Sunday, November 21, 2004

MICHAEL CHRISTMAS AND A TARRANT NEW YEAR: Radio 2 has chosen to launch its Christmas schedules on a Sunday, which probably means someone in their press office has been bad and been made to work the weekend. They've got some big things lined up: George Mchael is doing a live two-hour special from Abbey Road (18th December); Chris Tarrant is doing a two-hour thing which sounds like what Clive James used to do, only on radio (31st December) taking a - yes - individual look back at the year. Terry Wogan is doing a Christmas Day show ("it's on tape already"), followed by a Harry Hill special doing what Harry Hill does with telly, but with Christmas. And - if you're escaping from charades and the like, there's Mark Lamarr and Jamelia doing Christmas soul and carols respectively. Cliff Richard, Michael Ball , Matthew Wright and Jamie Cullum will be turning up across the fortnight as well, so consider yourself warned.

Meanwhile, over on Radio 4 there's an absolute treat on Christmas Day: The Archive Hour recalls a 1957 Christmas Day broadcast organised by Alan Lomax featuring folk music from around the British Isles. Peggy Seeger didn't make it - she was detained by immigration at Dover; there were complaints about the inclusion of skiffle and the BBC had worried that Lomax was a bit of a lefty. Perhaps the only shame is the highlight of the 2004 schedule is a recollection of the 1957 experiment, rather than a recreation of it.