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BBC Cymru Wales reveals its star-studded Christmas line-up

08 Dec 2023 5 minute read
The Cast of Men Up (Credit: Alistair Heap)

BBC Cymru Wales has announced its Christmas schedule with a whole host of new festive content to get everyone in the Christmas mood across TV, iPlayer and Sounds.

At at the heart of this year’s Christmas television schedule is a homecoming Christmas concert with Katherine Jenkins OBE, the biggest selling UK classical artist of the century. From Swansea Arena, Christmas with Katherine Jenkins is described as ‘including special guests, surprise duets, enchanting carols and heart-warming moments’. She will be joined on-stage by Welsh acting royalty Michael Sheen, songwriter Jack Savoretti, opera singer and Masterchef champion Wynne Evans and pianist Chloe Flower.

Christmas with Katherine Jenkins (Credit: Matt Thorpe)

A new drama, made in Wales, is at the centre of the BBC One Christmas schedule this year. Starring Iwan Rheon, Steffan Rhodri, Paul Rhys, Phaldut Sharma and Mark Lewis Jones, Men Up is a film exploring the lives of five ordinary Welshmen who embark on an extraordinary journey when they take part in the trial of a new drug which would later become Viagra.

Alongside the film is a new documentary, Keeping It Up: The Story of Viagra, telling the remarkable true story of one of the world’s first medical trials for the drug, held in Swansea’s Morriston Hospital in 1994. From Wales to New York, this is the big story of the little blue pill, which will be available to watch on iPlayer.

Max Boyce at 80

Another gift in the Christmas TV schedule is Max Boyce at 80 – a celebration of Wales’ beloved comedian and entertainer. Max celebrated two major milestones in 2023 – his 80th birthday and 50 years on stage and the programme is a mix of documentary and performance with a new interview with Eleri Sion reflecting on his life and career.

Audiences will also be treated to two Rewind: 60 Years of Welsh Pop specials, the first being a Shirley Bassey Special, reliving the Tiger Bay singer’s career-defining moments. Spanning seven decades the programme features some of her most iconic performances, including her legendary run at Talk of the Town nightclub, and her performance at the Glastonbury Festival. The second, a Christmas Special featuring some Welsh festive favourites from child stars Aled Jones and Charlotte Church, Shakin’ Stevens, Tom Jones and the Flying Pickets.

Rewind: Shirley Bassey Special

Keeping with Boxing Day tradition, Scrum V Live’s festive fixture on BBC Two Wales, will be the Cardiff v Dragons derby from Cardiff Arms Park. Then on January 1st old rivalries come to a head as Ospreys take on Cardiff bringing in the new year from the Brewery Field in Bridgend. Presenter Sarra Elgan will be joined in the studio by former Wales internationals James Hook, Josh Navidi and Tom Shanklin. Commentary will be provided by Gareth Rhys Owen and Sean Holley, with Polly James and Lauren Jenkins reporting pitchside. The Scrum V Podcast will be keeping those who love rugby up to date during the festive season, available on BBC Sounds.

On radio, BBC Radio Wales will be celebrating Christmas with an array of programmes over the festive period. Listeners will be treated to new programmes such as Owain’s 12 Drummers Drumming, with Owain Wyn Evans, and Bronwen Lewis’ Christmas concert. For listeners stuck in a rut with Christmas cooking Monmouthshire chef and Saturday Kitchen Star, Matt Tebbutt’s Christmas Kitchen offers inspiration for festive treats to wow family and friends. Other stars in the festive line-up include Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett hosting the Radio Wales Christmas Quiz and Taulupe Faletau in A Tongan Christmas. Listeners can catch all of the programmes live on Radio Wales or listen on-demand via BBC Sounds.

On Welsh language station BBC Radio Cymru, Elin Fflur a’r Gerddorfa showcases an evening of great music accompanied by the National Orchestra of Wales and presented by Tudur Owen. Fun panel quiz show Chwalu Pen is back for a festive edition and special programme, Alaw Mair will weave together the history of the popular Christmas song with personal stories from some modern day mothers. Crowning the festive celebrations, Trystan and Emma will create a special Christmas single with some very special guests – pop group Pheena.

Online during December, BBC Cymru Fyw will have a series of festive articles, from book-buying guides for your loved ones to Gareth y Mwnci sharing some of his Christmas memories. On Swyn y Sul, four of BBC Radio Cymru’s presenters will come together to answer questions about the festive period along with a special BBC Cymru Fyw quiz – Who’s the Celeb Behind Santa’s Beard?

Broadcast details:

BBC Wales TV
Christmas with Katherine Jenkins
Saturday, 23 December, BBC Two and BBC One Wales, 7:10pm

Max Boyce at 80
Friday, 15 December, BBC One Wales, 8pm

Rewind: 60 Years of Welsh Pop: Shirley Bassey Special
Friday, 22 December, BBC One Wales, 9.30pm

Rewind: 60 Years of Welsh Pop: Christmas Special
Saturday 23 December, BBC One Wales, 6.45pm

Christmas with Katherine Jenkins
Saturday, 23 December, BBC Two and BBC One Wales 7.10pm

Scrum V Live: Cardiff v Dragons
Tuesday, 26 December, BBC Two Wales, 2.45pm

Men Up
Friday, 29 December, BBC One and BBC One Wales, 9pm

Scrum V Live: Cardiff v Ospreys
New Year’s Day, BBC One Wales, 2.40pm

BBC Radio Wales
Owain’s 12 Drummers Drumming
Available on BBC Sounds from Saturday 9 December and on BBC Radio Wales on Christmas Day at 3pm

A Tongan Christmas
Monday, December 18 at 6.30pm

Bronwen’s Christmas Concert
Saturday, December 23 at 1pm and repeated on Christmas Day at 4pm

Matt Tebbutt’s Christmas Kitchen
Christmas Eve at 1pm

The Radio Wales Christmas Quiz
Christmas Eve at 3pm

BBC Radio Cymru / Radio Cymru 2
Alaw Mair
Thursday, December 21 at 5:30pm

Elin Fflur a’r Gerddorfa
Friday, December 9 at 5:30pm

Chwalu Pen
Friday, December 22 at 5:30pm

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2 months ago

Max Boyce, Katherine Jenkins, rugby?
BBC Wales as dull and predictable as ever.

Thank God for Netflix.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
2 months ago
Reply to  Glen

Netflix for D movies, 1990s TV series, the bottom of the comedy barrel and international programmes that flopped in their own country. About 10 good offerings per year. You can watch everything good on Netflix in the space on ONE month’s free trial. Better to tour the streaming services one at a time by subscribing to one service for one month then cancelling, one at a time. That way you get all the good stuff for no more than £10 per month instead of having 5 of them at £50 per month and just endlessly scrolling to find something to… Read more »

2 months ago

Diolch i dduw am streaming. A TV station stuck in the 70s version of Wales

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