RTÉ and TV3 unwrap their Christmas TV offerings


When Cliff Richard sang “with logs on the fire and gifts on the tree, a time to rejoice in the good that we see”, he wasn’t talking about Irish television at Christmas time.

Schedulers at RTÉ and TV3 will nevertheless be hoping that viewers rejoice in their choice at tinsel-themed telly this month, with everyone from Brendan O’Carroll to Michael Bublé to Vincent Browne getting knee-deep in festive spirit.

Ratings gold Mrs Brown’s Boys comes back to RTÉ One with not one but two Christmas specials, which RTÉ promise will be “spectacularly funny”.

Its line-up is sprinkled with old favourites, including a one-off edition of kids-say-the-funniest-things show The School Around the Corner hosted by Ray D’Arcy and TV50: Nighthawks Rehashed, a compilation of “vintage interviews” from the 1988-1992 chat show.

On December 23rd, RTÉ will show the pilot for I’ve Got Your Back, a new family quiz show with former Big Brother winner Brian Dowling. Elsewhere, its listings include Rachel Allen’s Christmas Cake Diaries and imported entertainment Michael Bublé: Home for the Holidays.

TV3’s schedule features The Graham Norton Christmas Special, with the sofa stuffed with actors Dustin Hoffman and Matt Smith, comedians Billy Connolly and Jennifer Saunders and singer Amy McDonald.

The Downton Abbey special, in which the Crawleys ditch their Yorkshire home for a Highland break, is also set to attract eyeballs.

On December 26th, the aristocrats and servants make way for St Stephen’s Night with Vincent Browne, a “light-hearted” review of the year’s news headlines.