Your complete guide to the best festive TV documentaries and factual specials across all Virgin Media channels
By Virgin TV Edit
There are so many great documentaries to get stuck into on TV this Christmas. Think of them as a full Christmas dinner – by the time you’re done with one, even if you think you’re stuffed, there’s always room for one more. And that’s lucky this festive season...
Read on for all the information, including when to watch them, and keep checking back as we’ll be updating this page with new shows and programming as soon as it’s announced.
Don’t miss these comprehensive Christmas TV guides:
A Lake District Farm Shop At Christmas – Channel 4
Watch A Lake District Farm Shop At Christmas at 6pm on Saturday 18 December on Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
As British motorway service stations go, they don’t get much better than Tebay. The iconic, family-owned M6 drop-in point is preparing for its busiest time of the year, with head butcher Dave Morland expecting big crowds.
A Victorian Christmas – Channel 5
Watch A Victorian Christmas at 9pm on Wednesday 22 December on Channel 5 (CH 154/105)
One brave family is on a voyage of discovery, to find out what Christmas was like 150 years ago. Plucking their own goose and making ox-tongue mince pies are just a few of the traditions they observe in their traditional Victorian home.
Gangs Of Baboon Falls – Sky Nature
Watch Gangs Of Baboon Falls at 7pm on Monday 27 December on Sky Nature/HD (CH 280/279)
Romance. Rivalries. Teenage troubles. Family feuds. No, it’s not a Christmas episode of Corrie. Instead, this is the tale of four competing troops of Chacma Baboons set against the gorgeous Victoria Falls, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. This incredible documentary will put the row about your nan cheating at Monopoly into perspective.
Jamie Oliver: Together At Christmas – Channel 4
Watch Jamie Oliver: Together At Christmas at 8pm on Monday 13 December and Monday 20 December on Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
Having missed out on last Christmas, Jamie Oliver is rustling up two festive feasts in his kitchen, to offer some culinary inspiration ahead of the big day as family and friends (as the title of the show hopes) finally come together for this very special festive period.
Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard – BBC One
Watch Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard at 8pm on Thursday 30 December on BBC One HD (CH 101/108)
Sir David Attenborough has been fascinated by fossils since he was a kid, and now his eyes have been lured by a fossil find in Swindon – and quite possibly the discovery of a lifetime – namely: a mammoth graveyard offering an extremely rare glimpse of life deep in the Ice Age, and one that may answer some of our most long-standing questions about the prehistoric giants.
Attenborough’s Wonder Of Song – BBC One
Watch Attenborough’s Wonder Of Song at 6.30pm on Monday 3 January on BBC One HD (CH 101/108)
More Sir David action this festive season, as the national treasure chooses his favourite recordings from the natural world that have revolutionised our understanding of song. Think of it as a mixtape from nature. From long-standing beliefs that male songs meant sexual selection to new discoveries that reveal, in most cases, it is the female songbirds that do the singing. You won’t want to miss it.
Guy Martin’s Lancaster Bomber – Channel 4
Watch Guy Martin’s Lancaster Bomber at 9pm on Sunday 19 December on Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
The presenter pays tribute to men who flew in the Second World War’s famous aircraft by learning what it took to fly them. He learns how to man each of the seven positions on the craft from the remaining survivor of the Dambuster’s mission.
Hamleys at Christmas – Channel 5
Watch Hamleys At Christmas at 7pm on Sunday 19 December on Channel 5 HD (CH 154/105)
Have you ever wanted to know what happens in the world’s most famous toyshop during the busiest time of the year? Step into the store and hear the hidden stories, plus its links to the royals and the role it played during the Second World War.
Quentin Blake: The Drawing Of My Life – BBC Two
Watch Quentin Blake: The Drawing Of My Life at 4.10pm on Christmas Day on BBC Two HD (CH 102)
In this one-off special, we’re celebrating the beloved illustrator famous for – among many other thing – his contributions to Roald Dahl’s children’s stories. With celeb appearances and readings from the likes of Michael Rosen, Lauren Child, Chris Riddell, Josie Long, David Walliams, Joanna Lumley and Peter Capaldi, it’s set to be a wholesome gala of appreciation for the timeless artist.
Matt Baker: Our Christmas In The Dales – Channel 4
Watch Matt Baker: Our Christmas in The Dales at 9pm on Monday 13 December on More4/HD (CH 147/195)
It’s Christmas on the Baker farm, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to relax. There are nativity scenes to build, Christmas trees to fell and courtyards to decorate. And only when everything’s finished will it be time to exchange gifts inspired by 2021.
Bradley And Barney Walsh: Breaking Dad At Christmas – ITV
Watch Bradley And Barney Walsh: Breaking Dad At Christmas at 9pm on Christmas Eve on ITV HD (CH 103/113)
Bradley Walsh and his son Barney are on the road again, and this year they’re taking the trusty RV to the land of ice and fire. Quality bonding time is guaranteed in Iceland’s harsh climate, providing the RV’s heating doesn’t give out.
Extraordinary Escapes At Christmas With Sandi Toksvig – Channel 4
Watch Extraordinary Escapes At Christmas With Sandi Toksvig at 8pm on Monday 27 December on Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
Sandi will be whisking a special guest off for an extraordinary Christmassy getaway this December, for the pair to share in some seasonal dishes and Yuletide cocktails. Hopefully there is space on this trip for us (no, seriously, please let us go!).
Travel Man: 96 Hours In Iceland – Channel 4
Watch Travel Man: 96 Hours In Iceland at 8pm on Monday 27 December on Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
After nine years, Richard Ayoade is hanging up his travel cloak. Taking over his globetrotting ways is comedian Joe Lycett, with his sights set on the land of ice and fire, Iceland. And to make sure he doesn’t get lonely, he’ll be joined by the marvellous Bill Bailey.
The Hairy Bikers Go North For Christmas – BBC Two
Watch The Hairy Bikers Go North For Christmas at 8pm on Wednesday 22 December
Hairy Bikers, Dave Myers and Si King, have their sights set on the tastes of home for this year’s Christmas. With the likes of turkey doner for starters and gourmet marshmallows for dessert, it’s set to be a Christmas dinner like no other.
Sainsburys: Christmas Food Secrets – Channel 4
Watch Sainsburys: Christmas Food Secrets at 6pm on Sunday 19 December on Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
Go behind the scenes at Sainsburys, as the retailer prepares for the festive season. Following last’s year bust of a Christmas, it’s time to change the game with more than 1,800 new products due to hit the shelves.
Philip: Prince, Husband, Father
Watch Philip: Prince, Husband, Father at 9pm on Tuesday 21 December on ITV HD (CH 103/113)
This heart-warming documentary pays homage to the longest-serving royal consort in history, who passed away in April – a few months shy of his centenary year.
Madame Tussauds: The Full Wax
Watch Madame Tussauds: The Full Wax at 9pm on Wednesday 22 December on ITV HD (CH 103/113)
Go behind the scenes at London and Blackpool’s world-famous celeb wax museums, and discover what goes into recreating the world’s best-known faces.
A Taste Of Christmas With Andi Oliver – BBC Two
Watch A Taste Of Christmas With Andi Oliver at 9pm on Tuesday 21 December on BBC Two HD (CH 102)
Andi Oliver has been lucky enough to dine in some of the world’s best restaurants, but what really gets her going is the food that’s lovingly created at home – especially at Christmas. This year, Andi is dining with three very different families across the city of Glasgow, to dig into the customs, traditions and specialities.
Deck The Halls: The Luxury Christmas Decorators – Channel 4
Watch Deck The Halls: The Luxury Christmas Decorators at 10pm on Monday 20 December on Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
Meet the crews responsible for decorating our best-loved landmarks at Christmas. From the Natural History Museum to The Lansdowne Club, these specialist decorators are going bigger and better than ever before.
Inside The Factory: Christmas Cards – BBC Two
Watch Inside The Factory: Christmas Cards at 9pm on Wednesday 22 December on BBC Two HD (CH 102)
Join Gregg Wallace on his visit to Watford’s Woodmansterne card factory, as he follows the journey of one of the factory’s bestsellers, The Red Stag.
All I Want(ed) For Christmas – Channel 4
Watch All I Want(ed) For Christmas at 8pm on Boxing Day on Channel 4 HD (CH 104/141)
What toy did you desperately want as a child? Mr Frosty snow cone maker, an Easy-Bake oven, Stretch Armstrong? That’s what’s being asked of a range of celebs, before they finally receive the gift they’ve been dreaming of for decades.
Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure – Channel 4
Watch Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure at 9.30pm on Boxing Day on ITV HD (CH 103/113)
Join the legendary comic at his home in Florida as he discusses his incredible career and his struggles with Parkinson’s disease.
Wogan: Now You’re Talking – Channel 5
Watch Wogan: Now You’re Talking at 9pm on Thursday 30 December on Channel 5 HD (CH 154/105)
In celebration of the broadcasting legend that is Sir Michael Terence Wogan, we take a walk down memory lane, looking back at his appearances on the likes of Eurovision, Blankety Blank and Children In Need.
Christmas has come early
This year we’re bringing Christmas early with gifts and giveaways, plus check out all your Christmas TV, movie and sport listings and tips on what to watch and play!
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