Jane McDonald to make BBC Radio 2 debut playing Christmas classics over festive period

Actor Bill Nighy and singer Jane McDonald are among a host of famous faces billed to feature on the BBC radio schedule over the Christmas season.

Academy Award nominee Nighy, 73, will sit in for Iggy Pop on BBC Radio 6 Music bringing his festive charm to the Christmas listening, and will also star in A L Kennedy’s drama A Single Act on BBC Radio 4.

While 60-year-old McDonald will make her presenting debut on Radio 2 “playing seasonal classics, old and new”, the BBC said.

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The channel will also see radio star Steve Wright present a festive Pick Of The Pops; British singer Beverley Knight will bring gospel tracks to the evening, while Michelle Visage will bring a sound of the past in the build up to New Year’s Eve live from Los Angeles “as the clock strikes midnight”, the BBC said.

Jane McDonald will make her BBC Radio 2 presenting debut over the Christmas period.Jane McDonald will make her BBC Radio 2 presenting debut over the Christmas period.
Jane McDonald will make her BBC Radio 2 presenting debut over the Christmas period.

The Christmas schedule will also see Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas, Barbie director Greta Gerwig and TV chef Delia Smith among the festive castaways on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

The channel will also feature actor Richard E Grant narrate an adventure from Wimbledon Common marking 50 years since The Wombles first appeared on the BBC, while Danny Robins will join actress Daisy May Cooper at her Cotswolds home for an Uncanny Christmas Special.

Gavin And Stacey’s Ruth Jones will also look back at her early comic inspirations for With Great Pleasure At Christmas on BBC Radio 4.

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On Radio 1, Clara Amfo will announce the winner of the Hottest Record of the Year, while Jack Saunders will reveal who has been crowned The Official Christmas number one – 1Xtra will also be joined by comedians including Strictly star Eddie Kadi.

Meanwhile, BBC Sounds will feature Christmas podcast specials from 6 Degrees With Jamie And Spencer, and Christmas Music and New Year Sounds collections will feature star presenters Charlotte Ritchie, Romesh Ranganathan and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Charlotte Moore, BBC chief content officer, said: “Listeners will be spoilt for choice this holiday season with a stocking full of festive delights from BBC Radio and Sounds.”