‘Tis The Season! Sky Arts announces stellar line-up of Christmas programmes

Tuesday 25 October 2022

Noddy Holder, Portrait Artist of the Year Christmas Special

As the evenings draw in, Sky Arts is today announcing a packed line-up of shows for the Christmas period. Showcasing everything from our favourite festive carols and musicals to Christmas literature and nativity artworks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts, commented :

“We love Christmas at Sky Arts and this year we’re bringing some Christmas cheer direct to your telly for free. With our favourite carols, a soupçon of swing, Christmas stories and paintings unpacked, and the one and only Noddy Holder sitting for a special festive portrait, iiiit’s Christmas! We can’t guarantee snow but we can promise warmth, nostalgia and a stocking full of fun.”

Upcoming programmes include: 

The Nation’s Favourite Christmas Carols (1x90): Join us at the London Coliseum for a special concert with the English National Opera’s Chorus and Orchestra as they make their way through Britain’s favourite Christmas carols, as voted by the public. They’ll be helped along the way by some famous faces who will reflect on their own personal favourites, as well as some of the ENO’s brightest and best singing talent. 

Portrait Artist of the Year Christmas Special (1x60): Six celebrities take on a festive challenge to paint one of three well-known sitters with a little help from some wise mystery guests. While there’s celebration in the air, as always, the art is created under the watchful eyes of our discerning judges – award-winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, independent curator Kathleen Soriano and art historian Kate Bryan. Sitters include Slade’s Noddy Holder, interior designer Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen and singer Mica Paris. 

The Mystery of the Nativity (1x60): A new film delving into the mystery of one of the most famous stories ever told. With so many details missing from the story, artists through the ages have been free to imagine extraordinary visions with extraordinary meanings which will be decoded by art critic Waldemar Januszczak. 

Christmas in Ireland (w/t, 1x90): Imelda May welcomes friends and family to a uniquely Irish musical night celebrating all the madness of Christmas from traditional music to new sounds and voices. Held in the Pepper Canister Church, Imelda will be joined onstage by some special guests to showcase generations of Irish culture and music. 

Sky Arts Book Club Christmas Special (1x90): A bumper Christmas Special where Elizabeth Day and Andi Oliver are joined by author Maggie O’Farrell, broadcasters Jane Garvey and Fi Glover, artist and fashion designer Osman Yousefzada and queen of the kitchen disco, Sophie Ellis-Bextor.  

Wonderland Christmas Special (1x60): Combining biography, literary extracts and quotations, this Wonderland special explores children’s authors and the pain behind their well-known Christmas stories. Featured authors include Charles Dickens, J.R.R Tolkien, Kenneth Grahame, Rudyard Kipling and CS Lewis. 

Classic FM Live (1x120): The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits perform some of the world’s most popular film themes from The Royal Albert Hall including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and Chariots of Fire.

A Swingin’ Christmas With The Len Phillips Swing Orchestra (1x90): The 17-piece Len Phillips Swing Orchestra puts on a dazzling live performance of much-loved Christmas classics including Let It Snow, Silent Night, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas and Jingle Bells.

Sky Arts is available on Freeview Channel 11 and NOW. 

Notes to Editors 

For more information please contact: 

Lucy Butterfield 



Ellis Ritchie 



TX dates and times are TBC, but all content above will air in Weeks 51 (17th - 23rd December) and 52 (24th – 30th December).

About Sky Arts  

Sky Arts exists to bring more art to more people across the UK. In 2020, with the creative industries under serious threat, we threw open our doors to make the channel free for everyone to watch. We’ve redoubled our mission to increase access to the arts and we’re committed to getting everyone involved as the industry moves from strength to strength. The fact is, we need the arts like never before, and Sky Arts brings them straight to your living room.     

We have something for everyone, championing creative talent by showcasing the best in music, theatre, dance, literature, opera and visual art. From Glyndebourne to Grime and Nina Simone to Noel Gallagher, we’ve got your passions covered. Millions of viewers tune in to hit returning series such as Portrait Artist of the Year and British cultural institution The South Bank Show, but our acclaimed new programmes might take you anywhere from Wordsworth’s favourite landscapes to headbanging at Download Festival.  

Collaboration is at the heart of what we do. Sky Arts is the headline sponsor of National Theatre Live in the UK and we work with cultural partners across the country including the English National Opera, Bristol Old Vic, Tate, Creative UK and the Crafts Council to name but a few.     

You can watch Sky Arts for free on Freeview channel 11 and Freesat channel 147.  If you’ve got Sky or a Now TV entertainment pass, you can also watch over 2,000 hours of shows exclusively on demand.