Jackie Bird to make BBC Scotland festive comeback as Deacon Blue and Amy Macdonald headline Hogmanay special

Jackie Bird is to return to the nation’s screens during the festive season after being called up by BBC Scotland to help front its coverage again.

Jackie Bird fronted BBC Scotland's Hogmanay coverage for more than 20 years. Picture: Martin McCreadie

The broadcaster, who stood down from BBC Scotland’s Hogmanay coverage in 2019 after more than 20 years at the helm, will be back to host an hour-long programme celebrating Scotland’s heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bird, who quit as the presenting of Reporting Scotland after 30 years last spring, will front an hour-long “thank you” programme recognising frontline NHS and healthcare workers, charities, grassroots community campaigns and entertainers.

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The show is billed as one of the highlights of a festive line-up which will feature re-runs of classic Scottish comedies, special instalments of some of the current crop of favourites and one-off documentaries.

BBC Scotland has unveiled its full festive season line-up.

Susan Calman will be fronting BBC Scotland’s Hogmanay coverage for a second time, with Deacon Blue, Amy Macdonald and Blazin’ Fiddles lined up for provide the musical entertainment over the bells in the last of three star-studded shows being presented by the comic, one on Christmas Eve and two on New Year’s Eve. The shows will all be pre-recorded, without a studio audience, although a live performance of a lone piper at Edinburgh Castle will herald the arrival of 2021 in the second Hogmanay show.

Scotland’s greatest female singing talents will be celebrated on New Year’s Day in a BBC Alba programme featuring the likes of Annie Lennox, Barbara Dickson, Sharleen Spiteri, Eddi Reader, Clare Grogan, Lorraine McIntosh, KT Tunstall, Amy McDonald and Lauren Mayberry.

BBC Scotland will be screening special profiles of three of the country’s best-known entertainers – Elaine C Smith, Richard Wilson and Jack Docherty – recalling the highlights of their careers, while Docherty will also be starring in a Christmas Eve Scot Squad spin-off.

The last ever instalment of BBC Scotland’s hit sketch show Only an Excuse? has already been announced.

Other highlights of the season include a one-off festive edition of the hit sitcom Two Doors Down, re-runs for Rab C Nesbitt, City Lights and Still Game, Christmas specials of The Good Food Guys and Inside Central Station, and a celebration of how the Highlands have had starring roles in the movies over the years.

The one-off show fronted by Bird – Scotland’s People 2020: A Thank You – will be going out on the BBC Scotland channel on 22 December.

Bird said: “Our show isn't a traditional awards in that we aren't comparing or judging the efforts of those we highlight, we simply want to share some of the inspiring stories that are representative of the many examples of enormous human kindness shown during the darkest days of the pandemic.

"There hasn't been very much good news in 2020 but I can't wait to end the year with a celebration of what we can achieve when we look after each other."

BBC Scotland director Steve Carson said: “This year has challenged everyone in many different ways and so it’s never been more important to offer audiences the chance to come together and enjoy a range of festive programming that will bring comfort but also joy.

From uplifting programmes which will celebrate the kindness and resolve of the human spirit through to laughing with our familiar comic favourites, BBC Scotland’s festive offer provides something for everyone.”

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