Arts highlights on BBC Television for Christmas 2008
First ever Doctor Who Prom on BBC One
Hansel And Gretel from the Royal Opera House on BBC Two conducted by Sir Colin Davis
Maestro: The Inside Story reveals unseen behind-the-scenes footage from the hit BBC Two summer series
New Year's Day Concert 2008: Live from Vienna
Sacred Music on BBC Four: Ten Best Christmas Classics and The Story of Allegri's Miserere
BBC Young Musician of the Year 2008 – Concerto Finals on BBC Four
From Doctor Who At The BBC Proms to Hansel And Gretel at the Royal Opera House, this year the BBC is presenting a thrilling range of arts programming to enjoy over the festive season.
BBC One: Doctor Who At The BBC Proms
BBC One offers the first chance to see highlights from the much talked about Doctor Who Prom in a 60-minute programme filmed at the Proms in July.
One of the hottest tickets of the summer, the Doctor Who Prom is hosted by Freema Agyeman (aka the Doctor's companion Martha Jones), includes a guest appearance from Catherine Tate (aka Donna Noble) and is a musical odyssey through time and space.
With the TARDIS on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall, the programme journeys through four series of the Doctor's adventures and features the music that accompanied them, including Murray Gold's celebrated music for the television series: The Doctor Forever, Rose, Martha v The Master, The Daleks & Davros, This Is Gallifrey, Doctor's Theme/Song Of Freedom and more.
Performed by the BBC Philharmonic and London Philharmonic Choir under the baton of Ben Foster, the music is accompanied by specially-edited film sequences from the series.
One of the highlights of the programme for all Doctor Who fans is the chance to see the scene that was specially filmed for the BBC Proms.
Music Of The Spheres written by Russell T Davies and starring David Tennant (not to mention a mischievous Graske) left the audience spellbound – there is lots of audience interaction and laughter!
The concert also brought the audience face-to-face with some of the Doctor's most fearsome adversaries – a host of monsters and aliens including the Doctor's oldest enemies - the Cybermen and Davros and the Daleks.
BBC Two: Hansel And Gretel from the Royal Opera House
Sir Colin Davis conducts Humperdinck's sumptuous fairytale opera Hansel and Gretel recorded recently at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with an exceptional cast including Angelika Kirchschlager and Diana Damrau as Hansel and Gretel, with Anja Silja as the witch and Thomas Allen taking the role of the children's father.
This new production by the regular directorial pairing of Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser promises shades of light and darkness, with wit, black comedy and the magical Sandman and Dew Fairy to dispel the darker undercurrents.
The broadcast is introduced by presenter Katie Derham with behind the scenes interviews and features during the interval.
BBC Two: Maestro: The Inside Story
Maestro: The Inside Story looks back at the highlights of BBC Two's hit summer series – from the memorable first day at baton camp, to Sue Perkins' triumphant performance in Hyde Park at the Last Night Of The Proms.
The Maestro series featured the actors Jane Asher and David Soul, Drum and Bass star Goldie, Blur bassist Alex James, the broadcasters Katie Derham and Peter Snow, and comedians Sue Perkins and Bradley Walsh, all competing to become the ultimate Maestro.
This documentary uncovers how the celebrity students and their mentors developed their technique and style, revealing their emotional highs and lows and takes a detailed look at why, one by one, they had to go.
With previously unseen footage and interviews from some of the students, judges and BBC Concert Orchestra, this documentary gives the inside story of their incredible Maestro journey.
BBC Two and BBC Four: New Year's Day Concert 2008: Live from Vienna
The New Year's Day Concert 2008: Live from Vienna, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra perform the annual celebratory concert of waltzes, polkas, marches, conducted for the first time by Argentinean-Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim.
As usual BBC Two broadcasts the second half live in the morning with all the traditional encores, and BBC Four shows the complete concert in the evening.
The presenter is Brian Kay.
BBC Four: Ten Best Christmas Classics
A fascinating line-up of musicians and music lovers talk engagingly about 10 much-loved pieces of Christmas music.
The diverse list of contributors includes Billy Bragg, Katherine Jenkins, Reverend Giles Fraser, Michael Portillo, Trevor Pinnock, Stephen Cleobury, Jonathan Ansell, Sharon Clarke, Robert Saxton and David Soul, all of whom talk about what the music means to them and the importance of music at Christmas.
On the menu is a sumptuous feast of music which ranges from historic carols like Once In Royal David's City, Silent Night and In The Bleak Midwinter to great masterpieces like Handel's Messiah, Vivaldi's Gloria, and Bach's Christmas Oratorio.
The programme mixes performances of the full works (or most famous excerpts) drawn from the BBC archives.
Highlights include Bach's Christmas Oratorio, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner in the Herderkirche in Weimar in 1999, Handel's Messiah from the BBC Proms, Carols from King's College, Cambridge, and a famous recording of Britten's Ceremony of Carols recorded in a Christmas edition of André Previn's Music Night during the Seventies.
BBC Four: BBC Young Musician Of The Year 2008 – Concerto Final
BBC Young Musician Of The Year is the UK's most established and prestigious contest for young classical performers.
In 2008 the competition celebrated its 30th Anniversary with the Grand Final weekend taking place in May at Cardiff's iconic Wales Millennium Centre.
Five exceptionally talented young musicians (already category winners in String, Brass, Woodwind, Percussion and Keyboard) competed across two days in front of an enthusiastic audience and panel of expert judges, Ben Foster, Catrin Finch, Paul Daniel, Nicola Benedetti and Richard Morrison.
Presented by Gethin Jones and Nicola Loud, this programme is a chance to see in full their concerto performances as they battle it out for the coveted title – BBC Young Musician of the Year 2008.
BBC Four: Sacred Music: The Story of Allegri's Miserere
Simon Russell Beale tells the story behind Allegri's Miserere, one of the most popular pieces of sacred music ever written.
Once decreed by the Pope to be too beautiful to be heard outside the Sistine Chapel, Allegri's Miserere has become one of the best loved and most recognisable pieces of choral music, famous for its soaring high notes.
The 300-years of history behind the piece is as captivating as the music itself.
An English organist, a choirmaster from Worcester and the great composers Mozart and Mendelssohn all play a part in the transformation of Allegri's original 17th century composition into the haunting music we know today.
Simon explores how the piece achieved legendary status as the unworldly sounds of the castrati – adult male singers castrated in boyhood to preserve their unbroken voices – would ring through the Sistine Chapel, embellishing the music with their increasingly daring virtuosity. The famous "abbellimenti" – secret musical decoration – of the Papal Chapel was never written down; instead it was passed from performer to performer in the Papal Chapel.
Harry Christophers pieces together the music that Allegri himself originally wrote, which is rarely heard today.
Sir David Willcocks recalls conducting the successful Sixties recording of the work with the Choir of King's College Cambridge, when the boy chorister Roy Goodman famously sung the impossibly high notes after rushing into chapel late following a game of "rugger".
The programme features a full performance of the piece by the award-winning choir The Sixteen conducted by Harry Christophers from LSO St Luke's.
Notes to Editors
All programmes are due to be broadcast between 21 and 26 December (with the exception of the New Year's Day concert, which is live) but schedules are not yet confirmed.