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BBC Scotland unwraps festive schedule


BBC Scotland unwraps festive schedule

As 2023 draws to a close BBC Scotland has a stocking full of festive goodies across television and radio to entertain audiences over the holidays.

A traditional mix of heart-warming and uplifting stories, laughs, festive warmth and musical treats will be served up alongside opportunities for reflection, making BBC Scotland the perfect Christmas companion and the place to enjoy all the festive ‘feels’.

Louise Thornton, head of commissioning for BBC Scotland:

“We’ve pulled together a selection box of programmes for audiences to enjoy over the festive holidays whatever their mood.  As friends and families get together we hope to keep them company with a line-up across television and radio featuring some of the best talent Scotland has to offer.”

There’s some comedy glitter sprinkled across the schedules this festive season bringing some much-needed laughs as we head towards the end of the year.  Scotland Stands Up, a one-off half-hour ‘Live at the Apollo’ style show sees farmer and comedian Jim Smith host an exciting lineup of Scots comedians on the comedy circuit. Featuring Susie McCabe, Jamie MacDonald, Stuart MacPherson and Marjolein Robertson the show was recorded at Church Hill Theatre, Edinburgh.

There are more laughs served up from Susie McCabe as she brings her sensational show Femme Fatality to a sold-out King’s Theatre in Glasgow. From growing up gay in the eighties and nineties to working on building sites and becoming a successful stand-up comic, Susie McCabe’s life is jam-packed with rich material and the gifted performer delivers a barnstorming evening of razor-sharp punchlines and observational comedy.

Scotland’s social media comedy sensation Paul Black takes a trip down memory lane with his feel-good stand-up special Paul Black: Nostalgia. Filmed at the Music Hall in Aberdeen as part of his UK tour, Paul examines the quality bar of Neds these days and showcases a childhood photo that he reckons solved one of the great divides in our nation.

The award-winning Breaking the News team takes a wander through 2023 with Breaking the Year. Host Des Clarke is joined by special guests Ashley Storrie, Sanjeev Kholi, Kirsty Wark & Mark Nelson to take a wry look back at the biggest stories of 2023 at home and around the world.

Breaking the Year with Des Clarke

Music will feature heavily in the schedules this year as the Beeb delve into the archives with a special compilation series to celebrate 30 years of T in the Park which began in 1994 and grew to become one of the UK’s most loved music festivals by revellers and artistes alike. Edith Bowman revisits stellar performances from hundreds of artists from around the world who took to the stage, braved the weather and experienced the legendary Scottish crowds and sing-a-longs.

Roddy Hart presents Christmas at the Quay and welcomes Texas for a festive show liberally sprinkled with hits and seasonal vibes.  Joining the fun before a live audience at Pacific Quay will be Nati, a singer-songwriter who has built a huge online following of close to two million fans for her live-streamed performances. Terra Kin, winner of the BBC Introducing Scottish Act of the Year 2023 blends jazz, ambient and folk sounds with a soulful vocal complete the sparkling line-up.

A jolly Christmas is far from guaranteed in River City as the Shieldinch residents unwrap secrets and lies leading to a dramatic – an unmissable – New Year’s showdown between Lenny (Frank Gallagher), Lydia (Jacqueline Leonard) and Andrew (Greg Powrie).

The Beeb welcome brand new judge Danny Campbell as he joins Anna Campbell-Jones and Banjo Beale in the search of a Christmas cracker of a home in Scotland’s Christmas Home of the Year.

Across the country, the judges will be enjoying the decorated doorways, tinselled trees and festooned fireplaces before gifting the title to one winter wonderful winner.   The judges will still be looking for architectural merit and stylish interior design but they’ll also be marking the five finalists on festive flair and Christmas spirit in the one-off special of the popular series.

Christmas Celebration, presented by Sally Magnusson

Shepherding in the festive season is The Big Scottish Christmas Book Club with host Damian Barr featuring and discussing a gorgeous selection box of stories with some very notable ‘crackers’.    Damian is joined by bestselling author Jenny Colgan to discuss her brand new festive novel, Midnight at The Christmas Bookshop, star of Outlander series Graham McTavish, reveals his favourite fiction and author of The Beetle Boy series, MG Leonard shares her latest novel  – a contemporary fairytale for Christmas, The Ice Children.

The Primary pupils of Mallaig rate the Raymond Briggs classics The Snowman and Father Christmas and the senior pupils recommend their favourite reads as potential gifts for teens.

Reflection always plays a big part in BBC Scotland’s festive schedules and as the world continues to feel as uncertain as ever, there will be the opportunity to reflect with a variety of programmes across television and radio.

Over a hundred students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are partnering with BBC Scotland and performing the music for Christmas Celebration, presented by Sally Magnusson on Christmas Eve, and Reflections at the Quay on Christmas morning.

The music for both programmes was recorded at Sherbrooke Mosspark Parish Church in Pollokshields, Glasgow, where the congregational carols were accompanied by ten RCS brass players.  There will also be Christmas songs from the Senior Chamber Choir, and from the 55 strong Junior Conservatoire Choir accompanied by a strings and wind orchestra.  Also appearing in both programmes will be Scottish folk singer Emily Smith, an RCS graduate, with Jamie McClennan and Aaron Jones.

Reflections at the Quay is presented by Rev Ali Pandian, chaplain at Rachel House Children’s Hospice, Rev Aaron Moffat Jackman, St Peter’s, Musselburgh, Fiona Stewart, arts writer and performer, and Dr Suzanne Bunniss, social science researcher and founder of Scottish Charity FireCloud.

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