Christmas on the BBC

Many families look forward to receiving their copy of the Christmas Radio Times in the run up to the festive period, with each member circling their preferred programmes and vying for first pick.

If you're hoping to get your votes in early, then look no further as we bring you the highlights of the BBC's Christmas programming 2013.

On Christmas Eve, BBC One will broadcast The First Eucharist of Christmas live from Westminster Abbey celebrated by the Dean of Westminster, as well as Carols from King's on BBC Two to help get you in the festive spirit.

On Christmas Day itself, the Sung Eucharist will also be broadcast from Westminster Abbey, in addition to the Queen's speech – a Christmas Day tradition that began in 1932 with a radio broadcast from King George V and is continued by our Queen Elizabeth II who will be broadcast on television, radio and the internet through various channels including BBC One.

Last Year, Her Majesty spoke of "the spirit of togetherness that lies at the heart of the Christmas story".

"This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son to serve, not to be served," she said.

"He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer this Christmas day that his example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others".

She concluded her message with a reading of the fourth verse of the traditional hymn 'Bleak Midwinter':

"What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart".

Many Christians were delighted that the Queen gave such a gospel-centred message, and will no doubt be looking forward to this year's speech.

On New Year's Day, the Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year Message broadcast on BBC One will be Justin Welby's first since assuming the role.

For a bit of light, festive relief, tune in for a Christmas special of pop quiz favourite Never Mind The Buzzcocks, James May's Toy Stories: Motorcycle Diary, in which he races around the Isle of Man in a race car made out of Meccano, or, just in case you've got room for pudding, Mary Berry's The Great British Bake Off Christmas Special.

Director of Television, Danny Cohen, said: "Brilliant Christmas telly across Drama, Factual, Comedy, Entertainment and Religion is something licence-fee payers rightly expect from the BBC and this year's holiday schedule delivers that."

He says viewers are in for "brand new treats" as well as festive specials, which make it set to be a cracker of a Christmas.

On BBC Radio Two, Diane Louise Jordan will host a special Christmas Day programme celebrating the Christmas carol with a variety of special guests and a selection of carols chosen by the Radio 2 listeners.

The programme promises to tell some "unusual and little-known stories about some of our favourite carols".

Listeners will also be treated to performances by the Radio 2 Choristers of the Year, unusual settings of some carols as well as many traditional favourites.

Radio 4's Thought For The Day contributors for the festive period from 26 December to 31 December will include Rev Jim Corrigall, Unitarian Minister, The Most Rev Dr Rowan Williams and Lord Richard Harries, Bharti Taylor and Archbishop Justin Welby.

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