As one of the UK’s main broadcasters, there will always be plenty of eyes on Channel 4 around Christmas.
It’s home to some of the most popular shows on British TV, including Bake Off, Gogglebox and Taskmaster. All of those three have festive specials on the way, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to festive telly on Channel 4.
Without further ado, here’s your guide to the highlights of its Christmas and New Year schedule.
8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown Christmas Special – 9pm
This comedy panel show meets serious gameshow format has been a big hit for Channel 4, combining two of its most popular shows. Jon Richardson and Jack Dee will take on Lee Mack and Rose Matafeo in this festive edition, which will be hosted by Jimmy Carr as usual.
It’s a Wonderful Life – 1.25pm
Frank Capra’s 1946 classic was named the best Christmas film of all time by Radio Times readers last year, and it’s easy to see why. It stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who considers suicide on Christmas Eve until his guardian angel shows him what life would’ve been like without him.
The Snowman – 4pm
If you’d rather not watch a feature-length film, The Snowman runs for only 26 minutes but has just as much impact. The 1982 animation is based on Raymond Briggs’ book of the same name, charting the experience of a young boy and a snowman that comes to life.
If that’s not enough, sequel The Snowman and the Snowdog (2012) is broadcast immediately after at 4.35pm.
The Great Christmas Bake Off – 8.25pm
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a festive version of Bake Off, and there are two to enjoy this year. First up is the Christmas celebrity special, which sees Tony Robinson, Gaby Roslin, Terry Christian, Claire Sweeney and Miquita Oliver face off across three challenges in the iconic tent.
The Alternative Christmas Message – 5.25pm
If you don’t want to hear King Charles’ first ever Christmas Speech or are just looking for something a bit different, Channel 4 has you covered. For the last three decades, the broadcaster has given its take on a short festive message, with both humorous and more serious monologues over the years.
To give you a taste of what to expect, here’s Tom Daley’s from 2021:
The Greatest Snowman – 7.30pm
Not to be confused with the short film above, The Greatest Snowman pits celebrities against each other in a snow building competition. Gemma Collins, Gareth Malone, Melvin Odoom, Joe Thomas and Yinka Bokinni will be whisked off to a mountain top to see what they can create with snow.
Sue Perkins hosts, with Laurence Llewellyn Bowen on hand to offer advice on impressing judges Sara Steele, Emilie Steele and Taslim Martin.
The Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2022 – 9pm
The quintessential British quiz of the last 12 months is back, with Jimmy Carr hosting once again. Confirmed contestants this year are Stephen Merchant, Katherine Ryan, Richard Ayoade, Maisie Adam, Jonathan Ross and Rose Matafeo.
We’re also expecting the now-customary guest appearances from actor Charles Dance, ex-Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow and Mitchell Brook Primary School.
First Dates at Christmas – 9pm
First Dates has been broadcast by Channel 4 for nearly a decade, and it’s not being left out of the festive schedule. Join Fred and the team as they host more blind dates, all within a Christmassy setting.
Prince Andrew: The Musical – 9pm
Arguably the highlight of Channel 4’s Christmas schedule, Prince Andrew: The Musical is described as a “satirical send-up” charting the life of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
With lots of recent material to work with and a host of comedians on board, it’s sure to get plenty of attention.
New Year’s Eve
The Last Leg of the Year – 9pm
What better way to round out the year than a satirical review with The Last Leg team. Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe will be joined by the usual selection of high-profile celebrities and comedians to look back on the past 12 months.
New Year’s Day
Taskmaster New Year’s Treat – 9pm
Taskmaster is a huge recent success story for Channel 4, so it’s only right for it to be broadcast at primetime on New Year’s Day. Competing in this one-off special will be Amelia Dimoldenberg, Carol Vorderman, Greg James, Sir Mo Farah and Self Esteem.
For even more to enjoy over the holidays, read our guides to the best Christmas TV overall and best Christmas movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and NowTV.