Christmas is a time for being with friends and family, giving and receiving presents and eating and drinking a bit too much.

Family watching TV-1947946

Yet often the biggest debate surrounds just what to watch on TV over the festive period. Some fanatics spend all year looking forward to the day when the Christmas edition of the Radio Times is published, anxious to plan their holiday period around what’s on the box. It’s easy to picture the scene as each family member takes it in turns with the marker pen to highlight the shows they want to watch, and in this modern era of catch-up television, which shows will need to be caught at a later date.

Once Christmas dinner is cleared away it’s time to retire to the sofa ready for the Queen’s Speech at 3PM and then doze off in front of a film or two before the evening’s entertainment begins. The likely highlights this Christmas include Doctor Who undergoing regeneration into Peter Capaldi, as well as the usual specials from the likes of Downton Abbey (although viewers will no doubt be hoping for a slightly more optimistic outcome last year’s shocking death to concude the episode). Open All Hours is also back, with David Jason’s Granville now in charge; expect nice gentle humour suitable for a family audience. And if you are going to be surrounded by kids this year, make sure they get to see the adaptation of David Walliams’ book Gangsta Granny, filled with an all-star cast.

Elsewhere, viewers will finally be put out of their misery as Sherlock returns on somewhat of a cliffhanger, with fans discovering quite how Benedict Cumberbatch’s character managed to pull through the seemingly fatal fall from a building that he suffered the last time we saw him on screen. On the comedy front, BBC Three’s Bad Education starring Jack Whitehall will make a welcome appearance, in addition to a festive episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys.

In soapland, Danny Dyer makes his first appearance in the Queen Vic on Christmas Day, which has to be worth a watch, if only to see how on earth his acting skills will cope with playing a typical East End bloke. Elsewhere, Coronation Street stars were spotted filming a wedding recently, but will it be a happy ever after for the blushing bride?

The usual movie line up is in place, with the terrestrial channels choosing to go with established franchises such as Toy Story and Pirates of the Caribbean. And if all else fails, there’s always the inevitable gift of a television box set to fall back on. Anyone else up for a Blackadder marathon?