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Three of Brit TV fandom’s favorite series return to PBS with holiday specials in December: The Great British Baking ShowLast Tango in Halifax, and Call the Midwife.

Last Tango in Halifax Christmas special
Last Tango in Halifax: (L-R) Sarah Lancashire as Caroline, Anne Reid as Celia, Nicola Walker as Gillian, and Derek Jacobi as Alan — Photo courtesy of BBC/Red Productions/Gary Moyes

This is the kind of pre-Black Friday announcement that should get every Brit TV fan in the mood for the holidays: new specials! So without any further ado…

The Great British Baking Show: Christmas Masterclass

Following up on the “Masterclass” episodes of past seasons, this new one features “Queen of Cakes” Mary Berry and master baker Paul Hollywood showcasing festive favorites and demonstrating how to make the perfect mince pies, Christmas pudding, and Christmas cake. (Yum!) They also introduce some new tasty treats for the holiday season. (Double yum!)

Great British Baking Show Christmas Masterclass 2017
The Great British Baking Show: Christmas Masterclass — Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood — Photo courtesy of LOVE PRODUCTIONS 2014

The Great British Baking Show: Christmas Masterclass premieres in the US on Friday, December 8th, at 9 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings)

Last Tango in Halifax Holiday Special (aka Series 4)

This two-part series finale finds Caroline (Sarah Lancashire, Happy Valley, The Paradise) moving to Huddersfield for a new headmistress job at a decidedly not-posh school. And on the lower end of the real estate scale is the ramshackle house she now calls home and shares with her two sons, Celia (Anne Reid, Our Zoo, Upstairs Downstairs), and Alan (Derek Jacobi, Vicious, Titanic: Blood and Steel).

Celia might not care for her new digs, but she is over-the-moon delighted at being cast in the local production of Blithe Spirit, and gets a reluctant Alan to join in her fun.

Meanwhile, Caroline (Nicola Walker, Unforgotten, River) thinks her late husband, Eddie, is haunting her from beyond the grave, especially after her former brother-in-law and current husband, Robbie (Dean Andrews, Ashes to Ashes, Life on Mars), is injured from an accident on the farm.

And all of them are aghast when Alan’s friend, Harry (Paul Copley, Downton Abbey), says Caroline’s house is haunted!

Tony Gardner (Bluestone 42) and Ronni Ancona (The Trip) reprise their respective roles as Caroline’s ex-husband John and his now-sober wife Judith, and Lorraine Burroughs (DCI Banks) joins the cast as Olga, Caroline’s new girlfriend.

The Last Tango in Halifax Holiday Special premieres in the US on Sunday, December 17th, at 9 PM ET, and concludes at the same time on Sunday, December 24th, on PBS.

Call the Midwife Holiday Special

Unlike last Christmas, when most of the Nonnatus House nuns and nurses went to help a mission hospital in the sun- and heat-drenched South Africa, winter 1963 in East London and across the UK is one of the coldest in 300 years.

Amid the challenges of snow, ice, frozen pipes, and power cuts, and the entire country being brought to a standstill by the severe weather, the midwives do their best to provide the best possible care for their patients. Valerie (Jennifer Kirby, Holby City) helps a young couple, newly arrived in London, who experience a traumatic birth, and Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) strives to reunite a family torn apart by a tormenting father.

Call the Midwife Holiday Special 2017
Call the Midwife Holiday Special 2017: Jenny Agutter as Sister Julienne and Linda Bassett as Nurse Phyllis — Photo courtesy of Neal Street Productions 2017

Anita Dobson (EastEnders, Doctors) guest stars as Mabel in the holiday special, and Leonie Elliott (Wondrous Oblivion, Danny and the Human Zoo, Black Mirror) joins the cast as Nurse Lucille Anderson, the first West Indian midwife to be featured as a regular character in the series. Elegant, funny and clever, Nurse Lucille is swift to settle in and brings a fresh new energy to life at Nonnatus House.

The Call the Midwife Holiday Special premieres in the US on Christmas Day, Monday, December 25th, at 9 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings)

But wait, there’s more!

Eric Idle’s The Entire Universe

Okay, learning about the science of the universe isn’t necessarily on everyone’s holiday wish list, but still. It’s a comedic musical extravaganza of edutainment that features Monty Python’s Eric Idle, program host and author Professor Brian Cox (Human Universe with Professor Brian Cox), a chorus of singers and dancers, show tunes galore, and guest stars Warwick Davis (Harry Potter), Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh), Hannah Waddingham (Game of Thrones), and Robin Ince (The Late Edition).

Eric Idle’s The Entire Universe premieres in the US on Friday, December 22nd, at 10 PM ET, on PBS. (Check your local listings)


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