Christmas with the BBC

Monday 7 December 2009, 10:32

Jana Bennett Jana Bennett Director, BBC Vision

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On Friday we published a sneak preview of our Christmas line-up and today I want to tell you a bit more about what is coming up on BBC television over Christmas and the holiday season. We are aiming to create a television schedule which gives viewers a chance to share big moments, especially on BBC One, which is why we have so much original programming over the period across our channels.

I am pleased that this year BBC Television's commissioners, channel teams and programme makers have delivered one of our best ever holiday schedules. There's a cracking list of specials from Britain's best comedy talent from Catherine Tate and Victoria Wood to the Outnumbered family. We will all bid an emotional farewell to David Tennant in one of the most dramatic and spellbinding exits in Doctor Who history, and the much-loved children's book The Gruffalo comes to life on screen for the very first time. I am also looking forward to the Orson Welles season on BBC Four, and modern dance courtesy of the Ballet Boyz on BBC Three bringing us The Rite of Spring. I saw the filming in London's East End last month and I can promise viewers that BBC Three will bring new audiences to Stravinsky's wonderful ballet through this original interpretation.

There's also a whole host of drama and comedy, a celebration of food and a wide range of big family films, with the Incredibles one of the highlights on BBC One.

We have planned for the arts to take centre stage on BBC Two, with the Royal Shakespeare Company's acclaimed production of Hamlet with David Tennant demonstrating his wonderful range as an actor alongside Patrick Stewart - another one of Britain's finest. This production is a small miracle of planning. It was shot after the RSC production had ended, in a palatial but abandoned seminary in north London. When I saw the gravediggers' scene being filmed, the cast had gathered after getting time off from other plays, film and TV commitments in order to be reunited. So we will present the original cast and director of Hamlet so that an even wider audience can see it. The Private Life of a Christmas Masterpiece, also on BBC Two, celebrates another great work as we look at the Mystic Nativity by Botticelli. And this is to mention just a few highlights. More shows will be available in high definition than ever before - and remember, with BBC iPlayer there's no need to argue over the remote.

Happy Christmas!

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