Entertainment & Arts

Angelina Jolie joins BBC Radio for Christmas

Peter Crouch, Natalie Dormer, Angelina Jolie, Gary Barlow Image copyright Getty Images/BBC
Image caption L to R: Peter Crouch, Natalie Dormer, Angelina Jolie and Take That's Gary Barlow

Angelina Jolie will guest edit Radio 4's Today programme while Take That will take over Radio 2 as part of BBC Radio's festive schedules.

Jolie, who is a special envoy to the UN Refugee Agency, will take over editor duties on Today on 28 December.

She is one of a number of guest editors between 22 December to 1 January, with David Dimbleby first to take charge.

On Christmas Day, meanwhile, Take That will celebrate their 30th anniversary with a two-hour show.

The schedule also features such stalwarts as Nine Lessons and Carols from King's College on Christmas Eve.

Bob Shennan, the BBC's director of radio and music, said the schedule was "an unrivalled collection of programmes".

Image copyright UNHCR/Andrew McConnell
Image caption Angelina Jolie visiting Mosul in Iraq in June

Jolie is expected to invite a series of guests - including refugees and survivors of conflict - to discuss the global refugee crisis and solutions to violence against women in war zones.

A spokesperson for the actress said she has already begun working with the Today programme team, saying the actress was "grateful for this opportunity to draw on the BBC's global expertise and network to explore practical solutions to a number of pressing issues of our time."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption L to R: Take That's Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen

Take That's Christmas broadcast will see the trio play some of their favourite music, telling listeners how each track has helped shape the band.

Lead singer Gary Barlow will also present two hour-long programmes on the station across the festive period: one where he is in conversation with Sir Paul McCartney, and the other with ELO's Jeff Lynne.

Radio 2's pre-Christmas schedule includes the broadcast premiere of Craig Charles's Scary Fairy Saves Christmas, the third instalment of the DJ and presenter's series of modern-day fables.

Performed at The Lowry Theatre in Salford with singer Curtis Stigers and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, it will air on 7 December.

Christmas morning will come live from comedian Matt Lucas's house, with celebrity guests and music.

On New Year's Day, meanwhile, an exclusive hour-long interview with Brigitte Bardot will find her talking about her dreams of becoming a ballerina and how she became a screen icon.

Radio 4 sees actors Dame Diana Rigg, Sir Derek Jacobi and Natalie Dormer feature in an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology, to be broadcast on Boxing Day.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Dormer said radio was the "perfect place" for fantasy tales

Game of Thrones star Dormer said: "It's great fun when you step into realms of fantasy, and radio is the perfect place for fantasy because you don't need the million dollar CGI effects. The listeners' imaginations do everything."

Other station highlights include an adaptation of The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, broadcast throughout the day on New Year's Day, and The Canterbury Tales performed by the characters of The Archers.

As is tradition, A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols comes live from the chapel of King's College in Cambridge on Christmas Eve, with 2018 marking its centenary year.

The service will air on both Radio 4 and BBC World Service and be repeated on Radio 3 on Christmas Day.

Also on Radio 3, Stephen Dillane stars in Sea Longing, a drama with music composed by Radiohead drummer Philip Selway.

In Tune presenter Sean Rafferty, meanwhile, will go to Sir Bryn Terfel's house in south Wales to reflect on the bass-baritone's life in music.

Image caption Sir Bryn will be in conversation with Sean Rafferty

On Christmas Day, Radio 3 will broadcast the BBC Symphony Orchestra performing Paddington's Musical Adventures, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall.

Radio 5 Live will air an hour-long feature on 23 December by broadcaster Laura Whitmore entitled What To Believe, an exploration of faith in the 21st Century.

There will also be a Christmas special of That Peter Crouch Podcast, in which the footballer hosts a Christmas party at his favourite London curry house.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Crouch will host a special podcast with co-presenters Tom Fordyce (left) and Chris Stark (right)

On Radio 1 Annie Mac will present the BBC Music Sound of 2019 longlist on 10 December, while Radio 1Xtra will see in the New Year with DJ Target.

On 6 Music Shaun Keaveny hosts a Boxing Day special, Shaun and the Three Brians, in which he is joined by musician and producer Brian Eno, Professor Brian Cox and a special mystery Brian. Who will it be?

The Wise Women slots are also back - this year, Philomena Cunk actress Diane Morgan, Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett and Wanderlust's Zawe Ashton will each present three hours of their favourite music between 4pm and 7pm on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

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