The Thames fireworks may be off, but in the UK, Jools Holland, Graham Norton and co. will still fight for your drunken attention.
Parties on Virtual New Year’s Eve
You may not be able to see your real-life friends, but to keep you company on British television, there are a bunch of TV celebrities. Paddy McGuinness is kicking things off at 9 p.m. on BBC One. With The Big New Year’s In, which promises musical guests, trivia and a look back at 2020 with a “live extravaganza” (Do we need this, Paddy, really?) That followed at 10 p.m. A festive special with Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan and Tom Hanks from The Graham Norton Show.
And at 11:30 p.m., before the countdown to midnight on Big Ben, Alicia Keys takes us through her hits with “Rocks New Year’s Eve”
Jools Holland is back with his annual Hootenanny on BBC Two, from 11.15pm to 1.20am. Celeste, Sir Tom Jones, Michael Kiwanuka, Róisín Murphy, Rick Wakeman, Ruby Turner, Chris Difford and the Pipes and Drums of the Scots Guards 1st Battalion will accompany him and his Rhythm and Blues Ensemble.
We will enjoy a Susan Calman hour for Hogmanay 2020 on BBC Scotland, beginning at 11:30 p.m., where she is joined by a bevy of Scottish stars.
The Last Leg of the Year is provided by Channel 4, but the look back at 2020 by Adam Hill, Josh Widdicombe, and Alex Brooker will only be available to watch until 11 pm – when you’re cruelly left to your own devices.
Much like the government of ours.
On ITV, at 9pm – and just in time for the bongs – you can retreat to the warmth of 2012 and the best Bond film in recent memory, Skyfall.
With the horrible Ben Stiller sequel Meet the Fockers, which runs from 11pm, Channel 4 continues the nightmare of this terrible year, while relief follows at 12.55pm in the form of the excellent East Is East.
TCM demonstrates the masterful horror of 1960s Rosemary’s Baby beginning at 11:40 p.m. for those looking to end 2020 with horror and dread, while those looking for a company for a rush can tune in at 11:15 to Film4 for Withnail and I.
At 9pm on Comedy Central, Austin Powers: Foreign Man of Mystery comes on, and Sky Cinema has the best New Year’s movie ever, Sleepless in Seattle, at 10:15pm.
Except for something totally different now,
Streaming platforms have a range of tidbits to sell that will ensure you don’t even note us slipping into 2021 if you want to stop old-fashioned linear TV. There’s the funny, but hilarious film Bridgerton on Netflix, all about the zeitgeist and stunning costumes, Midnight Sky stars George Clooney on a ruined Earth as a lone scientist (maybe that’s too close to reality), and We Can Be Heroes is silly Robert Rodriguez fun for the entire family.
Disney+ has the newly released Spirit, a great Pixar tonic to complete the year with. There’s also a range of Disney classics to enjoy, and The Mandalorian’s second season if you haven’t had time to catch up on the adventures of Baby Yoda.
This holiday season, Amazon Prime has a bit of a dearth of new material, but there’s still this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, Parasite, Carol’s touchingly beautiful Cate Blanchett romance (full of lush snowy landscapes), and Grey’s Anatomy’s 15 seasons – if you just want to make sure you’re stocked for the rest of the year with stuff to watch.