Radio entertainment and showbiz

Cilla Black special among Christmas crackers lined up on BBC Radio

A programme presented by Sir Cliff Richard remembering the late Cilla Black, is one of many specials scheduled across BBC radio this Christmas.

Radio 2 Remembers Cilla Black at the BBC with Cliff Richard on Christmas Day, 10-11pm sees Sir Cliff celebrating the singer as she made the move into presenting with the innovative and hugely successful BBC One series, Cilla.

Contributors include Jimmy Tarbuck, her son Robert Willis, Gillian Reynolds, Joe Brown, Sir Tim Rice, George Layton, Bob Harris, Tony Blackburn, Hank Marvin, Mike Batt, and arranger and musician Mike Vickers, bringing their memories and appreciation of Cilla’s talent, alongside archive clips and musical numbers from the series– many unseen or heard since original transmission and believed lost.

Sir Cliff was a close friend and appeared on her show many times, singing together and helping the country choose the Song For Europe.

Sir Cliff Richard says: “Too many people that we love pass on, but fortunately, people like Cilla leave behind something that will remain in our memories forever.

“For me, it was a joy and a pleasure and an honour to have known Cilla personally and be in close touch with her constantly. So Cilla, God bless you, rest in peace, and just remember we are going to be screaming about you forever.”

Other specials dedicated to broadcasting greats on BBC Radio 2 include Barry Humphries, Michael Parkinson presented by Jamie Cullum, and Paul O’Grady presented with archive audio from the man himself. Anneka Rice, Revd. Kate Bottley and Gary Davies are live on Christmas Day, with Steve Wright presenting a festive Pick of the Pops and Beverley Knight bringing gospel magic to the evening.

As previously reported, Jane McDonald makes her presenting debut on the station on Christmas Day.

Sounds of the 60, 70s, 80 and 90s build up to the New Year’s Eve party with Michelle Visage live from LA as the clock strikes midnight! To kick off 2024, New Year’s Day brings Your Ultimate Madonna Song with the Top 40 countdown as voted for by Radio 2 listeners and more on Madonna to mark her career.

BBC Radio 1 will include lots of special festive content, from announcing the Hottest Record Of The Year 2023 to exclusively revealing this year’s Christmas Number 1.

On BBC Radio 4, there’s childhood favourite The Wombles, narrated by Richard E Grant, directed by Johnny Vegas and based on Elisabeth Beresford’s original books.

As part of 100 years of radio drama, A.L. Kennedy’s play A Single Act is led by Bill Nighy, in a homage to the inventiveness of radio. John Finnemore reprises his role in a return to Moominvalley in Comet in Moominland narrated by Samantha Bond and paranormal enthusiast Danny Robins joins Daisy May Cooper for a special sleepover at her home to investigate some very mysterious goings on for an Uncanny Christmas special.

The Today programme will mark 20 years of Christmas Guest Editors with another host of influential names, including musician Ellie Goulding and author and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi.

Desert Island Discs with film-director Greta Gerwig, head Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas airs in the run up to Christmas and cookery legend Delia Smith on Christmas Eve.

On BBC Radio 4 Extra, there’s a whole day of celebrations of the late great Nicholas Parsons, including his reading of A Christmas Carol, interspersed with original songs and carols.

You can find out more about the Christmas programmes across BBC Radio here.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

You might also like