There is something typically endearing about the scheduling of All Creatures Great and Small, Christmas Special (Channel 5, Thursday, 9pm). It ambles on to screens in the week before the Christmas big hitters arrive, politely inviting the viewer to start the season gently with an hour’s viewing after which all will seem right with the world.

That’s a task more difficult than ever this year. It is 1940, war has upended millions of lives and there is more loss and upheaval to come. Skeldale House is missing two of its pillars. Tristan is off serving with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, while James is starting his RAF training locally and waiting to hear in which role he will serve.

Plans have been made for a heavily pregnant Helen to drive over to the RAF training base to visit James on Christmas Day. But what tends to happen to best laid plans in Christmas specials, especially when there is snow due? Quite.

Though James thinks he has put his veterinarian work to one side, he is called upon to help out the base’s mascot, an injured kestrel by the name of Georgie. With morale already running low after the loss of several pilots, Georgie being laid up is an omen the base can do without. Can James help, despite injured birds of prey being far from the bread and butter fare of your average country vet?

When All Creatures Great and Small returned rebooted in 2020 there were (understandable) fears that it would be a pale imitation of the much-loved original. It says much about the quality of the new drama, and its cast, that it feels part of the television landscape already.

Another firm fixture in British television is the subject of Imagine: Russell T Davies: the Doctor and Me (BBC1, Monday, 10.40pm). There has been something of a takeover by Doctor Who already, with three special episodes marking the show’s 60th anniversary. But the big day is December 25, when the new Doctor, played by Ncuti Gatwa, makes his debut proper.

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Davies is credited with bringing Doctor Who back from its slumbers with the help of Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, David Tennant and Catherine Tate among others. Yet he has been gone from the helm for a while writing other dramas, among them It’s a Sin and Years and Years. He has now teamed up with Disney+ to make the new series of Doctor Who, meaning bigger budgets, bigger sets, and great expectations. But hey, no pressure.

Davies bounds into the Cardiff studios where Doctor Who is made to find series host Alan Yentob, surrounded by props, waiting for him. “Look,” shouts the Welshman, “there’s the greatest evil in the universe. And a dalek!” Yentob chuckles, and with the business of hugs over it’s back to where it all began for Davies - age three, sitting in front of the telly, watching William Hartnell as Doctor Who. Davies says this was his first memory of life, never mind television.

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Watching Doctor Who turned into drawing science fiction comic strips and writing stories. Fast forward to reading English at Oxford, where he was bored and miserable. Perhaps the greatest bugbear for the Corrie and Crossroads-loving Davies was having to share a telly with hordes of rugby fans.

After a spell on the dole in Cardiff he landed a job as a writer on Crossroads, only for the show to be axed a couple of weeks later. But he carried on and bit by bit the work came in. He eventually left the |BBC for Granada and a seat in the writers room of Coronation Street, where he met Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley).

What has been Davies’ equivalent of Happy Valley, his staff pass to the top tier of TV writers? For some it will always be Doctor Who, for others it has to be It’s a Sin, Davies’ drama about a group of pals living and dying during the Aids crisis. Written from life, and from his heart, the Channel 4 series won two Baftas and deserved many more.

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This brief biography of the Doctor Who showrunner also functions as a guide to how TV works, and an introduction to some of the execs, many of them women, in charge of green-lighting ideas.

Whoever saw the potential in Here We Go (BBC1, Friday, 8.30pm) can give themselves a pat on the back. On the face of it, Tom Basden’s family-set comedy looks rather old-fashioned, but stick with it.

The writing helps to make it a success, but just take a look at that cast, starting with Alison Steadman as Sue, matriarch of the Jessop clan, Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd) as daughter-in-law Rachel, and Jim Howick (the scoutmaster in Ghosts) as her husband. Basden himself bags a part as Robin, Rachel’s unlucky in love brother. In the Christmas special Rachel is determined to keep up the Christmas traditions, come hell, high water, or any other disaster that might befall the family.