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Yes, it has only just finished, but can you think of a better way to spend Christmas than by revisiting the time that Stuart Baggs gnawed on a showerhead? Or the time that Stuart Baggs tucked his jumper into his jeans and discovered that champagne revolted him? Or the time that Stuart Baggs invented the phrase "Hasta la vista, gravy"? Or the time that Stuart Baggs threatened to summon up a field full of imaginary ponies and make them charge into Alan Sugar as a way to demonstrate his aptitude for business? No, of course you can't.
It might not be to everyone's taste, but Miranda Hart's latest bout of broad slapstick silliness has been winning over a frightening number of viewers of late. You only have a few more days to catch the lot on iPlayer and, even if you've already seen it, it's probably the perfect fare for those too-full, slightly drunk, woefully inert, sofa-bound Christmas afternoons.
What is Christmas really about? Playing impenetrable parlour games with your family, that's what. And if you haven't got a family? Then this would be the perfect time to catch up on Only Connect, the Victoria Coren-fronted BBC4 quiz show. Watching it will definitely make you feel thick, but you're allowed to feel thick at Christmas.
Pete Versus Life
This sitcom came and went without much fuss in the summer. But even if you were put off by the gimmicky premise (two sports announcers give a running analysis on a young man's life) or the fact that star Rafe Spall looks like Olly Murs, it's worth investigating. Spall is likable as the bumbling titular twentysomething and the episodes all have good momentum – there are only five, so you can whip through the whole series and still have plenty of time left to visit those relatives you don't really care about.
The first series won the 2009 Bafta for best drama and, happily, the quality didn't subside during this year's follow-up. Thanks to its premise – some young Asbo types find themselves lumbered with special powers – Misfits is often described as Skins meets Heroes, although it's comfortably better than both. Funny, sexy, thrilling and often incredibly violent, it's worth clearing a day to acquaint yourself with this show. And if you're already acquainted, it's worth clearing a day to watch it all over again. Superb.
One Born Every Minute
The nativity is essentially the story of a baby being born against the odds. And so One Born Every Minute – Channel 4's fly-on-the-wall delivery-room documentary series – is basically the modern-day version of that. Perfect for anyone who thought the nativity could have done with a few more prolonged scenes of agonised screaming, or more sudden moments of absolute heart-in-mouth terror or – as with one case in the first episode – a moment where Joseph reveals himself to be a colossal berk who thinks that Mary's labour is an appropriate time to muck around with an inflatable rubber glove.
Admittedly, this excellent documentary series could rank as one of the least festive things to watch. It's hard to pick a single highlight from the five hour-long episodes – one of them is basically about all of Wakefield getting hammered and abusive at the same time – but following the student protests, the series closer about public order is a must-see.
Bit of a marathon, this. Ahead of next month's new series, every episode from the last seven years is on 4OD – if sitting through about 80 hours of a freewheeling, potty-mouthed council estate drama strikes you as an appropriately Christmassy thing to do.
To watch 30 Rock on British TV with any regularity, you effectively need to be a telepathic insomniac with the patience of Mother Teresa. Handily, though, the entire first run is currently available on Virgin Choice. It's the perfect introduction to the show – just enough episodes to get you hooked, but not enough for you to notice the gradual drop in quality over the next four seasons.
Hailed as the new Sex and the City upon its arrival, Lipstick Jungle turned out to be a notorious flop. For some reason, people just didn't want to see a show where Brooke Shields and Audrey from 24 relentlessly complain about how hard it is to maintain a personal life when you're wealthy and successful and nice to look at. But if you want to feel even more guilty for spending a week slobbing around and overeating, this is the show for you.
The Gadget Show
If you don't know whether any of the fancy electronics you've just unwrapped are much cop, there's a good chance that The Gadget Show – consistently one of Channel Five's best programmes – will have reviewed some of them this year. There are 20 hours of shows to sift through, but about 15 of these will be taken up by its bafflingly long viewer competition segments, and you can skip those.
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There are only two legitimate excuses for not watching The Trip over Christmas. The first is that you've already seen it, and the second is that you spent Christmas Day eating to such a relentless degree that the sight of food completely repulses you. If you don't fall into either of those categories, then a viewing is mandatory. The promos might have made this BBC series look like one long self-indulgent Michael Caine-off, but there's so much more to it than that. Steve Coogan gives a layered, pathos-drenched career-best performance – as himself, admittedly – and Rob Brydon proves to be his perfect foil. And Michael Winterbottom manages to make the Lake District look more beautiful than ever. It's extremely funny, too. Quite possibly the best TV series of the year.
If you haven't kept up with Mad Men's fourth season, then you haven't just been missing out on some of the most celebrated television of the year, but also Will Dean's peerless episode guides on the Guardian website, and that's a crime in itself. It's worth shelling out for the lot in one go, but if you only want to pick one episode, make it The Suitcase. Almost entirely a two-hander between Peggy and Don, it's enlightening and heartbreaking and scatological in equal measure, and your life will be improved by watching it.
Before anyone had seen it, signs weren't good for Steven Moffat's Sherlock. Not only was the original pilot an £800,000 write-off, but it also had to compete with Guy Ritchie's big-budget film about the same character. Luckily the the pilot was reshot and the film turned out to be a kind of steroid-ravaged episode of Jonathan Creek. This left Moffat's Sherlock looking even more impressive. Crammed with signifiers of the modern age, such as text messages, blogs and leisure centre swimming pools, each of the three 90-minute episodes is propelled by fiendishly clever writing and the wild velocity of Benedict Cumberbatch's lead performance. Martin Freeman loves it so much that he almost gave up a Hollywood career for it.
The general rule with Doctors is that they're like James Bonds – your favourite is whichever one you saw first. But Matt Smith made mincemeat of that theory this year the moment his gawky, bowtie-wearing, more explicitly alien Doctor arrived on the scene. Right from the opening scenes of the first episode – where Smith tests out his new mouth by eating all the food in a child's fridge – you're assured that the role is in the hands of a virtuoso. In fact, the only thing letting down the series is the new pointlessly Crayola-coloured Daleks that pop up and do nothing. If tomorrow's Christmas special will be your first taste of the current Doctor, this is the perfect moment to play catchup.
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