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24 September 2014
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Liverpool Nativity: Jodie McNee plays Mary and Kenny Thompson plays Joseph

Celebrate Christmas 2007 with music and reflection



This Christmas BBC Three presents a unique retelling of "the greatest story ever told".

 

Liverpool Nativity (Sunday 16 December, 8pm) is a contemporary take on the Christmas story and will come live from the streets of Liverpool.

 

Featuring over 300 cast and 150 technical crew the hour-long production will use a wealth of popular music from the best of Liverpool bands including The Beatles, The La's, The Zutons and many more. Leading the cast will be Geoffrey Hughes as Angel Gabriel, Cathy Tyson as Herodia and Jennifer Ellison as an angel.

 

To start the Christmas season, Britain's favourite soprano, Lesley Garrett, presents this year's Advent series.

 

Christmas Voices (Sunday mornings throughout Advent) is a series of four live one-hour Sunday morning programmes on BBC One featuring Lesley and a collection of her musical friends. They will be joined by guests on film and in the studio, talking about a range of seasonal faith stories and issues.

 

Songs Of Praise celebrates Advent with four special programmes on BBC One.

 

Aled Jones marks the beginning of this special time when Christians prepare for the birth of Jesus, with a visit to Hexham Abbey in Northumberland.

 

Sally Magnusson explores the origins of some best-loved Christmas traditions in a special programme on BBC One. There is a visit to the national Christmas tree competition and the "mistletoe capital of Britain". Sally also reflects on traditions from other cultures, including her own Icelandic heritage.

 

In The Big Sing Christmas Party special guest Connie Fisher sings her favourite carol In The Bleak Midwinter and she will be joined by Ray Quinn, performing White Christmas, and dancers Camilla Dallerup and Ian Waite.

 

In the final Sunday of Advent, Songs Of Praise celebrates Christmas as Diane Louise Jordan introduces an evening of candlelit carols in the stunning setting of Hereford Cathedral.

 

For many people Christmas truly begins when a solo chorister steps forward to sing the first verse of Once In Royal David's City in a still and expectant King's College Chapel in Cambridge.

 

Stephen Cleobury directs the choir for the traditional Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols from King's College Cambridge (Christmas Eve, BBC Two).

 

As Christmas Eve turns into Christmas Day there will be the first of two Christmas services live from Worcester Cathedral.

 

Midnight Eucharist is celebrated by the Rt Rev David Walker on BBC One. Music includes Messe De Minuit (Charpentier), Gloria from Bach's Christmas oratorio and traditional carols – O Come All Ye Faithful, On Christmas Night and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

 

On Christmas morning Worcester Cathedral is again the setting for the Christmas Day Eucharist on BBC One, celebrated by the Very Rev Peter Atkinson, Dean of Worcester. Music includes traditional carols O Little Town Of Bethlehem, God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman and Once In Royal David's City.

 

The Archbishop Of Canterbury's New Year Message (BBC Two; repeated BBC One) sees Dr Rowan Williams reflect on the year gone by and look forward to the challenges of the year ahead.

 

As thoughts turn towards the New Year, the Rev Peter Owen Jones undertakes a series of arduous journeys to China, India and Egypt.

 

In BBC Two's Extreme Pilgrim, Peter explores Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, ascetic Christianity and looks at how followers worship with their whole bodies not just their minds.

 

BBC Radio 4 starts its Christmas worship with Witness: Behind Luke's Story.

 

Ernie Rea explores the mind and preoccupations of the man who wrote St Luke's Gospel and examines his vital role in shaping the Christian story.

 

Luke's The Magnificat - Mary's song - is the revolutionary anthem of the poor and is still sung daily in cathedrals up and down the country.

 

Luke alone tells the story of the babe laid in a manger, whose birth was announced by angels and attended by shepherds. If it wasn't for Luke, nothing would be known about the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan.

 

Exclusion is the theme for a special edition of Sunday (Radio 4), chosen by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu. Recording at his residence, Bishopsthorpe, the programme will look at issues both here and abroad which have led to the exclusion of people and communities.

 

Shortly after 3pm on Christmas Eve millions will be listening to the annual Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols, not only in the UK on Radio 4 but all over the world as the service is also broadcast on the BBC World Service.

 

The first Mass of Christmas is celebrated in the spectacular setting of Westminster Cathedral, with music and carols sung by its world famous choir (Midnight Mass, Radio 4).

 

In his homily, His Eminence, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, will reflect on how Christ's birth into fear and poverty can speak to a global society in the 21st century.

 

The celebrated classical girls' group All Angels – fresh from the release of their new album – bring glitter and glamour to the Radio 4 Christmas Service this year.

 

Only days after the tercentenary celebrations marking the birth of Charles Wesley, writer of the world famous Christmas hymn Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Wesley's Chapel in London is the setting for the service.

 

The preacher is the president of the Methodist Conference, the Rev Dr Martyn Atkins.

 

Radio 4's annual Christmas Meditation will be lead by the Rt Rev Lord Harries of Pentregarth. After the celebrations, tinsel and food, Bishop Harries reflects on the real meaning of Christmas.

 

And on New Year's Day Ernie Rea begins a new series of the Sony Award-winning Radio 4 programme Beyond Belief.

 

From a Hindu woman suspended from work because of a nose stud to Muslim check-out staff being allowed to opt out of handling alcohol, the issue of belief and the workplace has increasingly been making the headlines.

 

In between Christmas and New Year BBC Radio 3 presents Belief, a series of programmes in which Joan Bakewell talks to a variety of people about their life and beliefs.

 

Turn Your Radio On for BBC Radio 2 is a light-hearted documentary which focuses on the wit and wisdom of Ray Stevens and his knack for interpreting contemporary events, social observations and theological perceptions in song.

 

With a broad catalogue that has earned Stevens two Grammys, and a place in the Nashville Hall of Fame, Don Maclean focuses largely on Stevens' novelty songs but also analyses insightful compositions such as Mr Businessman.

 

JP2

 

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Category: Factual & Arts TV; Radio
Date: 28.11.2007
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