Christmas is nearly here, and you know what that means: good company, good food and great telly. Christmas day soap specials have become a staple of Christmas in the UK over the years, and when you consider the drama that tends to unfold in these extended special episodes, they’re well worth watching. Who else still remembers the explosive reveal of Max and Stacey’s affair in EastEnders back in 2007? Exactly, we all do.

That’s especially true in 2020, with plenty of soap action to tide you over after you’ve stuffed your face full of turkey, roast potatoes and your nan’s homemade trifle. We outline when and where to watch the biggest Christmas Day soap specials right here.

Emmerdale Christmas Day special

25 December at 6pm GMT on ITV1

Christmassy wedding bells are ringing in the Yorkshire Dales, with Paddy Kirk and Chas Dingle finally set to tie the knot, and while that’s likely to be unmissable in itself, Emmerdale boss Jane Hudson has teased a separate surprise during the hour-long episode airing on Christmas Day.

"There's such a surprise box ready to be opened, I think all the viewers will be watching the screen with their hands over their face going, 'No, I did not see that coming!' I can't wait for the Christmas Day episode."

Coronation Street Christmas Day special

25 December at 7pm GMT on ITV1

We know a little more about what to expect from the hour-long Corrie Christmas special, thanks to ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo. Teasing the Christmas storylines back in November, Lygo confirmed that David and Shona Platt will take centre stage in one of the soap’s happier, heartwarming Christmas storylines following a difficult year for the couple.

It’s not all positive vibes and happy endings though; Leanne Battersby is set to face a tough Christmas with the recent death of her son Oliver. The soap’s latest love triangle of Todd Grimshaw, Billy Mayhew and Paul Foreman are also said to feature prominently in the Christmas special.

Eastenders Christmas Day special

25 December at 9:10pm GMT on BBC1

EastEnders is also set to showcase an hour-long episode on Christmas Day, but at the slightly later than usual time of 9:10pm GMT. As usual, Christmas is a tough time for those in Albert Square, with Mick Carter continuing to struggle with the realisations of childhood abuse while Linda looks elsewhere for love and affection.

It’s not all about the Carters though; BBC bosses have teased that Denise’s first Christmas with baby Raymond is set to take a dark turn following the return of an unexpected face. There’s also an unlikely romance set to blossom between two unexpected residents while another long-time couple face problems when old feelings return to the surface.

Safe to say it’ll be an emotional episode then!

Hollyoaks Christmas special

  • 21 December at 6pm GMT on Channel 4
  • 22 December at 6:25pm GMT on Channel 4
  • 23 December at 6pm GMT on Channel 4
  • 28 December at 6:30pm GMT on Channel 4
  • 29 December at 6pm GMT on Channel 4
  • 30 December at 6:30pm GMT on Channel 4
  • 4 January, time TBC on Channel 4

Unlike the other big soaps, there isn’t an episode of Hollyoaks airing on Christmas day itself – although that doesn’t mean the soap doesn’t have anything big planned. In fact, the episodes taking place between 21 December 2020 and 1 January 2021 are set to finally reveal the full sequence of the events of New Year’s Eve 2020.

That’s not all either – c’mon, this is Hollyoaks after all. As well as resolving the long-term storyline, there are love dilemmas aplenty with Sienna Blake finding herself stuck in a love triangle with Brody Hudson and Warren Fox. There’s also a sprinkling of murder, with Edward Hutchinson trying to murder Hollyoaks long-timer Tony Hutchinson and admitting that he killed Diane. But is she really dead? Well…

Throw in possible kidnap, drug dealing revelations and a New Year wedding and you’ve got a juicy Christmas Hollyoaks storyline.

What if I miss the Christmas Day specials?

While it’s always nice to get cosy after a nice big Christmas Dinner and watch the soaps with family, there’s every chance that you might miss one or two – especially with such a packed Christmas schedule.

The good news is that the EastEnders Christmas special will be available via BBC iPlayer shortly after airing, and the same is true of Emmerdale and Coronation Street with ITV Hub. Those wanting to catch up on all those episodes of Hollyoaks should head to All4.

That’s also how you’ll be able to watch the specials if you’re abroad and using a VPN like ExpressVPN. We outline how to watch BBC iPlayer from abroad separately, along with how to watch ITV Hub from abroad and How to watch All4 from abroad too.