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The Queen's Garden

Alan Titchmarsh

Part One, Thursday 25th December and Part Two, Sunday 28th December

With special permission from Her Majesty The Queen, Alan Titchmarsh spends a whole year exploring the deepest secrets of a hidden royal treasure: the Buckingham Palace Garden.

Alan Titchmarsh

He discovers a wonderland with a five century history; an urban oasis of wildlife where the Queen grew up; and a 'living museum' where almost every plant has a royal story to tell.

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is pictured by the lake during springtime in the Buckingham Palace Garden.
 

The Royal Variety Performance 2014

Bette Midler

     Monday 8th December ITV1

Michael Mcintyre hosts The Royal Variety Performance 2014, with global superstars Dame Shirley Bassey, Bette Midler, One Direction, Demi Lovato and Ed Sheeran.

Legendary global icons Dame Shirley Bassey and Bette Midler take to the stage at this year’s Royal Variety Performance 2014, held at the home of British Variety, the London Palladium.

In the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the star studded spectacular is hosted by award winning comedian Michael McIntyre.

Also taking part in what promises to be an unforgettable evening of music, theatre, comedy and dance will be: multi-award winners One Direction, Ivor Novello award winner and Grammy Award® nominee Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, American superstar Demi Lovato, Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro, the cast of Miss Saigon and Alfie Boe.

Other highlights include Simply Red, McBusted, cast of hit cabaret La Soirée, and soprano Pumeza.

Comedy comes from acclaimed stand-up Russell Kane, British Comedy Award winner Jack Whitehall, Sarah Millican and Trevor Noah, and the magical talents of Stephen Mulhern.

The event is staged in aid of the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, whose patron is Her Majesty The Queen. The money raised from the show helps those people from the world of entertainment in need of care and assistance.

A few of the performances include:

One Direction: Night Changes
Bette Midler Be My Baby
Shirley Bassey I'm Still Here from Follies and The Lady Is A Tramp.
Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud
Demi Lovato Let It Go

On hosting The Royal Variety Performance, Michael said: “When The Queen FaceTimed me and asked me to host the Royal Variety Performance again I was utterly thrilled, especially when she told me it was to be in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge whose presence I have never been in before. I plan on wearing the dress Catherine wore at the St Andrew's University fashion show to guarantee I hold Prince William's attention throughout.”

On appearing at The Royal Variety Performance:

Collabro: “It’s such a huge privilege to be invited to perform at The Royal Variety Performance. None of us could ever have imagined being on this stage in our wildest dreams this time last year. It’s sure to be an incredibly special night.”

Dame Shirley Bassey: “My very first performance on The Royal Variety Performance was in 1961 and with each show it just gets better and better. I'm excited and honoured to be a part of this year’s show and to share the stage with such great talent.”

Alfie Boe: “It’s such an honour to be a part of The Royal Variety Performance. Getting to share the stage with such amazing stars and the honour of performing in front of royalty and the nation is truly an amazing opportunity.”

Ellie Goulding: “The Royal Variety Performance has had the most unbelievable list of iconic performers take part over the last 100 years. To be able to be a part of this incredible event is truly an honour.”

Jack Whitehall

Jack Whitehall: "I am so excited to be taking to the stage once again at The Royal Variety Performance, it really is a tremendous honour."

One Direction: “It's such an honour for us to be back on The Royal Variety Performance this year. It's sure to be an incredibly special night and we're really excited!”

Bette Midler: As a little girl growing up with dreams of being a singer, I never imagined I would one day perform for members of the Royal Family. It’s quite an honour to take the stage before such a distinguished audience, and it’s a privilege to be included in a long list of talented artists who have been a part of The Royal Variety Performance for over a century.”

Simply Red: “We are so excited to be part of this year’s Royal Variety Performance – I can’t think of a better place for Simply Red to begin our 30-year anniversary celebration.”

Stephen Mulhern: “It's a dream come true for any performer to be invited onto one of the most prestigious variety shows in the world and for it to be at the Palladium this year makes it even more special.”

Pumeza: “I have been honoured to be able to perform at some wonderful events this year and I am really delighted to bring opera to The Royal Variety Performance. To perform at this legendary event is a privilege and I am looking forward to it very much.”

Russell Kane: “I’m utterly thrilled and honoured to be performing this year. The only person happier is my mum. When I told her it was like someone dropped a Berocca into a diet coke and shook it.”

Sarah Millican: “I’m thrilled to be doing The Royal Variety Performance for the second time. I think on the third time you win a member of the Royal family!

McBusted

James (McBusted) pictured above: “It's a real honour to be playing at The Royal Variety Performance with McBusted. This marks my third decade in a row performing on the show – as I was here previously with the original cast of ‘Oliver’ in 1994 and with Busted in 2004. Let’s rock!”
 

Entertainment


Christmas 2014

on BBC ONE

Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly


Family favourites including The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, Doctor Who, Top Gear and Miranda, and brand new festive treats such as The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm, On Angel Wings and Esio Trot, will come together as the BBC once again lights up television screens with a wonderful array of programming for Christmas.

Danny Cohen, Director of Television says, “This year's Christmas line-up on BBC Television is one of our best ever. There's world-class talent, edge of your seat drama, outstanding comedy and fantastic storytelling. Across our channels we will bring families together and provide something for everyone.”

Harry Hill as Professor Branestawm

Harry Hill makes his acting debut in the family drama The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm, which tells the story of an absent-minded inventor who causes chaos with his hare-brained creations.

In David Walliams' The Boy In The Dress, 12 year-old Dennis wishes he could escape his boring grey life, until a chance view of Kate Moss on a magazine cover introduces him to a whole new world.

In Doctor Who, The Doctor and Clara face their Last Christmas. Trapped on an Arctic base, under attack from terrifying creatures, who are you going to call? Santa Claus!

Doctor Who Christmas Special

Over in Albert Square, family secrets and lies come to the surface as Mick pulls out all the stops to make the Carter family's first Christmas in the Queen Vic perfect; and in Esio Trot Mr Hoppy tries to help neighbour Mrs Silver when her tortoise appears to have stopped growing.

On the Sunday before Christmas, Songs of Praise: Christmas Big Sing will come from The Royal Albert Hall, where Katherine Jenkins and Jermain Jackman join presenters David Grant and Bill Turnbull.

On Christmas Eve BBC One will broadcast Midnight Mass live from Arundel Cathedral, when the Principal Celebrant will be the Dean, the Rev. Canon Tim Madeley. On BBC Two Carols from King’s celebrates its sixtieth anniversary and there will also be a documentary charting the programme's history.

The Christmas Morning service on BBC One, Come And Join The Celebration, will be broadcast live from St George’s Church in Leeds, and on New Year’s Day, The Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message will be given by Justin Welby.

The charming animated tale On Angel Wings is the magical re-working of the nativity story based on the book by Michael Morpurgo, with an all-star voice cast including Michael Gambon and Juliet Stevenson, and tells the experience of a little shepherd boy who meets the Angel Gabriel and travels with him on a journey to Bethlehem to meet the newborn king, Jesus.

Making a welcome return to our screens, Chummy and Trixie are helping with the Sunday School Christmas Concert in Call The Midwife, while in Mapp & Lucia the residents of 1930's Tilling exist in a world fraught with petty gossip and one-upmanship.

Top Gear

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will be back in a two-part Top Gear Patagonia Special, on a road trip through South America; there will be a brand new episode of James May's Toy Stories, in which he attempts to rehabilitate one of Britain's most derided toys, Action Man; and Gareth Malone is back with The Choir: New Military Wives.

Two programmes from the Natural History Unit will bring two very different species to the viewers. Gordon Buchanan gets closer than ever to a wolf pack in The Snow Wolf Family and Me and we continue the story of Giles Clark and the Sumatran tiger cubs Spot and Stripe in Tigers About the House - What Happened Next

Rik Mayall: Lord Of Misrule looks back at the career and characters of the rocket-fuelled comic. This poignant programme, narrated by Simon Callow, features contributions from those who knew and admired him, including Michael Palin, Simon Pegg, Lenny Henry, Ruby Wax and Ben Elton.

BAFTA will pay tribute to the long and varied career of Julie Walters in a special one off programme, whilst one of her regular on-screen partners Victoria Wood brings her musical set in 1969 Manchester to television, in That Day We Sang. Comedian Al Murray is joined on BBC Four by three guests for another look back at vintage British cinema in Great British Spy Films, featuring the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Powell & Pressburger. This will be accompanied by classic films such as The 39 Steps, The Good Shepard and The Ipcress File.

The usual family chaos descends for Agnes Brown in a two-part Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special; in Citizen Khan, Mr Khan is given the honour of placing the star on top of the Sparkhill inter-faith Christmas tree; and Not Going Out reaches a dramatic crescendo as the 'will-they-won't-they' tension between Lee and Lucy reaches new heights. In Cuckoo it is Christmas time for the Thompsons in Lichfield, and Lorna is full of yuletide spirit…in more ways than one; and in Still Open All Hours, Granville is running the business with his son Leroy and Nurse Gladys is dispensing motherly advice. And in her final two episodes, we find Miranda where she left off – with two proposals; one from Gary and one from Mike. Who will she choose?

Two BBC Two comedies will be making their Christmas debuts this year: in The Wrong Mans, Sam and Phil are now 4000 miles from home, and must make the difficult choice of whether to remain forgotten or return to Bracknell. In Vic & Bob’s House of Fools, it's Christmas Eve and Vic and Beef can't wait to start the party, but Bob's celebrations are cut short when a special present is unexpectedly engulfed in flames.

The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special sees Tess Daly and Sir Bruce Forsyth reunited for a one-off panto-themed special. The contestants, some of the most memorable from past years, include Russell Grant, Rachel Stevens and 2009 champion Chris Hollins. In addition, this year's series will reach its glittering climax with the Strictly Come Dancing Final.

Sir Bruce Forsyth will also present Bruce's Hall Of Fame, in which he takes to the stage alongside Jessie Wallace, Jamie Cullum, Jason Manford, Ben Miller, Alfie Boe and Jon Culshaw at the world-famous London Palladium, to celebrate the artists who inspired their careers.

Two of the UK's biggest stand-up comedians will bring their own inimitable style to BBC One this year. John Bishop's Christmas Show will be an all-singing all-dancing extravaganza from the West End, where he will be joined by an array of talent from music and comedy; and in Michael McIntyre's Very Christmassy Christmas Show, Michael is joined by celebrity guests who share their seasonal stories, both good and bad.

The career of one of our greatest musical lyricists is celebrated in Sir Tim Rice: A Life In Song, in a programme recorded at London's Royal Festival Hall, in which he reminisces in the company of Michael Grade. In Len Goodman's Big Band Bonanza, Len charts the rise and fall of this musical style from the second world war to present day; Storyville: Pantomime is a heartfelt documentary following a small community theatre fighting to stay afloat, as they stage a production of Puss In Boots; and the Royal Ballet perform The Winter's Tale, in a world premiere of a new full length ballet from Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon, based on Shakespeare's tale of love, loss and reconciliation.

BBC Two will be showing two of the highlights from this year’s Proms; Kiss Me, Kate, performed by John Wilson and his orchestra; and War Horse, inspired by the National Theatre’s play based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel.

On BBC Four, international ballet star Carlos Acosta curates and stars in Carlos Acosta’s Cuban Night, an exciting mixed programme of vibrant Cuban dance inspired by his homeland; and this year's Royal Institution Christmas Lecture, Sparks will Fly: How To Hack Your Home, is given by Professor Danielle George.

The traditional New Year’s Day from Vienna will this year be conducted by Zubin Mehta, and will feature compositions by Franz von Suppé, Johann Strauss, Jr., Josef Strauss, Eduard Strauss, Johann Strauss, sen. and Hans Christian Lumbye.

Some of the nation's favourite panel shows will air special Christmas editions. In Would I Lie To You regulars David Mitchell and Lee Mack are joined by guest panellists Ray Winstone, Josh Widdicombe, Rachel Riley and Ricky Tomlinson, who reveal some amazing stories about themselves that may or may not be true. In Never Mind the Buzzcocks Louis Walsh, Glen Matlock, Lloyd Langford and Melissa Steel join team captains Noel Fielding and Phill Jupitus alongside host Rhod Gilbert., while in QI, host Stephen Fry is joined by Carrie Fisher, Bill Bailey and Phill Jupitus as well as Alan Davies. In Mock The Week Dara O Briain and the team serve up their traditional festive feast of fun, joined by the likes of Ed Byrne, Sara Pascoe and Josh Widdicombe.

Pointless

In Pointless Celebrities, popular pantomime stars including Ashley and Pudsey, Christopher Biggins and Lorraine Chase join host Alexander Armstrong and his 'pointless friend' Richard Osman. Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe will see Charlie return for his annual round up of the year; and Celebrity Mastermind returns for 10 programmes this Christmas, with 40 famous faces sitting in the famous black chair. Those answering questions on their specialist subject include Harry Shearer, Steve Pemberton, Mary Anne Hobbs, Lizzy Yarnold and Ken Dodd.

Film premieres include Avengers Assemble; Puss in Boots; Madagascar 3; The Muppets; The Pirates! Adventures with Scientists; John Carter; Salmon Fishing In The Yemen; Quartet; and Albert Nobbs.

Downton Abbey Christmas Episode

Downton Abbey Christmas Episode

Christmas Day ITV1


ITV and Carnival Films, the producers of Downton Abbey, announce details of the Downton Abbey Christmas episode which rejoins the family in the early autumn of 1924. The two hour episode will be shown on ITV at Christmas.

Joining the cast as a guest star is Alun Armstrong (New Tricks, Braveheart, Sleepy Hollow). Alun will play Stowell, the Sinderbys’ butler. Also joining is BAFTA Award nominee, Jane Lapotaire (Blind Justice, Shooting Fish, There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble) who will play the much talked about Princess Irina, wife of Prince Kuragin (Rade Sherbedgia).

It's grouse shooting season and Rose’s father-in-law, Lord Sinderby, has rented out Brancaster Castle in Northumberland and invited the Crawley family to a shooting party. While good sport is enjoyed, Stowell (Armstrong) has an axe to grind and a scandalous secret threatens to undermine the holiday. Surprises are in store as the families become better acquainted with each other and some new faces arrive on the scene.

Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey

Meanwhile the servants hold the fort back at Downton. As Anna faces an uncertain future behind bars, Bates takes drastic measures in a bid to clear her name. Baxter and Molesley are busy on a joint plan and Carson and Mrs Hughes consider a business venture.

Alnwick Castle, in Northumberland, was used as the location for Brancaster Castle. Production spent two weeks in Northumberland and filmed in the spectacular interior rooms as well as the incredible Hulne Abbey and shooting on the estate.

The episode will feature returning stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Laura Carmichael, Lily James, Allen Leech, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Robert James-Collier, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy, Sue Johnston, Jeremy Swift, Douglas Reith, Fifi Hart and Zac and Oliver Barker.

Making a return to Downton Abbey are James Faulkner and Penny Downie as Lord and Lady Sinderby, along with their son and Lady Rose’s husband Matt Barber as Atticus Aldridge.

Rade Sherbedgia will also reprise his role as Prince Kuragin and Michael Fox will play footman Andy.
 

For the Love
of Dogs at Christmas


Paul O'Grady

Thursday 25th December, ITV1
    4.20pm - 5.20pm


Paul O’Grady visits Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in For The Love Of Dogs At Christmas to help give the animals residing there a fabulous festive season.

As well as the iconic Battersea London site, Paul also brings some Christmas spirit to dogs from the Old Windsor and Brands Hatch sites.

In this one hour special, Paul’s hopes to find a loving home for all the dogs in time for Christmas day. Visiting the Brands Hatch site Paul meets Peppermint Patty, a Parsons Terrier, who was handed in with a massive lump on her neck. Paul is close to tears when he first meets her, bowled over by her charming personality despite this worrisome growth.

Paul said, “I’ve been worried about Patty. She’s one of these who gets underneath your skin because she’s so vulnerable.”

Patty requires hugely complicated surgery to remove the lump, Paul is with her every step of the way pre and post operation. Can Paul help the medical team nurse her back to good health in time to find a home for Christmas?

Paul also wants to find a new home for Phyllis, a Bichon Frise, who is the suspected victim of back-street breeding. Arriving at Brands Hatch as a stray, Phyllis is terribly withdrawn, refusing food and cowering away from any contact. It is a shocking sight in comparison to the usual bouncy, happy nature of these dogs.

Another dog Paul keeps a close eye on is two-year old Billo, a feisty Chihuahua. This small dog with a big personality was born with back-to-front knee-caps, meaning he walks in a very peculiar fashion. Unless both his knees are operated on and fixed he'll soon not be able to walk, a heart-rending scenario. Billo’s rehab is made all the longer by the fact his knees can only be operated on one at a time. Despite the long road ahead, Paul is determined to get Billo back on his feet in time for Christmas.

A gorgeous mongrel puppy called Bruno is also hoping to find a new home for Christmas. Bruno was just 11 weeks old when he came into Battersea and Paul was there to talk to his tearful owner as she dropped him off. Unfortunately Bruno didn't get along with the owner's other dog and so she had had to make the heart-breaking decision to hand him over to Battersea so they could find him a new home.

Other dogs Paul meets in the programme include Gracie the Lurcher, suffering from one of the worst cases of mange ever seen at Battersea, Cookie the Bull Mastiff who is desperate for company and affection, and Mollie, a Shih Tzu puppy, who might just be one of the cutest dogs to ever come through the doors of Battersea.
 

Let's Do Christmas with Gino & Mel

Melanie Sykes and Gino D'Acampo

Weekdays on ITV1 - 12.30pm - 1.30pm


Let's Do Christmas...with Gino & Mel provides a culinary food countdown to the big day itself.

Gino D'Acampo & Melanie Sykes bring great recipes and lots of fun in the days leading up to Christmas, taking the stress out of the festive preparations and having lots of laughs along the way.

Creating a Christmas menu to tantalise all taste buds, Gino cooks an array of festive food from a three-bird roast with all the trimmings to a delicious vegan dinner.

He’ll also rustle up a traditional Italian feast and will share inspirational and tasty recipes for a low carb Christmas.

Each day, Gino will face a festive food challenge plus Gino & Mel will be joined by a celebrity helping out in the kitchen.

 

Elaine Paige, Ashley Roberts, Jason Gardiner, Theo Paphitis, Aled Jones and Zoe Wanamaker are just a few of the guests dropping in for some festive fun.

 

A Night of Heroes

Amanda Holden and Phillip Schofield

Monday 15th December ITV1


The Sun's Military Awards 2014 " The Millies" are being hosted at the Maritime museum Greenwich on Monday 15th December 2014

The presenters are Amanda Holden and Phillip Schofield.

A Night of Heroes: The Sun Military Awards, also known as The Millies, are the awards which recognise the excellence and sacrifice made by Britain's Armed Forces.

The eight awards will be presented to celebrate outstanding performances and contributions in the military.

The awards have been judged by a panel, which includes celebrities Jeremy Clarkson, Andy McNab, Lorraine Kelly and Penny Lancaster.

The picture of Amanda and Phillip is by Dan Charity.