Let joy your carols fill: The Grapevine guide to religious programmes on TV and Radio

This page will be updated as more information becomes available

Heaven made at Christmas

BBC1, Sunday 12 December, 11.30am

This three-part series begins at Kylemore Abbey in West Ireland, where the Benedictine nuns call in local volunteers to help them make honey and Christmas themed chocolates.

 

Afternoon Concert:

Contemporary Christmas Carols

BBC Radio 3, Wednesday 22 December, 2pm

The BBC Singers perform live from Temple Church with a festive afternoon of contemporary Christmas carols, conducted by Owain Park.

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A Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols

BBC Radio 4, Friday 24 December, 3pm

A service of carols, hymns, and readings live from the candlelit Chapel of King's College, Cambridge.

Carols from King’s

BBC2, Friday 24 December, 6.15pm

The world-famous choir sings carols old and new, including The Holly and the Ivy and O Holy Night. Hymns sung with the congregation include O Come All Ye Faithful and Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, and the story of the birth of Jesus is read by members of King’s College in the words of the King James Bible and in poems by Charles Causley and Theresa Lola.

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Royal Carols

ITV, Friday 24 December, 7.30pm

The Duchess of Cambridge hosts a carol service from the Royal Albert Hall. The event will recognise and celebrate the work of “individuals and organisations across the nation who have stepped up to support their communities through the pandemic”.

 

Midnight Mass

BBC Radio 4, Friday 24 December, 11.30pm.

Live from Salford Cathedral. Celebrated by The Right Reverend John Arnold, Bishop of Salford. Music includes: O Come, all ye faithful, It came upon the midnight clear, and Hark! the herald angels sing.

Midnight Mass

BBC1, Friday 24 December, 11.45pm

Live from St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham. The celebrant and preacher will be the Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Revd Bernard Longley. Music includes O Come, All Ye Faithful, Silent Night and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Music Director David Saint leads the cathedral choir in compositions spanning 500 years, from the Christmas motet Tui sunt caeli by 16th composer Orlando Lassus, to Richard Causton’s haunting 21st Century Cradle Song.

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Christmas Carols on ITV

ITV, Friday 24 December, 11.45pm

Soul singer and eighties icon Tony Hadley is joined by West End star Brenda Edwards to host a traditional Christmas Eve celebration from St Elizabeth’s Church in Greater Manchester.

 

Mica’s Gospel Christmas

BBC Radio 2, Saturday 25 December 2021, 6am-8am

Soul diva Mica Paris presents a playlist of vocal performances from the biggest stars and choirs of Gospel. With performances from Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson and many more.

 

Good Morning Christmas 2021

BBC Radio 2, Saturday 25 December 2021 8am-10am

Reverend Kate Bottley brings the cheer on Christmas morning with carol singing, listeners’ Christmas greetings and a joyful pause for thought from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Kate will be meeting some of those special helpers who make this special day go smoothly – our Christmas Champions – and to complete the magic, the twinkly stars at top of the tree are some joyous carols specially recorded with a choir for today’s programme.

Christmas Service

BBC Radio 4, Saturday 25 December, 9am

A service recorded by Christians in Bethlehem especially for Radio 4. Leader: The Rev’d. Dr. Jack Sara, President of Bethlehem Bible College and a leader of the Jerusalem Alliance Church, who was born and raised in the Old City of Jerusalem. The life of Jesus comes alive to visitors and residents of the Holy Land alike. Members of the college tell the story of Christmas Day from the sites where they believe the events might well have taken place.

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As Christmas Day ends, Mary Berry read the nativity from Luke's Gospel. See On Christmas Night below.

Christmas Day Service

from Coventry Cathedral

BBC1, Saturday 25 December, 10am

A service of hope, peace and goodwill, live from Coventry Cathedral. The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth, will preside and Coventry Cathedral Choir – made up of girls, boys and adult singers – will leads the congregation in familiar carols, including O Come All Ye Faithful, See, Amid the Winter’s Snow and Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.

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On Christmas Night

BBC One, Saturday 25 December, Midnight

As Christmas Day draws to a close, Mary Berry narrates the story of the first Christmas from Luke's Gospel, when angels appeared to shepherds to proclaim the news of Jesus’s birth.

 

Beyond Belief

BBC Radio 4, Monday 27 December, 4.30pm-5pm

Beyond Belief explores the enduring appeal and spiritual meaning of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. Ernie Rea will be joined by Anna Lapwood – a harp player and Director of Music at Pembroke College Cambridge – and by the composer Michael Berkeley who was Britten’s God son.