Zog and the Flying Doctors (BBC Christmas 2020)

BBC Christmas 2020 promises to bring the nation together

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It’s just over a week until you can but your Radio Times double Christmas edition (other TV guides are available) but we have a good idea of the BBC Christmas 2020 plans

There’s a vision behind the BBC Christmas 2020 programming, best expressed by Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer:

Let’s face it, it’s been a difficult year, unlike any other, so we’ve pulled out all the stops this Christmas to keep people entertained and bring comfort and joy when we need it most, with a range of unmissable programmes across our channels and BBC iPlayer.

While you wait for your TV guide to hit the shelves (and here’s one example of printed media surviving in a connected age), we’ve looked through the BBC’s press release to uncover those shows we think you should be highlighting with a view to watching / recording / streaming later. The focus is on the main TV channels — we’ll bring you everything else when they release the information.


Of course the festive seasons needs Doctor Who, and we’ve Revolution of the Daleks to look forward to and the return of Capt Jack Harkness (John Barrowman). We won’t dwell on that here, as we’ve plenty of other coverage planned. Aware from time travel and galactic villainy, there’s brand new animation Zog and the Flying Doctors, narrated by Lenny Henry, which sees Zog and Gadabout trying to rescue Pearl from her uncle, the King (see picture above). We’ve already told you about the Vicar of Dibleyand there’s also the return of Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy, Mackenzie Crook returns as the walking talking scarecrow, alongside Shirley Henderson as Saucy Nancy, for a magical one hour film.


The focus here is culture, including music and comedy. We have the usual Carols from Kings on Christmas Eve, a celebration of author Julia Donaldson in The Gruffalo and Me as well as Being Bridget, which is all about Bridget Jones.

There’s also a Victoria Wood: The Secret List, bringing a chance to enjoy 20 sketches one more time, and The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne might just be the oddball hit of the holidays. There’s an assortment of cookery shows and a Michael Palin revisits the Himalayas.

Quiz lovers are also catered for with specials from University Challenge, QI and Only Connect.

BBC Four

There are various live performances, including a specially filmed stage version of Uncle Vanya featuring Toby Jones, Richard Armitage, Rosalind Eleazar and Aimee Lou Wood. Katie Derham presents The Royal Opera All Star Gala, recorded in September, and we have The Royal Ballet All Star Gala, filmed in October. As ever the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures will be broadcast, and for the first time there will be three different lecturers: Professor Chris Jackson, Dr Helen Czerski and Dr Tara Shine.

So this is Christmas

This is just a taste of BBC Christmas 2020, and with all major broadcasters lining up a panoply of great shows, we can only pick a few. Just remember, schedule some time for mince pies and party games as well!