Cliff Parisi, Annabelle Apsion, Daniel Laurie
Photo: Neal Street Production/BBC (PBS)

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, December 25. All times are Eastern.  

Top pick

Call The Midwife (PBS, 9 p.m.): How did they pull this off? It’s not like Call The Midwife has Game Of Thrones money to burn. Yet that photo doesn’t lie: Call The Midwife secured the one and only Santa Claus for a guest spot. What a get! Game Of Thrones, Ed Sheeran is no Kris Kringle. Big Little Lies, PBS will see your Meryl Streep and raise you a Jolly Old Saint Nick. This is like that time that Alias convinced David Cronenberg to play a psychedelic neurologist in back to back episodes, only instead of one of the preeminent directors of the body horror subgenre dropping in for a quick story, it’s a legendary figure of folklore, taking time out of his busy shopping mall schedule to hang out with the nuns of Nonnatus House.

Whatever they did to make it happen, it’s impressive. Calling it now: Call The Midwife will win the Outstanding Casting Emmy for the Christmas Special in which they got the one and only Sinterklaas to turn up on set.

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Regular coverage

Wild card

Doctor Who (BBC America, ongoing): BBC America’s very Whovian Christmas continues, and for our money, the network’s saved the best for the big day. Take it away, Nick Frost!

“Last Christmas” (5:25 p.m.), like many of the best Christmas stories, has a melancholy spooky streak that nicely cuts the episode’s sentimentality. (This is a Steven Moffat joint, there’s no way it wouldn’t be at least a little bit sentimental.) It also includes one of the all-time great organic uses of a pop Christmas tune (Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everybody”), a cool-ass monster, and we’ll say it louder for the people in the cheap seats, Nick Frost playing Santa Claus. Enjoy, and happy holidays.

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