ITV CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR HIGHLIGHTS 2017 REVEALED 129

A sleigh full of specials, across entertainment, drama, comedy and factual entertainment, will decorate the ITV schedule this Christmas, with an added festive helping of exciting free-to-air film premieres, with Jurassic World and Spectre coming to terrestrial television for the first time.

Chigwell’s favourite trio return to ITV with a feature length one-off Christmas special of Birds of a Feather. Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph reprise their roles as Sharon, Tracey and Dorien in a new adventure for the ladies. (9pm Monday December 18th).

Then to the London Palladium, where Miranda Hart hosts an unforgettable evening of entertainment in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Royal Variety Performance, where a wide range of internationally acclaimed acts and West End stars are brought together for one night only on a single stage.(7.30pm Tuesday December 19th).

The heroes behind the uniforms will be celebrated and honoured in this one off Christmas special on ITV, A Night For The Emergency Services. Presented by Ashley Banjo and Diversity, the show will feature talented members of the emergency services performing alongside special celebrity guests including Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, Leona Lewis and Tokio Myers. (9pm Wednesday December 20th).

Next ITV has a Christmas special with renowned chefs Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo alongside First Dates Maître D Fred Siriex, in which Gino and Gordon will lay on a spectacular banquet for the heroes of 2017. Working against the clock they’ll be assisted by a number of famous faces as the two teams compete to serve the most impressive festive menu. Charming Maître D Fred will not only be tasked with running the service but he’ll be wrangling the results from our deserving diners, whilst keeping the self assured Brit and the feisty Italian apart. Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Great Christmas Roast will be full of festive delight, celebrating great food and even greater Britons. (9pm Thursday December 21st).

The Pub Landlord is back this Christmas to host a one-off festive special with Al Murray’s Make Christmas Great Again where the country’s favourite landlord will be behind the bar for a festive lock-in, with a host of special guests, interviews and sketches, the ultimate public house party. (9pm Friday December 22nd).

On Christmas Eve afternoon ITV will be making a festive splash in Cannonball: Christmas Special, with Freddie Flintoff, Frankie Bridge, Radzi Chinyanganya, Ryan Hand and Maya Jama. (4pm Sunday December 24th). 

Also on Christmas Eve, Bradley Walsh hosts a very special edition of The Chase. It’s a Christmas Chase: Celebrity Special as all five chasers try to catch Coronation Street star Patti Clare, comedian Matt Richardson, presenter Kirsty Wark and singer Jimmy Osmond. (5.50pm Sunday December 24th).

Next on Christmas Eve (6.40pm Sunday December 24th), West End legend Michael Crawford will guide seven well known celebrities through an all singing, all dancing musical theatre extravaganza, in All Star Musicals. Hosted by Freddie Flintoff, All Star Musicals features a cast of famous faces who will each perform an iconic number from a hit musical at the legendary London Palladium.

At 8.30pm on Christmas Eve Rowan Atkinson is back in 1950’s Paris, investigating another case inMaigret in Montmartre.(8.30pm Sunday December 24th).

Christmas Day treats include 60 minute specials of Coronation Street (8pm) and Emmerdale (5.50pm), and Paul O’Grady will be back at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on his Christmas mission to find new homes for more adorable four-legged friends, in Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs at Christmas.(7pm)

Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes will be back, in a feature length festive special of ITV’s epic period drama, Victoria at 9pm on Christmas Day.

On Boxing Day, Ed Chamberlin hosts live racingaction from the Winter Festival at Kempton Park and the Yorkshire Christmas meeting at Wetherby. He is joined at Kempton Park for expert analysis by AP McCoy and Mick Fitzgerald, with reporters Oli Bell, Luke Harvey, and Rishi Persad, Matt Chapman with the latest betting news, and Richard Hoiles in the commentary box. 

On Boxing Day too, ITV will bring viewers the terrestrial TV premiere of Jurassic World (6.40pm Boxing Day).

On December 30th, viewers are invited to Guess The Star as Jonathan Ross hosts a brand new one-off game show where five well-known stars are completely transformed into their favourite musical icon for a performance. The programme pits three celebrity teams against each other to try and deduce who the disguised stars are, in the shortest time possible. (7pm Saturday December 30th)

On New Year’s Eve, ITV cordially invite you to A Right Royal Quiz (3.30pm Sunday December 31st), Britain’s first ever panel show about the Royal Family and a celebratory and affectionate look at the Royals and the country’s obsession with them. Hosted by Fern Britton, two Royal-loving celebrity teams battle it out to win the prize, the ‘Crown of Right Royalness’. There will also be new Cannonball: Splash Hits (6.50pm Sunday December 31st).

On New Year’s Day Ed Chamberlin kick offs the New Year with the ITV Racing team live at Cheltenham for four races from the home of the National Hunt and two races from Musselburgh. Ed is joined for expert analysis at Cheltenham by Mick FitzGerald and Luke Harvey, with reporting from Rishi Persad and Alice Plunkett, commentary from Richard Hoiles and Sally Ann Grassick reporting from Musselburgh.

New Year’s Day also marks the free-to-air premiere that evening of the latest Bond film, Spectre (8pm January 1st).

Films across the Christmas holiday period on ITV include seasonal treats The Holiday, Santa Claus The Movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Jack Frost, plus family favourites Despicable Me, and Despicable Me 2, the Harry Potter and Hobbit films, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Mr Bean’s Holiday and Babe.

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HOLLYOAKS CONFIRMS SCHIZOAFFECTIVE DISORDER STORYLINE 31

Hollyoaks are set to launch a powerful new mental health storyline for Alfie Nightingale as he starts hearing a voice and is diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder.

The teenager has been struggling to cope with life since the loss of his soulmate Jade Albright and his loved ones started to fear that he was exhibiting odd behaviour when he worked on a robot to replace Jade.

But in coming weeks, when a voice in Alfie’s head starts communicating with him and ordering him to do things, it becomes clear that things are extremely serious. And Hollyoaks has been working with the charity Mind to ensure that it represents the condition with sensitivity and accuracy.

The storyline, which will form part of the soap’s award-winning #DontFilterFeelings campaign

In episodes due to air at the beginning of April, Alfie will freak out when a voice in his head tells him not to trust his family and when he tries to ignore it and goes stargazing with Ellie, he is continuously plagued by the voice which is warning him off.

It is just the beginning of a difficult journey for Alfie who will be given the diagnosis, which involves patients experiencing psychotic symptoms not dissimilar to schizophrenia and the mood symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Richard Linnell who plays Alfie said: ‘I feel deeply honoured to have been trusted with such a strong and complex story for Alfie. We’ve been working closely with both Mind, and talking to people who have been kind enough to share their personal experiences of the condition.

‘It’s going to be a tumultuous road ahead for Alfie and in telling a deeply truthful, powerful story we hope to continue to break down the stigmas surrounding mental health as a whole.’

A spokesperson for Mind added: ‘We are so pleased that Hollyoaks are tackling the mental health condition Schizoaffective Disorder and have enjoyed working with them over many months. We know that when done well soap storylines can have a really positive affect on a huge audience, changing attitudes and encouraging people to seek help.’

As part of the #DontFilterFeelings campaign, which has included other storylines such as Scott’s depression and Lily’s self harm, Hollyoaks also sought the help and advice of mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin, who helped to create the acclaimed Channel 4 documentary Stranger On A Bridge.

He said: ‘It was a real privilege to work with Hollyoaks on this storyline. The soap has done fantastic work in increasing understanding and reducing stigma attached to mental health issues in the past. The team I worked with were wonderful.

‘I really hope this storyline will make an impact on public perception of Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder, which has for too long been misconceived and feared. I’m so pleased Hollyoaks have been brave and bold enough to tackle this sensitive subject.’

The storyline kicks off on Wednesday 4th April at 7pm on E4.

HOLLYOAKS ANNOUNCES SHOCK NEW SEX ABUSE STORYLINE 32

Hollyoaks bosses are planning a sexual abuse storyline for show newcomers Ollie Morgan and Buster Smith.

A dark new plot will see football coach Buster abuse his position of power to groom Ollie, who was introduced as Luke Morgan’s teenage son two months ago.

Brody reacted with hostility when Damon’s dad Buster showed up in the village after Maggie’s death which implies that he may have been a previous victim of the manipulative football coach.

Up until now, Buster has settled into the village well, setting up sporting opportunities for youngsters and embarking on a romance with Marnie Nightingale. But his true colours will be revealed when he takes advantage of his position of power.

When he starts opening up to Buster about problems at home, Buster will start to groom him in secret and Hollyoaks are working with Survivors Manchester to ensure that the difficult story is tackled in the correct and appropriate way.

The Hollyoaks team have been working closely with the Survivors Manchester charity while creating this storyline. The charity previously consulted on John Paul McQueen’s male rape story in 2014.

Duncan Craig from Survivors Manchester said: ‘It is once again an absolute pleasure to be working with Hollyoaks on another hugely important storyline that is so topical and relevant. Working with producers, researchers, script writers and the cast, we have been able to develop a story that is rooted firmly in the present day and will show the intricacies of grooming and the difficulty in speaking out as a young male.

‘The team at Hollyoaks has again 100% committed to working with us to ensuring the male survivor sat at home watching the story will feel he is understood, as a survivor led organisation, this is important part of this work.’

Aedan Duckworth who plays Ollie, added: ‘It’s a privilege to have been given this challenging storyline for Ollie. To ensure I accurately depict Ollie’s situation I have had guidance from Survivor’s Manchester and support and advice from Gary Lucy during the filming process.

‘I hope to continue to raise awareness around this subject and encourage those who may have found themselves in a similar situation, to reach out and seek the support they deserve.’

Meanwhile, show boss Bryan Kirkwood commented: ‘While the backdrop of this story is football, the issue itself is far broader and we hope it will encourage all children and young adults to speak out if they ever find themselves in Ollie’s situation.

‘As with all our issue stories we want to encourage parents to open a dialogue within the home about subjects that are difficult to talk about. We are in a unique position of being able to talk to a bright and engaged audience about important issues without lecturing them.’

Hollyoaks will launch the story on April 16 on E4, as Buster starts to get close to Ollie and Brody confides in Luke’s ex-wife Scarlett about his own past.