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Coming up on TV and radio this Christmas

21 December 2017

BBC/Royal Institution/Paul Wilkinson

Brain box: Professor Sophie Scott explores how humans and animals communicate, in the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The language of life (Boxing Day to Thursday 8pm, BBC4)

Brain box: Professor Sophie Scott explores how humans and animals communicate, in the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The language of life (Boxi...

TV HIGHLIGHT: The World’s Best Christmas Lights: From Liverpool to Bethlehem A look at members of a specialist company from Liverpool who, for five years, have put up the decorations in Manger Square, Bethlehem.

Saturday 8pm, Channel 4

RADIO HIGHLIGHT: Something Understood The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, talks to Mark Tully about celebrating the eve of the main religious festivals.

Christmas Eve 6.05am, Radio 4

TELEVISION: Christmas Eve 1.15pm (BBC1) Songs of Praise: The Big Sing A carol concert from the Royal Albert Hall (1/2).

5.45pm (BBC2) Carols from Kings The choir’s traditional celebration from King’s College, Cambridge (repeated Christmas Day, BBC2, 11am).

11.45pm (BBC1) Midnight Mass from Leeds Cathedral From St Anne’s RC Cathedral.

11.45pm (ITV) Christmas Carols on ITV A carol service from St Elisabeth’s, Greater Manchester.

Christmas Day 10am (BBC1) Christmas Day Service from All Saints’, Fulham A live family eucharist.

7.40pm (BBC1) Call the Midwife In a Christmas special, a baby is born during one of the worst winters on record, in 1963.

9pm (BBC2) Tom Jones and Beverley Knight’s Gospel Christmas As well as traditional carols, Tom and Beverley perform songs by Bob Dylan and Prince.

9pm (Nat Geographic) Secrets of Christ’s tomb Is the shrine in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre built over Christ’s burial place?

Boxing Day to Thursday 8pm (BBC4) Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: The language of life Professor Sophie Scott explores how humans and animals communicate (1-3/3).

New Year’s Day 12.55pm (BBC1) The Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message Archbishop Welby reflects on the past year’s events.

Tuesday to Friday 2.15pm (BBC1) Father Brown An old foe of the amateur sleuth is released from prison (2-5/10).

Tuesday 11am (BBC2) Westminster Abbey A look at the building’s close relationship with the monarchy (repeat).


RADIO: Friday 1am (R3) Through the Night John Shea presents an archive performance of Frank Martin’s La mystère de la Nativité by the Netherlands Radio Choir and Philharmonic Orchestra.

Saturday 3pm (Classic FM) A Winchester Christmas Malcolm Archer directs the Quiristers of Winchester College in an exclusive performance recorded in the college chapel.

Christmas Eve 8.10am (R4) Sunday Worship A service from the Chapel of Unity in Methodist College, Belfast.

9.30am (World Service) Heart and Soul Mark Dowd visits Ian Knowles at the Bethlehem Icon Centre as the students learn the art of icon writing.

3pm (R4) A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols Live from King’s College, Cambridge (repeated Christmas Day, Radio 3, 2pm).

3pm (R3) Choral Evensong A repeat of last Wednesday’s Advent sequence recorded in Edington Priory.

6pm (Classic FM) Children and the Arts’ Christmas Carol Concert A carol concert recorded on 4 December at Holy Trinity, Sloane Square, London, in aid of the charity Children and the Arts.

8pm (Classic FM) The Story of Carols Anne-Marie Minhall celebrates carols from around the world.

11.30pm (R4) Midnight Mass From the RC Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool.

Christmas Day 6am (R2) Angie Greaves’s Gospel Christmas The presenter introduces a selection of gospel greats.

8am (R2) Good Morning Christmas The Revd Kate Bottley’s guests include the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker.

9am (R4) Christmas Service: Christmas host or Christmas guest? A service from Bath Abbey, where we hear what it means to be manager of a prestigious hotel at Christmas.

10pm (Premier Christian Radio) The Assassination of Santa The Angel Gabriel plans to deal with the commercial­isa­tion of Christmas by retiring Santa — permanently (avail­able now as a podcast on thingsunseen.co.uk).

1pm (Classic FM) The Nation’s Favourite Carol Last year, “O holy night” retook the crown from “Silent night”.

3.05pm (Classic FM) The Buckingham Palace Carol Concert for the Royal Household The annual concert in the Palace ballroom for the Queen’s staff.

4.30pm (R4) Beyond Belief Ernie Rea and guests discuss Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (7/8).

8pm (R4) The Nativity A reimagining of the Christmas story by a group of six-year-olds in Down, helped by Frank Cotttrell Boyce (repeat).

12.15am (R4 FM) Christmas Meditation A reflection on the meaning of Christmas.

Boxing Day 11.30am (R4) Tales from the Stave Frances Fyfield analyses the score of Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah (1/3).

3.30pm (R4) Making History Tom Holland visits Norwich to learn about St Stephen, the first Christian martyr (1/7).

Wednesday 9am (R4) Soul Music The story of how Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” has inspired people around the world (2/5).

3.30pm (R3) Choral Evensong Recorded at St Gabriel’s, Pimlico, London.

8pm (R4) We Need to Talk about Death Joan Bakewell and her panel discuss burial at sea (3/3).

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