Queen’s Message broadcast details

The Queen presents her annual message to the Commonwealth, reflecting on the year’s major events and Her Majesty’s own personal milestones and feelings on Christmas.

The Christmas message tradition began in 1932 with a radio broadcast by George V on the British Broadcasting Corporation Empire Service.

It is one of the few instances when the sovereign speaks publicly without advice from any ministers of the Crown in any of the monarch’s realms. Planning for each year’s address begins months earlier, when the monarch establishes a theme and appropriate archival footage is collected and assembled; the actual speech is recorded a few days prior to Christmas.

In the United Kingdom and on the Internet, broadcast of the Queen’s Christmas message is embargoed until 3:00 PM GMT, but every year New Zealand is the first in the Commonwealth to broadcast it.

Sunday 25th December, 6.50pm TV ONE

Christmas Day viewing on TV2

At 12:05pm your Christmas Day movie is Santa Buddies. Take a fantastic journey with some adorable talking puppies – the “Buddies” – to the magical world of the North Pole! Join Budderball, B-Dawg, Rosebud, Buddha, and Mudbud in a touching twist on a Christmas classic.

When Puppy Paws, the feisty son of Santa Paws, forgets the true meaning of the season, it’s up to the Buddies to remind him that Christmas is not about what you get; it’s about what you give.

Unleash a stocking full of Christmas cheer for you and your family with this fun-filled film.

At 2:20pm, you can only imagine Santa’s (Judd Nelson) surprise when the Christmas Board of Directors informs him that they may need to Cancel Christmas.

The Board has given an ultimatum to the holiday’s top elf: in 30 days or less, make Christmas less commercial and material, or lose it forever. The Board is so sure the turnaround is hopeless that they give Santa the task of changing the hearts of privileged kids so they, in turn, will reach out to help a less fortunate boy.

Is Santa’s task a daunting one? No more so than making reindeer fly. If ever there was a force for joy, goodness and sharing, it is the mythical man in red.

At 5:30pm, join funnyman Will Ferrell for a a fish out of water, or elf out of North Pole tale in Elf..

One Christmas Eve, a long time ago, a small baby at an orphanage crawled into Santa’s bag of toys, only to go undetected and accidentally carried back to Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. Though he was quickly taken under the wing of a surrogate father and raised to be an elf, as he grew to be three sizes larger than everyone else, it became clear that Buddy (Ferrell) would never truly fit into the elf world. What he needs is to find his real family. Buddy decides to find his true place in the world and sets off for New York City to track down his roots.

Although Buddy experiences a world he never knew existed, he quickly learns that life in the big city is not all ice skating and sugarplums, and he finds himself as much an outsider there as back in the North Pole. Buddy seeks out his real father, Walter (James Caan), a workaholic publisher of children’s books with a place on Santa’s “naughty” list. Walter doesn’t believe Buddy is who or what he says he is; in fact, the only thing Walter believes in with any certainty is the bottom line. Buddy also discovers a new mom (Mary Steenburgen), and learns he has a ten-year-old half-brother (Daniel Tay) who doesn’t believe in Christmas or elves or Santa. In fact, everyone seems to have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.

With the holiday season fast approaching, Buddy takes it upon himself and his earnest elf ways to win over his family, realise his destiny and, ultimately, save Christmas for New York and the world.

From elves to tropical fish, everyone is trying to find their way home this Christmas when Finding Nemo screens at 7:10pm.

The film follows the comedic and eventful journeys of two fish – Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks) and his son Nemo (Alexander Gould) – who become separated in the Great Barrier Reef when Nemo is unexpectedly taken from home and thrust into a fish tank in a dentist’s office overlooking Sydney Harbor.

Buoyed by the companionship of a friendly-but-forgetful fish named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), the overly cautious father embarks on a dangerous trek and finds himself the unlikely hero of an epic journey to rescue his son – who hatches a few daring plans of his own to return safely home.

To round out your Christmas Day, at 8:50pm Nicholas Cage reprises his role of treasure hunter Ben Gates in National Treasure: The Book Of Secrets.

When a missing page from the diary of John Wilkes Booth surfaces, Ben’s great-great grandfather is suddenly implicated as a key conspirator in Abraham Lincoln’s death. Determined to prove his ancestor’s innocence, Ben follows an international chain of clues that take him on a chase from Paris to London and ultimately back to America. This journey leads Ben and his crew not only to surprising revelations, but to the trail of the world’s most treasured secrets.

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the story reunites the original cast, including Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha, Academy Award-winner Jon Voight and Academy Award-nominee Harvey Keitel. They will be joined this time by four-time Academy Award-nominee Ed Harris and Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren.

Christmas build-up on TV2

The Santa Clause 2
Saturday, 17 December at 7pm

Tim Allen is back at his jolly best when The Santa Clause 2 screens tonight on TV2.

He’s been wearing the big red robe for a few years now, but Scott Calvin aka Santa Claus has found himself with two problems: firstly, his own son has found his way onto the naughty list and secondly, if Santa doesn’t find himself a Mrs Claus quick smart, he’ll lose his robe, reindeer, and fat rolls.

But when he goes on temporary leave to solve these two problems, things go from bad to worse when the replacement Santa decides to redefine naughty and nice.

Sunday, 18 December at 7pm

It’s a comedy-filled family adventure when the Disney Pixar film Up screens tonight on TV2.

Seventy eight-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen finally fulfils his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8-year-old named Russell.

Up is a heart-warming and hilarious journey into a lost world, with the least likely duo on Earth.

Monday through Friday from 5pm

In the lead-up to Christmas, family movies screen every afternoon this week, starting with A Bug’s Life on Monday, 19 December at 5pm.

Each summer a gang of greedy grasshoppers – led by the menacing and manipulative Hopper (voice of Kevin Spacey, American Beauty) – descends upon the ant colony to demand a hefty portion of the ants’ hard-earned harvest, and generally make life miserable for this peaceful community of bugs.

Flik (voice of Dave Foley, Vampires Suck), an original thinker out of step with the rest of the more traditionally-minded colony, takes it upon himself to get outside help and mistakenly enlists an unemployed troupe of bug performers from a second-rate flea circus to join the fight against the grasshoppers. Working together in their new-found friendship, the ants and the circus bugs prepare for a climactic confrontation with the grasshoppers. When Flik’s plan starts to unravel, the action and comedy turns fast and furious as he attempts to save the colony, and his reputation.

On Tuesday, 20 December at 5:20pm, Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet (The Reader) and Hugh Jackman (X-Men) lend their voices to Flushed Away.

Roddy (Jackman) is an uptown society mouse, a beloved pet in a penthouse apartment who lives the high-life. So when an unkempt rat comes into the house, Roddy hatches a plan to rid himself of the rodent. But when his plan backfires, this snobby house-mouse finds himself in the rat-race of the sewer system.

With the not-so-willing help of the sewer-smart Rita (Winslet), and trying to dodge the wrath of the Toad (voice of Sir Ian McKellan, The Lord of the Rings), Roddy attempts to find his way out, or rather, up.

On Wednesday, 21 December at 5:20pm, it’s an outrageous computer-animated comedy-adventure when an odd assortment of animals from the New York Zoo discover what a jungle the city can be in The Wild.

When one of their own is mistakenly shipped to the wild, the animals embark on a dangerous mission to rescue him. The film boasts an impressive vocal ensemble – Keifer Sutherland (as the respected lion leader, Samson), Greg Cipes (as Samson’s son, Ryan), Jim Belushi (as Benny, the street savvy squirrel and Samson’s best friend), Janeane Garofalo (as quick-witted giraffe Bridget), Richard Kind (as dim-witted anaconda Larry), William Shatner (as wicked wildebeest Kazar), and Eddie Izzard (as Nigel, an acerbic koala) – along with cutting edge animation, and a story filled with hilarious situations.

On Thursday, 22 December at 5:25pm, a flashy new “space ranger” named Buzz Lightyear (voice of Tim Allen, The Santa Clause) enters the world of a pull-string cowboy named Woody (voice of Tom Hanks, Castaway), sparking an outrageously funny tiff between toys in Toy Story.

Now Woody’s top spot in the heart of his young owner is in jeopardy… and soon so are the lives of Woody and Buzz! Accidentally whisked away from home and into the clutches of a neighbourhood bully, these two squabbling rivals must work together as a team if they are to escape. With toy box pals Rex the dinosaur, the Green Army Men and Mr. Potato Head ready to lend a hand, Woody and Buzz unite in friendship for a phenomenal adventure home.

Following on from Toy Story, Friday, 23 December’s film will be Toy Story 2, screening at 5pm.

This time around, the fun and adventure continues when Andy goes off to summer camp and the toys are left to their own devices. Things shift into high gear when an obsessive toy collector kidnaps Woody, who hasn’t the slightest clue that he is a highly valued collectible. It’s now up to Buzz Lightyear and the gang from Andy’s room (Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Rex and Hamm) to spring into action and save their pal from winding up as a museum piece.

There’s plenty of excitement and fun as the toys get into one predicament after another in their daring race to get home before Andy does.

TV2 Holiday Specials
Monday through Friday at 7pm

Each night this week at 7pm, TV2 will be screening a half-hour holiday special from some of your favourite animated characters, starting with Prep & Landing, on Monday, 19 December.

Ever wondered how Santa gets around so many houses on Christmas Eve? Elves of course! Prep & Landing is the story of Wayne (voice of Dave Foley), an elf who believes that Christmas is just a job.

After working for 227 years preparing homes for Santa’s arrival, Wayne wonders if all his efforts make any difference. His patience is put to the test when he is paired with Lanny (voice of Derek Richardson), an idealistic rookie who embraces the spirit of the holiday season. The elves encounter unexpected challenges on their mission, and Wayne learns that his job does indeed have an impact in a very surprising way.

On Tuesday, 20 December, Wayne and Lanny will be back with Prep & Landing 2.

With the Big 2-5 fast approaching, Wayne and Lanny must race to recover classified North Pole technology that has fallen into the hands of a computer-hacking Naughty Kid! Desperate to prevent Christmas from descending into chaos, Wayne seeks out the foremost Naughty Kid expert to aid in the mission, a bombastic member of the Coal Elf Brigade who also happens to be his estranged brother, Noel.

On Wednesday, 21 December, just when Shrek thought he could finally sit back, relax and enjoy his happily-ever-after with his new family, the most joyous of all holidays arrives in Shrek The Halls.

It’s Christmas Eve, and everyone is filled with holiday cheer, except for Shrek. He isn’t exactly the picture of yuletide joy, but for the sake of Fiona and the kids, he tries to get into the spirit of things as only an ogre can.

Unfortunately, everyone seems to have their own ideas about what Christmas is all about, so when Donkey, Puss in Boots, Gingy and the whole gang try to join in on the fun, Shrek’s plans for a cozy family celebration end up spiraling into one truly unforgettable Christmas.

Starring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas, this is a half-hour of holiday entertainment with everyone’s favourite ogre family.

On Thursday, 22 December, join TV2 for a brand new holiday adventure starring everyone’s favourite Central Park Zoosters in Merry Madagascar.

When Santa and his sleigh unexpectedly crash-land on Madagascar, the jolly gentleman gets a case of amnesia. So it falls to Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria—along with the ever-inventive penguins—to deliver the presents and save Christmas. And it doesn’t hurt that Santa’s sleigh just might be able to make a little trip to New York City, so they can finally return to their beloved home!

But during their appointed rounds, the four re-discover the magic of giving, and that it is ultimately more important than their own wish to return home. Throw in a long-lasting North Pole/South Pole rivalry between the penguins and Santa’s reindeer, magic flying dust and a King Julien-based holiday called (what else?) ‘Julianuary,’ and Merry Madagascar serves up a comic holiday story like no other!

Starring the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Then, on Friday, 23 December, it’s a Kung Fu Christmas with the Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special.

But this season is far from merry for Po. With the Winter Festival coming up, Po is asked to host the exclusive formal banquet for the Masters of Kung Fu. A great honour, but Po’s father Mr Ping has planned his restaurant’s party for the same evening. Mr Ping refuses to move the party, cook for Po’s banquet, or even forgive his son for not being able to attend his event.

As Po struggles to deal with his conflicting responsibilities, he must decide who needs him more – and the solution to his problems might come from the least likely of places.

Starring the vocal talents of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu and Seth Rogen.

Comedy Christmas Special – A Feast of Funny
Wednesday, 21 December at 8:30pm

It’s laugh out loud Christmas cheer as some of the best local and international acts come together for TV2’s Christmas Comedy Special – A Feast of Funny, screening tonight at 8:30pm.

Filmed in front of a live audience at Auckland’s Sky City Theatre, A Feast of Funny is hosted by British comedian Jason Cook, who has recently been awarded his own BBC show. He is joined by some of Australia’s finest, such as Wil Anderson and Tom Gleeson (who’ll make you think twice before getting a massage on holiday), American comedian Des Bishop on his first trip to New Zealand (who managed to see the funny side in his battle with testicular cancer), and Irishman David O’Doherty (who’ll put you in his keyboard-accompanied songs if you do anything stupid).

Some of New Zealand’s finest are also in the fray, such as the always politically incorrect Brendhan Lovegrove, Simon McKinney and his incredible ability with accents (an authority on the seduction powers of Sean Connery’s) and South African-born self-described sex symbol Urzila Carlson.

Wrap your laughing gear around the Christmas Comedy Special – A Feast of Funny.

Missed Christmas Comedy Special – A Feast of Funny? Full episodes are available online. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the Ondemand link.

Christmas build-up on TV ONE

Jamie’s Best Ever Christmas
Saturday 17th December, 7.30 pm

The best recipes from all of Jamie Oliver’s past Christmas shows are brought together for this two-part festive show!

In this episode, Jamie gives the lowdown on all the recipes needed for the perfect, stress-free Christmas Day: simple and succulent turkey, tasty stuffing, golden roasties, luscious gravy, and all the vegetables.

There are puddings galore too, including a winter pudding bombe, DIY chocolate truffles and – of course – mince pies.

And it’s all washed down with Jamie’s recipe for mulled wine.

Missed an episode of Jamie’s Best Ever Christmas? The series is available online. Go to www.tvnz.co.nz and click ‘on demand.

My Big Fat Gypsy Christmas
Thursday 22nd December, 8.30 pm

The award-winning series returns with a Christmas special which promises to be the most revealing and entertaining of the Gypsy Wedding series.

Having gained extraordinary access, the cameras follow dress-maker Thelma Madine to a small town in Ireland where roaming travellers return each year to celebrate not only Christmas, but a string of extravagant weddings and First Communions.

It’s also a chance to catch up with some of the characters from the TV ONE series, such as Jose and Swanley who are expecting their first baby.

Ex bare-knuckle fighter Paddy Doherty and wife Roseanne are coming to terms with spending their first Christmas without any of the children around.

As well as peeling back yet another intriguing layer of traveller culture, this festive special is packed with over-the-top parties and of course huge dresses.

Christmas on TVNZ Heartland

Christmas on Heartland
Saturday 24 December, from 3.30pm

Christmas on Heartland takes a trip down memory lane with classic television moments from across the decades and a number of first plays for the channel, including New Zealand’s first animated feature film, and great family movie, Footrot Flats: The Dog’s (Tail) Tale.

Christmas Eve sees two cooking specials with Jo Seagar’s Easy Peasy Christmas (at 3pm), followed by A Taste Of Christmas with flamboyant foodie, Peta Mathias, who hits the gastronomic road with three festive picnic ideas for the holiday season (at 3.30pm).

At 6.30pm, our Kiwi Gold line-up has an It’s In The Bag Christmas special from 1988 with host John Hawkesby, then the 1977 Top Town Final presented by Howard Morrison and radio host Paddy O’Donnell, which features short shorts, jockettes, greasy poles and ‘balloon baloney’.

Watch Sir Howard Morrison in his prime – wearing a white suit and a big smile at 8.30pm. This show is a cabaret performance with all of Morrison’s hallmarks – big musical anthems, a few laughs and a lacing of Māori culture.

Following on is the Country Calendar Spoof Special from 1999. Ask any regular Country Calendar viewers what shows they remember and inevitably the answer is ‘the spoofs’ – satirical episodes that screened unannounced. Sometimes there was outrage, but mostly the public enjoyed having the wool pulled over their eyes.

On Christmas day at 7.30pm is the Heartland premiere of Footrot Flats: The Dog’s (Tail) Tale. Made in 1986, it was developed from Murray Ball’s widely syndicated newspaper cartoon Footrot Flats, and follows Wal Footrot and his nameless border collie, ‘Dog’.

Christmas Day also sees an hour-long special of A Taste Of Christmas with Peta Mathias, followed by the feature The End Of The Golden Weather (at 4pm), A Summer Place, which explores the past, present and future of the Kiwi bach (or ‘Crib’ as it is known in the deep South) with presenter Maggie Barry; A Country Calendar 40th Anniversary Special (at 9.30pm); and John Rowles Ladies And Gentlemen.