LIVE worship, music, conversation, reflection, and tradition, will again be on offer from the BBC throughout the Christmas period, the broadcaster has said.
The BBC released its schedule for Christmas religious programming on Tuesday, in which it announced that Midnight Mass would be broadcast live on Christmas Eve from the Roman Catholic St George’s Cathedral in Southwark, and the Christmas Day Service live from Bath Abbey — two “magnificent settings”, the BBC said.
On Christmas Eve, BBC Radio 4 will broadcast A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, and on Christmas morning, a service from Ripon Cathedral, at which the Bishop of West Yorkshire & the Dales, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, will preach.
Also on Christmas Eve, Carols From King’s, now in its 61st year, will be brought to viewers on BBC2 from the Cambridge college; and on Christmas night on BBC Radio 3, the Church Times press columnist Andrew Brown will reflect on his memories of Christmas in Sweden, as part of the station’s Northern Lights season.
Clare Balding will present Good Morning Christmas live on BBC Radio 2 on Christmas Day, when she will welcome the Rector of St James’s, Piccadilly, Canon Lucy Winkett, who will be speaking about the importance of the Christmas message. Ms Balding will also interview the director, actor, and writer Julian Fellowes about the last-ever episode of Downton Abbey (ITV).
The BBC also highlighted programmes in the run-up to Christmas: on Sunday 20 December on BBC1, Songs of Praise will return to the Royal Albert Hall for the Christmas Big Sing, presented by Sally Magnusson and David Grant.
Also in Advent, Fern Britton will be talking to celebrity guests about their life and beliefs, in Fern Britton Meets . . . on BBC1, including Lord Ashdown, Karren Brady, Linford Christie, and Shane Lynch.
The BBC Head of Religion & Ethics, Aaqil Ahmed, said that the “fine tradition” of Christmas religious programming at the BBC would continue this year, “bringing communities together” to reflect on “what is important to viewers and listeners” through live broadcasting.