THE VOICE OF MICKEY MOUSE Christmas Day, Radio Scotland, 2pm A FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS Christmas Eve, Radio 4, 3pm CHRISTMAS AROUND EUROPE Tomorrow, Radio 3, Midday AFTERNOON PLAY: MCLEVY Monday, Radio 4, 2:15pm
We all know Dundee as the Mecca of comic capers, the birthplace of such immortal eccentrics as Desperate Dan, Dennis the Menace, the Broons and Oor Wullie ... but Mickey Mouse?
Yet, as Dundonian expat Brian Cox explains on Friday, the cheerful warble of America's most famous rodent was voiced for almost 40 years by a fellow exile from the city.
Jimmy MacDonald was a former marine engineer who provided Mickey's dulcet tones after the mouse's original voice, Walt Disney himself, got too hoarse as a result of his smoking habit.
In The Voice of Mickey Mouse, Cox recounts the life of MacDonald, who died in 1991 (and, yes, at his funeral, one fellow cartoon vocalist piped up "That's all, folks"). He provided the famous character's vocals between the 1940s and the 1970s – not to mention similarly eccentric noises for the likes of Pluto and the bee which habitually pursued Donald Duck. Next year MacDonald gains a posthumous lease of life when his high-pitched haverings feature in a city council promotional campaign.
For less Disney-esque Christmas spirit, the hoary old broadcasting tradition of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols comes from King's College Chapel, Cambridge, as it has done since 1928.
And for a more cosmopolitan take on seasonal music, Radio 3's Fiona Talkington presents Christmas Around Europe, an afternoon and evening of works by Bach, Mozart, Haydn and Arvo Prt, as well as traditional Christmas songs, broadcast live from such locations as Tallin, Vienna, London, Munich and Prague.
Those suffering from humbug syndrome, however, may prefer to venture once again down those Victorian mean streets in a new series of McLevy, which brings us back to Brian Cox, in his now established radio role as the hard-bitten Leith detective inspector.
Monday's episode discovers the body of an old lady floating in Leith docks – and not a mince pie in sight.
This article was first published in The Scotsman on December 19