Stuff's Alternative Christmas TV Schedule


The darkness is closing in outside – settle down with your tipple of choice and fire up one of these films to see in Christmas evening.

Oz: The Great and Powerful - 20 Dec (Now TV, Blinkbox)

The Evil Dead director Sam Raimi may seem an odd choice to venture to the magical land of Oz, but he pulls it off with aplomb – with a film that harks back to 1939's The Wizard of Oz as much as the legal department would allow.

James Franco stars as magician and huckster Oscar Diggs, who's swept away to Oz on a balloon – and encounters three witches, a talking china doll and a flying monkey on his journey to becoming a better man. The mystery of which witch will turn out to be the Wicked Witch of the West is engaging – and even a little tragic – while the banter between Oscar and his flying monkey assistant (voiced by Zach Braff) raises plenty of chuckles. 

Now TV
Blinkbox (from £8 to buy)

The Cicerones (BFI Player)

The League of Gentlemen's Jeremy Dyson and Mark Gatiss conjured up this spooky short film, based on the story by Robert Aickman. It's an unsettling yarn, with Gatiss on fine form as a stuffy, Brylcreemed Englishman abroad – and makes for a perfect appetiser for Gatiss' ghost story The Tractate Middoth, airing Christmas Day, on BBC Two at 9:30pm.

BFI Playe (£1 to rent)

More after the break...

Iron Man 3 (Now TV, Blinkbox)

The latest instalment in the blockbuster superhero franchise features an appropriately seasonal setting – courtesy of writer-director Shane Black, whose The Long Kiss Goodnight and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang also took place at Christmastime. Robert Downey Jr. is as assured as ever in the role of tech billionaire Tony Stark, here taking on a mysterious terrorist organisation and a military conspiracy. Sir Ben Kingsley is a delight as panto villain The Mandarin, while British screenwriter Drew Pearce brings some locally-appropriate laughs.

Now TV (coming soon)
Blinkbox (from £11 to buy)

Fireplace for Your Home (Netflix)

Netflix has once again brought this cinematic classic back for Christmas. The imagery is compelling, even if the plot is somewhat lacking. Leave it on in the background while you play Scrabble or read a book. 


The Mistletoe Bough (BFI Player)

Fancy something a bit highbrow? This classic Christmas horror story was first filmed in 1904 – and has been revived and restored by the BFI for its new video-on-demand service. A short treat for fans of silent film and Gothic scares.  

BFI Player

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