Paddy lets ‘The Big New Year’s In’ with us

New Year’s Eve;The Big New Year’s In; (BBC1, 9pm)

It’s safe to say that most of us will be glad to see the back of 2020, so in theory, this should be a night to celebrate as we hope for better things in 2021.

However, if you normally celebrate New Year’s Eve by heading to a packed pub or party, linking arms with strangers to sing Auld Lang Syne, or kissing everyone in the vicinity at midnight, then this December 31 is probably going to look a bit different.

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Thankfully, whether you are having to spend a rare New Year’s Eve in or think the night is overhyped and prefer to stay on the sofa anyway, the BBC has got you covered.

Kate Phillips, Acting Controller of BBC1, says: “BBC1 will be hosting an extremely entertaining New Year’s Eve night in, one that the whole nation is invited to.”

The man extending the invite for The Big New Year’s In is Paddy McGuinness. Compared to many people, he’s had a busy 2020 – he saw Top Gear make the move to BBC1 and, along with Freddie Flintoff, brought us Total Wipeout: Freddie & Paddy Take Over.

So, he should be in a pretty good mood as he gets a night of entertainment underway, as he’s joined by celebrity guests for fun, music, games and surprises, including a 2020 quiz that viewers can play along with at home. The night continues with The Graham Norton Show: New Year’s Eve Show (although Scottish viewers will get this later in the night as the Hogmanay celebrations get under way), which has a very impressive line-up, including Hollywood A-lister Tom Hanks.

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There’s also an appearance from Emily Blunt and Jamie Dornan, who have teamed up in the romantic drama Wild Mountain Thyme, which has been causing a stir online due to the Irish accents in the trailer. Will Graham weigh in with his expert opinion?

Jessica Chastain provides the lowdown on her new spy thriller The 355, Nish Kumar gives his satirical take on the past 12 months, and if your New Year’s Resolution involves eating better, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has some helpful advice. Meanwhile, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, whose online kitchen discos helped lighten the mood over the summer, will be performing her single Crying at the Discotheque.

The countdown to midnight continues, for non-Scottish viewers, with Alicia Keys Rocks New Year’s Eve, recorded on location in Los Angeles. And while there will be no firework display at the London Eye this year, there will be the chimes of Big Ben to usher in 2021. Proving that some other traditions endure, pandemic or not, there will be also be Jools’ Annual Hootenanny on BBC2.

Admittedly, it’s a little bit different this year. Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra are joined by artists including Celeste, Tom Jones, Michael Kiwanuka, Roisin Murphy, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, Ruby Turner and Rick Wakeman, but there will also be archive clips of Hootenanny performances from the likes of Jamiroquai, Rudimental and Ella Eyre, Madness, ABC and Aloe Blacc to see us into New Year.

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