Christmas TV picks 2021: what our Sussex staff are looking forward to watching this year

In the spirit of Christmas, our staff have shared what they are most looking forward to watching on TV over the festive period.

Gathering around the TV for some festive family entertainment is nowadays as much a tradition as the Christmas dinner.

As the big day approaches, our staff have been thinking about what they will be watching between unwrapping presents and eating copious amounts of chocolate.

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Here are our top picks:

Our staff Christmas TV picks. Picture from Shutterstock

Mark Dunford, editor, Crawley Observer:

Ghosts - December 23, 8.30pm, BBC One

This show has been one of the best comedies on TV in the last couple of years. And one of the best things about it is the whole family can watch and enjoy together. Every character is so well written and acted. A must this Christmas.

Andy Hemsley, communities reporter, Hastings Observer:

A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Mezzotint - Christmas Eve, 10.30pm, BBC Two

A new Mark Gattis directed adaptation of an M. R James short story. Christmas Eve is the traditional time for sitting round a fire and telling ghost stories and these adaptations don't disappoint.

Casablanca - Christmas Day, 11.10am, BBC Two

A personal contender for the best movie ever made. An existential classic with not one word of the electric dialogue wasted.

India Wentworth, trainee reporter, Eastbourne Herald:

The Great British Bake Off: It's a Sin Festive Special - Christmas Day, 8pm, Channel 4

I love Bake Off whatever time of year, but the celeb ones are always a bit of fun and on Christmas Day a bit of baking with the cast of It's a Sin sounds perfect. This very successful series was on earlier this year and looked at the AIDS epidemic, it was one of the best things I've seen all year. Including leading man Olly Alexander (also from Years and Years), four of the main cast are back together for something much more light-hearted - baking!

A Very British Scandal - Boxing Day, 9pm, BBC One

Give me a period drama and I'm there. Throw in a brilliant cast including Claire Foy from The Crown and Paul Bettany from Marvel and I'll make sure not to miss it. What makes this even more interesting is it's based on reality - the divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. I don't know anything about this but I know it will be right up my street and the BBC will do it really well.

Sam Woodman, editor, Worthing Herald:

The Abominable Snow Baby - Christmas Day, 7.30pm, Channel 4

Having devoured the much-missed author's books many moons ago, the festive programme that stands out for me is Terry Pratchett's The Abominable Snow Baby. Voiced by Julie Walters, Hugh Dancy and David Harewood, the animated tale of a 14ft snow creature should be more than enough to lift me out of a stupor after eating my bodyweight in turkey and chocolate by the evening.

Alex Watts, chief reporter, Hastings & Rye and Bexhill & Battle Observer:

It’s A Wonderful Life - Christmas Eve, 2pm, Channel 4

Some say it isn't Christmas without family and friends sitting round the TV, watching arguably one of the most famous (and best) Christmas movies of all time. Frank Capra's black and white masterpiece It's A Wonderful Life (from 1946) stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man contemplating suicide at Christmas, before a timely intervention by his guardian angel. Despite its bleak beginning, the film's main message of friendship, hope and gratitude for what we have has been warming hearts for decades - and no doubt will for decades more to come.

Some Like It Hot - Boxing Day, 2pm, BBC Two

Billy Wilder’s movie - starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon - is widely considered to be one of the greatest comedy films of all time. And with the recent Covid events, it is exactly what viewers need this Christmas - a good dose of humour as they tuck into cold turkey on Boxing Day. Some Like It Hot has something for everyone - it is a romantic movie, a crime caper, a musical - and is worth watching just for struggling musicians Joe (Curtis) and Jerry's (Lemmon) hilarious attempts to escape the mob.

Sam Morton, senior reporter, Worthing Herald:

Match of the Day - Boxing Day, 10.40pm, BBC One

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m definitely looking forward to the bumper week of Match of the Day, to catch up on the festive football action (assuming the Premier League escapes the clutches of Omicron and can continue of course!)

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw - Boxing Day, 8pm, ITV2

Having looked through the film schedule, I have also got my eyes on an action blockbuster in Hobbs & Shaw. I’m not the biggest fan of the Fast and Furious franchise but there was something a bit different about this spin-off and I loved it at the cinema.

Oli Poole, editor, West Sussex Gazette:

MasterChef Champion of Champions, New Year's Eve, 8.30pm, BBC One

Worthing's very own MasterChef champion for 2018 Kenny Tutt returns to our screens to compete against four other champions. It will be fascinating to see how Kenny fares against other past champs. Hopefully his flagship restaurant Pitch will have another trophy on its shelf in the new year!

Joe Stack, reporter, Chichester Observer:

The Two Ronnies Christmas Sketchbook, Christmas Day, 3.10pm, BBC Two

If I get a chance to, I'd like to treat the inevitable symptoms of over-eating this Christmas by plonking myself down in front of two of TV's finest. This is the last time the Ronnies appeared on screen together and in this episode they pick their favourite sketches as well as songs and monologues and throw in a couple of celebrity appearances — what more could you want?

The Beatles: Get Back, streaming on Disney+

This epic focuses on the fab four as they write and play 14 new songs as they prepare for their now legendary rooftop gig.. It is something I have been meaning to watch since its release last month and is meant to be a 'must-watch' for any Beatles fanatic. With a running time of nearly eight hours — what better time to start ticking off the episodes than during the Christmas holidays.