If you set yourself one New Year’s resolution, let it be this: never settle for anything less than good TV. Find the best of the best below…
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day TV
The champagne is popping, the fireworks are exploding and your television is bursting with great shows to end the year and ring in the new one. New Year is the best time to watch TV, whether you’re staying in or biding your time until you venture out on New Year’s Eve – and, of course, when you’re recovering from the celebrations the day after!
But which show will you be watching to mark the start of 2019? With so much on offer, it can be hard to narrow it down. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a bumper list of great telly to sink your teeth into on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Read on to discover our top picks…
War & Peace
New Year’s Eve, from 2pm, Drama (CH 130)
Get your historical binge on with this 2015 adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, with all six episodes showing back to back on Drama. Transport yourself to early 19th-century Russia in this sweeping period drama, starring Paul Dano as Pierre Bezukhov, Lily James as Natasha Rostova and James Norton as Andrei Bolkonsky. Surrounded by war, the trio strive to make a difference, find true love and discover their purpose. A compelling, lavish world to get lost in.
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve, 6.40pm, ITV2/HD (CH 115/176)
If there’s one film you should watch on New Year’s Eve, it’s… well, New Year’s Eve. Director Garry Marshall (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day) is no stranger to a film set during a specific holiday, and New Year’s Eve is essentially this holiday’s answer to Love Actually. The cast is seriously impressive too: Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Jessica Parker – the list goes on! Watch the Times Square Ball as it drops in this feel-good film to get in the mood, then ring in the New Year in your own style!
New Year’s Eve, 8pm, ITV/HD (CH 103/113)
No one quite knows why James Bond films are always on over the Christmas and New Year period – they just are. But we’re not complaining! In Daniel Craig’s fourth Bond film, the superspy discovers a secretive organisation headed up by Christoph Waltz’s mysterious, yet strangely familiar, villain. With Monica Bellucci, Naomie Harris and Léa Seydoux also starring, you can’t go wrong with this globetrotting tour de force.
Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen & Milkmen
New Year’s Eve, 9pm, BBC Two HD (CH 102/162)
The Snowman is 40 years old. Can you believe it?! In this one-off special, meet the man behind the beloved tale. Not only has Raymond Briggs delighted readers young and old alike, he’s also inspired countless creators, including Wallace And Gromit inventor Nick Park. Hear from the man himself, his friends, colleagues and admirers, including actor Andy Serkis, as the BBC celebrates his life and work.
Jools’ Annual Hootenanny 2018
New Year’s Eve, 11.15pm, BBC Two HD (CH 102/162)
You’re in for a treat with this one! George Ezra, Michael Bublé and Jess Glynne are all confirmed for Jools’ Annual Hootenanny 2018. Nile Rodgers & Chic will also be delivering big band renditions of their classic tunes, and drum and bass group Rudimental will also be on hand to get the party started. When the clock strikes midnight, listen out for the Pipe and Drums of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards – as is tradition.
Madness Rocks Big Ben Live
New Year’s Day, 12.10am, BBC One HD (CH 101/108)
Take it from the members of the UK’s most-loved ska band: “Hold onto your sofas, your chaise lounges, your couches – NYE and Madness, it’s going to go off like a packet of crackers.” Fair enough! With Madness delivering the tunes as the fireworks light up London, and Strictly finalists Stacey Dooley and Joe Sugg hosting, what better way to ring in 2019? As an added treat, The Kingdom Choir, which performed at the wedding of the the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will join the Madness!
Pride & Prejudice
New Year’s Day, from 1.40pm, Drama (CH 130)
Settle in with back-to-back episodes of this 1995 classic starring Colin Firth as Mr Darcy (swoon) and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet (who won a Best Actress BAFTA for her efforts). A love story for all ages, Pride & Prejudice is best enoyed in the cosiest of surroundings. So plump up the cushions, put the kettle on and nestle in with this timeless comfort watch.
Coldplay: Live in Sao Paulo
New Year’s Day, 3.20pm, Sky Arts/HD (CH 122/206)
Nursing a hangover brought on by last night’s revelries? There’s only one thing for it – the dulcet tones of Chris Martin and the Coldplay crew. Let’s be honest, you’re likely to be waking up around 3pm anyway, so why not let Coldplay soothe you back to reality as the realisation that it’s time to go back to work tomorrow slowly dawns… Talk about “Trouble”.
New Year’s Day, 7pm, BBC One/HD (CH 101/108)
Doctor Who has traditionally aired on Christmas Day each year since the drama’s return in 2005 but, hey, at least this new slot means the anticipation will be higher than ever. Rumour has it that Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor will battle a classic foe for the first time since she picked up the Sonic Screwdriver. We won’t spoil it (mainly because they won’t tell us!), but the episode is called “Revelation”. And should we get a glimpse of one of the Time Lord’s oldest foes, it certainly will be a revelation! Click here for more Time Lord treats.
The Inbetweeners: Fwends Reunited
New Year’s Day, 9pm, Channel 4/HD (CH 104/141)
Gather round, fwends. For one night only, the gang is back together after a four-year hiatus. Join Simon Bird (Will), James Buckley (Jay), Blake Harrison (Neil) and Joe Thomas (Simon) as they celebrate all things The Inbetweeners. Join the cast as they discuss their favourite episodes, which will air after the unofficial “birthday party” celebrations.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
New Year’s Day, 9pm, ITV/HD (CH 103/113)
Few things say New Year’s Day more than a quiz. Enter the TV quiz of all quizzes, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, back for a new series of ten episodes with Jeremy Clarkson at the helm. As strange as it might be to have someone other than Chris Tarrant asking: “Is that your final answer?” it’s still a welcome reboot. A new “Ask the Host” lifeline option will feature, just in case the audience’s guess, player’s friend or participant’s powers of deduction prove useless.
New Year’s Day, 9pm, BBC One HD (CH 101/108)
It’s been a three-year wait for Luther fans, but series 5 is finally here! DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) and his iconic trenchcoat have a new partner in DS Catherine Halliday (Wunmi Mosaku), and together they’re taking on a man with a seriously terrifying mask who’s on a killing spree around London. If you’ve seen the electrifying trailer, you no doubt have a whole bunch of questions, including just why you saw someone you believed to be dead! Watch this space…
Mrs Brown’s Boys New Year Special
New Year’s Day, 10pm, BBC One HD (CH 101/108)
It’s Mammy time! In the second of two specials over the festive period (the first is still available on Catch Up), Brendan O’Carroll is back as the foul-mouthed but well-meaning Agnes Brown in “Mammy’s Hotel”. Agnes’ best friend and neighbour Winnie McGoogan (Eilish O’Carroll) and her daughter Sharon are welcomed into the Brown residence after their water pipes burst. In a household that’s already overflowing, it isn’t exactly smooth sailing for the new guests. Get ready for spit-your-drink-out belly laughs by the bucketload.
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Image credits: Luther © BBC – Photographer: Des Willie