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On the radio: From choirs and carols to a singing footballer – radio’s Christmas treats

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Is it any wonder choir singing is more popular than it has been in decades?

We’ve had almost two years of keeping our distance from each other so the urge to get together and sing our hearts out is outranked perhaps only by a beach holiday in Tenerife.

You may feel the urge to join in with some wassailing this festive season but at the same time also have in mind the scientific advice that singing at the top of your lungs is enjoyed not just by those listening but also nasty respiratory viruses.

If you want to join in, then perhaps switching on the kitchen radio while prepping the Brussels sprouts is the safest, as well as most fun, thing to do.

As ever, Auntie Beeb has the most offerings this Christmas. Paul O’Grady (Radio 2, Christmas Day, 12pm) once more hosts his annual Christmas Day show from his home in Kent.

Assuming his menagerie of dogs and animals will allow, Paul welcomes a (socially distanced, of course) performance from the Radio 2 Choral Society belting out a host of seasonal songs.

There’s also a cocktail recipe for those slaving over the stove.

If Paul O’Grady isn’t quite traditional enough for you then Radio 4 has the Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols (Radio 4, Christmas Eve, 3pm).

Recorded in the hallowed candlelit chapel of King’s College, Cambridge this is a beautiful selection of Christmas carols and hymns sung by the famous chapel choir, including O Little Town Of Bethlehem and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

And on the Breakfast Show (Radio 3, Wednesday, 7am) the winner of Radio 3’s Christmas Carol Competition is announced.

This year, the station is asking music lovers and amateur composers to write a tune setting the words of Victorian poet Christina Rossetti’s Love Came Down At Christmas.

If singalongs aren’t your think, national treasures Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam return for more acclaimed comedy in Conversations From A Long Marriage At Christmas Again Wednesday, Radio 4, 6.30pm).

The last we met, the pair they were planning a “deux”; a Christmas with just the long-married couple on their own with a special meal and a, ahem, special festive encounter. The pair were thwarted last time; will this year be more successful?

We join them as Joanna breathily compliments Roger: “How do you get it so perfect every time?”

“Hot goose fat and regular tossing,” is the reply.

The award-winning Breaking The News team takes a wander through 2021 with Breaking The Year (BBC Radio Scotland, December 30, 11pm) and BBC Radio Scotland. Host Des Clarke, his old mate Jim Smith and special guests take a wry look back at the biggest stories and events of the year.

The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra are dusted down and handed musical scores from Hollywood’s Golden Age for a special festive treat. BBC SSO At The Movies (Radio Scotland, Christmas Day, 4.10pm) presented by Jamie McDougall.

Following on from its first transmission last Christmas, BBC Scotland has commissioned a second outing for the programme Scotland’s People 2021: A Thank You (Radio Scotland, today, 5.45pm) which says a huge thank you to Scotland’s unsung heroes.

Jackie Bird hit the road and meet those who have pulled together to help others in need within their communities across Scotland.

Aided and abetted by Gary Lineker, Martin Compston, Mark Bonnar, Sharleen Spiteri, Bird brings festive cheer to a host of deserving individuals.

You may be interested in listening to non-stop Christmas music; some people are like that. Loveable former footballer Chris Kamara has you covered.

A station called Santa Radio has appeared and “Kammy” will present three shows (Santa Radio, today, 6pm; Christmas Eve, 4pm).

The show will feature two hours of Sky Sports presenter Kammy’s favourite Christmas songs, along with a sackful of his own, including three tracks written especially for him.

If Santa Radio isn’t enough to keep you going there’s also Christmas Radio which is non-stop Christmas music between now and December 31; find it on your DAB.