Hey guys, as we are on the countdown to the big day only 10 DAYS TO GO! I thought I would share my top picks for Christmas TV and if you still haven’t got the perfect present how about a theatre experience. I’ve highlighted a few of the upcoming shows coming up at the Grand Opera House Belfast, Lyric Theatre Belfast and the MAC. Happy reading and Merry Christmas!

E xx

Christmas TV

Xmas films not to be missed:

Arthur Christmas, TODAY, 4.30pm, Channel 4

Shrek, Saturday 21 December, 4.50pm, ITV

Toy Story, Sunday 22 December, 1.50pm, BBC 1

Elf, Sunday 23 December, 4.55pm, ITV2 plus Christmas Eve 5.15pm, ITV

Frozen, Christmas Eve, 3pm, BBC 1

Home Alone, Christmas Eve, 5.30pm, Channel 4

Love Actually, Friday 27 December, 10.05am, ITV

Beauty and the Beast, Christmas Eve, 7.30pm, BBC1

TV Specials

A Christmas Carol (from the makers of Peaky Blinders) 22-24 December, 9pm, BBC1

Gavin and Stacey, Christmas Day, 8.30pm, BBC1

Strictly come Dancing, Christmas Day, 4.40pm, BBC1

Great British Bake Off (with the Derry Girls!), Christmas Day, Channel 4, 8pm and New Years Day, 7.40pm

Mrs Brown’s Boys, Christmas Day and New Years Day, 10.30pm BBC1

Kylie’s Secret Night, Christmas Day 10.30pm, Channel Four

Oh and don’t forget the soaps the action heats up from the 23 December. But On Christmas Day Emmerdale has a 1 hour special at 7pm,Coronation Street Double-Bill from 8 and Eastenders a 1 hour special at 9.15!

Theatre Gift Guide

Still looking for a last minute gift, how about an experience they will be talking about for the rest of the year. A night to the theatre here are my top picks:

Fan of Northern Irish talent and local music then Good Vibrations (30 May-11 July) at the Lyric Theatre Belfast is certainly the ticket. I loved it the last time it was staged read my review here.

Good Vibrations tells the story of Terri Hooley, a radical, rebel and music-lover in 1970s Belfast. When the conflict shuts down his city, and all his friends take sides and take up arms, Terri opens a record shop on ‘the most bombed half-mile in Europe’ and calls it Good Vibrations. Through it he discovers a compelling voice of resistance in the city’s underground punk scene. Galvanising the young musicians into action, he becomes the unlikely leader of a motley band of kids and punks who join him in his mission to create a new community, an alternative Ulster, and to bring his city back to life.

It has been adapted for the stage by the same writing team behind film biopic – Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson – for which the pair were nominated for Outstanding Debut at the 2014 BAFTA Film awards. Book here

For your mum, your sister and your aunties the ultimate girls night out Shirley Valentine! (27 Feb-15 March)

Shirley is back! Following a sold-out run in 2019, Tara Lynne O’Neill is back in the title role of this funny and heart-warming play. Belfast Shirley is engaging, entertaining and a poignant reminder to live life to the full!

Shirley is a housewife. Her kids have left home and she finds herself talking to the wall while she makes chips and eggs for her husband. What has happened to her life? Out of the blue, her best friend offers her a trip to Greece for 2 weeks and she secretly packs her bags. The note on the kitchen table reads “Gone to Greece back in two weeks.” She heads for the sun and on a voyage of discovery starts to see the world and herself in a very different light.

Willy Russell’s heart-warming comedy took the world by storm when it premiered in 1986. It was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film. Now, in between filming for the award-winning Derry Girls, the extraordinary Tara-Lynne O’Neill stars in this Lyric revival. Book here

For the Little People and the whole extended family! Get in early and book the best seats in the house for what promises to be the greatest Panto on earth. Tickets for next year’s Panto Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Saturday 28 Nov- Sunday 10 Jan 2021) are now on sale and already going fast. Imagine how much their little faces will light up when they see this one! In a nod to the Theatre’s original name – the New Grand Opera House and Cirque – Goldilocks and the Three Bears combines the dazzle of circus and spectacle of pantomime in an unmissable show featuring magic, music, mayhem and plenty of porridge! The Grand Opera House opened on 23 December 1895 with a pantomime and since then has entertained generations of families. 125 years later it is still Northern Ireland’s biggest and brightest Christmas show. Goldilocks and the Three Bears – book now for the Panto that’s just right! Book tickets here.

Mamma Mia

For the musical aficionado and ultimate dancing queen, get them tickets for the MAMMA MIA! (Monday 18 Jan-Sat 6 Feb 2021) straight from the West End! Join us at MAMMA MIA! for the first blockbuster musical in the newly restored Grand Opera House and enjoy the ultimate feel-good show from 18th January 2021 for 3 weeks only! Set on a beautiful Greek island, MAMMA MIA! is a story of love, friendship and identity told through the timeless songs of ABBA. Over 65 million people all around the world have fallen in love with the characters, the story and the music that make MAMMA MIA! such a sensation. Whatever age you are, you can’t help but have the time of your life at MAMMA MIA! Book tickets here.

Something for the promising Ballerina in your life? Why not book tickets to the timeless classic The Nutcracker (Wednesday 10 Feb- Saturday 13 Feb 2021).Book tickets here: Inspire both young and not so young ballerina in your life with this beautiful magical family adventure. With costumes plucked from the most gorgeous chocolate box; Tchaikovsky’s score to transport you to a land of dreams and a story lifted straight from the pages of a classic fairy tale. We follow Clara on a journey through the worlds of her imagination, as she drifts to sleep on Christmas Eve. She meets the dashing Nutcracker Prince, takes on the larger-than-life Rat King, and is whisked into the luscious land of sweets by the Sugar Plum Fairy! Enjoy this stunning visual feast as we take you and your family on a fantastical adventure. With choreography by Scottish Ballet founder Peter Darrell, and live music played by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, this ever-popular ballet is the perfect Christmas treat! Book tickets here.


Something for the bedroom guitarist with musical aspirations and a brilliant night for all the family, how about The Commitments (Monday 26 April- Saturday 1 May 2021). Following a sell-out run in 2017, The Commitments is returning to the Grand Opera House in 2021! This fantastically feel-good celebration of soul, which enjoyed a phenomenally successful record-breaking two-year run in London’s West End, is based on the BAFTA award-winning film classic. The show has been adapted for the stage by Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle from his original novel, and is packed with more than 20 classic soul songs performed live on stage including Mustang Sally, Night Train, Try A Little Tenderness, River Deep, Mountain High, In The Midnight Hour, Papa Was A Rolling StoneSave Me, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Reach Out, Uptight, Knock On Wood, I Can’t Turn You Loose and more! Book tickets here: I https://www.goh.co.uk/whats-on/the-commitments

Something to inspire you and your teens for the year, Poet in da Corner at the MAC Belfast. A coming of age story inspired by Dizzee Rascal’s seminal album.

In a strict Mormon household somewhere in the seam between East London and Essex, a girl is given Dizzee Rascal’s ground-breaking grime album Boy in da Corner by her best friend SS Vyper.Precisely 57 minutes and 21 seconds later, her life begins to change – from feeling muted by dyslexia to spitting the power of her words; from being conflicted about her sexuality to finding the freedom to explore; from feeling alone to being given the greatest gift by her closest friend.

Step into a technicolour world where music, dance and spoken word collide and experience this semi-autobiographical story about how grime allowed Debris Stevenson to redefine herself.

Poet in Da Corner features grime MC Jammz as SS Vyper, and is directed by Royal Court Associate Ola Ince. Book here https://themaclive.com/event/poet-in-da-corner-by-debris-stevenson-feat.-jammz

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Emer D xx