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Coming up on TV and on Radio this Christmas

20 December 2019

BBC / Neal Street Productions

Sister Mildred and Sister Julienne in Call the Midwife (Christmas Day, 7pm BBC1)

Sister Mildred and Sister Julienne in Call the Midwife (Christmas Day, 7pm BBC1)

TV HIGHLIGHT: Call the Midwife Mother Mildred takes her team to the Outer Hebrides, where she believes God has called her to open a clinic. Christmas Day 7pm BBC1

RADIO HIGHLIGHT: A Bright Yellow Light Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, whose daughter Natasha died in front of him on a plane, in an allergic reaction to a sandwich, describes the religious experience that happened to him on that plane.

Christmas Eve 8pm Radio 4


BBC/Windfall Films/Paul WilkinsonDr Hannah Fry delivers the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: Secrets and Lies — the hidden power of maths (Boxing Day 8pm, BBC4)TELEVISION: Saturday 3.10pm (C5) Scrooge The classic 1951 film, starring Alastair Sim (repeated at 1.25pm on Christmas Day).

6.50pm (C5) Britain’s Favourite Christmas Carol Members of the public vote for their favourite carol, and a team of experts reveal the stories behind the songs.

9.50pm (PBS America) A History of Ancient Britain Special: Priests of Orkney In the far north of Scotland, archaeologists are unearthing a 5000-year-old temple complex. Who built it, and what did they believe?

Sunday 9.05am (BBC1) Britain’s Christmas Story Gareth Malone and Karen Gibson look at Victorian traditions (2/2).

1.15pm (BBC1) Songs of Praise: The Christmas Big Sing Carols from the Assembly Hall, Belfast (1/2).

5.10pm (C5) Celebrity Carols at Christmas Aled Jones presents a celebration of popular carols, sung by choirs from around the country.

6pm (BBC2) Chris and Michaela: Under the Christmas sky Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan visit Jordan in their search for the Star of Bethlehem (repeat).

8pm (BBC1) His Dark Materials The finale to the first series (a second series has just finished filming) (8/8).

Monday 9.35am (BBC2) The Greatest Story Ever Told The 1965 biblical epic starring Max von Sydow.

Monday to Wednesday 9pm (Nat Geographic) The Story of God with Morgan Freeman The actor seeks to answer questions, for instance about the origin of planet Earth (1-3/3).

PANadim Ednan-Laperouse, pictured with his wife Tanya, is interviewed in A Bright Yellow Light (Christmas Eve, 8pm Radio 4)

Christmas Eve 5pm (BBC2) Carols from King’s The annual celebration from King’s College, Cambridge (repeated at 8.40am on Christmas Day, BBC1).

9.20pm (BBC2) Gareth Malone’s Christmas Concert The choirmaster is invited to put on a concert for staff at Watford General Hospital.

11.40pm (BBC1) Midnight Mass from Croydon Minster The preacher is the Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Revd Jonathan Clark.

11.50pm (ITV) Carols at Christmas Myleene Klass leads the congregation in carols at St Elisabeth’s, Reddish, Greater Manchester.

Christmas Day 8.10am (C5) Britain’s Favourite Christmas Songs A countdown of the nation’s favourite songs, past and present.

10am (BBC1) Christmas Day Mass live from St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, Bradford.

11.50pm (BBC1) On Christmas Night The story of Christ’s birth, from St Luke’s Gospel.

Boxing Day to Saturday 8pm (BBC4) Royal Institution Christmas Lectures: Secrets and Lies — the hidden power of maths Dr Hannah Fry investigates luck, algorithms, and whether our mathematical skills can be relied on (1-3/3).

Sunday 1.15pm (BBC1) Songs of Praise: The Big Sing From the Assembly Hall, Belfast (2/2).

Monday 8.30pm (BBC2) Christmas University Challenge The team of St Peter’s College, Oxford, includes the Archdeacon of Leeds, the Ven. Paul Ayers (6/10).

New Year’s Day 1pm (BBC1) The Archbishop of Canterbury’s New Year Message Archbishop Welby reflects on the importance of connecting with people.

Thursday 9pm (PBS America) Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the house of God A documentary film about the conspiracy of silence over allegations of sexual abuse made against RC priests.

BBC/Leigh KeilyThe Revd Kate Bottley presents Good Morning Christmas (Christmas Day, 8am R2)

RADIO: Friday 1.30pm (World Service) Heart and Soul Choirs that represent the diversity of Manchester sing music that says Christmas to them.

Saturday 8pm (R4) Archive on 4: Divided nation Timandra Harkness compares today’s political and social divisions with those of the past.

Sunday 6am (R2) Good Morning Sunday The presenters celebrate the start of Hanukkah.

8.10am (R4) Sunday Worship The Archbishop of Canterbury introduces a service for the Fourth Sunday of Advent from Fisherwick Presbyterian Church, Belfast.

3pm (R3) Choral Evensong Recorded on 12 November in Exeter Cathedral.

5pm (R3) The Listening Service What are the origins and essential ingredients of Christmas music?

6pm (R2) Young Choristers of the Year The 2019 grand final from the BBC Philharmonic Studios, MediaCityUK, Salford. Each of the eight finalists will sing a Christmas carol and a Christmas anthem.

Monday to Friday 9.45am (R4 FM) Book of the Week: Last Christmas Essays by ten writers on the true meaning of Christmas (1-5/5).

Monday to Friday 10.45am and 7.45pm (R4) Kilvert’s Diary The diary of the Victorian clergyman Francis Kilvert, capturing everyday life for a rural curate in the 1870s (1-5/5).

Monday 4.30pm (R4) Beyond Belief Ernie Rea and guests discuss the religious message behind The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (4/6).

Christmas Eve 3pm (R4) A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols The traditional service live from King’s College, Cambridge (repeated at 2pm Boxing Day, R3).

5.30pm (Classic FM) Carols from St Paul’s Cathedral A concert recorded on 10 December.

11.30pm (R4) Midnight Mass Live from St George’s RC Cathedral, Southwark.

Christmas Day 8am (R2) Good Morning Christmas The Revd Kate Bottley introduces music from a gospel choir, and reads out listeners’ Christmas messages.

9am (R4) Christmas Service A nativity service from the Wintershall Estate, near Guildford, with the Bishop of Dorking, the Rt Revd Jo Bailey Wells.

11am (R4) Soul Music A look at the Coventry Carol, which tells of the slaughter of the Innocents.

BBC/Bad Wolf/HBOLord Asriel (James McAvoy) in His Dark Materials

1pm (Classic FM) The Nation’s Favourite Carol Will “O holy night” be the winner for the fourth year in a row?

1.15pm (R4) Three Vicars Talking The Revd Richard Coles, the Revd Kate Bottley, and Canon Giles Fraser talk about Advent, nativity plays, and midnight mass.

7.15pm (R4) Front Row Samira Ahmed and Sir Simon Jenkins look at the church building as a growing arts venue.

12.15am (R4) Christmas Meditation The actress Sally Phillips explores protecting the vulnerable.

Boxing Day and Friday 2.15pm (R4) Drama: Mr Betjeman’s Class Two plays that celebrate the poet John Betjeman (repeat) (1-2/2).

Friday 1.30pm (World Service) Heart and Soul Shari Vahl meets the Anglicans who are using the power of sport to reconnect people with their faith.

Sunday 8.10am (R4) Sunday Worship a morning service from Girton College, Cambridge, with the Revd Dr Malcolm Guite.

3pm (R3) Choral Evensong An archive recording from Westminster Abbey, first broadcast on 27 December 2000.

Monday 4.30pm (R4) Beyond Belief Ernie Rea and guests discuss miracles (5/6).

8pm (R4) A Small Matter of Hope Fraser Nelson investigates why people are so pessimistic about the world.

New Year’s Day 3.30pm (R3) Choral Evensong Recorded in August in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.

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