Although a lot of Christmas Specials are comedies, there are some that are not and with the final ever episode of Downton Abbey to air this Christmas we thought we would take a lot of some of the other specials that have kept us entertained over the festive period.
So let’s start with Downton Abbey. This show has become an absolute phenomenon across the globe and partly because it is quintessentially British, albeit that the days of the Lords and Ladies having complete power over their village are nearly over. It does still happen, just there are a lot more towns who don’t have a Lord and Lady to look up to. Downton Abbey Christmas specials have always acted as the buffer between each series. They finish off the questions that were left hanging on the season finale and set up a new story ready for the next season. This means that the next episode can go straight into it without having to explain what has happened in the hiatus. There have been four specials so far and they are usually very heart warming, the show tends to follow the festive spirit and make them pleasant for the viewer, there are a few upsetting moments (Mr Branson leaving) but all in all they tend to end on a happy note. That being said, the last one is set to be a real tear jerker just because its the last episode ever, but I am sure there will be more tears of joy rather than sadness.
With the rise of YouTube and music channels, its easy to see why Top of the Pops had to end. That doesn’t mean however that they stop the Christmas Special. Back when Top of the Pops was the main place to find out the number one and many teenagers would record the show on their VHS’ so that they could re-watch their favourite pop group, it was ideal to have a special on Christmas Day. The scheduling of the show would usually mean that it was aired just after you finished your dinner, perfect for when you are in that turkey coma. Turn on the TV and watch and listen to some of your favourite groups and find out the coveted number one Christmas single. Not so much a must see now but nonetheless it is good background noise when your family are fighting over Monopoly.
No Christmas special list is complete without Dr Who. There are many reasons why fans love the Christmas specials. Usually a special means that it’s less of a wait from when one series ends to when the next begins but more often than not its when you see the regeneration of a new Dr or the end of one. David Tennant both appears in a Christmas Special and leaves in one, meaning that not are they only a special episode over the Christmas break but that they are vital and important to the continuing storyline. Matt Smith also regenerates and leaves in a special handing the baton over to Peter Capaldi. There have been ten specials so far with the eleventh set to air this year. This year it is not the Dr that will be changing but the sidekick, another recurring theme and judging by previous shows it probably wont disappoint the fans.
There are many other television shows to mention as well, if you are a soap fan then there are plenty of them to watch on the big day. With ‘realistic’ story-lines, they sure do make you feel grateful that you are sat in with your family around the TV, stuffed from plenty of food rather than venturing out on some big adventure or party at the pub. There are also many animations that you sit and watch as family. The most recent was the excellent Gruffalo but the best animation that has been watched for years and years is The Snowman. You don’t get that warm fuzzy Christmas feeling until you watch this film. With the recent addition of the Snowdog too, it has only improved. A heart-warming and sad tale that you can just watch over and over again – but only when you are on your holiday break.
The best thing about Christmas specials with shows like Jonathon Creek, Dr Who and Downton Abbey is that their series only run for a few episodes at a time. This means that when a special comes a long it really is that and is far more exciting than a sitcom that runs for many shows at a time and just throws a Christmas episode in. This means one thing is for certain. If you like to get comfy in front of the box then there will definitely be something for you.