BBC America’s Holiday Specials Guide

When the weather outside is frightful and the in-laws aren’t so delightful, where do you turn to find respite from the holiday blues? Perhaps a visit from the Doctor will cure those bah-humbugs.

We’re offering you a handy guide to surviving the next fortnight, featuring some brand-new programs from the likes of The Nerdist and Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me, the comforts of old favorites, and yes, that annual Yuletide tradition, the Doctor Who Christmas special. And you can recover from all the holiday imbibing with the ladies of Absolutely Fabulous on New Year’s Day.

Make this year a very British Christmas — cozy up to a loved one, grab your finest eggnog, and enjoy the gifts BBC America has to offer in the coming days:

Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Christmas, Parts 1 & 2
Tuesday, December 20 at 10/9c
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay shares step-by-step recipes and trade secrets for a perfect, stress-free Christmas dinner while surrounded by his family at home.

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!: Royal Pain in the News
Friday, December 23 at 8/7c
BBC AMERICA and NPR are bringing the Peabody Award-winning radio quiz show, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, to television with a 2011 Year in Review. Host Peter Sagal, along with official judge and scorekeeper Carl Kasell, lead a panel of both U.S. and UK talent, including comedians Paula Poundstone, Alonzo Bodden and Nick Hancock, through 2011’s biggest events. The special looks back at the year’s top stories from an American and British perspective and also includes listener contests and award-winning writer Neil Gaiman (Coraline, The Sandman, Doctor Who) plays the three-question multiple-choice quiz “Not My Job.”
The year-end special will also broadcast on NPR stations that weekend, December 24 and 25.

Doctor Who Christmas Special Countdown
Friday, December 23 starting 9/8c, continuing until Sunday, December 25 at 9/8c
From Christmas Invasion to Christmas Carol, the ghost of Doctor Who Christmas past is haunting BBC AMERICA in this special holiday marathon of legendary Doctor Who Christmas specials.  Then, on Christmas Day, don’t miss a special encore of this year’s thrilling season of Doctor Who with an all-day marathon of season six.

Doctor Who: Best of Christmas Specials
Saturday, December 24 at 8/7c
This all-new special takes an inside look at the very best moments from the incredible Doctor Who Christmas specials that have captivated audiences around the world. A collection of fans from the celebrity, comedy, sci-fi and digital worlds discuss their favorite moments from Doctor Who Christmas specials as part of the countdown to this year’s main event.

The Nerdist: Year in Review
Saturday, December 24 at 9/8c
Chris Hardwick and his nerd entourage discuss the greatest and geekiest moments of 2011. With special guests David Tennant (Doctor Who), Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Star Trek), Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) and stand-up comedian Kumail Nanjiani (The Colbert Report).

The Graham Norton Show: Christmas Eve Special
Saturday, December 24 at 10/9c
Grab a mug of spiked egg nog, your favorite blanket, and cozy up to Graham Norton‘s annual Christmas Eve special. Doctor Who star Matt Smith returns to Graham’s vibrant red couch again this year, plus the lovely Gillian Anderson, comedian Russell Kane, Dragons’ Den diva Hilary Devey, and reality TV stars/McFly rockers Harry Judd and Dougie Poynter. Military Wives Choir will bring their popular song, “Wherever You Are,” to the stage as well.

Doctor Who: The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe
Sunday, December 25 at 9/8c
The Doctor (Matt Smith) returns for a favorite holiday tradition. This year he is joined by Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Bill Bailey (Black Books), Arabella Weir (Skins, The Fast Show) and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller) in the emotional festive special, packed full of Christmas thrills and chills. Set during World War II, the special follows Madge Arwell and her two children, Lily and Cyril, who have been evacuated to a draughty old house in Dorset. When they arrive they are met by the property’s caretaker, a mysterious young man in a bow tie, and a big blue parcel is waiting for them under the tree. They are about to enter a magical new world and learn that a Time Lord never forgets his debts…
Watch trailerCheck in to GetGlueWatch prequel

Top Gear Top 40 Marathon
Monday, December 26 – starting at 8 am/7c
After stuffing your face with countless holiday cookies, cakes, and drink, take a load off by reliving some of the most outrageous and wild Top Gear moments with a very special Top Gear Top 40 marathon on Monday, December 26 starting at 8 am/7c! And you can ring in the New Year with Jeremy, James, and Richard, too, with a Top Gear Top 40 repeat on New Year’s Eve (Saturday, December 31) at 6 am/7c! Fan voted. Stig approved.

Absolutely Fabulous Hangover Helper
Sunday, January 1 – starting at 8 am/7c
Nursing that holiday hangover is going to be fabulous, dahling… trust us. Watching every single hilarious moment of Absolutely Fabulous is exactly what Edina, Patsy and the rest of the AbFab crew ordered. All the glamour and all the fun kicks off bright and early at 7:20am/6:20c on New Year’s Day, one week before January 8 premiere of the new Absolutely Fabulous 20th Anniversary Special at 10/9c.

Also: BBCAmerica.com is joining in the festive fun with loads of games, features, and giveaways (because free stuff is the ultimately remedy for all that ails you this year).

1. 12 Days of Who

Don’t miss our ‘12 Days of Who’ to find out what the Doctor is giving away each day, and answer our daily questions for a chance to win fun prizes. Spoilers: An Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond alarm clock is just one of our prizes.

2. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Contest Voting

We asked you to use our handy fill-in-the-blanks template to craft your own Doctor Who-themed tale or create an original spin-off from scratch – and boy, did you deliver! After scouring through hundreds of entries, we present to you our top 10 finalist picks. Remember to vote for your one and only favorite! The winner will take home a DVD of last year’s Christmas special.

3. How To Throw Your Own Doctor Who Holiday Party

Because the TARDIS is so much cooler than Santa’s sleigh: get handy tips on everything from the dressing up like the various Time Lords to the music and, of course, the menu.

4. Guide to British Christmas Traditions

What traditions from across the pond can you integrate into your festivities this season? Learn the history behind Christmas crackers, pantomimes, and much more.

How will you be spending your holidays this year? Tell us: