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The Best Picks From This Year’s UK Christmas TV Schedule



Following some major Christmas disruptions brought on by lockdown in 2020, many of us will be looking forward to safely spending the festive season with our loved ones this year. Thankfully, the nation can also look forward to an enchanting line-up of must-watch Christmas television in 2021, which includes some one-off specials, brand new dramas, animated spectaculars, and much, much more.

To nudge you in the right direction of some of this year’s seasonal highlights, here’s your comprehensive guide to the best Christmas TV of 2021, because you won’t want to miss a second of what promises to be a great year for festive telly.

This year, viewers can expect to enjoy the origin story of Santa Claus in Sky’s A Boy Called Christmas, festive specials from Call the Midwife, The Larkins, and Death in Paradise, a very British period drama starring The Crown’s Claire Foy, and the highly-anticipated Doctor Who New Year spectacular.

So, as many of us prepare for long-awaited Christmas celebrations with friends and family, you can discover the very best of this year’s seasonal TV schedule below.

Worzel Gummidge

The BBC’s reinvention of the classic Worzel Gummidge stories is returning to our screens this Christmas for not one, but two brand new episodes. Mackenzie Crook will reprise the title role as the talking scarecrow Gummidge, and reunite with fellow Detectorists’ star Toby Jones in the new episodes of this critically acclaimed adaptation.

As it stands, the BBC are yet to confirm the airdate of Worzel Gummidge. Although, back in 2019 and 2020, the series aired between December 24 and 27, so it’s likely viewers can expect a similar schedule in 2021.

The Larkins at Christmas

Based on ​​the classic novel The Darling Buds of May by H.E. Bates, this ITV comedy-drama is back for a yuletide special following the show’s season finale that aired back in November.

This feature-length special will follow the Larkin family over the course of the festive season, during which Mariette (Sabrina Bartlett) and Charley (Tok Stephen) return to Kent for Christmas. However, things begin to go wrong when the entire village is left without lighting or heating during a power cut.

The Larkins at Christmas airs on ITV at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 25.

A Boy Called Christmas

Based on the bestselling book by Matt Haig, this Sky original festive flick stars the likes of Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, Sally Hawkins, Kristen Wiig, Stephen Merchant, and more, and tells the magical story of a young boy named Nikolas who embarks on an adventure into the snowy north to track down his father, who is on a mission to discover the fabled village of elves, known as Elfhelm.

A Boy Called Christmas is now available on Sky and NOW.

Death in Paradise Christmas special

For the first time in the show’s history, this long-running BBC crime drama is getting a “celebratory” Christmas special. The festive 90-minute episode will follow on from the Season 10 cliffhanger, and “stretches from a grey damp drizzly London all the way to the warm sparkling beauty of idyllic Saint Marie.”

However, that’s not all, as the special will also see the return of Danny John-Jules as the beloved Officer Dwayne Myers, who will star alongside Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker.

It has been confirmed that the Death in Paradise Christmas special will air on BBC One. However, an exact release date is yet to be announced.

Last Train to Christmas

Set in the mid-1980s, this Christmas comedy stars Good Omen’s Michael Sheen and Game of Thrones star Nathalie Emmanuel, and centres on the nightclub manager Tony Towers, who travels to Nottingham for a Christmas family reunion with his fiancee Sue and brother Roger in tow.

However, Tony begins to notice something strange about their train journey, and realises that as he moves up and down the train carriages, he begins travelling back and forth throughout his life.

Last Train to Christmas is available on Sky and NOW from Dec. 18.

Joe Lycett: Mummy’s Big Christmas Do!

Comedian Joe Lycett’s “big queer Christmas house party” is coming to Channel 4 for the 2021 festive season. Airing live from his hometown of Birmingham, the 90-minute special will welcome an audience of LGBTQ+ icons and allies, as well as some local heroes.

Speaking of the Channel 4 special, Lycett teased, “This show combines three of my favourite things – LGBTQ+ culture, Birmingham and chaotic live television.”

Call the Midwife Christmas Special

To the delight of fans, this long-running BBC drama is kicking off its eleventh series with a Christmas special.

As noted in a BBC synopsis, the special is set in December 1966, and follows the Nonnatus team as they are faced with “their busiest Christmas Day ever.” Meanwhile, Lucille (Leonie Elliott) and Cyril (Zephryn Taitte) prepare for their upcoming winter wedding, and Mother Mildred, played by the one and only Miriam Margolyes, is on hand to support the team.

A release date for Call the Midwife is yet to be confirmed. However, judging by previous years, it is likely the yuletide special will air on Christmas Day.

All Star Musicals At Christmas

Fronted by John Barrowman and starring panellists Elaine Page, Samantha Barks and Trevor Dion Nicholas, this two-part ITV special will follow six celebrities who are put through their paces in the ultimate musical theatre masterclass.

The celebrity lineup of All Star Musicals at Christmas includes actor Ben Miller, broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, presenters Anita Rani and Fern Britton, Coronation Street’s Catherine Tyldesley, and sports reporter Radzi Chinyanganya.

All Star Musicals at Christmas will air during the festive season, although an exact release date is yet to be confirmed by ITV.

A Very British Scandal

Penned by Sarah Phelps (The Pale Horse, Dublin Murders), and starring Claire Foy and Paul Bettany, this very British period drama follows the bitter divorce of the Duke of Argyll and his former wife, whom the press nicknamed ‘The Dirty Duchess’. And if you want to know the story behind that moniker, you’ll need to tune in.

A Very British Scandal will air over three consecutive nights at 9 p.m. on BBC One between Dec. 26 and Dec. 28.

Doctor Who New Year Special

This highly-anticipated New Year special will see Jodie Whittaker reprise her role as the famous Timelord in her final ever festive special. During the episode, Whittaker will star alongside her companions Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) and Dan Lewis (John Bishop), as they attempt to fend off an alien threat.

The trio will also appear alongside a string of special guests including the likes of Aisling Bea, Adjani Salmon, and Pauline McLynn, among others.

The Doctor Who New Year special will air on Jan. 1, 2022.

The Girl Before

Based on ​​JP Delaney’s book of the same name, this psychological thriller tells the story of a woman named Jane (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who gets the opportunity to move into a beautiful home designed by a renowned architect named Edward (David Oyelow). The catch, however, is that the house holds some deep, dark secrets about its previous occupant.

The Girl Before will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer over Christmas as part of their 2021 festive TV lineup. However, an exact date is yet to be announced.

Around the World in 80 Days

This BBC adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days sees David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) take on the role of adventurer Phileas Fogg, who sets out on a mission to travel around the world in 80 days.

An official airdate for Around the World in 80 Days is yet to be confirmed by the BBC.

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Cassidy Timbrooks on ‘The Bachelor’ Isn’t the Villain You Think She Is



I knew Cassidy Timbrooks was going to be eliminated from The Bachelor the second she addressed a table full of children as “you small people.”

But it wasn’t until Clayton Echard learned she had a “friend with benefits” back home that her number came up. The Bachelor rescinded the rose he had already given her and predictably sent the 26-year-old executive assistant packing on Monday night’s episode.

In the eyes of the show, she had committed two cardinal sins: Not acting overjoyed to be around kids, and not putting her sex life on pause for a man she had never met.

That’s why her ride home from the mansion was more than just another early villain exit. The Bachelor is clearly trying to get back to basics this year — and by basics I mean American sexual politics circa 2002. The fact that Cassidy got the boot so swiftly shows how quickly the show is returning to its traditional roots. In an era of dating apps and delayed motherhood, ABC’s long-running reality dating franchise is recommitting in Clayton’s season to its core tenets: Love, marriage, and family — preferably before age 30.

In the eyes of the show, she had committed two cardinal sins: Not acting overjoyed to be around kids, and not putting her sex life on pause for a man she had never met.

Only against that backdrop would a woman like Cassidy strike anyone as an outlier. Outside of the show, she doesn’t exactly seem nefarious. Since the premiere aired, I have been following her on Instagram, where she’s been posting incredibly lucid and self-aware reflections about her time on The Bachelor, conceding in one of her Stories that she struggled to balance “confidence” with “considering other people’s takes.”

Indeed, like so many hated contestants before her, Cassidy appears to have been the victim of a selective edit and a mocking soundtrack. The unflattering edit began in earnest when she largely ignored the children at a birthday party group date to talk with the Bachelor instead. At one point, seated around a table sipping tea, she told a group of kids, “I spend as little time around you small people as possible, so forgive me…” and then immediately went on the back foot as they latched onto the comment.

I don’t blame the kids for taking offense. But any adult viewer who paid attention to her tone should have recognized the droll delivery. Was it an inartful thing to say? Sure. Children aren’t the right audience for wry humor, especially if you’re joking about avoiding them. But Cassidy didn’t deserve to be demonized as a kid hater, either.

“I knew I was giving villain, but I thought I was far more amusing and harmless,” she wrote in one of her post-show Instagram Stories, “and I think a lot of the hate is based in misogyny internalized and otherwise.”

She’s not wrong. Cassidy was punished, both in the edit and by a segment of the audience, for not going googly-eyed at the notion of spending an afternoon building a dollhouse. She certainly didn’t echo the enthusiasm of a fellow contestant who saw the kids from afar and exclaimed, “Oh my God! I’m so excited! I love children!” while running toward them.

The Bachelor is retreating to an extremely white, hyper-hetero comfort zone in which babies are the ultimate goal.

To be fair, that attitude is more in line with Clayton’s. In the first five minutes of the current season, the new Bachelor was twice moved to tears by the thought of raising a family. He introduced himself in the opening voiceover by saying, “I can’t wait to get married and have kids,” and later choked up while reading a letter from a child predicting that he will “have lots of kids.”

Clayton is nothing if not sincere, but there’s probably a reason the producers picked someone like him in the first place — and why they’re emphasizing childrearing so much this early. After years of controversy over racism in the franchise, culminating in the departure of ex-host Chris Harrison — and after more recent flirtations with progressive casting including the first same-sex engagement, a (gasp!) 39-year-old Bachelorette, and several leads of colorThe Bachelor is retreating to an extremely white, hyper-hetero comfort zone in which babies are the ultimate goal.

I used to wonder whether the horror novel I wrote satirizing Bachelor-style shows would be outdated by the time it comes out later this year, but if anything, this season has felt ripped out of time in the worst way.

Cassidy’s storyline especially has highlighted double standards that should be long dead by now. Clayton himself recently addressed viral TikToks about his dating history by saying that he “enjoyed [his] singleness” for “the last six years of my life.” This is the same Bachelor who confronted Cassidy on Monday night’s episode about allegedly “seeing someone up until the point that you came here,” as though she were beholden to him before then. Hookups for me but not for thee?

Presented in the weird logic of the show, you’d almost forget that Cassidy is one of 30 women Clayton dated simultaneously — and that, in season previews, the Bachelor will later admit to being “intimate” with two contestants. Somehow that behavior is more “for the right reasons” than having casual sex with someone before filming even began?

Cassidy may be off the air now, but her brief run was telling. This throwback edition of The Bachelor needed a villain, and the producers chose a confident woman with a history of casual dating who said “F*ck a dollhouse” on camera. It’s probably a bad sign when someone that refreshing doesn’t make it to the second rose ceremony.


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Another Day, Another Musk Tweet Pumps Dogecoin up 9%



Musk, who is the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, said he would eat a Happy Meal on TV if Fast food giant McDonald’s starts accepting Dogecoin

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Everything You Need to Know About the UK Government’s COVID Inquiry



On May 12, 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an independent public inquiry into the government’s response to and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Established under the Inquiries Act 2005, the COVID Inquiry will examine the government’s “actions as rigorously and candidly as possible,” according to the Prime Minister, and will aim to “learn every lesson for the future.” It will do so by summoning the production of documents and witnesses to give evidence under oath in order to examine the government’s response to the pandemic.

Rt Hon Baroness Heather Hallett DBE will act as Chair of the inquiry, which is set to begin “sometime in spring 2022”. In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know about the COVID Inquiry and what we can expect from the process.

How Will The COVID Inquiry Work?

According to BBC News, the Chair of the Inquiry can call whoever they want to give evidence, “whether they are witnesses to an event or people with particular expertise.” As barristers’ chambers Doughty Street Chambers notes, witnesses to an event will be asked to give evidence of their experience or direct knowledge of what took place. They speak on behalf of an organisation, like the NHS or the police.

Evidence sessions will be given in public and under oath, per BBC News, and most sessions will be available to watch on TV and online. There’s no time limit to the inquiry either, and they can often take years due to the “huge amount of evidence that needs to be read.”

What Will Be Included In The COVID Inquiry?

The exact aims, issues, and remits included won’t be announced until closer to the start of the inquiry, but the Prime Minister has said his government would work closely with the devolved administrations and governments in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland before setting out what exactly will be included in the inquiry itself.

Shortly after announcing that an inquiry would take place, the Prime Minister told MPs that the inquiry would consider his government’s handling of the pandemic before the first lockdown in March 2020, per The Guardian. As for other issues, law firm BDB Pitmans suggests that the higher death rate in general, especially among ethnic minority groups, will be a major point of contention, as well as the government’s “procurement processes” of contracts awarded during the pandemic.

What Issues Have Been Raised Around The COVID Inquiry?

Undocumented Migrants

Following the publication of a report by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), it’s vital that the voices of undocumented migrants are properly heard during the COVID inquiry. The report found that the UK “lagged far behind other European countries” in protecting undocumented migrants during the pandemic.

Caitlin Boswell, author of the report and policy officer at JCWI, said in a statement that if the government “wants to learn lessons” from this inquiry and “fully recover from the pandemic”, it needs to “stop prioritising its anti-immigration agenda above saving lives.” An anti-immigration agenda which is more commonly known as the Hostile Environment.

The term “Hostile Environment” is used by many to describe a set of policies that are intended to block undocumented migrants from using public services like the NHS and the police, as well as making work and housing inaccessible; effectively making life as difficult as possible.

Boswell added that the government “must listen to migrants’ voices, including those who’ve lost status, and ensure that in the future, no-one has their life put at risk because of their immigration status.” Boswell concluded that in “doing so will not only protect the most marginalised, it will help protect all of us.”

People With Disabilities

Sense, a charity which focuses on complex disabilities, has also called for the government to take the experiences of disabled people and their families into account. As the charity notes, 6 out of 10 people in the UK who have died from COID are disabled, despite making up 22 per cent of the general population.

“Decision-makers did not engage with us, our needs were often overlooked and communications were largely inaccessible,” Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy for Disability Rights UK, explained. “Health bodies treated our lives as less valued, disabled people receiving social care were inadequately protected, some disabled children were denied education and support, and supermarkets failed to ensure that we could access food.”

There is yet to be a date announced or confirmed for the COVID Inquiry.

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