Festive radio this week manages to encompass the farthest reaches of space and growing up in Northern Ireland, while a new dramatisation of Alice in Wonderland has her meeting some surprisingly familiar faces – or at least voices.
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
Christmas Day, Radio 3, 2pm
Follow the Star
Tomorrow, Radio 2, 7pm
My Christmas in Five Books
Christmas Day, Radio Scotland, 10am
Saturday drama: Alice Through the Looking Glass
Today, Radio 4, 2:30pm
If it’s holly-bedecked tradition you’re after, however, Radio 3’s Christmas Day fixture, A FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS, comes, as ever, from the candlelit chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, with its renowned choir led by Stephen Cleobury. For something a little less orthodox, Radio 2’s FOLLOW THE STAR tomorrow has Hardeep Singh Kohli join the Rev Peter Owen Jones, impressionist and amateur stargazer John Culshaw and astronomers from the Royal Observatory to try and establish exactly what astronomical phenomena were behind the star of Bethlehem. They make use of a planetarium to project recreations of the skies of biblical times, trace the possible course taken by the Three Wise Men and try and find out more about these elusive characters who, for all their ubiquity on Christmas cards, remain largely unchronicled.
Meanwhile on Radio Scotland, MY CHRISTMAS IN FIVE BOOKS on Christmas morning sees the Glasgow-based writer Bernard McLaverty tell Stuart Cosgrove about the books which remind him of Christmases when he was growing up in Northern Ireland.
A classic book receives unorthodox treatment this afternoon on Radio 4 when a new dramatisation of Lewis Carroll’s ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS has Alice (played by Lauren Mote, with Julian Rhind-Tutt as Lewis Carroll) tumbling through that magic mirror, not only to meet with all manner of surreal characters, played by the likes of Carole Boyd, Sally Phillips, Alistair McGowan and Nicholas Parsons, but also a host of weel-kent Radio 4 personalities, including Andrew Marr, Kirsty Young and Melvyn Bragg. Curiouser and curiouser, as Alice herself would say.