Two Thousand Years (11.00 am ITV). Christianity in the third century AD.
Desert Island Discs (11.15 am R4). Astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell.
5 Live Report (12 noon R5). "Experimenting with Us". Drug trials and the human guinea-pigs who don't know they are.
» Castaway Christmas Diary (12.30 BBC1). The news from Taransay (also Wed 10.25, Thurs 11.05, Fri 11.20, Sat 10.00, Sun 1.10 and 10.35).
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (3.00 R4). The usual seasonal music from King’s College, Cambridge (repeated on Radio 3 at 2.00 on Christmas Day).
» Bach Year (4.45 R3). On his Christmas Oratorio . (Parts 1–3 of which can also be heard and seen, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner, on BBC Knowledge from 7.00 tonight.)
A Christmas Carol (5.20 C4). Unusually faithful Dickens adaptation starring Patrick Stewart, Joel Grey and a mostly British cast – but originally made for US television (and shown there last year).
» Sunday Feature : The Ballad of Reading Gaol (5.45 R3). Bournemouth University’s Sean Street introduces a reading of Oscar Wilde’s poem by Simon Callow.
Lorna Doone (6.05 BBC1, also Tuesday 7.00). This year’s "prestige" Christmas drama from the BBC.
The Nativity (7.15 R4). Repeat of the National Theatre rendering of Tony Harrison’s medieval mystery play version.
» Time Team : The Real King Arthur (7.10 C4). To go with repeats of the US-made miniseries Merlin (2.05 C4 and Monday 1.10), Tony Robinson and experts look for the truth behind the Arthurian legends.
» Sunday Play : The Importance of Being Earnest (7.30 R3). A starry cast in a new production of the Wilde classic, directed by Howard Davies. (The famous 1952 film starring Edith Evans is on BBC2 on January 2 at 1.20)
» Behold the Man (8.00 R2). Final programme in series: the crucifixion in history and theology.
Camelot (9.00 History Channel). More Arthurian investigation: this repeat includes the expertise of David Freke (Liverpool University).
When Christmas was Illegal (10.10 R4). Accounts of the decade (1649–60) when seasonal celebrations were outlawed.