Festive treats and perfect soundtracks this Christmas across BBC Radio & BBC Sounds

This Christmas, across BBC Radio and BBC Sounds, we’ll provide the perfect soundtrack to the celebrations, with a raft of content bringing festive treats and music for every mood.

Published: 7:00 am, 30 November 2020
Updated: 10:48 am, 4 December 2020
This Christmas, more so than ever, we’ve created perfect soundtracks that are full of festive cheer and stardust, celebrate our most loved shows, make space for reflection and tell extraordinary stories, both real or imagined."
— Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer

Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer says: “This Christmas, more so than ever, we’ve created perfect soundtracks that are full of festive cheer and stardust, celebrate our most loved shows, make space for reflection and tell extraordinary stories both real or imagined.

"In what’s been a difficult year, millions of people have turned to our stations and Sounds for company through long periods of isolation and so we want to give our listeners schedules filled with special treats and surprising guests to celebrate the festive season.”

BBC Sounds

  • Bonus episodes and special Christmas editions of brilliant podcasts including Fortunately... with Fi and Jane, The Yungblud Podcast and two helpings of James Acaster’s Perfect Sounds
  • Festive music mixes from Paloma Faith, Dizzee Rascal, Rita Ora and more
  • Cryptic new podcast thriller available as a boxset: The Cipher (pictured) starring Anya Chalotra (The Witcher) and Chance Perdomo (Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina)
  • Audiobooks to indulge in such as A Promised Land by Barack Obama and The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

Pop Music Radio

  • From 1 December 5pm, join Radio 1, 1Xtra, Asian Network, Radio 2 and 6 Music for The BBC Radio Christmas House Party with all five BBC Pop Networks along with Radio 1 Dance coming together to launch their festive celebrations with a simulcast
  • Radio 1’s Official Chart with Katie Thistleton reveals the Christmas Number 1
  • Annie Mac’s Hottest Record Of The Year revealed on Radio 1
  • A new roster of young DJs takeover the Radio 1 schedule from Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve
  • H.E.R, Ivorian Doll, Ghetts, Big Zuu, Deno, Ray BLK and more guests for 1Xtra’s 12 Days of Christmas With… takeovers
  • Radio 2’s hour-long special with global music icon, Dolly Parton
  • Zoe Ball celebrates five decades of Annie Nightingale in broadcasting
  • An all-star end to the year when Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Kitchen Disco, Michelle Visage’s Fabulous Divas, Rylan’s NYE Party and Craig Charles take over the Radio 2 airwaves
  • Artist mixes from Mercury Prize Winner Michael Kiwanuka, Goldie, Christine and the Queens and more on 6 Music
  • 6 Music presenting debuts from Robyn on New Year’s Eve and Ad-Rock and Mike D of Beastie Boys on New Year’s Day

Radio 3, Orchestras and Choirs

  • Light In The Darkness season on Radio 3 creates music out of the sound of the Northern Lights and more to bring comfort and inspiration to listeners
  • Sound Walks with Horatio Clare take listeners rambling along the East Coast of the UK
  • BBC Orchestras and Choirs welcome special guests from Katie Melua and Jess Gillam to Brian Cox, Stephen Fry and Alan Bennett - plus the BBC’s own ‘drumming weatherman’ Owain Wyn Evans

Radio 4, 4 Extra and 5 Live

  • The Today programme welcome Guest Editors Lewis Hamilton, Evan Spiegel, Sir Jeremy Farrar, Margaret Atwood, Prue Leith and Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin
  • The Archers 70th anniversary celebrated with a special episode, New Year’s Day quiz, documentary and more
  • That Dinner of ’67, written by Tracy-Ann Oberman with David Spicer, features a A-list cast including Kenneth Branagh, Adrian Lester, David Morrisey and Daisy Ridley
  • Penelope Wilton and Gwendoline Christie join Neil Gaiman in an adaptation of his fairy-tale, The Sleeper And The Spindle
  • Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders star in new comedy, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane Austen?
  • Two very different Reunions - one reuniting the stars of Strictly’s earlier series, and another where Michael Rosen revisits NHS staff who treated him for Covid-19 earlier this year
  • Comedy specials from Ed Reardon, Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show, Nature Table and The Missing Hancocks
  • 4 Extra invites Sarah Millican to spread some festive cheer to listeners by curating a selection of programmes that fill her with warmth, wonder and merriment
  • A very special Christmas radio edition of A Question of Sport on 5 Live
  • Laura Whitmore’s Best of 2020 and a Christmas special from Tailenders

BBC World Service

  • Robert Beckford, one of the UK’s most prominent black theologians, explore the identity and colour of Jesus - and why it matters
  • A festive edition of Music Life will feature the acclaimed talents of David Byrne and St. Vincent

BBC Local Radio

  • Connecting communities and providing companionship through Make A Difference programming - social distanced carols, connecting families and revisiting some of the millions of Make A Difference stories shared with local BBC radio throughout the Covid-19 pandemic that showcase the very best of community spirit.