BBC RELIGIOUS CHRISTMAS PROGRAMMING HIGHLIGHTS
Songs of Praise is reflecting the excitement and joy of the festive season with a rich selection of programming from across the country.
Sunday 3 December In a very special programme to celebrate the beautiful music enjoyed at this time of year, Pam Rhodes is joined by fellow hymn expert Andrew Gant as they discuss some of the nation’s most loved carols. Our own Songs of Praise presenters also reveal their favourite carols and what Christmas means to them.
In County Durham, the Rev. Kate Bottley visits a dementia-friendly community where local school children and residents of a care home come together to mark the birth of Jesus as they rehearse their nativity play.
My Life at Christmas with Adrian Chiles In this second series of My Life at Christmas for advent 2023, journalist and broadcaster Adrian Chiles meets three well-known faces to find out how their festive memories reflect their lives, careers, family and faith. Songs of Praise Sunday 24 December On Christmas Eve, with a congregation of over 2000 people at the magnificent Sheffield City Hall, Aled Jones leads the carol singing with performances from Katherine Jenkins, Michael Ball, Strictly Come Dancing’s lead vocalist Tommy Blaize and the newly crowned Young Choristers of the Year.
Midnight Mass from Portsmouth Cathedral Sunday 24 December The traditional celebration of the First Eucharist of Christmas and Blessing of the Crib, will be broadcast live from the ‘Cathedral of the Sea’ situated in the historic heart of the city of Portsmouth.
The Dean of Portsmouth, the Very Revd Dr Anthony Cane, will introduce and lead the service with Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Dr Jonathan Frost preaching. Music will include the well-loved carols O Little Town of Bethlehem, It Came Upon The Midnight Clear and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. The Organist and Master of the Choristers, Dr David Price will lead the Cathedral Choir accompanied by musicians of His Majesty’s Royal Marines Band Service.
Christmas Morning Service from Manchester Cathedral
Monday 25 December A joyful service of hope, peace and goodwill, live from Manchester Cathedral on Christmas morning led by the Dean, the Very Revd Rogers Govender. The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Prof David Walker, will preach.
The wonder of the Nativity; the Journey of Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds will be captured in a liturgy of music and readings. Manchester Cathedral Choir, directed by the Organist & Master of the Choristers, Christopher Stokes, will lead the congregation in some of the nation’s favourite carols, including O Come, All Ye Faithful, Unto Us Is Born a Son and While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night.
Monday 25 December As Christmas Day draws to a close, a well-known celebrity narrates the story of the first Christmas from Luke's Gospel, when angels appeared to shepherds to proclaim the news of Jesus’s birth. The reading is followed by a familiar carol, performed by a solo singer or choir.
On Christmas Night is a BBC Studios production (1x4’) for BBC One and iPlayer. It was commissioned by Daisy Scalchi, Head of Religion and Ethics TV. The Executive Producer is Catherine Stirk.
Songs of Praise Sunday 31 December Completing our festive offering is a New Year’s Eve special hosted by the UK’s most successful mezzo-soprano, Katherine Jenkins. Katherine is joined by an array of celebrated guests including Aled Jones, the Gospel Choir of the Year winner and opera singer Carly Paoli to sing out 2023.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message Friday 1 January For his 2024 New Year Message, the Archbishop of Canterbury, explores what it means to serve your community and your country. This year, Archbishop Welby is focusing on those people who personify the notion of “service”, and sometimes even self-sacrifice: the British Armed Forces.
He’ll be at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, which has nearly 6000 service personnel, plus hundreds of civilian staff. It’s home to the RAF's Air Mobility Force, and is also where desperately needed humanitarian aid is loaded onto planes and flown to parts of the world experiencing devastating war and conflict as well as natural disaster.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message is a BBC Studios (1x5’) for BBC One and iPlayer. It was commissioned by Daisy Scalchi, Head of Religion and Ethics TV. The Executive Producer is Catherine Stirk. Carols from King’s The candlelit, fan-vaulted Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge is the stunning setting for this much anticipated annual celebration of the Christmas story, told through music, readings and prayers with an invited congregation of college members and guests.