BBC Radio and Sounds delivers a Christmas cracker of a schedule for listeners this festive period

Enjoy special guest takeovers, music mixes, and a whole host of brilliant storytelling this Christmas on BBC Radio and BBC Sounds


BBC Sounds


Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer, says “Listeners will be spoilt for choice this holiday season with a stocking full of festive delights from BBC Radio and Sounds. Our stations will be soundtracking your Christmas with special guest takeovers, music mixes to get you in the party mood, and a whole host of brilliant storytelling, from the nostalgic to the supernatural, there’s something for everyone. BBC Radio and Sounds is the perfect companion, keeping listeners entertained right through to Christmas Day and into the New Year.”

BBC Sounds

• Christmas podcast specials of Yeti, 6 Degrees with Jamie and Spencer, Your Place Or Mine with Shaun Keaveny and Inside… Ghosts

• Soundtrack the season with hours of uninterrupted curated mixes and festive specials from Charlotte Ritchie, Romesh Ranganathan, Sophie Ellis Bextor and more with our Christmas Music and New Year Sounds collections

• Listeners can immerse themselves in Doctor Who The Missing Episodes over the festive period, with 26 episodes that were previously thought lost

• Bingeable boxsets from some of the top podcasts of the year will be available in the Best of 2023 collection on BBC Sounds, including The Gift, The Banksy Story, History’s Secret Heroes, People Who Knew Me, Believe In Magic and A Very British Cult

• Escape with audiobooks and adaptations such as The Years by Annie Ernaux, The Future by Naomi Alderman, The Blue Book of Nebo and Ian Fleming by Nicholas Shakespeare

Pop Music Radio

• On Radio 2, Jane McDonald makes her presenting debut on the station playing seasonal classics, old and new, with Steve Wright presenting a festive Pick of the Pops and Beverley Knight bringing gospel magic to the evening

• There will be a Sounds of the 60, 70s, 80 and 90s build up to the New Year’s Eve party with Michelle Visage live from LA as the clock strikes midnight

• On Radio 1, Clara Amfo announces the winner of Radio 1’s Hottest Record of the Year, while Jack Saunders reveals who has been crowned The Official Christmas Number 1

• The 1Xtra family will be joined by some of the listeners’ favourite comedians from across the UK trying to find the best joke of 2023, including 1Xtra’s own Eddie Kadi as well as Munya Chawawa, Slim, Darren Harriott, Kyrah Gray and more.

• Legendary actor Bill Nighy sits in for Iggy Pop on 6 Music, bringing his own dapper rock and roll style to your Christmas listening

• 6 Music’s Festive Takeovers return, hosted by Wayne Coyne, Alison Goldfrapp, Samantha Morton and Chaka Khan and Queermas is back, with mixes from ABSOLUTE., HAAi, Dorian Electra and TYGAPAW

• BBC Asian Network are starting their Christmas celebrations early on the 8 December with an All Star DJ Takeover that sees 14 DJ’s going back-to-back every hour to soundtrack your Christmas playlist. Smash Bengali will take over BBC Asian Network’s Breakfast Show from 25 December for a fortnight of festive music, fun and games

Radio 3, Orchestras and Choirs

• BBC Radio 3 presents an array of special guests such as Lise Davidsen, Gareth Malone, John Rutter and Anna Lapwood, as well as top performances from the BBC Singers, London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Brass Ensemble and many more

• On Sunday lunchtimes throughout December, broadcaster Clive Myrie returns to BBC Radio 3 to bring together a feast of Advent and Christmas classical music alongside some of his personal discoveries

• The winner for this year’s BBC Radio 3 Carol Competition is to be announced after music lovers were invited to write a tune or melody to a new lyric by Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage. Titled Polaris, it is inspired by a transformative visit to Antarctica

• Over the month of December the BBC Singers are involved in a range of Christmas activity. As well as performances, their Christmas album Carols Revisited has been released by Warner music, and their Christmas single for CBeebies show Hey Duggee

Radio 4, 4 Extra and 5 Live

• Marking 50 years since The Wombles first appeared on the BBC, Richard E Grant narrates a charming adventure from Wimbledon common for BBC Radio 4, directed by Johnny Vegas

• Bill Nighy stars in A. L. Kennedy’s drama A Single Act, while Brian Cox bids farewell in comedy Bob Servant Says Cheerio

• Uncanny’s Danny Robins joins Daisy May Cooper at her Cotswolds home for a spooky Uncanny Christmas Special

• Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas, Barbie director Greta Gerwig and queen of the kitchen Delia Smith are this year’s festive castaways on Desert Island Discs

• Ruth Jones will look back at her early comic inspirations for With Great Pleasure at Christmas

• On 4 Extra, Christmas Eve marks a whole day of celebrations of the late great Nicholas Parsons, including his reading of A Christmas Carol, interspersed with original songs and carols

• On BBC Radio 5 Live Colin Murray, Mark Chapman, Gordon Smart and Patrick Kielty will all present shows over the Christmas period

BBC World Service

• BBC World Service English brings listeners a two-part documentary told from inside the Arctic Circle in northern Norway and Iceland, exploring the ‘Polar Silk Road’

• In The Studio invites us behind the scenes with renowned ‘A Little Life’ theatre director Ivo van Hove

• Listeners can enjoy testing their knowledge on the big events of the year with The Newshour Christmas Quiz

BBC Sounds

Listeners can enjoy bonus festive episodes of some of their favourite podcasts on BBC Sounds this Christmas, including Your Place Or Mine with Shaun Keaveny, Yeti, Inside… Ghosts and 6 Degrees with Jamie and Spencer, all available over this holiday period.

There’s also music for every seasonal occasion with expertly curated music mixes and festive specials from Charlotte Ritchie reading A Christmas Carol for the Sleeping Forecast and Romesh Ranganathan’s For The Love Of Hip Hop, to Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Kitchen Disco and Fearne Cotton’s Sounds of the 90s, with our Christmas Music and New Year Sounds collections.

Back To Back Christmas and Back To Back New Year long listens return with hours of uninterrupted festive shows and mixes, making it even easier for listeners to find the best on-demand Christmas Music from the BBC.

Bingeable boxsets from some of the most popular podcasts of the year will be available in the Best of 2023 collection on BBC Sounds, including The Gift, The Banksy Story, History’s Secret Heroes, People Who Knew Me, Believe In Magic and A Very British Cult.

Listeners can also escape with a range of audiobooks and adaptations such as The Wombles, The Years by Annie Ernaux, The Future by Naomi Alderman, The Blue Book of Nebo and Ian Fleming by Nicholas Shakespeare in the Books and Stories collection, all on BBC Sounds this Christmas.


Your Place or Mine with Shaun Keaveny (Available now)

Artwork for Your Place or Mine with Shaun Keaveny. Featuring cutouts of Shaun Keaveny and Maisie Adam wearing red Santa hats, surrounded by snow-covered branding.
In a festive episode of the comedy travel podcast, comedian Maisie Adam tries to tempt Shaun off his sofa to visit the snowy wonderland of Santa’s hometown, Rovaniemi in Finland. Maisie is sure that Shaun, a Santa-like figure himself, will be drawn to the heavy metal bands, black drinks and reindeer.

Yeti – Omnibus (22 December)

Artwork for Yeti. A snowy landscape complete with mountains and trees features a figure walking in the distance. Text on the image reads: “Yeti - Bonus Episode”
In this special omnibus episode of Yeti, adventurers Andrew Benfield and Richard Horsey recount their long search for the mythical creature. The pair travel across the Himalayas from India, to Myanmar, to Nepal and finally Bhutan, looking for proof that it exists. Along the way they hear stories of footprints, sightings and encounters. They even come across some tangible evidence. Can they prove that the Yeti is actually real? And why do we need to believe in this enduring legend?

Inside… Ghosts Christmas Special

Artwork for Inside… Ghosts Christmas Special featuring the eight ghosts gathered around a four poster bed where Mike and Alison are reading. Text on the image reads: Inside Ghosts”
Nathan Bryon delves into the strange goings on at Button House with the cast of Ghosts in this special episode which releases alongside the last ever episode of the show.

6 Degrees from Jamie and Spencer (7, 14, 21 December)

Artwork for 6 Degrees from Jamie and Spencer featuring the pair holding 1970s-style rotary phones to their ears.
The boys are back and throughout December will be looking for three Christmas-themed celebrities from the biggest events of the festive period, alongside their usual festive silliness.

Doctor Who The Missing Episodes (Available now)

The Doctor's TARDIS flies through space and time in a swirl of blue, green and purple colours. Doctor Who The Missing Episodes is written in white text.
Sadly not all of Doctor’s Who’s earliest years survive in the BBC archive. Many episodes have been lost, seemingly forever. Bit thanks to the ingenuity of the fans, sound recordings of these missing episodes survived and were returned to the BBC. Combined with the narration from the stars of Doctor Who, here’s a chance to listen to the three adventures starring the first two Doctors.

Christmas Music

Graphic with a red background and snowflakes. Text reads: “Christmas Music”
From festive specials for some of our most popular music shows to bespoke mixes curated by our experts, music fans can soundtrack their Christmas for any occasion on BBC Sounds this year. listeners can search Christmas Music or head to the music tab in Sounds to enjoy:

Christmas Chill: enjoy a calming Christmas escape with laid-back festive gems

Drift into a generous slumber with a very special edition of The Sleeping Forecast featuring Ghosts star Charlotte Ritchie reading excerpts from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, alongside seasonal music from BBC Introducing.
New this year, Essential Classic Mix: Christmas Carols hosted by Georgia Mann is full of the biggest and best-known classic Christmas carols to get listeners into the Christmas spirit.
A Winter Walk features festive jazz and wintry soundscapes, and there’s two hours of choral music to set the mood with A Choral Christmas from the Mindful Mix.

Christmas Hits: Christmas is covered with a collection of classic Christmas favourites

Festive editions of popular mixes including Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Kitchen Disco: Massive Christmas Hits Sleighlist!, Sounds Of The 90s with Fearne Cotton: Festive Mixtape and Radio 1 Happy: Christmas Party.
The Ultimate Christmas Movie Mixtape sees Radio 1's film expert Ali Plumb pick out some of the most loved songs from holiday movie favourites.
Zoe Ball presents Christmas Crooners celebrating the Classic Christmas hits and Crooners everyone loves to hear.

Throwback Christmas: Timeless, nostalgic and soulful with the very best in festive hip-hop, R&B and Gospel

Artwork for 1Xtra’s Christmas Throwback Party with Trevor Nelson and Clara Amfo. Featuring photos of Joelah and Keke, Clara Amfo and Trevor Nelson.
Joelah and Keke host two festive editions of 1Xtra Throwbacks where they’ll be joined by very special co-hosts including the Pressed podcast girls Adeola Patronne and Mariam Musa, plus radio royalty Trevor Nelson and Clara Amfo for an unforgettable Throwback Party.
Romesh Ranganathan gets into the festive feeling for this special episode of For the Love of Hip Hop, taking a deep dive into his favourite Christmas Hip Hop bangers from the past and present, plus a special appearance from his mum too.
1Xtra's R&B Chill: Christmas with Chuckie & Tazer features the pair’s favourite festive R&B slow jamz of all time.

Alternative Christmas: Christmas with a twist, soothing seasonal tunes and alternative indie hits

Alternative Sounds of the 90s: Dermot's Festive Crackers sees Dermot pick his alternative 90s festive playlist featuring the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins, St Etienne, Teenage Fanclub and The Muppets. Plus film buff Edith Bowman picks a Double A side from Eels.
Enjoy two hours of unique winter vibes and gentle early morning energy from The Morning After Mix: Christmas Special to get you through the festive period.
6Music's Indie Forever: A Wonderful Indie Christmastime provides your festive indie soundtrack, with music from the likes of Julian Casablancas, Blossoms, The Big Moon, Jet and more.

New Year Sounds

Sophie Ellis-Bextor's Kitchen Disco: Ultimate Disco Party Playlist features two hours of massive disco tunes from Dua Lipa to Donna Summer.
Radio 1 Happy: New Year’s Eve Party! will bring in 2024 with all the positive and uplifting tunes.
Sounds of the 90s with Fearne Cotton features a house party mixtape to celebrate the New Year and Alternative 90s with Dermot O’Leary sees Blur’s Alex James sharing two tracks from his favourite 90s artist.
1Xtra R&B Chill: New Year Special is a party special hosted by Chuckie and Tazer featuring big guests to bring in the New Year.

New Year Relax: Blissful New Year vibes to fuel 2024 renewal

Artwork for BBC Sounds’ New Year Relax featuring a cosy living room with a fireplace. Two pairs of feet in warm socks point towards the fire.
Mindful Mix: Fireplace Soundscape will have soothing sounds to help escape and relax.
A special Morning After Mix to start the year off right, curated by Slowdive
Enjoy a blissful Sleeping Forecast special for New Year with a unique journey to dreamland, mixing instrumental music and Radio 4's Shipping Forecast.

Music Year In Review: Celebrating the best music moments of 2023

Joelah and Keke look back at the big Throwback comebacks of the year in Throwback Party: 2023 Throwback Moments, from Rihanna headlining the Superbowl to 50 Cent at Wireless, what will make the cut?
Maia Beth looks back at the biggest and best pop releases of 2023 and picks her favourite new releases of the year in Best New Pop Extra – 2023 Lookback
A selection of mixes celebrating an amazing year in live music will be available including The Best of the Proms, Radio 1 Best of Big Weekend and Best of Radio 2 in the Park, looking back at iconic festival performances.
Best of Live Lounge relives the iconic performances from stars in 2023’s Live Lounge month with performances from Olivia Rodrigo, Usher and Leigh-Anne and Best of Radio 2 Piano Room is a compilation mix featuring highlights from 2023’s Piano Room

BBC Radio 1

This Christmas, BBC Radio 1 will be bringing the best of festive cheer to listeners with lots of special content, from announcing the Hottest Record Of The Year 2023 to exclusively revealing this year’s Christmas Number 1.

Radio 1’s Hottest Record Of The Year

Thursday 14 December, 6pm-8pm

Every day at 6pm, Radio 1 names a brand-new Hottest Record. It’s a slot known for launching and breaking some of the most exciting new music on the planet.

This December, Clara Amfo will be counting down through the Top 20 Hottest Records from the past 12 months, as voted for by Radio 1’s listeners, before revealing which track has earned the coveted title of Hottest Record Of The Year 2023.

Paramore’s ‘This Is Why’ was crowned Hottest Record Of The Year in 2022.

Voting will open on 28 November and close on 6 December with the winner announced on 14 December.

• Presenter: Clara Amfo
• Production: BBC Audio Radio 1

Jack Saunders reveals The Official Christmas Number 1

Friday 22 December, 4pm–5.45pm

Graphic for The Official Chart with Jack Saunders on BBC Radio 1 featuring an image of Jack against a branded background.
Jack Saunders will count down the Christmas Top 40 and reveal the Christmas Number 1 on The Official Chart on Radio 1.

Presenter: Jack Saunders
Production: BBC Audio Radio 1

Radio 1 Relax @ Christmas

Thursday 1 December – Sunday 25 December, 6am-10pm

From 1 December, Radio 1 Relax will be providing a Christmas pick-me-up whenever you need it with a variety of Christmas tracks playing from 6am-10pm daily. Radio 1 Happy will also have a special uplifting show playing all of the Christmas hits and party bangers.


Radio 1 Happy

Saturday 9 December, 5am

Radio 1 Happy will also have a special uplifting show playing all of the Christmas hits and party bangers, available now in BBC Sounds.


BBC 1Xtra

This Christmas BBC 1Xtra is turning up the festive fun and decking the halls with bells of laughter! The 1Xtra family will be joined by some of the listeners’ favourite comedians from across the UK, trying to find the best joke of 2023. Included in the stellar line up of comedic maestros, will be 1Xtra’s own and recent Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Eddie Kadi, as well as Munya Chawawa, Slim, Darren Harriott, Kyrah Gray and more. They will be spreading their waves of Christmas joy across the nation on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

1Xtra will also see the triumphant return of a listener favourite – Jeremiah Asiamah’s Gospel Christmas show. From the jubilant rhythms to the soul-stirring harmonies, Jeremiah will deliver the best in gospel music to wake up the nation on Christmas morning.

Source BBC Sounds

November 27, 2023 5:00am ET by Pressparty  


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