Including Doctor Who: The Next Doctor and Eureka

by Fiona Rae / 25 December, 2010

CHRISTMAS DAY


Doctor Who: The Next Doctor (Prime, 7.00pm). Rubbish on TV at Christmas - hands up who didn't see that coming. This and the Billy T Special are probably the best of it; Doctor Who Christmas specials are fun for all the family, even if this one is a repeat. It goes back to the David Tennant years - ah, yes, we remember them well - when Cybermen are stomping around Victorian London and David Morrissey thinks he's an international time-traveller of mystery called the Doctor. Prime follows this with Superstars of Dance at 8.05pm, in which dancers from eight countries are pitted against each other in a super-duper-mega-fantastic competition. Michael Flatley hosts. Christmas Day throughout the networks consists largely of films, although the Queen's message is at 7.00pm on TV1.





Billy T Special (Maori, 8.30pm). It's that little gleam in his eye - Billy T James did everything with such cheek and charm, it's no wonder he's still our most beloved entertainer. This special features some of his most hard-case sketches, including (our favourite) Te News, The Traffic Cop and The Firing Squad.

BOXING DAY


Documentary: William and Kate (TV3, 5.00pm). Even in 2010, a royal engagement and upcoming wedding is big news; why, we don't know. Here are all the gory details of K-Wills' relationship.

Rock & Chips (UKTV, 7.00pm). If you knew and loved Only Fools and Horses, then this prequel set in the 60s with teenage Del Boy, Trigger, Boycie and Denzil is spot-the-future-reference fun.

Jonathan Creek: The ­Grinning Man (UKTV, 8.30pm). Perfect for that after-tea snooze. Alan Davies is so somnolent as the magician's assistant and amateur detective Jonathan Creek that it's a wonder he can find the way out of his windmill, let alone figure out a series of baffling disappearances in a haunted room at the top of a gothic mansion. Nevertheless, he is beloved in the UK; this special after a five-year hiatus was watched by nearly 10 million Britons.

Catwalk Dogs (Prime, 9.30pm). The old adage should perhaps be amended to "never work with animals or Kris Marshall", because the Sold actor is too smug and unromantic to be the lead of a romcom with dogs. He plays a workaholic lawyer who scoffs when his wife (Georgia Mackenzie) enters their fox terrier in a local dog show. Trouble is, he bought the dog to help get her mind off her second miscarriage. Sensitive. She leaves; enter nice dog breeder Dominic Rowan. Jealousy and Crufts ensue.

MONDAY DECEMBER 27


Eureka (TV3, 1.00pm). Northern Exposure meets The X-Files: a fairly light-hearted sci-fi series about a town full of geniuses and scientists who are responsible for all the major scientific breakthroughs of the past 50 years. The sheriff (Colin Ferguson) has to clean up when the brainboxes make a mess, and in today's fourth season opener, there's a mysterious stranger, played by Battlestar Galactica's James Callis.

Ashes to Ashes (Prime, 10.35pm). Nostalgia never seemed so much fun, and if you've kept your metaphorical internet fingers in your ears and gone la-la-la, you may not have heard how Ashes to Ashes ends in its third season; rest assured, it's a better solution than Lost. Yes, we said it. Until then, the second season of the time-travelling cop show is screening Monday-Thursday this week and next, which is an awful lot of Gene Hunt, Philip Glenister's foul-mouthed, sexist, staunch sheriff of a London cop-shop. The character became so iconic in the UK that both of the main political parties co-opted it for their election campaigns. Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) - or Bollyknickers as she is known only to Hunt - is still stuck in 1982, but starts receiving mysterious phone calls from 2008.

The Jaquie Brown Diaries (TV3, 10.45pm). The elegant satire (which won the Qantas for best comedy show this year) starring the former TV presenter as a self-absorbed, insecure light-entertainment reporter is worth a second look - TV3 is screening the series every weeknight right from the beginning.

TUESDAY DECEMBER 28


The Kitchen Job (TV3, 7.30pm). Restaurateur John Palino pretty much applies the same formula to all the eateries he rescues, but it's the response of the business owners that is most fascinating. When you're losing $3000 a week, why are you arguing? In tonight's season finale, Palino is in Onehunga, trying to save the 306 Bar and Bistro.

The Big C (TV3, 9.25pm). Elisabeth Kübler-Ross as a 13-part TV series. In another season finale (soon, there will be nothing on but repeats, but we don't want to think about that. Later, we'll be angry), Cathy (Laura Linney) has been through the first stage of grief - denial - after her cancer diagnosis and is moving on to anger.

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 29


Triple Zero Heroes (TV3, 8.00pm). Another Aussie emergency services series, but this one reconstructs the rescues using 000 calls and interviews with the rescuers and rescuees. At 7.30pm, before Triple Zero Heroes, TV3 begins repeats of Sudden Impact, a series about car crashes.

NEW YEAR'S EVE


ONE's Countdown to New Year (TV1, 8.00pm). They're trying, we'll give them that: a New Year's Eve show presented by Jason Gunn (who else?) and Studio 2's Matt Gibb from Auckland's SkyCity Theatre. Instead of wheeling in the professional light entertainers, there's the Freshly Squeezed Talent Quest, the result of a nationwide search for singers. There are male, female and group sections, and viewers can vote for their favourites. The evening then moves on to this year's Royal Variety Performance from 10.00pm, but returns to New Zealand to see out 2010 with the Sky Tower's fireworks display. If you're in Auckland, you can probably see it from your house. The rest of the country? Too drunk to care.

The Graham Norton Show NY Eve Special (TV3, 8.30pm). TV3 has decided to let a small gay Irishman celebrate New Year on its behalf, and after that? Make your own fun - unless you want to be watching the Keira Knightley-Matthew Macfadyen movie version of Pride & Prejudice when midnight rolls around.

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