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Ratings season is officially over but there’s still plenty of quality television to sink your teeth into over summer, especially in the holidays.

Whether you a looking for an injection of Christmas spirit, summer drama or armchair sports, this viewing guide from The New Daily will help you out.

Christmas specials

Michael Buble’s Christmas

When: Thursday, December 18 at 7.30pm
Where: 7TWO

Canadian crooner Michael Buble dominates Christmas entertainment – and for good reason. This festive season special will get everyone in the mood.

The Office Christmas Special

When: Part One – Monday, December 22 at 4.50pm. Part 2 – Tuesday, December 23 at 4.40pm
Where: UKTV

Ricky Gervais’ brilliant series The Office ended with this wonderful two-part Christmas special in December 2003. It was the closure every fan of the cult show needed and remains a Christmas classic.

Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight

When: Wednesday, December 24 at 8pm
Where: Nine Network

A staple Christmas tradition in Australia, Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight enters its 76th year and promises to be another classic evening of Christmas entertainment. Hosted by Lisa Wilkinson and David Campbell, and featuring performances by Anthony Callea, Marina Prior and the cast of Les Miserables, Carols by Candlelight is the surefire way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Doctor Who Christmas Special

When: Friday, December 26 at 7.30pm
Where: ABC One

Actor and screenwriter Nick Frost stars as Santa Claus in the highly anticipated 2014 Doctor Who Christmas Special, which promises to be an action-packed, unmissable adventure. The special also stars Michael Troughton, who follows in the footsteps of his father Patrick Troughton, who played the second incarnation of The Doctor.

Christmas movies

Elf

When: Friday, December 19 at 7.30pm
Where: Go!

Will Ferrell is hilarious in this Christmas comedy, which sees his character, a giant elf, travel from the North Pole to the US to find his real identity after he finds out he’s really a human.

Santa Claus: The Movie

When: Friday, December 19 at 9.30pm
Where: Go!

Dudley Moore

A 1980s Christmas movie starring Dudley Moore and John Lithgow. This was a box office smash when it opened in 1985 and remains a lovely ode to story of Santa Claus.

Polar Express

When: Saturday, December 20 at 6.30pm
Where: Go!

Starring Tom Hanks, Polar Express follows a Christmas-doubting boy who travels to the North Pole on a journey of self-discovery.

A Christmas Carol

When: Saturday, December 20 at 6.30pm
Where: Seven

Jim Carrey is Ebenezer Scrooge in this modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ ghostly Christmas tale of redemption.

It’s a Wonderful Life

When: Wednesday, December 24 at 8.35pm
Where: Fox Classics

James Stewart

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a viewing of this charming 1946 film about a man (James Stewart) who almost loses everything on the eve of Christmas.

Summer drama

The Knick

When: From Wednesday, December 10 at 8pm
Where: Showcase (Foxtel)

From Academy Award-winning director Stephen Soderbergh and starring Clive Owen comes The Knick. In New York City in 1900, Knickerbocker Hospital operates with an innovative staff who must overcome the limitations of medical understanding and practice to prevent staggeringly high mortality rates. Chief among them is Dr John Thackeray (Owen), the newly appointed leader of surgery staff at “The Knick”, a respected and fearless innovator who battles his own cocaine and opium addictions. The Knick is a no-holds-barred period drama from some of Hollywood’s greatest talents.

Olive Kitteridge

When: January, 2015
Where: Showcase

Based on Elizabeth Strout’s 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the four-part mini-series Olive Kitteridge features an all-star cast including Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray. Set against the New England town of Maine, Olive Kitteridge centres on the domesticated marriage of the titular title, an unsparing math teacher, and her ineffectual but devoted husband. As the two find their 25-year marriage increasingly tested, they must grow to face their own pasts and their own troubled spirits.

Summer reality

Shaun Micallef’s Stairway to Heaven

When: Available on SBS On Demand until December 28

Having almost joined the priesthood as a teenager, comedian Shaun Micallef heads to India to explore life’s big questions. In a bid to get to the heart of the faith, Micallef pushed well beyond his comfort zone and immerses himself in the world of Gods and Gurus journeying to the source of the Ganges high in the Himalayas – all the while offering his own unique observations on his quest to find the meaning of life.

The Great Australian Race Riot

When: Sunday, January 4, 2015
Where: SBS ONE

Peter FitzSimons-Race-Riot

Best-selling author, columnist, and raconteur Peter FitzSimons explores the secret history of Australian race riots and reveals how violent mobs of every colour and culture have played a role in shaping Australia’s national identity. FitzSimons takes an explosive journey across the country, reliving the forgotten race riots of Australia’s history. In his indomitable style, he exposes the heroes and villains of 170 years of street fighting. Along the way, he demonstrates how mobs of every ethnicity have regularly transformed our nation – for better as well as worse.

Sounds Like Teen Spirit

When: Monday, January 19, 2015
Where: ABC One

In 2015, Triple J turns 40. To mark the occasion ABC One will be screening Sounds Like Teen Spirit, a documentary celebrating the life and times of Australia’s favourite indie radio station. With a pumping soundtrack evoking the mood of each decade, and featuring interviews with Roy & HG, Missy Higgins, Daniel Johns, Wil Anderson, Adam Spencer, Myf Warhurst, Hilltop Hoods, Peter Garrett, Sounds like Teen Spirit is a rollicking tribute to a national institution.

Summer sport

Big Bash League

When: From December 18 until January 28, 2015
Where: Network Ten

Big-BashAfter the phenomenal success of last year’s tournament, we’re set for a summer of excitement as the Twenty20 Big Bash League returns for another season. Eight teams will fight it out over six weeks to be crowned champions. There will be plenty of heavy hitters and dramatic finishes as the world’s best cricketing talents come together for summer bash.

AFC Asian Cup

When: From January 9 to January 31, 2015
Where: ABC

The 2015 Asian Cup is the biggest football tournament ever staged in Australia, with 16 nations playing in more than 30 matches all across Australia throughout January. To bring you the best of the coverage, all matches will be screened live and exclusive on ABC along with a 30-minute highlight package to be screened on ABC One every night. It all kicks off with the Socceroos taking on Kuwait on January 9, with the hosts desperate to produce a good showing in front of their home crowd after their brave World Cup performance

2015 Cricket World Cup

When: From Saturday, February 14, to Sunday, March 29, 2015
Where: Nine Network

From February, the 2015 Cricket World Cup kicks off, bringing together 14 nations from four continents coming to play on our home soil, with Australia co-hosting the tournament with New Zealand. All of Australia’s matches, along with semi-finals and the final (to be held at the MCG), will be screened live and exclusive on Nine, with Fox Sports bringing viewers coverage from all group matches in the world’s biggest festival of cricket.

Australian Open

When: Monday, January 19 to February 1, 2015
Where: Seven Network

The Australian Open is the biggest event on the Australian international sporting calendar. Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley has confirmed that “all of the world’s top 100 men and 99 of the top 100 women for the tournament”.

This article was first published on The New Daily.

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