Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? If not, there are more than enough radio shows to give your ears a well-deserved Christmas treat…
Whether you want some music to accompany basting the turkey, a bit of light comedy while you wrap a mountain of presents, or you simply want to drown out Great Uncle Archie’s eccentric political sermons over dinner, there’s plenty to choose from on the radio this Christmas.
The BBC have pulled out the stops across their multitude of channels, and it’s celebrated author Neil Gaiman – who penned American Gods and Stardust – who is bringing us our big gift this year.
Neil Gaiman’s Chivalry (Radio 4, Christmas Day, 4pm) is about Mrs Whitaker, a woman who finds the Holy Grail in a charity shop.
The excellent Glenda Jackson as Mrs Whitaker, and Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington is another noble hero, Sir Galaad.
The quirky, funny, and sweet story, mixes the gentle normality of Mrs Whitaker’s chats with her best friend, discussing grandchildren over home-made macaroons, with the very lightly touched upon everyday loneliness of bereavement.
Mrs Whitaker is paid a visit from a handsome young man who says he’s called Galaad. He comes asking for the Grail, and ends up helping out with the gardening and doing the heavy lifting around the house.
Let’s hope Glenda and Kit do better than Monty Python and Indiana Jones in their hunt for the Grail.
It sounds like a magical tale, but sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.
On Radio Scotland, Stephen Jardine tells the story of how Hollywood superstar Roy Rogers and his actress wife, Dale Evans, adopted a little girl from an Edinburgh children’s home, in The Roy Rogers Kid (BBC Radio Scotland, Christmas Day, 1pm)
Stephen meets Marion – now known as Mimi Swift – as she returns to her roots in Scotland with her own family.
She sang for Roy and his wife at Dunforth Children’s Home and the pair were captivated.
They adopted her and Marion went to live with them in California.
Another fairy tale is Glasgow band Travis’s rise to stardom.
Travis: The Man Who At 20 (Radio Scotland, Christmas Day, 2pm) sees journalist and broadcaster Paul English mark the 20th anniversary of The Man Who, the landmark album by Scottish band Travis.
The record initially received a lukewarm response, until one afternoon at the Glastonbury Festival changed the fortunes of Fran Healy, Dougie Payne, Andy Dunlop and Neil Primrose forever.
It had all the makings of maritime mayhem, but ramshackle Scottish indie band Belle & Sebastian’s summer music festival on the high seas was a huge success.
The Boaty Weekender (Radio Scotland, Christmas Day, 8pm) sees the band’s frontman Stuart Murdoch join Natasha Raskin Sharp to look back at the band’s summer festival on a Mediterranean cruise ship. Natasha also spoke to Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub, Japanese Breakfast, Camera Obscura and The Vaselines on board as well as fans from all over the world soaking in the sun and the music.
It’s the show he calls Christmas at the Workhouse, but to everyone else it’s Paul O’Grady On Christmas Day (Radio 2, Christmas Day, 12pm), his annual special featuring messages and dedications from his listeners.
Rounding the festivities off will be a few surprise interruptions from Petula Clark, Celine Dion, Luke Evans, Julian Clary, and many more.
Spend Christmas Eve with Liza Tarbuck and a few famous families as they celebrate the music that brings them together in Family Rhythms (Radio 2, Christmas Day, 6pm).
The two-hour music special features Spandau Ballet brothers Martin and Gary Kemp, Made In Chelsea’s Binky, with mum Jane Felstead, and film director Richard Curtis with his daughter Scarlett. Hear the relatives playing the most important music from their family history.
Elsewhere Ken Bruce presents a two-hour special programme with Sir Elton John for an extended version of Tracks Of My Years, on Elton John & Ken Bruce (Radio 2, Boxing Day, 12pm).