Here's what's worth watching on the telly this weekend between now and Sunday night as Christmas week gets into swing . . .

Pick of the weekend

A Christmas Carol, 9.00pm Sunday, BBC One

This three-parter written by Steven Knight (Taboo, Peaky Blinders) promises to be a darker and original take on Dickens’s iconic ghost story.

Misanthropic businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (Guy Pearce) refuses to treat Christmas as different to any other day, much to Bob Cratchit’s (Joe Alwyn) annoyance, as he is desperate to leave work and get home to his family on Christmas Eve.

Scrooge’s dead former business partner Jacob Marley (Stephen Graham) begs for peace in his coffin. Having repented himself, the Spirits have news for him. He will linger in purgatory until Scrooge himself repents, something Marley knows he will never do.

A spooked Scrooge is visited by Marley, who has a warning that Scrooge will be visited by three Spirits.

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New or Returning Shows

Robbie Williams: Radio 2 in Concert, 10.25pm Saturday, BBC Two

Recorded on November 29 as part of this year’s Radio 2 In Concert series, Robbie Williams performs brand new songs from his album The Christmas Present, as well as his biggest hits, in the BBC Radio Theatre, London.

Among the other music shows on the telly over the weekend are Harry Styles Live in Manchester (11.20pm Saturday, RTÉ 2) and Kylie: Showgirl - the Greatest Hits Tour (8.00pm Saturday, Sky Arts).

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Brendan Grace - A Late Late Show Tribute, 9.35pm Friday, RTÉ One

Hosted by Ryan Tubridy, this Late Late special pays tribute to one of Ireland's most-loved performers, Brendan Grace, who died earlier this year. Here's the Grace family talking to Ryan shortly after his death:

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The Chase Celebrity Christmas Special, 8.30pm Saturday, Virgin Media One

Bradley Walsh (below) presents a festive episode in which the Rev Kate Bottley, Dr Ranj Singh, Made in Chelsea's Georgia `Toff' Toffolo and comedian Ed Byrne pit their wits against ruthless quiz genius the Chaser in the hope of winning the prize pot.

The Christmas Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan, 10.30pm Sunday, BBC Two

Romesh Ranganathan heads to one of the coldest environments on earth. He gets an insider's guide of the Canadian Arctic and finds out if his preconceptions about it are right.

Ranganathan also features in The Reluctant Landlord (9.00pm Sunday, Sky One & NOW TV)

Searching for Sam: Adrian Dunbar on Samuel Beckett, 9.00pm Sunday, BBC Two

Samuel Beckett has fascinated Adrian Dunbar (below) since he was a young student. Now, 30 years after Beckett's death in Paris, Dunbar explores what made the man who made Waiting for Godot.

New to Download

The Witcher, from Friday, Netflix

Based on the best-selling fantasy series of books, the epic tale of fate and family finally arrives.

It's the story of intertwined destinies between three individuals in the vast world of The Continent, where humans, elves, witchers, gnomes, and monsters battle to survive and thrive and where good and evil is not easily identified.

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Mary Queen of Scots, from Sunday, Sky Cinema Premiere & NOW TV

Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie take on the royal roles in a sumptuous re-telling of one of the deadliest rivalries in history.

Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary Stuart returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne, which is under the rule of English monarch Queen Elizabeth I.

As the two queens regard each other with a mix of fear and fascination, betrayal, rebellion, and conspiracies within each court imperil both thrones - and change the course of history.

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The Two Popes, from Friday, Netflix

From Fernando Meirelles, the Academy Award-nominated director of City of God, comes an intimate story of one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years.

Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world.

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Ending this Weekend

Cat Hospital, 8.30pm Friday, RTÉ One

Staff Nurse Rachel is going to hand-rear two kittens for the next twelve weeks, hopefully by then, an adoptive family is found. New vet Aisling makes her first house call. An emergency call is made to the cat hospital after cat Jessie is hit by a truck.

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Country Music by Ken Burns, 9.30pm Friday, BBC Four

This epic nine-part series culminates with an episode that explores the years from 1984-1996, a period when it was questioned whether country could stay true to its roots.

Garth Brooks rose to international superstardom, Johnny Cash returned with a bang, and 'new traditionalists’ such as Reba McEntire and the Judds emerged.

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Have I Got News for You, 9.00pm Friday, BBC One

Veteran HIGNFY team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop are joined for the final show of the year by guest host Charlie Brooker and panellists Emma Barnett and Phil Wang.

The Hit List, 7.30pm Saturday, BBC One

Marvin and Rochelle Humes host as this week’s teams feature Mark and Stewart from Leicester, and Sindy and Vanel from London, and from Belfast, Kelly and her uncle Tony.

Home Rescue, 7.30pm Sunday, RTÉ One

Over the years, Jim (below) has been too embarrassed to invite neighbours and friends over but longs to get back to entertaining. With only three days, can Róisín, Peter and the Home Rescue team transform his home in time for his 70th birthday party?

His Dark Materials, 8.00pm Sunday, BBC One

As the Magisterium closes in, Lyra (Dafne Keen) learns more about Asriel’s (James McAvoy) rebellion.

But her assistance to him comes at great personal cost . . .

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Weekend Movies

The Irish Pub, 10.30pm Saturday, TG4

Alex Fegan's superb celebration of the traditional Irish publican eavesdrops on conversations in pubs in Connemara, Carlow, Monaghan, West Cork, Louth and Limerick.

Paul Gartlan of Gartlan’s in Kingscourt, county Cavan is a real scene-stealer, even when he’s standing behind the bar with arms folded, saying nothing.

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Peeping Tom, 10.00pm Friday, Talking Pictures TV

This is the film that basically ended the career of Michael Powell, widely regarded as one of Britain's greatest-ever directors.

It stars Carl Boehm as a serial killer who murders women while using a portable film camera to record their dying expressions of terror. It's grim, but is now considered a classic.

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Spectre, 9.30pm Sunday, RTÉ One

One of Daniel Craig's finest James Bond films - though not all critics agreed - sees 007 go rogue after receiving a cryptic message that sets him on the trail of a secretive criminal network.

While his colleagues face a new threat closer to home, Bond embarks on a globetrotting journey in search of the mastermind, who appears to have links to his own past and had involvement in previous events during Bond missions.

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Don't Miss

Coronation Street at Christmas, 9.00pm Friday, Virgin Media One & UTV

This is an absolute must-see for Corrie fans as it delves into Weatherfield's archive to showcase stories set during the festive season.

From weddings and babies to flings and fights, as well as those Christmas dinner-disasters and poignant goodbye - it's all here.

Contributors include Barbara Knox, Chris Gascoyne, Jane Danson, William Roache, Sue Nicholls, Simon Gregson, Jack P Shepherd, Helen Flanagan, Thelma Barlow and Julie Goodyear (below).

Click here for full TV listings