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As the evenings draw in, Sky Arts is today announcing a packed line-up of shows for the Christmas period. Showcasing everything from our favourite festive carols and musicals to Christmas literature and nativity artworks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The Nation’s Favourite Christmas Carols (1x90): Join us at the London Coliseum for a special concert with the English National Opera’s Chorus and Orchestra as they make their way through Britain’s favourite Christmas carols, as voted by the public. They’ll be helped along the way by some famous faces who will reflect on their own personal favourites, as well as some of the ENO’s brightest and best singing talent. 

Portrait Artist of the Year Christmas Special (1x60): Six celebrities take on a festive challenge to paint one of three well-known sitters with a little help from some wise mystery guests.

While there’s celebration in the air, as always, the art is created under the watchful eyes of our discerning judges – award-winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, independent curator Kathleen Soriano and art historian Kate Bryan. Sitters include Slade’s Noddy Holder, interior designer Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen and singer Mica Paris. 

The Mystery of the Nativity (1x60): A new film delving into the mystery of one of the most famous stories ever told. With so many details missing from the story, artists through the ages have been free to imagine extraordinary visions with extraordinary meanings which will be decoded by art critic Waldemar Januszczak. 

Christmas in Ireland (w/t, 1x90): Imelda May welcomes friends and family to a uniquely Irish musical night celebrating all the madness of Christmas from traditional music to new sounds and voices. Held in the Pepper Canister Church, Imelda will be joined onstage by some special guests to showcase generations of Irish culture and music. 

Sky Arts Book Club Christmas Special (1x90): A bumper Christmas Special where Elizabeth Day and Andi Oliver are joined by author Maggie O’Farrell, broadcasters Jane Garvey and Fi Glover, artist and fashion designer Osman Yousefzada and queen of the kitchen disco, Sophie Ellis-Bextor.  

Wonderland Christmas Special (1x60): Combining biography, literary extracts and quotations, this Wonderland special explores children’s authors and the pain behind their well-known Christmas stories. Featured authors include Charles Dickens, J.R.R Tolkien, Kenneth Grahame, Rudyard Kipling and CS Lewis. 

Classic FM Live (1x120): The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits perform some of the world’s most popular film themes from The Royal Albert Hall including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and Chariots of Fire.

A Swingin’ Christmas With The Len Phillips Swing Orchestra (1x90): The 17-piece Len Phillips Swing Orchestra puts on a dazzling live performance of much-loved Christmas classics including Let It Snow, Silent Night, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and Jingle Bells.

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts, commented :“We love Christmas at Sky Arts and this year we’re bringing some Christmas cheer direct to your telly for free. With our favourite carols, a soupçon of swing, Christmas stories and paintings unpacked, and the one and only Noddy Holder sitting for a special festive portrait, iiiit’s Christmas! We can’t guarantee snow but we can promise warmth, nostalgia and a stocking full of fun.”


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