It's the end of 2023, and the holidays are in full swing in most places, from Christmas carols in shops to emails blanketing your inbox with gift-giving ideas. Streaming services are also getting in on the act, with Christmas movies and specials all heading this way for the final month of the year. PBS will bring the usual Call The Midwife holiday special, a new helping of Mary Berry, and lots of Walter Presents. However, your local public television channels are not alone, as several other streaming services will also carry the Christmas editions of British favorites as well.
Getting in on the Anglophile action also means that, for the first time, December is not nearly the slim pickings British TV fans are accustomed to. Looking back over the past few years, when the end of the year rolls around, most of the usual suspects are too busy with American holiday fare to pay attention to stuff coming in from overseas. But between the strike shutting down filming, Doctor Who settling into its new home of Disney+ (where Americans can finally watch it without commercial interruptions like the Queen and the BBC intended), and a few well-placed Festive specials from across the pond, it seems like just about everyone (save Peacock, which is sticking to sports, thanks!) has something to offer this year. Even HBO and Max, which have no new debuts, still have multiple episodes of The Gilded Age Season 2 left to run up to the holidays.
So, what's coming to streaming this December in U.K. programming? Here's a complete rundown.
AMC+/Acorn TV/BBCA/Sundance Now
Midsomer Murders Season 24
Neil Dudgeon and Nick Hendrix return for Midsomer Murders Season 24 as DCI John Barnaby and DS Jamie Winter to solve another set of cases involving homicide, blackmail, greed, and betrayal behind the well-trimmed hedges of Midsomer County. The season runs four episodes, premiering as an Acorn Exclusive on Mondays, starting December 4, and running as a weekly release through Christmas, with the finale streaming on Monday, December 25, 2023.
Roisin Gallagher and Johnny Flynn star in The Lovers, a six-part romantic dramedy. She’s Janet, a supermarket worker who doesn’t care about anything, and he’s Seamus, a handsome, self-centered political broadcaster with a perfect London life and celebrity girlfriend. But when they meet, sparks fly. The series premieres on Sundance Now and AMC+ with two episodes on Thursday, December 7, 2023, and then one episode a week to follow through January 4, 2024.
Madame Blanc Mysteries Season 3
Finally, The Madame Blanc Mysteries returns for a third season on Acorn TV, and like Season 2 in 2022, the series kicks off with its Festive holiday special. Sally Lindsay returns as Jean White, antiques dealer and amateur sleuth, to solve another set of cases inspired by her finds. The Holiday special arrives on Monday, December 25, 2023, with Season 3 episodes following weekly on Mondays in February 2024.
Slow Horses Season 3
This one's a bit of a cheat. Slow Horses Season 3, based on Mick Herron's third novel, Real Tigers, was initially set to debut on Friday, December 1, 2023. However, Apple TV+ decided at the last minute to shift the series from Friday debuts to Wednesday debuts, causing the first two episodes to drop on November 29, 2023, long after we'd posted the November 2023 listings. Episodes continue to stream once a week through Wednesday, December 27, 2023.
Jason Isaac stars as Cary Grant in the four-part biographical drama series Archie, telling the not-very-well-known story of the famous actor's life as Bristol-born boy Archie Leach and how he emigrated to the U.S. post-World War I and became the all-American heartthrob. All four episodes arrive as a binge on Thursday, December 7, 2023.
BritBox Christmas Specials
Since it launched, BritBox has been the place for British ex-pats to stream Christmas specials day and date for the holidays, including the Queen's (now King's) Speech, the Carols from King's College performed by their world-famous choir. But as BritBox has matured, it's gotten more into bringing over exclusive holiday specials for fan-favorites. This year, it's got four big gets that span over two weeks, including the first-ever Christmas specials for BritBox exclusive series Sister Boniface Mysteries and Beyond Paradise, the latest Christmas special from Vera, and the newest BBC Two yearly Christmas ghost story from Mark Gatiss, which this year is the Arthur Conan Doyle short story Lot No. 249, starring Kit Harington and Freddie Fox. Here's the schedule of when each arrive:
- Tuesday, December 12, 2023: Sister Boniface Mysteries Christmas Special 2023
- Wednesday, December 20, 2023: Vera 2023 Christmas Special
- Sunday, December 24, 2023: Beyond Paradise Christmas Special 2023
- Sunday, December 24, 2023: Lot No. 249
Gardeners' World Winter Specials 2023
Finally, BritBox will round out the holiday with Monty Don and his Gardeners' World Winter Specials 2023. There are four specials in all this year that have aired over the season on the BBC; all four will arrive as a binge on Sunday, December 31, 2023.
December kicks off the first time Disney+ and Hulu will be available to subscribe to as a single unit here in the U.S., but it will probably take a while before users start taking advantage. So, for now, despite Culprits being a Disney+ series everywhere but the U.S., since it's a Hulu series here, that's how we'll identify it. This "young heisters" series stars Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Gemma Arterton, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, and Niamh Algar. All eight episodes arrive Friday, December 8, 2023.
Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials & Christmas Special
The Doctor Who 60th-anniversary specials kicked off on Disney+ on the last Saturday in November; the next two, starring David Tennant as the Fourteenth Doctor and Catherine Tate as Donna Noble, his companion, follow on the next two consecutive Saturdays, December 2 and 9. The Christmas special starring Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor and Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday, his companion, completes the transition to the new cast and closes out the set on Monday, December 25, 2023.
Such Brave Girls
Unlike Culprits, a Disney+ show on Hulu in the States, Kat Sadler's Such Brave Girls is a Hulu series acquired from the BBC. That may seem like a distinction without a difference until you realize how very different the series is from the others above. Sadler stars with real-life sister Lizzie Davidson and Louise Brealey in a dramedy about two sisters and their mum struggling to cope after their emotionally abusive father abandons them. All six episodes debut on Friday, December 15, 2023.
World War II: From the Front Lines
This month's British documentary film worth watching, World War II: From the Front Lines, arrives on D-Day, natch. Through vividly enhanced archival footage and voices from all sides of the conflict, this docuseries brings WWII to life like never before. The film starts streaming on Thursday, December 7, 2023.
The Great British Baking Show: Holidays Season 6
One week after the conclusion of The Great British Baking Show Season 14, Netflix takes viewers back in time with The Great British Baking Show: Holidays Season 6, comprised of the 2022 Christmas Special and the 2023 New Year's Day Special because what we really needed after that season was to be reminded of how bad things were when Matt Lucas was still hosting. Both episodes arrive on Friday, December 8, 2023.
The Crown Season 6, Part 2
The Crown Season 6 Part 1 got scorched by the press; let's see how Part 2 does. The other episodes that Netflix probably regrets holding now jump ahead to 2002 and the Queen's Golden Jubilee, as the Commonwealth is irrevocably changed by the tip into the 21st century. Hopefully, Imelda Staunton will actually get screen time as Queen Elizabeth II to reflect on her life and legacy, and the show won't just jump to Charles and William. All six episodes arrive Thursday, December 14, 2023.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget
It's been over a decade since the original Chicken Run, but the hens are back and ready to egg someone. This time, our fearless band of chickens flock together to save their own kind from an unsettling new threat: a nearby farm that's cooking up something suspicious. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget streams in the U.S. starting Friday, December 15, 2023.
Ghosts UK Season 2
CBS, the network behind the U.S. version of Ghosts, has decided to broadcast the British original to make up for its complete lack of any sort of hit programming due to the strike. Season 1 arrived in October, just as the fifth and final season of the U.K. series debuted on the BBC. Season 2 arrives stateside for fans to compare and contrast with the American one on Friday, December 8, 2023. It will air weekly on the network, and stream on Paramount+.
Your Christmas or Mine 2
Amazon Studio's accidental success with the British Holiday original film Your Christmas Or Mine in 2022, has spawned a sequel. Asa Butterfield and Cora Kirk return as James and Hayley return in Your Christmas or Mine 2, where this time, they decide to deliberately intermix their families after accidentally swapping them for the holidays last year. What could go wrong? The film premieres Friday, December 8, 2023.
The Emerald Fennell-directed modern-day take on Brideshead Revisited, Saltburn (a period piece set in 2003!), will hit streaming in time for Christmas because it's always good to watch families far more dysfunctional than yours during the holiday season. But just because this film stars such luminaries as Barry Keoghan, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, and Carey Mulligan does not mean it's one to watch as a family. The movie debuts on Prime Video on Friday, December 22, 2023.