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Films on TV over Christmas including Cinderella, The Great Gatsby, Die Hard, Jurassic World and Bridget Jones's Diary

By Angela Cole

It’s time to put your festive slippers on, put your feet up and take a break with a film on TV. This Christmas there’s everything from escapism to adventure and action to humour.

Sunday, December 17

Die Hard (1988) Channel 4 10pm

Some say it’s not Christmas ‘til you’ve watched Hans Gruber's slow motion fall. Others say “Die Hard, a Christmas film? Bah humbug!” In the run-up to Christmas Channel 4 seeks to subtly answer the much debated question, screening the original Die Hard movie just nine days before Christmas Day.

Bruce Willis in Die Hard: is it a Christmas film?
Bruce Willis in Die Hard: is it a Christmas film?

New York City policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis, pictured) is visiting his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and two daughters on Christmas Eve. Joining her at a party in the headquarters of the Japanese-owned business she works for, the festivities are interrupted by a group of terrorists who take over the high-rise, and everyone in it – not bargaining on the one-man squad team and his white vest, McClane. The film was made for $28m and grossed more than $140m, spawning a small army of sequels.

Friday, December 22

Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) ITV 10.40pm

Sit back and enjoy the adventures of the woman who brought us a unique pronounciation of Chechnya and a warning against wearing very big pants. At the start of the year 32-year-old Bridget (Renee Zellweger) decides it’s time to take control of her life and start a diary. The film of Helen Fielding’s laugh out loud book directed by Sharon Maguire and written by Richard Curtis, Andrew Davies, and Helen Fielding also brings us Hugh Grant and Colin Firth in their prime. Zellweger was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role. Two sequels followed.

Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones on TV on December 22
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones on TV on December 22

Saturday, December 23

Cool Runnings (1993) BBC 1 1.15pm

In one of John Candy’s last films, Cool Runnings is loosely based on true events when the Jamaicans made their debut in the Winter Olympics in 1988.
The story of four Jamaican bobsleighers who dream of competing in the Winter Olympics – despite never having seen snow will have you chuckling all the way to the Queen’s speech.
The film’s soundtrack also became popular with Jimmy Cliff’s cover of I Can See Clearly Now reaching the Top 40 in several countries including the UK.

The Jamaican bobsleigh team in Cool Runnings
The Jamaican bobsleigh team in Cool Runnings

Christmas Eve

The Great Gatsby (2013) BBC2, 9.30pm

This production of F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby. Co-written and directed by Baz Luhrmann, it also stars Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton and Elizabeth Debicki and follows the life of millionaire Jay Gatsby and his neighbour Nick (Maguire), who recounts his encounter with Gatsby in the Roaring Twenties.
Although unpopular with critics when it was released, audiences praised it and at the 86th Academy Awards, it won Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.

Carey Mulligan and Leonard DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby Picture: Warner Bros Pictures
Carey Mulligan and Leonard DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby Picture: Warner Bros Pictures

Christmas Day

Cinderella (2015) BBC1, 3.10pm

It’s Christmas Day, so revel in some romance and escapism, with the romantic fantasy film directed by Kenneth Branagh. Based on the eponymous folk tale, it was also inspired in part by Walt Disney’s 1950 animated film and stars Lily James as Cinderella with Richard Madden, and a host of big names including Cate Blanchett, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi and Helena Bonham Carter.

Lily James as Cinderella and Cate Blanchett as the Stepmother in Cinderella, which is on Christmas Day
Lily James as Cinderella and Cate Blanchett as the Stepmother in Cinderella, which is on Christmas Day

Our film critic Mike Shaw's Top 10 films of 2017

Boxing Day

Jurassic World (2015) ITV, 6.40pm

If the effects in 1993’s Jurassic Park impressed you, then Jurassic World will knock your socks off. The 2015 film is the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park series and stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. Set 22 years after the events of Jurassic Park, Jurassic World takes place on the same fictional Central American island of Isla Nublar, off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, where a theme park populated with cloned dinosaurs has operated for 10 years. Following a suggestion from Steven Spielberg, writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver explored the idea of a functional dinosaur park. After a record-breaking opening weekend during which it grossed $500m worldwide, it became the second highest-grossing film of 2015. Work is underway on a sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, due out next summer.

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World, which is on TV on Boxing Day Picture: PA Photo/Universal
Chris Pratt in Jurassic World, which is on TV on Boxing Day Picture: PA Photo/Universal

Wednesday, December 27

Big Hero 6 (2014) BBC 1, 4.10pm

The debate in the real world is raging about how much robots should be part of our lives, but here’s a Disney film showing us the bond that can be formed with a robot.
The 3D computer-animated superhero film is loosely based on the superhero team of the same name by Marvel Comics and tells the story of Hiro Hamada, a young robotics prodigy who forms a superhero team to combat a masked villain. It was the highest-grossing animated film of 2014 and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and the Kids’ Choice Award for Favourite Animated Movie.

Big Hero 6 will be on TV on December 27
Big Hero 6 will be on TV on December 27

* Your What's On guide inside your local paid-for KM paper this week has a three-week TV listings guide with features and interviews with the stars.

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