British Christmas 2017 Specials Around The Dial

Courtesy of BBC

What's an Anglophile stuck in America to watch this Christmas? If it just doesn't feel like Christmas without very plummy accents, then we've got you covered! We've rounded up all your options, both on the telly and streaming.

Let's start with what's on right now.

The Crown Season 2 
Currently Streaming, Netflix

Courtesy of Netflix

The newest installment of The Crown, Netflix's British love letter to The Palace, started streaming last Friday on December 8th, 2017. Episode 5 "Marionettes" is the "Christmas Episode" and details the events that lead to the first televised Queen's Christmas Message in 1957.

Call the Midwife Holiday Special 2015
December 11, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS 

PBS will be airing the Call the Midwife holiday special on the big day this year, and as a lead-up, we have the last two years of holiday specials airing ahead of time. Synopsis: "An unexpected surprise for a grieving mother, while one of Nonnatus’ own disappears."

It will repeat on December 24th at 5p.m. ET. 

(As always, however, remember to check with your local stations for specific airdates and rerun schedules for these older Call the Midwife episodes. They may be airing at different times, or repeating more than once!)

Victoria Season 1 Rerun
Begins December 17

You'll have to check your local listings for airtimes, but PBS is rerunning last year's Victoria as part of the lead up to Season 2 in January. There *is* a Christmas special this year, but like Downton Abbey before it, PBS will tack this episode on to the end of Season 2 as the season finale in March.

Last Tango in Halifax Holiday Special Part 1
December 18, at 8 p.m. ET on PBS 

Courtesy of BBC/Red Productions/Gary Moyes

The big news: the Last Tango In Halifax Christmas special will air this year in the states. This was the two-part special that also counted as the entirety of Season 4 last year, that aired on BBC on consecutive nights over in the UK on December 19th and 20th, 2016. Synopsis: "Caroline’s new headship involves the family moving to a rundown farmhouse in Huddersfield."

Call the Midwife Holiday Special 2016
December 18, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS 

Last year's Call The Midwife holiday special, for those who missed it last year, or just want to rewatch ahead of the upcoming 2017 special. Synopsis: "Nonnatus House responds to an SOS from a tiny mission in South Africa." 

It will repeat on December 24th at 6:30 p.m. ET. (See above for the standard caveats about local listings.)

Doctor Who Marathon & Christmas Specials 
December 20, 9p.m. ET on BBC America

BBC America is celebrating a regeneration this on Doctor Who this holiday season with a seven-day marathon of episodes, starting on the 19th and leading up to outgoing Doctor Peter Capaldi's exit in 2017 Christmas special "Twice Upon a Time."

They've lost the rights to the first two seasons, so no "The Christmas Invasion" this year. Instead, they'll start airing the old specials in Primetime on the 20th with Tenth Doctor David Tennant's regeneration two-parter. Here's the rundown of the schedule for those looking to binge every night:

  • Doctor Who Christmas Special 2009 "The End of Time Parts 1+2" December 21, 8 p.m. ET On BBC America
  • Doctor Who Christmas Special 2010 & 2012 "A Christmas Carol" & "The Snowmen" December 22, 8 p.m. ET On BBC America
  • Doctor Who Christmas Special 2011 & 2013 "The Doctor, the Widow & the Wardrobe" & "The Time of The Doctor" December 23, 8 p.m. ET On BBC America
  • Doctor Who Christmas Special 2014 & 2015 "Last Christmas" & "The Husbands of River Song" December 24, 8 p.m. ET On BBC America
  • Doctor Who Christmas Special 2016 "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" December 25, 8 p.m. ET on BBC America 

Last Tango in Halifax Holiday Special Part 2
December 24 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS

Part two of last year's Christmas special, also known as Season 4 of Last Tango.

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2017 "Twice upon a Time"
December 25, 9 p.m. ET on BBC America 

Courtesy of BBC

Synopsis: Two Doctors stranded in a forbidding snowscape, refusing to face regeneration. And a British army captain seemingly destined to die in the First World War but taken from the trenches to play his part in the Doctor’s story. This is the magical last chapter of the Twelfth Doctor’s epic adventure. He must face his past to decide his future. 

Starring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor and David Bradley as the First Doctor, and Pearl Mackie's final turn as Bill Potts, as well as the introduction of the 13th Doctor, Jodie Whittaker.  New special Doctor Who: Farewell to Peter Capaldi directly follows and will serve as both a retrospective and a goodbye to the actor. 

Call the Midwife Holiday Special 2017
December 25, 9 p.m. ET on PBS

Courtesy of Neal Street Productions

​They won't tell us much about this year's special other than the following synopsis: A record-breaking cold Winter rolls in with Christmas 1962. Brrrr?

(You can watch a scene from the episode, but that's about it.)

The Final Harry Potter Weekend Ever on Freeform
December 28-31, starting at 3:00 p.m. ET on Freeform

The channel formerly known as ABC Family loses the rights to air the Harry Potter movies, marathon style, on January 1, 2018. So they're ending the year with their final marathon bout of all the movies in the last "Harry Potter Weekend" ever*. These movies are considered holiday fare because so many of them have major Christmas components, especially the early ones.

(*Not really ever. They're only losing it because they were outbid by NBC. We expect Harry Potter Weekend to turn up on NBC, USA or SyFy within weeks, though perhaps under a slightly different moniker.)  

BritBox: Streaming and Simulcasting BBC and ITV programming for the first time

Courtesy of BritBox

If that wasn't enough, for those who have the streaming service BritBox, there's a whole extra level of stuff to watch. They've already launched the BritMas collections this week, which include Comedy, Drama, and Lifestyle options for your viewing pleasure.

December 16 sees the launch of several more special bundles, including the French & Saunders Christmas Specials, the Last of the Summer Wine Christmas Specials, plus the two To the Manor Born specials. Plus they have Dalziel and Pascoe: Dialogues of the Dead, Christmas Lights, which stars Grantchester's Robson Green, and All Aboard! Sleigh Ride which is the BBC's answer to Norway's slow TV fad.

Then there's Christmas Weekend: 

  • Carols from Kings The annual BBC Christmas Eve celebration of Christmas from The Chapel of King’s College Cambridge. airing 24 Dec 5.45pm BT (11:45 a.m. ET)
  • The Queen’s Christmas Message 2017 Queen Elizabeth II delivers her annual address. 25 Dec 3.00pm BT (9 a.m. ET)
  • Eastenders Christmas Special airs on BBC 25, Dec at 8.00pm (2 p.m. ET)
  • Coronation Street Christmas Special airs on ITV 25, Dec at 8.00pm (2 p.m. ET) Like everyone else in the UK, you'll have to choose which to watch live and which to watch after.

And on December 31st they'll hold “Who Year’s Eve”: A time of new starts & regenerations, so celebrate with all 6 of the classic Doctor Who regenerations.

Are we missing anything on this list? Let us know! 

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