Highlights include The Trial of Christine Keeler on BBC One, Sticks and Stones on ITV and the second season of You on Netflix
Christmas means two things in my house: an endless supply of pigs in blankets and the TV is constantly on. Often the schedules are chock-a-block with reruns of old specials and films you’ve seen a hundred times already, but if you look hard enough there are some real gems to be found.
Here are the best new dramas to watch on TV this Christmas and New Year:
New Year’s Day, 9pm, BBC One
Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat delve into Bram Stoker’s classic vampiric novel with their latest limited series. Danish actor Claes Bang plays the eponymous vampire as he plans to destroy Victorian England and suck the life out of its inhabitants. Promising to be scary and a little gory, Dracula isn’t the most obvious choice of story for the most wonderful time of the year but with two television geniuses at the helm we can be sure it’ll live up to expectations.
Christmas Eve, 10pm, BBC Four
Peter Capaldi’s first TV role since Doctor Who sees him take on a spooky ghost story based on one of M.R. James’ tales from his 1911 collection More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. Directed by Sherlock creator Mark Gatiss, the half-hour standalone episode follows the murder trial of a man accused of killing a young girl with whom he had ‘an affair’. Questions arise over the case when sightings of the girl are reported – after she had been apparently murdered.
The best Christmas TV in 2019, from the Gavin and Stacey special to Derry Girls on Great British Bake Off
Susan Hill’s Ghost Story
Boxing Day, 9pm, Channel 5
Another spooky offering comes from a two hour long Susan Hill adaption, the first since Woman In Black was turned into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe in 2012. Featuring another creepy young child, Susan Hill’s Ghost Story is a classic haunting tale focusing on an antique book dealer whose childhood secrets encourage a series of increasingly sinister series of ghostly visits
A Christmas Carol
Sunday 22 December, 9pm, BBC One
Christmas TV would be amiss without a Charles Dickens adaptation and this year the BBC have taken on the most revered of festive tales. Created by Peaky Blinders mastermind Steven Knight alongside Tom Hardy, A Christmas Carol promises to be a darker, grittier take on Scrooge and his neuroses, with Guy Pearce taking the lead role. He’s joined by a stellar cast of British talent, including Andy Serkis and Stephen Graham as the paranormal spirits who come knocking on Christmas Eve.
Sticks and Stones
Monday 16 December, 9pm, ITV
Mike Bartlett (writer of Doctor Foster) turns his attention to the workplace in his latest drama, telling a story of office bullying and the “competitive world of middle management”. If this sounds like your life, you won’t want to miss this paranoia-inducing thriller which hangs our increasingly competitive work culture out to dry.
The Trial of Christine Keeler
Sunday 29th December, 9pm, BBC One
The BBC flips the Profumo Affair on its head, placing 19-year-old Christine Keeler – the woman Secretary of State John Profumo has an extra-marital relationship with – at the heart of the story. Keeler is played by Sophie Cookson, best known from the Kingsman franchise, who portrays the ‘misunderstood’ young woman as ‘complex and vivid’. Ben Miles (The Crown) takes on the role of the disgraced Profumo.
The Witcher, Netflix
Don’t let the fact that this is a show based on a video game put you off, because The Witcher is so much more than combat and quests. Henry Cavill (best known as Superman in Man of Steel) plays solitary monster hunter Geralt whose destiny thrusts him on a path across the Continent alongside a powerful sorceress and a young princess with a dangerous secret. Get ready for this to become ‘the new Game of Thrones’.
December sees Sarah Parish return as the eponymous Elizabeth Bancroft, the murderous detective with shady connections to a cold case. In the last episode we saw her shoot her suspicious colleague DS Stevens, but much to Bancroft’s dismay, she survived. Now the repercussions of her questionable actions are coming back to haunt her and entertain us.
Last Boxing Day saw the first series of You drop on Netflix without much fanfare but became a hit nonetheless thanks to lead actor Penn Badgeley’s creepy stalker antics as Joe Goldberg. This year the series returns not to New York, but to LA where serial killer Joe moves to seek out new victims. Binge the first 10 episodes now in time for the 26th.