Feature: What's on TV & Radio this Christmas

Friday 19 December 2014 by Clare Evans

Royal Ballet - 'The Winter's Tale'
Photo: Johan Persson

Not in the mood for an 18th viewing of Love Actually ? Why not tune into one of these dance related Christmas offerings instead…

Starting on Christmas Day, BBC4 will be showing Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale. A critic favourite from 2014, the ballet brings to life Shakespeare’s enduring tale of love, loss and reconciliation.

Stay with BBC4, because on Boxing Day they’ll be showing international ballet star Carlos Acosta’s Cuban Night. Uniting dancers and choreographers from The Royal Ballet, Rambert, Cuban National Ballet and Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, Acosta curates and stars in an exciting mixed programme of vibrant Cuban dance inspired by his homeland.

Then on the 27th it’s time to relax and unwind after all the Christmas commotion with Zenaida Yanowsky’s Saturday Classics. One of the Principal dancers of The Royal Ballet and reigning Queen of Hearts in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Zenaida chooses music that has inspired her in her personal and professional life.

And of course Strictly fans will hardly need reminding that the Grand Final airs this weekend (20th), but for those struggling to let go, don’t miss the pantomime-themed Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special on Christmas Day. Six of the most memorable celebrities from past series of Strictly compete, the judges dress up as classic panto characters, and Sir Bruce stars in a very special performance of Winter Wonderland.

And if you’re not too Christmased out, catch the inspiration for two of Sadler’s Wells’ Christmas shows on Channel 4 with Edward Scissorhands on the 21st and The Snowman on Christmas Eve.

Then on New Year’s Day, Sky Arts will be replaying a South Bank Show Originals classic: when Melvyn Bragg met Michael Flatley. First aired in 1997, the show drew its highest-ever viewing figures – and yet Bragg attracted criticism for choosing to have him on the programme. Looking back at that film, Bragg discusses the censure he received, while Royal Ballet star Steven McRae talks about Flatley’s talent and how he made Irish dance masculine.

Photo: Steven McRae in The Royal Ballet’s ‘The Winter’s Tale’, by Johan Persson

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