Watch a sneak preview of the BBC's Christmas shows

Friday 3 December 2010, 11:50

Jana Bennett Jana Bennett Director, BBC Vision

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You will probably already have seen details of some of the great programmes we have coming up this Christmas across all of BBC television. This week we published our final schedules for Christmas and last night we gave a sneak preview of our festive highlights to the press, and I though it would be nice to share the film with everyone here too.

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For me, Christmas and the holiday season is all about spending time with friends and families, board games, presents, carols, food and outdoor rambles to try and walk off the food, and of course tuning in to lots of great television. Every year at the BBC we aim to put on a great range of programmes that unite friends and family as well as appealing to a whole range of tastes.

This year there are an enormous amount of original commissions - from comedy and entertainment to music and children's drama - more than any other broadcaster. In fact this year there are no repeats in prime time on BBC One between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, and repeats on BBC Two have gone down again.

To see whether this year's schedule holds up against our ambition of appealing to all tastes I decided to do a quick (although not very scientific) survey of my own extended family to see what they are likely to be watching over the holidays.

My son is a keen Top Gear fan so he will be switching on to see Jeremy, Richard and James as they set out across the Middle East, following the route of the three wise men (although they'll be doing so in wholly unsuitable sports cars rather than on camels, of course) and asking the question 'what exactly is myrrh and where do you buy it?'

In the film here you will see the hair-raising moment when the boys first touch down and realise exactly what lies ahead for them.

My daughter, back from university, will be glued to the Strictly Christmas special (and Most Annoying People 2010 on BBC Three!).

Luckily for me my husband is a keen and talented chef, so he is sure to feast on Toast, the drama based on Nigel Slater's memoirs starring the wonderful Helena Bonham Carter. My sisters (one a literary expert, the other an artist) are both fans of BBC Four, so Dirk Gently, the Douglas Adams' adaptation with Stephen Mangan is a must, plus Jools' Annual Hootenany and the Live Aid drama, When Harvey Met Bob, because they were there!

My sisters-in law and brothers-in-law are all accomplished classical musicians and will definitely be tuning in to see Jonathan Kent's new production of Don Giovanni from Glyndebourne on BBC Two and on BBC Four, and Simon Russell Beale's joyous Sacred Music featuring composers including Bach, Mendelssohn and Handel.

Christmas every year means all of us watching Carols From Kings as well as wall-to-wall BBC One from EastEnders to the big films. Doctor Who is a huge event for us, and has opera diva Katherine Jenkins taking on her first acting role with the marvellous Sir Michael Gambon.

Ronnie Corbett has a new all-star sketch show, The One Ronnie, and then there's the welcome return of Matt Lucas and David Walliams to BBC One in their airport mockumentary Come Fly With Me. You'll get to see just a few of their comic characters here in the film including the check-in girl Melody and Taaj, one of the airport ground staff.

Across the whole festive season, I can't wait to watch the revival of Upstairs Downstairs with my mum in particular, as she loves period drama. I'll warn her, and all of you, to catch the monkey.

And I'm sure all the generations will be tuning in to see Tony Jordan's thoughtful retelling of The Nativity to enjoy the story of Christmas and to see Peter Capaldi transformed from being Malcolm Tucker in The Thick Of It to one of the three Magi.

I hope you enjoy this sneak preview film and that you find plenty to whet your appetite this Christmas on the BBC. Everyone who works for me - the channel teams and schedulers, the talented programme makers and the camera and studio crews, marketing and press teams - all spend months preparing for the Christmas season and I know all of us want to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and great viewing!

Jana Bennett is director of BBC Vision.

Comments made by writers on the TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Jana

    All very good - a few things there I will watch and enjoy.

    Any chance we can have the schedules on the website NOW please? The current schedule only goes up to 13th Decemmber.

    These are no longer state secrets so how about the licence fee payer getting a look and not just the press?

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    Comment number 2.

    WHAT A MARVELLOUS RICH VARIETY OF GREAT PROGRAMMES ON THE BEEB AGAIN THIS YEAR. BUT THE WORD" VARIETY" SHOULD BE MORE PROMINENT ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT WITH HAVING THE ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE ON AS THE ALTERNATIVE TO CHRISTMAS NIGHT WITH THE STARS FOR 2010 ON THROUGHOUT THE EVENING AS CAN BE WATCH LIGHTLY AS ENTERTAINMENT SO WE DONT HAVE TO BE CONSISTENTLY CONCENTRATING ON THE TV WHEN IT COMES TO WATCHING FILMS OR DRAMAS WHICH ARE ON WHEN WE SHOULD ALL BE ENJOYING OPENING GIFTS AND TALKING TO FAMILY MEMBERS. TOO MUCH GOING ON IN ONE NIGHT. THANKS GOD FOR SKY + OR DVD RECORDERS ETC . PLEASE RETHINK SCHEDULES!!

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    Comment number 3.

    #1 Agree 100%, All BBC Schedules should be on the website when released to the press, it's infuriating for this not to happen. It's a shame the BBC Press Office site doesn't release it's material online at the same time as the general and technical media gets it too.

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    Comment number 4.

    @ davepyper
    THERE IS NO NEED TO SHOUT

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    Great mix of programmes as always...I don't understand why so many people seem fit to complain and shout about it. TV is only meant to enhance our lives - not rule it. Why so many angry comments??

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    Comment number 6.

    ChrisCornwall (#3) - Thanks very much for your comment. I'm the editor of the Press Office website, so I cannot answer from a general scheduling perspective I'm afraid, but can hopefully address your point about what we publish on the Press Office site.

    We post Programme Information (PI) for TV and radio on a weekly basis here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/proginfo/ (TV on a Thursday, radio on a Friday), which is intended to assist the press in compiling their previews and features. It's important to stress that PI isn't intended to be a complete listing; it's more a highlights package.

    PI is published approximately 17 days in advance and we include what scheduling info we have at that time. A week later, when we receive notification of the final approved schedules we then amend transmission details if they have changed (marked in red) - this is usually about 10 days in advance of broadcast. This information goes on the site as and when we get it.

    Cheers
    Ben

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    Comment number 7.

    Please BBC Four programmers. I have asked several times if the BBC will transmit the New Years Concert on January 1,/ using the BBC HD Channel.// repeat HD channel,// as I know it will be on standard def TV. can I have the definitive answer now, please, and if not, why not ?
    thanks and a Happy New Year to those staff at the BBC who deserve one .

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    Comment number 8.

    Hello everyone

    I work in the BBC's TV scheduling department and wanted to respond to the comments regarding when we make our schedules available on BBC Online.

    We're aware that currently there's a gap between when the schedules for the Christmas period appear in listings magazines and when these subsequently become available on BBC Online.

    We're actively looking at what we might be able to do to improve this, but I wish it was as straightforward as you might think.

    I'll post on here as soon as we've come up with some firm plans, meantime I'd like to thank those who've commented for really valuable feedback.

    Happy Christmas everyone and I really hope you enjoy all the festive treats we've lined up.

    Troy

 

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