Music Week's guide to a jam-packed fortnight of festive music TV

Music Week's guide to a jam-packed fortnight of festive music TV

From Top Of The Pops, Jools Holland and Carpool Karaoke to Andre Rieu, Rag'N'Bone Man and Tom Jones, here’s our round-up of the music artists who will be hoping for a festive sales boost from this year’s Christmas TV schedules…


U2 At The BBC, BBC One, 9pm
With a performance at Abbey Road, U2 are the first rock band in the occasional BBC concert series. Having slipped to No.20 already, their 14th album Songs Of Experience should get a lift from this special.

The Royal Variety Performance 2017, ITV, 7.30pm
Michael Ball & Alfie Boe will hope their performance helps No.1 album Together Again head back to the top. The Killers (dutifully singing Mr Brightside), Leading Ladies, Seal and Tokio Myers also break up the light entertainment and broad comedy.


The Story of Fairytale Of New York, BBC Four, 10pm
As it returns to the charts again, The Pogues’ festive perennial is the subject of a documentary narrated by Richard E Grant.


Donny Osmond’s Easy Listening Christmas, Channel 5, 9pm
Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and Kylie Minogue feature in this countdown of 25 festive tunes.


The Graham Norton Show, BBC One, 10.40pm
Keane’s Tom Chaplin gives his Twelve Tales Of Christmas album a final push with a performance of Midnight Mass.

Tom Jones 1950s: The Decade That Made Me, BBC Four, 10pm
A repeat of the documentary revealing the Welsh singer’s fondness for rock’n’roll.


Gwen Stefani’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas, Sky Arts, 6pm
NME’s Christmas cover star hosts a special to promote her festive album.

It’s Christmas Live From The Royal Albert Hall, Sky One, 8pm
Host Jason Manford’s album didn’t make a huge impact, but he’s still likely to be muscling in on this show’s line-up of Christmas classics, also featuring Chrissie Hynde, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Shakin’ Stevens and Alexander Armstrong.

Cruising With Jane McDonald Christmas Special, Channel 5, 9pm
Her new album Hold The Covers Back peaked at No.69 last month, but maybe this TV special can revive its fortunes.

Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show, BBC One, 8.30pm
Seal joins in the fun at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.


Andre Rieu, My Life In Music, Channel 5, 9pm
Probably the biggest music star on Channel 5 this Christmas.


Top Of The Pops Christmas Special, BBC One, 12.20pm
The music show lives on at Christmas, though Reggie Yates’ dismissal may have come too late for some listings magazines. The first episode features Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Stormzy with MNEK (the original collaborator who missed out on The X Factor performance), Clean Bandit, Rita Ora, The Script, JP Cooper, Jax Jones with Raye, Jonas Blue and William Singe, James Arthur and Anne-Marie.

Dame Vera Lynn: Happy 100th Birthday, BBC Two, 4.30pm
A repeat timed for the post-lunch slump. Dame Vera’s centenary-celebrating greatest hits could end up as the year’s biggest-selling Best Of.

A Kylie Christmas, Sky Arts, 7pm
The singer’s festive Royal Albert Hall show gets an airing as her 2000 b-side Santa Baby rockets up the singles chart.

Carpool Karaoke Special, Sky One, 8pm
James Corden takes Katy Perry and Jennifer Lopez for a spin and a sing-song.

Tom Jones & Beverley Knight’s Gospel Christmas, BBC Two, 9pm
Jessie Ware and Kwabs lend a hand on the blend of traditional gospel, carols and ‘spiritual’ songs, which include selections by Prince and Bob Dylan. Viewers in Wales get treated to the vocal powerhouse pairing a few days earlier on BBC One. 

Alan Carr’s Christmas Chatty Man, Channel 4, 10pm
Noel Gallagher updates the world on his feud with Liam, plus performances by Kasabian, Adam Lambert and Dua Lipa

George Michael: Freedom, Channel 4, midnight
If Wham!’s Last Christmas doesn’t make it to No.1, at least fans can console themselves with this repeat for the revealing and celebratory documentary.


A Hard Day’s Night, BBC Two, 11.55am
A Boxing Day airing for The Beatles’ musical comedy, just ahead of The Eagle Has Landed.

Andre Rieu: Falling In Love – Live In Maastricht, Sky Arts, 9pm
A whole three hours of the Dutch violinist in the square of his home town.


Supersonic, BBC Two, 10pm
Oasis should get a streaming bump with this acclaimed documentary, which got a limited cinema release last year.


Bruno Mars: Live In Harlem, BBC One, 10.25pm
Get a glimpse of next year’s British Summer Time headliner as he performs at the Apollo Theatre.

U2 At The BBC, BBC One, 11.10pm
Not just a repeat but an extended ‘special edition’ of their Abbey Road TV show.


Music Legends We Lost, Sky One, 10pm
A celebration of the music greats who died since December 2016, including George Michael, Chuck Berry, Glen Campbell and Tom Petty. 

Elvis: The Rebirth Of The King, BBC Four, 10pm
Documentary exploring Presley’s Vegas-inspired revival.


Liam Gallagher: Live In New York, Sky Arts, 9pm
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Hurricane Festival 2015, Sky Arts, 11.30pm
The Sky channel doubles down on the Gallaghers.

Glen Campbell: The Rhinestone Cowboy, BBC Four, 11.35pm
Repeat for this documentary on the late country legend.


Top Of The Pops New Year, BBC One, 4.05pm
The second TOTP of the festive season reveals the final No. 1 single of 2017.

Jools’ Annual Hootenanny 2017, BBC Two, 11.20pm
Pre-recorded in Maidstone, this carefully synchronised New Year’s celebration features Ed Sheeran, Jessie Ware and Beth Ditto. Apparently Sheeran’s playing a surprising twist on a classic rock cover.

Hogmanay Live, BBC One Scotland, 11.30pm
Rag’N’Bone Man is the big star, while KT Tunstall also performs at the Scottish celebrations.


The Story Behind Bohemian Rhapsody, BBC Four, 9pm

Part of a Queen-heavy line-up on the BBC channel on this evening.


Prince: Last Year Of A Legend, Channel 4, 10pm
George Clinton and CeeLo Green are among the musicians paying tribute in this new documentary.

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