As Peter Capaldi calls time on his adventures in the Tardis, Jo has exclusive access to the Doctor Who team. She catches up with the stars of the series on the set including Pearl Mackie, David Bradley, Exec Producer extraordinaire Steven Moffat, and the Doctor himself. Plus, Jo hears from outgoing companion, Matt Lucas, and digs into the BBC Doctor Who archive.
There will be stories from behind the scenes including how Matt approaches being recognised by fans, the radical ways in which Pearl’s life has changed, Pele’s reaction to signing a Brazil shirt for the Doctor and how Doctor Who has always been with Peter Capaldi – from dressing up as a Dalek as a child, to karaoke singalongs to The Killers all in the name of getting into character...
Plus, Radio 2 listeners will find out which member of the team has a penchant for Chas and Dave!
Producer: Paul Sheehan for the BBC
Alan and Mel
Christmas Eve, 1-3pm
Alan Carr and Melanie Sykes are reunited for a live seasonal special as they check in with Santa before he sets off on his busiest night of the year.
There will be two Christmas Carr-nections where Alan and Mel test each other’s festive music knowledge, and plenty of hopefully ‘helpful’ tips to support listeners through the holiday season. Plus an abundance of great music, mince pies and seasonal shoutouts.
Alan says: “Get the tinsel out! It’s that time of year again and what a treat to spend Christmas Eve with the Radio 2 listeners and my lovely friend Mel. We’ll be getting in the festive mood with lots of fab music and games, and some special surprises!”
Producer: Malcolm Prince for the BBC
Dressing the Tree with David Emanuel
Christmas Eve, 5-6pm
Fashion designer David Emanuel, who designed the wedding dress worn by Diana Princess of Wales, discovers what's on the nation's playlist at this special time of year. Some like to stick with traditional fayre such as the Sinatra and Bublé Christmas albums, but for others it's the record they played when they shared their first Christmas together as a married couple, or one that takes them back to their earliest childhood.
David builds an eclectic playlist featuring tracks chosen by the listeners as well as his celebrity pals. Plus, he chats to historian Lucy Worsley about why and when the tradition of festive decorations became popular in the UK, and a retail archivist reveals how Christmas trends have changed.
David says: “I’ve dressed Hollywood royalty, West End stars and an English princess, and now I’m delighted to be making my presenting debut for BBC Radio 2 at this special time of year. One of the things I look forward to is preparing the house for Christmas, and when I do, I always play Elaine Paige’s album “Christmas”. It’s a ritual. And it got me thinking, what do other people listen to when they dress their trees? In this show, I’ll be discovering just that, and finding out when the tradition began and how it’s changed over the years. And, with the help of my listeners and some friends, I’ll create the perfect playlist to dress the tree. And it’s one that might surprise you.”
Producer: Malcolm Prince for the BBC
A Country Christmas
Christmas Eve, 8-10pm
In this Country Music Awards Christmas spectacular, join Kristian Bush and Reba McEntire for a very special country Christmas. Kristian will be playing some of his favourite Christmas songs before handing over to Reba live from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville for a seasonal concert of holiday classics performed by the top country stars of today.
Bush is a former member of the folk rock duo Billy Pilgrim with Andrew Hyra, and is one half of the Grammy-winning country music duo, Sugarland, with Jennifer Nettles. In addition to this he made his solo debut in March 2013 at the inaugural C2C: Country to Country Festival at the O2 Arena in London.
Reba McEntire is one of the most successful female recording artists in history and has sold over 56 million albums worldwide and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. She is one of only four entertainers in history to receive the National Artistic Achievement Award from the US Congress. Earlier this year, Reba presented a show on country/gospel cross-over on Radio 2 Country - the station’s pop-up digital radio service.
Producer: Mark Hagen for the BBC
Christmas Eve, 10pm-midnight
Matt Goss plays some classic festive tunes to take listeners into Christmas Day, plus some of his favourite songs from across the decades, and shares his passion for music after a lifetime of performing around the world.
Matt is the lead singer of pop group Bros with his twin brother Luke, and 2017 saw the brothers unite after a 28-year hiatus. They have sold over 17 million records worldwide and have multiple hits including I Owe You Nothing, When Will I Be Famous and Too Much. Since beginning his solo career in 1995, Matt has performed twice at the Royal Albert Hall and has a brand new multi-year residency at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Producer: Lucy Meggeson for the BBC
Melanie C at Christmas
Christmas Day, 4-6pm
Former Spice Girl and now regular Radio 2 presenter Mel C is live on Christmas Day, providing the musical soundtrack to the day’s festivities.
Melanie says: “I can’t wait to be live on BBC Radio 2 on Christmas afternoon this year, it will be a lot of fun to share the big day with the nation keeping people company as they travel up and down the country, fall asleep on the couch, do the washing up, or avoid their in-laws. We'll have handpicked music, great competitions and some surprise guests too.”
Producer: Ben Walker for Ore et Labora
Lost and Found
Christmas Day and Boxing Day, 10pm-midnight
Journalist Nina Myskow presents this two part series on singer Linda Ronstadt and actress Mary Steenburgen - two very talented women, celebrated and creative, independent and determined. An unexpected turn of events caused them both to re-evaluate their lives and changed their outlook and future forever.
In part one on Christmas Day, Award winning singer Linda Ronstadt looks back on her life and career and discusses her toughest battle. In the late 60s, Linda Ronstadt, newly arrived on the L.A. music scene, unleashed a voice that took the world by storm. She remembers her early days singing rock ‘n’ roll, performing at the Troubador with the Eagles and touring with The Doors. Her collaboration with Peter Asher encouraged Linda to focus on singing ballads and he supported her when she wanted to record her beloved album of Mexican songs. Linda adored working with Nelson Riddle, is justifiably proud of her work with Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton, and loved harmonising with Aaron Neville. At the height of her success, when she felt she was singing at her best, Linda noticed her voice was losing its strength.
Linda talks candidly about her Parkinsons diagnosis and how the disease robbed her of her voice and how she finally lost her ability to sing. Yet Linda remains practical about the turn of events and upbeat about her life now, with her family and good friends.
In part 2 on Boxing Day, award winning actress Mary Steenburgen looks back at the day her life changed.
Growing up in small town Arkansas, Mary moved to New York to study acting. She got her big break when she was discovered by Jack Nicholson in the reception room of Paramount's New York office and was cast as the female lead in his movie, the 1978 Western, Goin' South. Lead parts in Melvin and Howard, Parenthood, Dirty Girl, The Help, Last Vegas followed and Mary is currently starring in the TV sitcom, The Last Man On Earth.
Mary’s life changed ten years ago when she went under general anaesthetic for a routine operation. When she woke, she began to hear music and that music accompanied her everywhere. Mary describes it as if a previously untapped part of her brain had somehow been opened. She began to write down the music that only she could hear. Encouraged to go to Nashville, she began writing with the likes of Melissa Manchester, Lori McKenna, Barry Dean, John Osborne, Lucie Silvas, Andrew Dorff, Nathan Chapman, and Matraca Berg. The result is a recording studio in Nashville, an album, the respect of her fellow song writers, a raft of songs and a whole new career at the age of 64. Mary found a new voice through music.
Producer: Jodie Keane for the BBC
Boxing Day, 5-7pm
Take your partners as Strictly Come Dancing’s head judge, Shirley Ballas, shimmies, shuffles, spins and chasses the listeners through a selection of her favourite music. In this special Boxing Day show, she plays some of her favourite music and recalls memories of her dancing career.
Shirley says: "I’m so excited to be ending this incredible year by doing my very own Christmas show on BBC Radio 2. What an incredible year of firsts it’s been! Make sure you and the family tune in on Boxing Day to hear my pick of the best in dance music- the perfect soundtrack for you to learn to twirl with Shirl during the Christmas season."
Shirley Ballas, originally from Wallasey, has been dancing since the age of 7. She is 3 time ‘British Open to the World’ Latin American Champion, 10-time US Latin American Champion, and multiple-times British National Champion. By 21, Shirley had won nearly every major title she competed in worldwide. She is the only person to have ever won the British Open to the World Latin American Championships in Blackpool with two different partners and reached the finals an impressive 17 times. Shirley still remains the youngest ever female to reach the ‘British Open to the World’ Dance Championship finals. She is now one of the top Ballroom and Latin teachers and adjudicators in the world and is delighted and honoured to now be head judge on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Producer: Bridget Apps for the BBC
Sir Roger Moore: Nobody Did It Better
Boxing Day, 8-10pm
Olly Smith presents this two hour special celebrating the life and legacy of Sir Roger Moore, including interviews with Roger and those who loved him.
In a series of exclusive interviews with Radio 2 recorded since Roger’s death, Deborah Moore, Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, Gareth Owen and Sir Michael Caine look back at the life and career of Sir Roger Moore from the Alaskans to Maverick; from The Saint to the Persuaders; from The Wild Geese to The Man Who Haunted Himself; from Bond to Unicef.
Deborah Moore recalls happy times spent with her father as she and her brothers were growing up. Barbara Broccoli remembers Roger and Cubby Broccoli's notorious games of backgammon on the set of Bond. Gareth Owen talks of the importance of Unicef in Roger's life. And Sir Michael Caine laughs as he remembers the first time he met the man who would become one of his closest friends.
And in archive interviews Roger himself discusses his life and his work, his family and his friendships. Peppered with anecdotes and first-hand accounts from the people who knew Roger best, mixed with the music he loved.
Olly says: “Roger meant the world to me, heroic as Bond but a true hero as Ambassador to UNICEF. The warmth of a saint! All those who contributed to this special programme were generous in sharing so many of their personal, cherished memories of Roger and were full of love and respect for him. He made me laugh like no-one else; he was unfailingly kind and supremely gentle in his witty, light hearted approach to other people. I’m delighted to be able to pay tribute to the man I call His Rogesty.”
Producer: Jodie Keane for the BBC
Paint It Black with Ronnie Wood and Anneka Rice
Wednesday 27 December, 5-7pm
Anneka Rice joins Ronnie Wood at his home, to talk about their shared love of painting and music. In this very special programme listeners will get a glimpse into the life of The Rolling Stones and Faces guitarist which has rarely been seen before, exploring his love of art and the music that has inspired him through his life.
Producer: Joe Haddow for the BBC
Alan and Mel
Sunday 31 December, 1-3pm
Alan Carr and Melanie Sykes return for a live special as they say goodbye to 2017 and look back at some of the year’s quirkiest news stories.
They remember some of the big names we’ve lost this year and there’ll be two more Carr-nections where Alan and Mel test each other’s 2017 music knowledge. Plus they will be inviting listeners to share their highlights - and mishaps - from the last twelve months
Mel says: “Join me and Alan as we look back at our highlights of 2017 with lots of great music to see the year out. There will be plenty of laughs I’m sure - there’s never a dull moment in the studio with Alan!”
Producer: Malcolm Prince for the BBC
Shane Richie On Country
Sunday 31 December, 7-9pm
Shane kicks off New Year’s Eve in country style and plays two hours of his favourite contemporary country songs, from his friend Darius Rucker, to Florida Georgia Line, the Cadillac Three, Carrie Underwood and all points in-between.
Shane says: “I’ve been a fan of country music for years & Bob Harris Country is a must-listen in my house. I’m really looking forward to having a country party with the Radio 2 listeners on New Year’s Eve & playing them two hours of my favourite artists… It’s going to be a great night!”
Producer: Mark Hagen for the BBC
Ana Matronic’s New Year’s Eve Dance Devotion
Sunday 31 December, 11pm-2am
Live from London, Scissor Sister Ana Matronic provides the soundtrack to the nation’s New Year’s Eve party, with shiny disco hits, huge dance tunes, and awesome club classics. Charge your glasses and assume the position for Auld Lang Syne at Midnight and cheer in the New Year!
Plus, listeners can expect a few famous voices to pop up during the show which groves on until 2am.
Producer: Claire Slevin for the BBC
Ed Balls on Musical Theatre
Monday 1 January 2018, 3-5pm
From Strictly’s polished dance floor to the equally glamourous world of musical theatre, Ed Balls embarks on his latest post political adventure for BBC Radio 2.
From his early experiences of listening to the Godspell soundtrack as a child growing up in Nottingham, to his numerous visits to Wicked in London’s West End, Ed Balls has long been fascinated with the diverse world of musical theatre.
During the course of his two hour exploration of all things musicals, Ed looks at the recent phenomenon of socially aware shows that are playing to mass audiences. These include The Book of Mormon which has been packing them in at London’s Prince of Wales Theatre for five years and the Pulitzer Prize winning Hamilton - opening on 6 December at the newly revamped Victoria Palace.
He’ll also be talking to performers including his former Strictly sparring partners Lesley Joseph (currently appearing in Young Frankenstein) and Danny Mac who is in the middle of an extensive UK tour with Sunset Boulevard. He also goes backstage at London’s Piccadilly Theatre to compare notes with Craig Revel Horwood.
Ed renews an old political friendship as he talks to former Speaker of the House of Commons, Baroness Betty Boothroyd. Betty, who before entering politics was a professional dancer with The Tiller Girls, compares notes with Janie Dee. Janie is currently starring in the National Theatre’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, a tale of former dancers with the Weisman Follies who meet up for one last reunion before their old theatre gets bulldozed.
Plus the best sounds from musicals old and new including Annie, The Lion King, School of Rock, Les Miserables, Five Guys Named Moe, Dreamgirls and Sunset Boulevard.
It’s a long way from his former life as Shadow Chancellor but as Ed himself says “I’ve been a massive fan of every kind of musical theatre for as long as I can remember. And I’m looking forward to meeting up with friends old and new as we celebrate and discover more about this most popular and enduring form of entertainment.”