BBC unveils holiday lineup

Includes 'Wallace and Gromit,' 'Dr. Who' specials

LONDON -- Pulling out "all the stops," BBC director of vision Jana Bennett on Monday unveiled a festive Christmas lineup that includes a seasonal adventure for "Wallace and Gromit," a new version of classic thriller "The 39 Steps" and a Christmas edition of "Doctor Who," as well as Christmas specials for series "Gavin And Stacey," "The Royle Family," "Strictly Come Dancing" and "Top Gear."

"Wallace and Gromit" will return to the small screen in the telefilm "A Matter of Loaf and Death," which sees the duo set up the Top Bun bakery. Preoccupied with his burgeoning romance with baking temptress Piella Bakewell, Wallace is oblivious to the suspicious disappearance of a succession of local bakers, leaving the indomitable Gromit to turn sleuth and safe him in a comic murder mystery.

Rupert Penry Jones will play Robert Donat in a taut psychological thriller of a very different kind, a remake of the classic John Buchan wartime drama "39 Steps." Other seasonal specials include a haunting new version of ghost story "Crooked House" and Alan Davies reprising his role as magician-turned-sleuth "Jonathan Creek."

BBC2 will air fairytale opera "Hansel and Gretel,"while digiweb BBC4 will offer a "New Year's Day Concert" live from Vienna.

Television movie premieres over the Christmas period include "Shark Tale," "Wallace And Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit," "Superman Returns," "The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," "Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," "Madagascar" and "Starter for Ten.

"We've really pulled out all the stops this year to ensure a truly wonderful holiday schedule featuring the very best of British talent in a great lineup of exciting seasonal specials," Bennett said.
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