SHEILA needed help with some antlers, Phyllis was handing out the thermals, and an emergency stash of gypsy creams featured. Where else could one be, or want to be on Christmas Day, but with the good ladies, and a few gentlemen, who make up Call The Midwife, (BBC1 Christmas Day).

This being the Christmas special, something, er, special was required. Mother Mildred (Miriam Margolyes) had felt a stirring. God was telling her to open another branch of her midwife/nun combo organisation, but where in the world should they put it?

"Somewhere where good nursing and skilled midwives are desperately needed, where there is often no doctors for many miles, where the climate is our enemy and water and electricity both fickle friends at best,” she explained.

"Africa?" asked Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter).

"No," said Mother M. "We're going to the Outer Hebrides."

She presented it to the midwives as a way for them to get over a recent bout of flu, which seemed a rum reason to me but then I am not a doctor. Then again, neither is she. Sure enough, when the southerners got there after a long journey involving train, ferry and minivan they were frozen to the core and in need of those emergency gypsy creams. But such is the selfless nature of these gals they opted to serve the precious biscuits to the locals who trooped into the village hall for consultations. For a small place there was a lot of pregnancies. That's what happens when you don't have telly.

The midwives rolled up their sleeves and before you knew it everything was shipshape. Except for the lighthouse keeper’s wife, who had just given birth only to find that she was also suffering from appendicitis. Now that is a hard paper round. Even then, an operation on a well scrubbed kitchen table sorted matters and the midwives were on their way back to East London, heroines every one.

It can be hard to know which Christmas animation is going to be a keeper (The Snowman) or out with the wrapping paper come Boxing Day (Robbie the Reindeer). Two of this year’s strongest contenders were The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Christmas Eve, Channel 4) and The Snail and the Whale (BBC1, Christmas Day). The late, mighty Judith Kerr versus the wonderful Julia Donaldson.

The Snail and the Whale was the tale of a mollusc with an "itchy foot" who longed to go to sea. Hitching a ride on a passing whale, the snail (Sally Hawkins, with the whale played by Rob Brydon) discovered a world full of towering wonders. It made her feel small. But small creatures can do great things when needed. This was an animation for the Greta Thunberg generation, packed with lessons on the environment but wearing its learning lightly. Charming.

Not quite as sublime as The Tiger who came to Tea, but few things reach that bar. Kerr's spare tale stayed true to the 1960s era it came from, with a stay-at-home mum (Tamsin Greig), and a dad (Benedict Cumberbatch) who went out to work. The book could not have made half an hour's TV on its own, so fantasy sequences were added, plus a super catchy song from Robbie Williams. Kerr, having overseen the project, had ensured everything knitted together into the cosiest of Christmas jumpers. I’ll wager we will be seeing the tea-taking tiger again.

Mrs Brown's Boys (BBC1, Christmas Day) Has established its own Christmas traditions, some more questionable than others. I cannot believe it has taken this long, but the Glasgow made comedy show finally got round to ripping off It's A Wonderful Life, with Mrs Brown in the Jimmy Stewart role, wishing she had never been born. An angel (Curly from Coronation Street), hoping to win his wings, proceeded to show her the error of her ways.

Mrs Brown was not impressed with what she saw. "What have you done you wingless b******?" she asked the angel. I don't remember that line from Capra's classic. Earlier, Mrs Brown had told the Angel to "eff off", and there was much bucking this and bucking that. I don't mind the language, each to his/her own and all that, but there was not a laugh to be had in the entire show.

Ten years on from when the Essex lad met the girl from Barry Island we were back in Wales for Gavin & Stacey (BBC1, Christmas Day). Everyone was there, just as you remembered them, and it was great to see them all again. Just as well, since there wasn't much in the way of a story to gnaw on. Gavin and Stacey were not having sex, and Smithy had a new girlfriend, that was about it. The joy of Gavin and Stacey was always in the ensemble playing, with terrific comic actors, including Alison Steadman and Rob Brydon, to the fore. This lot can certainly come back.