What could be nicer at this time of year than watching a Christmas special + a period drama, wrapped up into one movie? Willow and Thatch has gathered up the Christmas period movies that are airing on television this season, so you’ll never be without a festive film.

There are also recommendations of what to stream, and more lists of Christmas movies set in different eras, in case you don’t have the networks mentioned.

fanny-alex-janusFanny & Alexander, Courtesy of Janus Films

And there’s a chance to win two family-friendly period Christmas specials on DVD. Merry Christmas! 

 

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Call the Midwife Christmas Special (2016)snowflake-45
Premieres on PBS December 25

As Poplar celebrates a white Christmas, Nonnatus House receives an SOS call from Hope Clinic, a tiny mission hospital in South Africa that is understaffed, underfunded and threatened with closure.

Transported to South Africa and facing some of their toughest challenges, the Nonnatus family digs deep to save Hope Clinic and make a difference to the lives of the people that use it.

call-the-midwife-christmasCall the Midwife, Courtesy of BBC

Call the Midwife is a moving, intimate, funny and, above all, true-to-life look at the colorful stories of midwifery and families in East London beginning in the Fifties, based on the best-selling memoirs of the late Jennifer Worth.

Watch it again: the Call the Midwife Christmas Specials from Seasons 3, 4 and 5 are available TO STREAM ON AMAZON.

Eight new episodes of the series are to be broadcast in early 2017.



snowflake-45Period Christmas on Hallmark Channel
See the Hallmark Christmas Schedule

Journey Back to Christmas (2016)
Premieres on Hallmark Channel December 7 – watch it throughout the month

journey-back-to-christmasJourney Back to Christmas, Courtesy of Hallmark Channel

A WWII era nurse is transported in time to 2016 and meets a man who helps her discover the bonds of family and that the true meaning of Christmas is timeless. Stars Candace Cameron Bure, Oliver Hudson and Brooke Nevin.


Love’s Christmas Journey (2011)
Watch it on Hallmark Channel December 12

Also airing on TBN.

loves-christmas-journeyLove's Christmas Journey, Courtesy of Hallmark Channel

Part of the Love Comes Softly series. While still mourning the loss of her husband and daughter, recently widowed Ellie King (Natalie Hall) visits her brother Aaron Davis (Greg Vaughan) and his children for Christmas. Ellie does her best to enjoy the holidays, even making new friends with Mrs. Thompson (JoBeth Williams), a local shop keeper, and handsome admirer Deputy Strode (Dylan Bruce). Settling in nicely with her brother’s family, Ellie also meets Erik (Bobby Campo), a young man abandoned by his outlaw father whom Aaron has taken in as one of his own. When Aaron travels out-of-town to purchase adjacent land for farming, Ellie agrees to watch his children, but the season’s festivities are threatened when Aaron goes missing.


When Calls the Heart: Christmas (2016)
Premieres on Hallmark Channel December 25

In this 2-hour special event, the residents of Hope Valley come together to give Christmas cheer to nearby settlers.

when-calls-the-heart-christmasWhen Calls the Heart, Courtesy of Hallmark Channel

When Calls the Heart tells the captivating story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coal mining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges. Lori Loughlin plays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, along with a dozen other miners, has just been killed in an explosion. The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads. Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) who believes Thatcher’s wealthy father has doomed the lawman’s career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate’s daughter. Living in a turn of the century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own. The series is inspired by Janette Oke’s bestselling book series about the Canadian West.

Last year’s special New Year’s Wish is available to STREAM ON AMAZON.



snowflake-45Period Christmas on Acorn TV

A Merry Murdoch Christmas (2015)

At a Christmas charity gala for sick children, the host, dressed as Santa Claus, is found with a broken neck and all the presents are stolen. When witnesses report hearing a wild animal near the scene, Crabtree suspects the legendary creature Krampus.

A-Merry-Murdoch-ChristmasA Merry Murdoch Christmas, Courtesy of Shaftesbury Films

When a philanthropist is found dead before the holidays and the presents he distributes to the city’s orphans go missing, it is up to Murdoch, Ogden and the team at Station No. 4 to solve the mystery and save Christmas. Based on novels by Maureen Jennings, Murdoch Mysteries follows young detective William Murdoch, in a series of stories taking place in Toronto during the 1890s.

Also streaming Twentieth Century Murdoch: As the dawn of the new century approaches, the team face difficult decisions about their lives. Murdoch confronts the future in more ways than one, as a scientist comes to town claiming to have made a time machine.

You’ll also find the 2015 Christmas special A Merry Murdoch Christmas airing throughout the month of December on Ovation.

Also available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


The Irish R.M. – Oweneen the Sprat (1984)

In this holiday special, Christmas proves a tense time for the Yeateses when Philippa collides with Oweneen while driving the carriage. When it’s discovered that one of the people injured in the carriage accident is an evil mountain man known as Oweneen the Sprat, the family is overcome with fear.

Also available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Cadfael – The Raven in the Foregate (1997)

A  beautiful and wealthy young widow donates the house she shared with her beloved husband to Shrewsbury Abbey, asking only for the annual rent of one white rose from its garden. Among her many admirers is the young monk charged with delivering the first rose. A Christmas special.

Also available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Upstairs Downstairs – Goodwill to All Men (1973)

Upstairs: the wealthy, aristocratic Bellamys. Downstairs: their loyal and lively servants. For nearly 30 years, they share a fashionable townhouse at 165 Eaton Place in London’s posh Belgravia neighborhood, surviving social change, political upheaval, scandals, and the horrors of the First World War.

In this Christmas themed episode, Sir Richard’s new ward, Georgina, and new parlor maid, Daisy, try to bring Yuletide cheer to Daisy’s impoverished family. Georgina is shocked by the squalor of their lives.

Also available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (1994)

The detective’s hopes for a quiet holiday are dashed when he must investigate a murder at a wealthy man’s country estate. He’s the most-watched sleuth in the history of PBS’s Mystery! David Suchet stars as the dapper, diminutive Belgian who solves the most serpentine cases with the sharpest of minds and the driest of wits. Set in the Art Deco elegance of 1930s England, each mysterious adventure is a treat for the eyes and the intellect.

Available to STREAM on AMAZON.


Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – Murder Under the Mistletoe (2013)

Phryne and company head to a chalet to celebrate Christmas in July, but when they get there they find one of the residents dead, electrocuted while hanging festive lights. Two other deaths quickly follow, though not before Jack and Constable Collins arrive on the scene and Phryne begins to figure out which of the chalet’s residents might be the next victim.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


snowflake-45Remember to enter the Acorn TV Giveaway for a chance to win a 1-year subscription to the streaming service! Filled with British mini-series and movies, it has been called “Netflix for the Anglophile.”



Christmas Period Classics on TCMsnowflake-45
See the Turner Classic Movies Christmas Classics Schedule

Throughout the month of December, you’ll find Little Women (1933), Tenth Avenue Angel (1948), All Mine to Give (1957), Scrooge (1970), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), Fanny and Alexander (1982),  A Christmas Wish / The Great Rupert (1950), and 3 Godfathers (1948) and A Christmas Story (1983) on Turner Classic Movies. TCM is also showing the religious period favorites King of Kings (1961), and Ben-Hur (1959) as well as The Big Fisherman (1959). See the descriptions below.

little-women-1933

A Christmas Story (1983)

In this holiday classic, Ralphie, a young boy growing up in the 1940s dreams of owning a Red Rider BB gun. He sets out to convince the world this is the perfect gift.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


A Christmas Wish / The Great Rupert (1950)

A Christmas Wish is a heartwarming holiday classic about a New York family (led by Durante) who is down on their luck at Christmas time. Shortly before Christmas, they move into a ground floor apartment where Rupert the squirrel lives in the attic rafters. Just when it seems that the holiday will come and go without so much as a Christmas tree, Rupert acts as the family’s guardian angel, not only saving Christmas, but changing their lives forever. The film is enlivened with the warmth and sweetness of an unforgettable love story between Terry Moore (of Mighty Joe Young) and Tom Drake (of Meet Me in St. Louis). Rupert the Squirrel (created using George Pal’s Academy Award winning animation technique) will charm young and old alike. Jimmy Durante shines when he sings Jingle Bells and other well-loved Christmas carols in the evocative voice that made him one of America’s recording legends.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


All Mine to Give (1957)

In this fact-based drama set in the 1850s, the Eunsons move from Scotland to the American Midwest, where they live happily and run a successful business — until the untimely deaths of both the father (Cameron Mitchell) and the mother (Glynis Johns) of the family. Now orphaned, the six Eunson kids must fend for themselves. Robbie (Rex Thompson), the oldest, does his best to care for his siblings while he searches for foster parents kind enough to accept such a large family into their home.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Ben-Hur (1959)

Charlton Heston plays a Palestinian Jew who is battling the Roman empire at the time of Christ. His actions send him and his family into slavery, but an inspirational encounter with Jesus changes everything. Heston finally meets his rival in a justly famous chariot race and rescues his suffering family.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Fanny and Alexander (1982)

Through the eyes of ten-year-old Alexander, we witness the delights and conflicts of the Ekdahl family, a sprawling bourgeois clan in turn-of-the-century Sweden.

Bergman intended Fanny and Alexander as his swan song, and it is the legendary director’s warmest and most autobiographical film, an Academy Award-winning triumph that combines melancholy and emotional intensity with joy and sensuality.

fanny-alexanderFanny & Alexander, Courtesy of Criterion Collection

Wonderful Christmas scenes. some adult themes, in Swedish with English subtitles.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


In the Good Old Summertime (1949)

Judy Garland stars as a music store salesgirl in turn-of-the-century Chicago who corresponds with a man through a dating service. She falls in love only to discover he’s a despised co-worker. Garland introduced the Christmas song “Merry Christmas” in this film. In the Good Old Summertime is a musical remake of The Shop Around the Corner.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


King of Kings (1961)

Portraying the birth, life and death of Jesus, this film tells one of the greatest stories in history of mankind, a life and teaching that form the basis of the Christian faith.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Little Women (1933)

Oscar-winning adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott novel about four sisters who fight to keep their family together. Starring Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Meet Me in St. Louis is a classic romantic musical comedy that focuses on four sisters (one of whom is the nonpareil Judy Garland) on the cusp of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The film spotlights the sisters’ education in the ways of the world, which includes, but isn’t limited to, learning about life and love, courtesy of the prototypical boy next door. In the end, love — accompanied by song, dance and period costumes, all in glorious Technicolor — conquers all. Includes the holiday standard “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” sung by Garland towards the end of the film.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Scrooge (1970)

Ebenezer Scrooge (Albert Finney) is the definition of a miser. He is rich, but completely stingy with his money, and he exploits the good nature of his employee Bob Cratchit (David Collings). On Christmas Eve, however, Scrooge is in store for a rude awakening when he is visited by the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley (Alec Guinness), who informs him that he is going to be visited by three ghosts, including the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Edith Evans) and Present (Kenneth More).

Available on DVD.


Tenth Avenue Angel (1948)

Eight-year-old Flavia Mills (Margaret O’Brien) lives in a tenement building in New York City with her family. Her aunt, Susan (Angela Lansbury), awaits the return of her fiancé, Steve (George Murphy), who has been in prison. Upon Steve’s return, Flavia tries to help him regain her aunt’s love and find his place in society. But, when Flavia learns the truth about Steve’s criminal past, her faith in humanity is brought into question, and she must try to face adversity with her usual optimism.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


3 Godfathers (1948)

John Wayne stars in this touching western about three half-hearted outlaws who go on the run with an orphaned infant they find in the desert. Promising to carry the newborn to safety, the repentant criminals struggle to reach the village of New Jerusalem.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.



Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. – The Sun



snowflake-45Period Christmas on Netflix

Christmas Miracle at Sage Creek (2005)

Two families finally overcome prejudice and tragedy in 1888 when a Christmas miracle saves the life of a boy.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Mandie and the Forgotten Christmas (2011)

December, 1900, Miss Heathwood’s School for Girls. Thrust into the chaotic and unfamiliar world of a boarding school at Christmas, Mandie finds herself hounded by new rules and regulations at every turn. Unable to grasp the finer points of high society, she constantly falls into trouble with Miss Heathwood, the headmistress. While visiting the school’s forbidden attic, Mandie stumbles upon a mystery from which she is warned to flee. Seeking the truth will require Mandie to lie, but it just might proivde they key that unlocks the memories of a long forgotten Christmas.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


The Spirit of Christmas (2015)

Set in the present day, with flashbacks to the 1920s. A lawyer travels to Vermont to broker the sale of an inn and learns that it is haunted by a man who cannot move on until the mystery of his death is solved. Determined to help the charming spirit, she finds herself in an unlikely romance with him.

The romantic-mystery movie that is debuted on the Lifetime channel, and was originally titled Hollygrove.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


White Christmas (1954)

Set beginning on Christmas Eve, 1944, during the Second World War. After leaving the Army, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis team up to become a top song-and-dance act. Davis plays matchmaker and introduces Wallace to a pair of beautiful sisters (Betty and Judy) who also have a song-and-dance act. When Betty and Judy travel to a Vermont lodge to perform a Christmas show, Wallace and Davis follow, only to find their former commander, General Waverly, is the lodge owner. A series of romantic mix-ups ensue as the performers try to help the General.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

Four siblings play a game of hide and seek and wind up entering a magical land. Once there, they discover a world inhabited by beasts, dwarfs, and giants and find themselves in a battle to defeat a witch.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.



Christmas Period Television Specials on MeTVsnowflake-45

On Christmas Eve, the Christmas themed period tv shows Wagon Train – The St. Nicholas Story (1959), Daniel Boone – The Christmas Story (1965), The Big Valley – Judgement in Heaven (1965), Gunsmoke – P.S. Murry Christmas (1971), and Bonanza – Gabrielle (1961) will air on MeTV. 



Period Christmas on Feelnsnowflake-45

A Christmas Carol: The Musical (2004)

Ebenezer Scrooge’s long and haunted Christmas Eve night gets the musical treatment with new songs from the Oscar-winning composer of “Beauty and the Beast.”

Available ON DVD.


Booky and the Secret Santa (2007)

During the Great Depression, irrepressible 10-year-old Booky (Megan Follows) is determined to have a great Christmas for her family with the help from a surprising source.

Available ON DVD.


Christmas in the Trenches (2012)

Short animated film. In the Christmas of 1914, German and British soldiers along the Western Front share a moment of peace and humanity.


The Gift of Love (1978)

Based on O. Henry’s classic Christmas story, “The Gift of the Magi,” an heiress (Marie Osmond) rejects her arranged marriage when she falls for a penniless immigrant.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


The Gift of the Magi (2008)

Short film. In tough times, a young couple sacrifices their most prized possessions for each other. The most valuable gifts are those that come from the heart.


Mary, Mother of Jesus (1999)

At age 16, the Virgin Mary works diligently to comfort the Jewish community who have been wounded and displaced by the Romans. Mary is deeply in love with 30-year-old Joseph, a carpenter who the Romans have sent away to perform hard labor. Mary hears of prophecies from the Holy Scriptures that a Messiah will arrive on earth, but she receives a personal message directly from the Angel Gabriel — Mary is the chosen one who will give birth to the Son of God. With Christian Bale.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


One Christmas (1994)

In 1930, 8-year-old Buddy is sent to New Orleans to spend the holidays with his unreliable, con-man father.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Silent Night (2002)

A courageous mother (Linda Hamilton) risks charges of treason to turn bitter enemies into cherished friends on an extraordinary Christmas Eve during the final days of World War II.

Available ON DVD.



Period Christmas on ABCsnowflake-45

Mary Poppins (1964)
Saturday, December 10 at 8:00 PM

Set in Edwardian London, the film features no-nonsense nanny Mary Poppins, who flies out of the windy London skies and into the home of two mischievous children of the wealthy and strict Banks family, Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber). With the help of a carefree chimney sweep named Bert (Dick Van Dyke), the spirited nanny sets off on a series of fantastic adventures with Bert and the children, and teaches their parents some lessons about love along the way. Mary Poppins combines live-action and animation, and in 2013 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


The Sound of Music (1965)
Sunday, December 18 at 7:00 PM

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s cinematic treasure, The Sound of Music is the winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. In this true-life story, Julie Andrews lights up the screen as Maria, a spirited young Austrian woman who leaves the convent to become a governess for Captain von Trapp’s (Christopher Plummer) seven unruly children. Her charm and songs soon win the hearts of the children – and their father. But when Nazi Germany unites with Austria, Maria is forced to attempt a daring escape with her new family.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.



More Period Christmas Movies on Televisionsnowflake-45

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009) on Freeform
December 8, 16, 22, 23

Though London awaits the joyful arrival of Christmas, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) thinks it’s all humbug, berating his faithful clerk and cheerful nephew for their view. Later, Scrooge encounters the ghost of his late business partner, who warns that three spirits will visit him this night. The ghosts take Scrooge on a journey through his past, present and future in the hope of transforming his bitterness.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


A Christmas Carol (1984) on AMC
Throughout the month of December.

Dickens’ London miser Ebenezer Scrooge (George C. Scott) meets the ghosts of Christmases past, present and yet to come.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Miracle in the Wilderness (1991) on getTV
December 18, 21, 24, 25

Derived from Paul Gallico’s novella The Snow Goose, this Christmas fable stars Kris Kristofferson as Jericho Adams, a one-time Indian fighter. On Christmas Eve in the 1850s, he, his wife (Kim Cattrall) and their child are kidnapped by a band of revenge-minded Blackfeet warriors being hunted by the U.S. Cavalry. After Jericho’s violent escape plans go awry, it’s up to his wife to earn their freedom through more peaceful means: by telling the Nativity store to a tribe who has never before heard it.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.


Seven Brides For Seven Brothers – Christmas Song (1982) on getTV
December 11, 21, 24

A Christmas special from the television series. It’s Christmas and a young widow is trying to hold on to her children. She has been on the move, just a step or two ahead of her in-laws. They are determined and wealthy; and a possessive, abusive would-be boyfriend isn’t helping the situation. Crane insists on helping her. It may not be a merry Christmas for anyone unless the McFaddens can broker an agreement everyone can live with.


A Christmas Carol (1999) on getTV and TNT
December 11, 23 on getTV

Patrick Stewart stars as Scrooge, the mean-spirited miser who gets his terrifying comeuppance when he imagines he’s visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON


A Christmas Truce (2015) on ION
December 11, 18

Set during the Second World War. During a shaky 24-hour holiday truce amid the Battle of the Bulge, American Captain John Myers and a Belgian farm girl, Alina, fall in love. Forced to separate when fighting resumes, the couple vows to reunite, under a bell tower, the first Christmas Eve after the war ends, if each is alive and eager.


It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) on USA and NBC
Saturday, Dec. 10 at 8PM on USA, and on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24 at 8PM on NBC.

Everyone’s favorite Christmas movie is set as early as 1919, making this 1946 classic a period drama! After George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel (Henry Travers) is sent to earth to make George’s wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there.

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON



From the Willow and Thatch YouTube Channelsnowflake-45

You can watch Scrooge (1935) for free! In Victorian England, Ebenezer Scrooge (Seymour Hicks) is a curmudgeonly businessman who hates the Christmas season because it interferes with making money. His meek employee, Bob Cratchit (Donald Calthrop), dutifully serves Scrooge despite his mistreatment because Bob needs to provide for his family. On the night of Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by a number of visions, including the Spirit of Christmas Present (Oscar Asche), which shows him things he cannot normally see, changing the miser’s attitude forever.

Called “A faithful, tender and mellow edition of his timeless Yuletide fable.” by the New York Times. They go on to say “It is superbly played, its lines are plucked straight from the source book, and, thanks to understanding adaptation and direction, it carries on at a pace which preserves the Dickensian flavor without denial of modern insistence upon more rapid story development.”

You may also enjoy this 10 minute long silent but well done 1910 adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

You can also stream Christmas Miracle at Sage Creek for free.



Also Streaming on Amazonsnowflake-45

12 Men of Christmas (2009)

This one apparently is period inspired, with parallels and references to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The American romantic comedy television film made for the Lifetime Television network.

Emmy winner Kristin Chenoweth stars in this hilarious story about baring it all for a cause. When New York publicist E.J. Baxter (Chenoweth) loses both her job and her fiancé at the office Christmas party, she does what anyone would do – she takes a job in Montana! Now, to help the local search-and-rescue station raise funds, E.J. must convince 12 men to pose naked for a calendar. And soon, she finds herself wanting to make room in her own calendar for one of the hunky rescuers!

Available to STREAM ON AMAZON.



New on DVD – Dickensiansnowflake-45

BBC’s Dickensian was planned as a multi-part drama – 60 episodes had been scripted, with 20 having been produced. The period drama series centered around a world where Dickens characters from works including Oliver Twist, Bleak House and Great Expectations collided.

In April, 2016 the network confirmed the cancelation of the series after the first chapter, adding that it was a difficult decision to make and that they were indeed very happy with the first series. Dickensian is one of the largest-scale projects ever undertaken by BBC, but the viewership has fallen throughout the course of the first series from 5 million viewers for the premiere to 2 million by February.

You can learn more about the production, see a sneak peek of the series and watch the trailer here.

Though there is still no announcement of a U.S. television release date, those of you with multi-region players can WATCH IT ON DVD.



Period Specials on BBCsnowflake-45

For those of you fortunate enough to have access to the BBC!

Father Brown: The Star Of Jacob (2016)
Premieres on BBC One December 23

A mysterious stranger, a missing donkey, an outbreak of laryngitis in the church choir and a kidnapped baby threaten to spoil Kembleford’s Christmas festivities in Father Brown: The Star Of Jacob.

Distinctly lacking in Christmas cheer, Canon Fox (Roger May) pays a visit to Father Brown (Mark Williams) and Mrs McCarthy (Sorcha Cusack) to announce that premier Catholic duke – the Duke of Frome (Ray Coulthard) – will be staying with Lady Felicia (Nancy Carroll) at Montague and attending Christmas Mass at St Mary’s. Unlike in previous years, this year the Bishop wants everything done by the book and Canon Fox will be there to make sure his wishes are carried out.

father-brown-star-of-jacob-bbcFather Brown, Courtesy of BBC

There will be ‘the full biblical line-up’ including wholesome children, a proper choir and even snow, he demands. Daunted but undeterred Father Brown and Mrs McCarthy set about their task, but when the donkey goes missing, laryngitis hits the choir and a filthy down-and-out (Dean Andrews) is found sleeping in the confessional box, it looks like Canon Fox’s best laid plans are going to be thwarted.

The series is inspired by the novels of G.K. Chesterton, about a crime-solving Roman Catholic priest. The series is set during the early 1950s, in the fictional Cotswold village of Kembleford.


To Walk Invisible (2016)
Premieres on BBC One December 29

To Walk Invisible takes a new look at the extraordinary Brontë family, telling the story of these remarkable women who, despite the obstacles they faced, came from obscurity to produce some of the greatest novels in the English language.

Written and directed by multi Bafta-winner Sally Wainwright was filmed in and around Yorkshire, the BBC One original one-off drama stars Jonathan Pryce, Chloe Pirrie, Finn Atkins, Charlie Murphy and Adam Nagaitis.

In the U.S. To Walk Invisible will premiere on PBS Masterpiece Sunday, March 26th, 2017 at 9/8c. Read more about it here.


Victorian Bakers at Christmas (2016)
Premieres on BBC Two

Victorian Bakers is back for Christmas. In this one-off special the four professionals discover the role their trade played in creating Christmas as we know it.

victorian-bakers-christmasVictorian Bakers, Courtesy of BBC

Historians Alex Langlands and Annie Gray are on hand to tell the fascinating story of how a long riotous mid-winter break stretching into January became a more respectable family-based occasion on 25 December. Long lost recipes include mammoth ‘twelfth cakes’, bread-based punch and the Queen’s mince pies made from beef, replaced with humble tripe for the masses. The Victorian bakers’ oven was used for everything from Christmas tree decorations to Christmas roasts for entire communities.



Two Christmas Specials from Sullivan Entertainmentsnowflake-45

An Avonlea Christmas (1998)

The long-running period series Road to Avonlea is set in a fictional small east coast town on Prince Edward Island in the early 20th century. Based on characters and stories from the novels of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the 95 episode one-hour series was a spin-off from Sullivan Entertainment’s miniseries of Montgomery’s best known novel, Anne of Green GablesRoad to Avonlea was nominated for 16 Emmys, and the recipient of Outstanding Lead Actor in a Dramatic Series, Outstanding Children’s Program, Outstanding Costume Design for a Series, and Outstanding Guest Actress in a Dramatic Series.

Solid, engrossing family fare with classy acting, splendid photography and a fine period look. – Variety

An Avonlea Christmas, produced in 1998, is the series’ reunion movie with plenty of snow, horse-drawn sleighs and old-fashioned country charm amidst the wartime drama. The Christmas period movie stands on its own, and is easy to follow even if you haven’t watched the Road to Avonlea series.

an-avonlea-christmas-01An Avonlea Christmas, Courtesy Sullivan Entertainment

As World War I rages in Europe, the citizens of Avonlea prepare for their annual Christmas festivities. Hetty King, always ready and willing to do her part for king and country, is planning a Christmas concert with the schoolchildren to raise funds for the war effort. Janet King however, whose son Felix King is away fighting in the trenches, would prefer to forget about the war altogether.

Things get more complicated for Hetty when she learns that a young, new Superintendent of Schools with progressive ideas about teaching will be attending her Christmas concert. The concert takes on even greater meaning when Cecily, who is working as telegraph operator, delivers news that Felix has been listed as “missing in action”.

an-avonlea-christmas-02An Avonlea Christmas, Courtesy Sullivan Entertainment

As a special gift to you, Sullivan Entertainment is streaming An Avonlea Christmas for free, until Christmas. 

You can watch it here.


A Wind At My Back Christmas (2001)

Based loosely on the books Never Sleep Three in a Bed and The Night We Stole the Mounties’ Car by Max Braithwaite, Wind at My Back tells the story of the Bailey family through the Great Depression. The series touches on the themes of family, forgiveness, hardship and love. Though set in the 1930s, Wind at My Back reflects our modern world where many people hold on tenuously and pray that better times are just around the corner.

wind-at-my-back-christmas-02A Wind at my Back Christmas, Courtesy Sullivan Entertainment

The period series Wind at My Back consists of five seasons, each containing thirteen one hour episodes. The Christmas movie, simply titled A Wind at My Back Christmas, wraps up loose ends and serves as the series finale. Several guest stars, such as Gordon Pinsent, make appearances on the program. The high production value, great costumes and beautiful scenery give viewers a glimpse into the 1930’s while being entertained by this timeless and heartwarming family series.

wind-at-my-back-christmas-01A Wind at my Back Christmas, Courtesy Sullivan Entertainment

The Christmas special centers around the holiday preparations of a family in a small town, while the concerns of the larger world become increasingly present. There’s a tender love story, and a portrayal of what it means to do the right thing and follow one’s heart, no matter what.



snowflake-45This post is also a GIVEAWAY!  You can win a box set with A Wind At My Back Christmas and An Avonlea Christmas. This giveaway is open to residents aged 18 and older of the U.S. and Canada. 

The Giveaway is now closed – Laurel S. is the winner!

To enter, leave a comment below. 

For an extra entry, share any of the following posts to any of your social networks. Then come back here and leave a comment below saying which post you shared and why, along with the link to the post. You must include the link in order to have a second chance to win. 

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The Christmas Giveaway ends Sunday December 18, 2016 at 11:59 EST. The winner will be chosen randomly, check back here to see who won and good luck! See the Official Rules.

You can purchase the Christmas movies A Wind At My Back Christmas and An Avonlea Christmas through the Shop at Sullivan and on Amazon.

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If you enjoyed this post, you’ll want to wander over to The Period Films List, with the best historical dramas sorted by era.

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