenge) is a documentary with Roy Walker.

Monday: Christmas specials for A Question of Sport (BBC1), 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and The Crystal Maze (both C4). Christmas University Challenge begins (BBC2), and there's a Masterchef The Professionals Rematch (BBC2). BBC1 Northern Ireland has a profile of Roy Walker.

Christmas Eve: QI (BBC2) calls - It's Quizmas. Breaking the News has a Christmas special (BBC Scotland). The Chase The Bloopers (ITV), and BBC1 has the might-be-a-game Take Off with Bradley and Holly.

Christmas Day wouldn't be complete without a Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1) or Bake Off (C4). This year, we also have episodes of Tipping Point, The Chase, and Millionaire (ITV).

Boxing Day features The Big Fat Quiz of the Year (C4) and World's Strongest Man (C5), two very different traditions. Would I Lie to You (BBC1) and Tenable (ITV) have festive specials. Regional highlights include Les Quiz The Musical Panel Show (R Scotland) and Hewlfa Drysor (S4C).

Friday: A Question of Sport at 50 (BBC1) is exactly what it says. Rhannu (S4C) sees the shed-based quiz finally reach a conclusion.

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Schedules are accurate at the time of publication; check against EPG for late changes.


Saturday 21 December - Winter Solstice

BBC1 listings vary according to whether Liverpool made the football club world cup final, or are in the third-place playoff. These listings assume Liverpool are in the final; variations follow.

  • Top Class (BBC2, 6.20am) As seen on CBBC about a month ago.
  • Masterchef The Professionals (BBC2, 7.50am) Repeats from Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Double Dare (Nickelodeon, 10am) Christmas specials.
  • Fighting Talk (Radio 5, 11am).
  • The Dog Ate My Homework Christmas Special (CBBC, 11.15) From last Sunday.
  • Flour Power (BBC1, 11.30; not Wales).
  • America's Most Musical Family (Nickelodeon, 11.31).
  • Bargain Hunt (BBC1, 1.15).
  • Best House in Town (BBC2 Wales 2pm, elsewhere 3pm, not BBC Scotland simulcast) St Albans fills an awkward gap.
  • A Question of Sport (BBC1 Wales, 3.25) Seen elsewhere last night; not if Liverpool play in the early match.


  • The Chase Celebrity Special (ITV, 6.25) Kate Bottley, Ranj Singh, Georgia "Toff" Toffolo, Ed Byrne (comedian).
  • In for a Penny (ITV, 7.25) Stephen Mulhern is loose on the streets of Manchester.
  • The Hit List (BBC1, 7.30) Subject to cancellation if Liverpool go to extra time.
  • Quote... Unquote (R4, 11pm) From Monday.

Schedule A/B At Christmas

If Liverpool play in the Club World Cup third-fourth place play-off, a hole in the evening will be filled by

  • Celebrity Mastermind (BBC1, 6.05) Championship of Champions episode, with Tim Vine, Alistair Stewart, Hal Cruttenden, Samira Ahmed.
  • Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 6.35) Christmas Special, including Christopher Biggins, Michelle Collins, Gary Wilmot, Duncan James, and Sooty.
  • The Hit List (BBC1, 7.25) Last in the series.

Sunday 22 December - First Night of Hannukah

  • The Dog Ate My Homework (CBBC, 8.25).
  • Masterchef The Professionals (BBC2, 9am) Thursday's final.
  • Gloryhunters with Charlie Baker (Talk Sport, 9.30am).
  • Top Class (CBBC, 9.30) The final, between last week's winners. Followed by the celebrity special shown last week.
  • Double Dare (Nickelodeon, 10am) Christmas specials.
  • I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue (Radio 4, 12.04) Repeat from Monday.
  • The Big Quiz (2) (ITV, 3.35) Repeat from Friday.
  • Celebrity Christmas Come Dine with Me (E4, 5pm) All five episodes back-to-back.


  • Stephen Mulhern's Celebrity Catchphrase (ITV, 6pm) Davina McCall, Jarvis Cocker, Jo Brand.
  • Young Choristers of the Year (Radio 2, 6pm) The regional winners do battle for the big prize. Radzi Chinyanganya hosts.
  • Dancing on Ice at Christmas (ITV, 7pm) Starting the new series with Ben Hanlin, Maura Higgins, Perri Kiely, Caprice, Trisha Goddard, Lisa George, Libby Clegg, Joe Swash, Ian "H From Steps" Watkins, Lucrezia Millarini, Kevin Kilbane, Michael Barrymore.
  • A League of Their Own at Christmas (The Satellite Channel, 8pm) Repeat from last week.
  • Dragons' Den Christmas Special (BBC2, 8pm) Buy one sock, give one to someone else.
  • TV's Greatest Gameshow (Challenge, 9pm) Roy Walker asks: what makes game shows so great. We're promised big winners, unlucky losers, and a few tantrums.
  • Mock the Week (BBC2 Wales, 11.15) Seen elsewhere on Friday.
  • Starter for Ten (BBC2, 11.50; not NI) A film set around University Challenge.

Monday 23 December - Tom Bawcock's Eve

  • Family Fortunes Day (Challenge, 7am) To 6pm.
  • World's Strongest Man 2017 (5star, 8.20am) Five episodes.
  • Just a Minute (Radio 4 Extra, 9am and 4pm) Classic episodes from 2012.
  • Quote... Unquote (Radio 4, 3pm) Ken Cheng, Helen Lewis, Luke Jennings.
  • Stephen Mulhern's Catchphrase (ITV, 4.15).
  • The Chase Celebrity Special (ITV, 5pm) Anton du Beke and co, from November 2018.
  • Pointless (BBC1, 5.45).


  • A Question of Sport (BBC1, 7pm; Scotland 10.35) Rebecca Adlington, James Toseland, Darren Bent, Amy Williams.
  • Christmas University Challenge (BBC2, 7.30) Leeds (Richard Coles, Tim Allen) play Clare Cambridge (Marcel Theroux, Elin Manahan Thomas).
  • Masterchef The Professionals Rematch (BBC2, 8pm) Five former contestants compete once more.
  • 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (C4, 9pm) Sean Lock and Bob Mortimer play Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont. With contributions from Adam Buxton and Joe Wilkinson.
  • The Crystal Maze (C4, 10pm) Catherine Tyldesley, Shirley Ballas, Gareth Malone, Scarlett Moffatt, Nish Kumar.
  • Roy Walker - Beyond a Joke (BBC1 NI, 10.35) The highs and lows of Roy's career, ahead of his 80th birthday.
  • Have I Got a Bit More News for You (BBC1, 11.35; Scotland 12.05, NI 12.40, not Wales).

Tuesday 24 December - Christmas Eve

  • Bruce's Price is Right Morning (Challenge, 7am) To 12 noon.
  • The Chase Afternoon (Challenge, 12 noon) To 4pm, and again from 6 to 10.


  • University Challenge (BBC2, 7.30) Birmingham City University (Carole Boyd, Bunny Guinness) play Wadham Oxford (Anne McElvoy, Jonathan Freedland).
  • The Chase The Bloopers 2019 (ITV, 7.30).
  • Take Off with Bradley and Holly (BBC1, 8pm) Someone in the audience might win a trip to Lapland.
  • Dragons' Den Pitches to Riches? (BBC2, 8pm) Catching up with some of the products.
  • Formula 1 Quiz of the Year (Radio 5, 8pm) The petrolheads do battle amongst themselves.
  • Còisir Eurovision (BBC Alba, 8.30) Joy Dunlop takes a choir to Gothenburg.
  • QI (BBC2, 10pm) It's Quizmas, with Johnny Vegas, Sara Pascoe, Josh Widdicombe.
  • Breaking the News Christmas Special (BBC Scotland, 10pm) Susie McCabe, Catriona Shearer, Raymond Mearns, Jim Smith.
  • I'll Get This Christmas Special (BBC2, 10.30; Wales 12.15am) Repeat from last week.

Wednesday 25 December - Christmas Day

  • The Chase Day (Challenge, 7am) To 10pm.
  • Booked (Radio 4 Extra, 9am) From 1997.
  • The Chase The Bloopers 2019 (ITV, 3.40) Repeated from last evening.
  • Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special (BBC1, 4.40) Chizzy Akudolu, Gemma Atkinson, Richard Arnold, Debbie McGee, Joe Sugg, Mark Wright.
  • Tipping Point Lucky Stars (ITV, 5pm) Joe Pasquale, Rustie Lee, Nina Wadia.


  • The Chase Celebrity Special (ITV, 6pm) Kate Thornton, James Argent, Lucy Porter, Nik Speakman.
  • The Great Christmas Bake Off (C4, 7.10) Tom, Yan, Briony, Terry, and the ancient fruit loaf Status Quo.
  • University Challenge (BBC2, 8pm) Guildhall School of Music and Drama (Monica Dolan, Bob Barrett) play UCL (Maryam Moshri, Pen Hadlow).
  • The Best of Gloryhunters (Talk Sport, 8pm).
  • Who Wants to be a Millionaire (ITV, 9pm) Clare Balding, Stephen Mangan, Catherine Tyldesley.
  • The Challenge War of the Worlds (MTV, 10pm) Doesn't even stop for Christmas.

Thursday 26 December - St Stephen's Day

  • Wheel of Fortune Morning (Challenge, 7am) To 12 noon.
  • It's Your Round (Radio 4 Extra, 9am and 4pm) From 2011.
  • Les Quiz - The Musical Panel Show (Radio Scotland, 11am) Jamie MacDougall tests knowledge of West End and Broadway hits, with some singing. Today: Edward Reid and Judith Ralston play Michelle McManus and Craig Hill.
  • The Chase Afternoon (Challenge, 12 noon) To 6pm.
  • Bake Off (C4, 1.35) Repeated from last night.
  • Tipping Point Best Ever Finals (ITV, 3.30).
  • Tenable All Stars (ITV, 4pm) It's behind you! A team of panto celebs - Debbie McGee, Louie Spence, Paul Chuckle, Rustie Lee, Paul Zerdin.
  • In for a Christmas Penny (ITV, 5.15) Repeat from Saturday.


  • Bullseye Night (Challenge, 6pm) To 9, and again from midnight.
  • World's Strongest Man 2019 (C5, 8pm) The finals heave into view.
  • University Challenge (BBC2, 8.30) Liverpool (Anna Maxwell Martin and Roger Bolton) play Hull (Lucy Beaumont and Tracy Borman).
  • The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2019 (C4, 9pm) Dara Ó Briain, Maya Jama, Asim Chaudhry, Roisin Conaty, Richard Ayoade, Noel Fielding.
  • Hewlfa Drysor (S4C, 9pm) Three teams drive round Wales in search of treasure, combining their general knowledge skills, understanding of history, and map-reading abilities.
  • Would I Lie to You? at Christmas (BBC1, 9.30) Liz Bonnin, Stephen Merchant, Sharon Osbourne, Ranj Singh.

Friday 27 December - Sternsingerstag

  • Family Fortunes Day (Challenge, 7am) To 6pm.
  • The Food Quiz (Radio 4 Extra, 9am and 4pm) Christmas 2004.
  • Les Quiz - The Musical Panel Show (Radio Scotland, 12 noon) Elaine C Smith and Johnny Mac play Tom Urie and Ashley Storrie.
  • Breaking the News (BBC Radio Scotland, 1.30; BBC Scotland tv, 10pm) The best bits of 2019.
  • Tenable (ITV, 3.35) A classic episode.
  • Tipping Point Lucky Stars (ITV, 4.35) Panto with Biggins, repeated from last year.


  • The Chase Celebrity Special (ITV, 5.35) Coronation Street stars, repeated from last year.
  • Celebrity Mastermind (BBC1, 6.30) Bronagh Waugh, Darren Harriott, Adam Pearson, Riyadh Khalaf, taking Fleabag, Kanye West, WWE, the movie Titanic.
  • World's Strongest Man 2019 (C5, 7pm).
  • Rhannu (S4C, 7pm) Y Ffeinal. All 16 weekly winners come back for a £10,000 top prize.
  • The Crystal Maze (C4, 8pm) Another chance to see Monday's show.
  • University Challenge (BBC2, 8pm) Royal Holloway (Emma Bridgewater, Fern Riddell) play Sussex (Mark D'Arcy, Kim Newman).
  • A Question of Sport at 50 (BBC1, 8.30; Wales 9pm, Scotland 11pm) How the quiz show has changed since it first took to the air in January 1970.
  • Richard Osman's World Cup of the Decade (C4, 9pm) A panel discussion, and probably not a game. But it's Richard Osman, we can think of worse people to spend the evening with.
  • Have I Got 2019 News for You (BBC1, 9.30; Wales 11.30) Highlights from this year's shows.
  • QI XL (BBC2, 11.15) Quizmas, repeated from Christmas Eve.

Sign language interpretation

  • Swashbuckle (Cbeebies, 3.50pm Sat and Sun).
  • Masterchef The Professionals (BBC2, 6am Tue).
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