Festive Highlights for 2019 on BBC Radio and BBC Sounds

BBC Radio and BBC Sounds announce their on-air and on-demand highlights for the festive period.

Published: 25 November 2019
There’s something for everyone in our line-up, and whether people listen live on-air or binge our great audio on-demand, I hope they come to BBC Radio this Christmas to discover and enjoy the best audio there is.
— James Purnell, Director, BBC Radio & Education

James Purnell, BBC Director of Radio & Education, says: "Across BBC Radio and Sounds, we’ll be celebrating the festive season with world-class storytelling, some of the biggest stars of the year and music to suit every mood.

"There’s something for everyone in our line-up, and whether people listen live on-air or binge our great audio on-demand, I hope they come to BBC Radio this Christmas to discover and enjoy the best audio there is."

Sounds

  • Gemma Collins presents a special festive edition of her Radio 1 podcast as well as Christmas specials from You’re Dead to Me, No Country For Young Women and That Peter Crouch podcast.
  • Hooked, BBC 5 Live’s podcast about the reality of addiction and recovery for BBC Sounds, will explore Sober Christmas. Presenters Jade Wye and Melissa Rice will share tips and ask experts on how to survive the festivities when a drink is out of the question.
  • Festive music mixes curated from Greg James, Rylan, Scott Mills, Chris Stark, Trevor Nelson and Nadia Jae.

Popular Music Radio

  • The Christmas Number 1 will be announced on The Official Chart with Scott Mills.
  • Radio 1’s Annie Mac reveals the Hottest Record Of The Year.
  • Radio 1 introduces a new roster of DJs from Boxing Day until New Year’s Eve.
  • Asian Network Comedy Live returns to the BBC Radio Theatre.
  • Noreen Khan celebrates the 90th birthday of Lata Mangeshkar.
  • The Asian Network DJs host a New Year’s Eve Party.
  • On BBC Radio 2 Bryan Adams presents two programmes on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, looking back at the classics of the Rock Of Ages.
  • Specials across the festive period with familiar names including Michelle Visage, Joe Lycett and Matt Lucas.
  • Rick Astley and Andrew Ridgeley kick off the New Year in style with the perfect tracks on the first day of 2020.
  • BBC Radio 6 Music welcomes three Wise Women, Little Simz, Jessica Hynes and Kate Tempest, who will be taking to the airwaves on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day to present three hours each of their favourite music.
  • Brian Eno and Professor Brian Cox join Shaun Keaveny for their fourth annual Christmas Special, recorded at the top of the BT Tower in London, on Christmas Day.
  • Martin Freeman returns to 6 Music to present a series of six three-hour long programmes between Christmas and New Year.
  • Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy brings some Tender radio for Tender Heads on New Year’s Day on 6 Music.

BBC Radio 3 & Orchestras and Choirs

  • The BBC Orchestras and Choirs celebrate Christmas this year with a number of innovative concert broadcasts across BBC Radio. They are joined by a range of special guests, from Trevor Nelson and Clare Teal to Reverend Richard Coles, with a feast of festive classics, plaintive carols and best-loved works from some of the world’s greatest composers.
  • Neil Gaiman joins the BBC Symphony Orchestra to read from his bestselling works alongside music. With special guests David Tennant performing a sketch from hit show Good Omens, and Amanda Palmer giving a haunting rendition of A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square, this will be a dystopian treat from BBC Radio 3 and 4 this Christmas.
  • Radio 3 brings a Slow Radio walk, this year from the west coast of Greenland, in An Arctic Sound Walk.

BBC Radio 4, 4 Extra and 5 Live

  • Radio 4’s Today programme welcomes five Guest Editors who will take over the programme during the festive period. This year’s line-up includes Greta Thunberg, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Grayson Perry, Charles Moore, and George The Poet. 
  • Glenda Jackson, Kit Harington, Jessica Turner and Lucy Reynolds star in an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Chivalry on Radio 4.
  • Simon Russell Beale reads the second volume of Philip Pullman’s acclaimed The Book Of Dust trilogy, The Secret Commonwealth, on Radio 4.
  • In Christmas Meditation with Sally Phillips, Sally reflects on the meaning of Christmas.
  • Award-winning John Kearns brings a comedy special to Radio 4, with A Very John Kearns Christmas. More Christmas comedy specials comes from Museum Of Curiosity, where John Lloyd and Bridget Christie are joined by Glyn Johns, Shazia Mirza and JK Rowling.
  • Reverends Richard Coles, Kate Bottley and Giles Fraser discuss the busiest times of the clerical year in a Christmas Day special of Radio 4’s Three Vicars Talking.
  • On BBC Radio 5 Live Elis James and John Robins are inviting listeners and special guests to join them for a special end of year party down the pub.

SJ4