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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 10:44 GMT
Piper and Lucas top BBC Christmas
Billie Piper
Billie Piper stars alongside Julie Walters in The Ruby in the Smoke
Adaptations of novels The Ruby in the Smoke and Wind in the Willows are among the BBC's Christmas TV highlights.

Billie Piper stars as a feisty heroine in an adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke, while Matt Lucas appears in Wind in the Willows as Toad.

There will be a Doctor Who special, while Pauline Fowler is set to leave EastEnders in dramatic fashion.

Top of the Pops is returning with a Christmas special featuring the Scissor Sisters and The Killers.

Movies High School Musical and Pirates of the Caribbean will also be shown.

They are among a film line-up which includes Monsters Inc, Calendar Girls, Kill Bill and The Hours.

Roger Allam
The Thick of It returns with Roger Allam as the opposition leader
Roger Allam, who has appeared recently in spy drama Spooks and fictional film The Queen, is to play the leader of the opposition in a one-off episode of award-winning political satire The Thick of It.

The government minister played by Chris Langham - currently facing sexual assault charges - has been sent on a trip to Australia during the Christmas parliamentary recess, leaving his political rivals "free to float a few new policies".

Among other comedies will be an edition of Little Britain featuring Ronnie Corbett, Steve Coogan and Peter Kay, where popular characters are taken overseas.

Dracula remake

Factual programming includes an Arena documentary in which Stephen Fry showcases one of his favourite shows, long-running BBC Radio 4 soap The Archers.

Nigella Lawson will advise on how to cope with - and enjoy - festive cooking, while Anthea Turner is on hand to help two "hopeless housewives" in Anthea's Perfect Christmas.

Ronnie Corbett and Peter Kay
Ronnie Corbett and Peter Kay will appear in a Little Britain special
Marc Warren heads the cast of a fresh adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Greg Wise will star when MR James's classic ghost story Number 13 is reworked for 2006.

The BBC has also confirmed that The Sarah Jane Adventures, a spin-off from Doctor Who written by Russell T Davies, will be part of its Christmas schedule.

It is based on one of the Doctor's companions, investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith.

Full details of transmission times will not be confirmed for another fortnight, after which the Christmas editions of TV listings magazines will be published.


SEE ALSO
This Life's Ferdy not coming back
23 Oct 06 |  Entertainment
Doctor Who spin-off set for CBBC
14 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
Langham absent from comic special
13 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
Richard 'quit soap over wedding'
07 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Toad role for Little Britain star
27 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Dr Who star in BBC Pullman drama
09 Jan 06 |  Entertainment

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