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24 September 2014
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From Sadlers Wells to the Queen Vic - the BBC is alive to the sound of Christmas music

Valentina Formenti and Neil Penlington as the Cupids; Etta Murfitt as Clara in The NutcrackerFrom The Nutcracker to an EastEnders variety special to singalonga Sound Of Music on BBC ONE;

from Die Fledermaus to Cinderella on BBC TWO;

from a West End show to a musical edition of Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps on BBC THREE;

and from country classics to soul legends on BBC FOUR - there is a world class performance for every taste on the BBC this Christmas - including a CBBC Panto!

Stunning – and award-winning - performances in original British dramas also add to the mix over the Christmas season.

The Young Visiters (sic) stars Jim Broadbent and Hugh Laurie, in a colourful, quirky and enchanting view of Victorian London as seen through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl; Pauline Quirke and Lesley Sharp star in Carrie's War - a beautiful and moving production of the Nina Bawden classic novel - and Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Hugh Bonneville and Jim Broadbent join forces in the premiere of the Oscar-winning BBC Film Iris.

"This year the BBC has an all-star line up of performances from the world's most talented entertainers," says Jana Bennett, Director of Television.

"Great British comedy, dazzling arts spectaculars, West End musicals and country and soul music legends are just part of a diverse schedule that will provide a Christmas treat for every viewer, their family and their friends."


"A range of comedy performances to make the nation laugh are the key to the BBC ONE schedule this Christmas," says Lorraine Heggessey, Controller of BBC ONE.

Ricky Gervais as David Brent, Martin Freeman as Tim, Lucy Davis as Dawn and Mackenzie Crook as Gareth in The Office

"The Office, Posh and Becks' Big Impression, French and Saunders, My Family, Absolutely Fabulous and Dame Edna are central to a season with something for everyone.

"And it doesn't stop there - the range of programmes goes from Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker to the EastEnders Christmas Party, and from the premiere of Stuart Little to The Young Visiters - a beautiful and quirkily original drama starring Jim Broadbent and Hugh Laurie."

A huge range of festive comedy is spearheaded by The Office making its debut on BBC ONE and the final instalment of the Only Fools and Horses Christmas trilogy.

Other comedy highlights include seasonal editions of My Family, Posh and Becks' Big Impression, Dame Edna - Live At The Palace, Absolutely Fabulous and French & Saunders.

Entertainment highlights include a Test The Nation end of year quiz, family fun with Dear Father Christmas and I Want To Be Mary and a behind the scenes look at The Story Of Absolutely Fabulous.

Further musical highlights include ALL NEW Top Of The Pops Christmas special and Michael Parkinson presenting Christmas Night With The Stars.

Live performance provides a festive treat for BBC ONE viewers with Matthew Bourne's acclaimed production of The Nutcracker making its television debut and Cirque du Soleil's unique brand of spectacular returning to the small screen.

Drama that all the family can enjoy has long been a staple of BBC ONE's Christmas schedule and this year is no exception.

Lyndsey Marshal as Ethel, Jim Broadbent as Alfred and Hugh Laurie as Bernard in The Young Visiters
Jim Broadbent and Hugh Laurie star in The Young Visiters (sic), a quirky and charming view of Victorian London through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl, while a new adaptation of Nina Bawden's wartime classic Carrie's War stars Pauline Quirke.

There are also seasonal treats from a whole host of other BBC ONE drama favourites.

Monarch of The Glen
takes a trip back in time for a turn of the century Hogmanay special, while Christmas is celebrated 1950s style in Born and Bred.

Perennial favourites EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City also celebrate the festive season with seasonal editions.

Albert Square doesn't just feature in EastEnders, however. The regular cast and some favourite faces from Walford's past join forces with an array of famous names from the world of entertainment, sport, cookery and music to throw a truly unique variety show.

Hosted by Shane Richie, EastEnders Christmas Party will feature Liberty X, Lulu, Jo Brand, Suggs, Greg Rusedski and Richard E Grant for the best night's entertainment the Queen Vic has ever seen - with Mike Reid pulling pints behind the bar and Clarissa Dickson Wright serving up a Christmas feast.

And completing the Christmas treat for BBC ONE viewers is a line up of feature films which includes terrestrial premieres of family favourites Stuart Little and Mulan, and hit comedies Galaxy Quest, What Women Want and Meet The Parents.

Adding a whole new dimension to festive movies The Sound Of Music and The Wizard Of Oz will also be broadcast in interactive 'singalonga vision' with digital viewers being able to sing along to subtitled lyrics added to two of the UK's best loved musicals simply by pressing the red button.

BBC ONE Christmas highlights - schedule information


BBC TWO provides an eclectic mix this festive season with an alternative Christmas treat for every member of the family.

A Restoration Christmas special, nature at its most dangerous in Wild Battlefields and the premiere of Iris - the acclaimed BBC Film starring Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Hugh Bonneville and Jim Broadbent - are just some of the channel highlights.

Celebrity Mastermind will tax the nation's post Christmas brains as well as those of its famous contestants David Blunkett and Shaun Williamson; while Grumpy Old Christmas will be entering into the seasonal spirit with a slightly more cynical view of the festive season.

BBC TWO will also celebrate Bruce Forsyth's return to the corporation with Brucie Night - including a documentary on his life as one of Britain's most popular entertainers, his edition of Room 101 and previously unseen footage of his famous appearance on Have I Got News For You.

Cutting edge comedy adds to the festive mix with two topical Dead Ringers specials, The Kumars' unique take on yuletide hospitality and a glimpse of Christmas celebrity style through Doubletake's distorting lens.

Plus Porridge and The Good Life return to the BBC's screens with A Life On The Box in which viewers can see how comedy icons Fletcher and Margot Leadbetter have fared in the years since they were last seen on the UK's screens.

Performance highlights on BBC TWO include Johann Strauss's opera Die Fledermaus and the Prokofiev ballet Cinderella while other treats include the movie premieres of High Fidelity, Anna And The King and the acclaimed French animation Belleville Rendezvous.


BBC THREE's first Christmas schedule features the television premiere of Our House - The Musical featuring the music of the Eighties most prolific hitmakers - Madness.

Filmed live at the Cambridge Theatre at the end of its West End run it features two new Madness songs as well as some of the band's greatest hits, including Baggy Trousers and It Must Be Love.

Comedy favourites on THREE include an episode of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps - staged as a musical comedy extravaganza! - and the 3 Non-Blondes causing Christmas chaos.


BBC FOUR celebrates its second Christmas with a season of dramas by the prolific BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning writer Andrew Davies.

The season includes House of Cards, A Very Peculiar Practice, Mother Love, The Signalman, Vanity Fair and Tipping the Velvet.

The channel will also broadcast a new interview with Davies in which he discusses what themes attract and motivate him in his work.

Featuring exclusive interviews with John Cleese and Terry Jones, Time Shift - Missing Believed Wiped will screen some of TV's finest comedy moments recently unearthed from the archives.

In addition to this shows not seen since their original transmission in the Sixties will be screened - including At Last The 1948 Show from John Cleese and Graham Chapman and Spike Milligan Offers A Series Of Unrelated Incidents At Current Market Prices.

Celebrating the massive international popularity and worldwide influence of soul music with a Soul Weekender, BBC FOUR will screen two new documentaries exploring some of the genre's rich history and some classic concerts.

The channel will also explore a completely different musical area with country music from Dolly Parton and Nanci Griffith and an exclusive concert from Emmylou Harris.


For younger members of the family, the BBC's two dedicated children's channels offer some seasonal treats over the festive season.

On CBeebies, take a Christmas trip to Balamory for a winter special in The Snow Flake Fairy.

On the CBBC Channel Sleeping Beauty Uncovered sees a star-studded cast of CBBC presenters update this classic tale in a modern pantomime.

Fearne Cotton and Barney Harwood star as the Princess and Prince, while the mischievous Dick and Dom are two halves of a pantomime horse.

The Evil Warlock (Ortis) does his best to scupper the plans for the princess while Angellica Bell plays the Queen and Simon Thomas is the King.

Notes to Editors

More information on the offerings this Christmas from the BBC's digital channels - BBC THREE, BBC FOUR, CBBC and CBeebies - is available through the link below:

Have A Very Merry Digital Christmas! (25.11.03)

Other related links

Christmas with BBC Entertainment (18.12.03)

Celebrate Christmas with BBC Religion & Ethics (05.12.03)

BBC ONE Christmas 2003 highlights (02.12.03)

Feature films on BBC Television this Christmas

All the BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview, the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well as on satellite and cable.

Freeview offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services from BBCi, as well as 11 national BBC radio networks.



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