A BBC Christmas Collection

A BBC Christmas Collection

30 Festive Dramas and Stories


A sparkling seasonal anthology of BBC dramas and readings

Christmas is the perfect time to curl up with a good story, and this cracking collection brings you 30 wonderfully diverse tales inspired by this most special of seasons. From Santa Claus, gift-giving and family gatherings, to an unexpected encounter in a snowstorm and an alternative take on the Nativity, they're sure to get you in the festive mood.

Here are modern readings of classics such as Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Tree', Anton Chekhov's 'At Christmas Time', Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Fir Tree', O Henry's 'The Gift of the Magi', Elizabeth Gaskell's 'Christmas Storms and Sunshine' and Leo Tolstoy's 'Papa Panov's Special Christmas'. Alongside them is some superb short fiction by contemporary authors, including Stella Duffy ('South'), Paul McVeigh ('Daddy Christmas'), Laura Barnett ('Survivors'), and nine delightful stories by Alexander McCall Smith. Among the stellar narrators are Don Gilet, Nina Sosanya, Hannah Gordon, Stephanie Cole and Meera Syal.

Interspersed with these are a range of spellbinding plays, including Rachel Joyce's poignant Christmas by the Lake; festive action comedy Lena Marsh, Live and Schticking! by Jeremy Front; a very unusual and very dangerous Santa in The Morpeth Carol by Timothy X Atack; and Robert Hudson and Marie Phillips' epistolary animal tale, Some Hay in a Manger, introduced by Stephen Fry. All feature star casts including Niamh Cusack, Robert Lindsay, Sam Troughton, Clare Corbett, Tamsin Greig and Joel Fry.

Heartwarming and heartfelt, comic and bittersweet, moving and magical, these fantastic, evocative stories are a real Christmas treat.

Note: Chapter metadata updated in January 2023.

Christmas by the Lake by Rachel Joyce
Christmas Short Stories by Alexander McCall Smith:
· 'Motordrome'
· 'The Revenge, or Otherwise, of Herbie Bontemps'
· 'How to Escape in Gaelic'
· 'The Colourful Life of Cousin Grace'
· 'Good President Wenceslas'
The Christmas Present by Ben Crompton
Christmas Compass: Series 1:
· 'North' by Malachy Tallack
· 'South' by Stella Duffy
· 'East' by Ruth Thomas
· 'West' by Mike McCormack
A Time to Dance by Lucy Gannon
Christmas Compass: Series 2 by Alexander McCall Smith
· 'Winter Journey'
· 'In the DRC'
· 'Primatologist'
· 'On The Island'
Midnight at Christmas by Elliott Kerrigan
'The Fir Tree' by Hans Christian Andersen
'At Christmas Time'by Anton Chekhov
'Papa Panov's Special Christmas' by Leo Tolstoy
Some Hay in a Manger by Robert Hudson and Marie Phillips
'Daddy Christmas' by Paul McVeigh
'Christmas Storms and Sunshine'by Elizabeth Gaskell
The Morpeth Carol by Timothy X Atack
'Survivors' by Laura Barnett
Lena Marsh, Live and Shticking!by Jeremy Front
'A Christmas Tree' by Charles Dickens
'The Gift of the Magi' by O Henry
Get Santa by Peter Gibbs
'Home' by Christine Dwyer Hickey

© 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

About the authors

Alexander McCall-Smith

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world's most prolific and most popular authors. His career has been a varied one: for many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Then, after the publication of his highly successful No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers through the world. These include the Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in The Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the Von Igelfeld series, and the Corduroy Mansions series, novels which started life as a delightful (but challenging to write) cross-media serial, written on the website of the Telegraph Media Group. This series won two major cross-media awards - Association of Online Publishers Digital Publishing Award 2009 for a Cross Media Project and the New Media Age award. In addition to these series, Alexander writes stand-alone books, including The Forever Girl; Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party and Emma - a reworking of the classic Jane Austen novel. He is also the author of a book on Edinburgh, A Work of Beauty: Alexander McCall Smith's Edinburgh, as well as several collections of short stories, academic works, and over thirty books for children. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the British Book Awards Author of the Year Award in 2004 and a CBE for service to literature in 2007. He holds honorary doctorates from nine universities in Europe and North America. In March of 2011 he received an award from the President of Botswana for his services through literature to that country. Alexander McCall Smith lives in Edinburgh. He is married to a doctor and has two daughters.
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Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, The Music Shop, Miss Benson's Beetle and a collection of interlinked short stories, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. Her new novel, Maureen Fry & the Angel of the North is out now. The film of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will be released on 28 April 2023.

Rachel's books have been translated into thirty-six languages. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Rachel was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards 'New Writer of the Year' in December 2012 and shortlisted for the 'UK Author of the Year' 2014.

Rachel has also written over twenty original afternoon plays and adaptations of the classics for BBC Radio 4, including all the Bronte novels. She moved to writing after a long career as an actor, performing leading roles for the RSC, the National Theatre and Cheek by Jowl.

She lives with her family in Gloucestershire.
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Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in Hampshire on February 7, 1812. His father was a clerk in the navy pay office, who was well paid but often ended up in financial troubles. When Dickens was twelve years old he was send to work in a shoe polish factory because his family had been taken to the debtors' prison. His career as a writer of fiction started in 1833 when his short stories and essays began to appear in periodicals. The Pickwick Papers, his first commercial success, was published in 1836. The serialisation of Oliver Twist began in 1837. Many other novels followed and The Old Curiosity Shop brought Dickens international fame and he became a celebrity in America as well as Britain. Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1870. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
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Anton Chekhov

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Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy was born in central Russia on 9 September 1828. In 1852 he published his first work, the autobiographical Childhood. He served in the army during the Crimean War and his Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6) are based on his experiences. His two most popular masterpieces are War and Peace (1864-69) and Anna Karenina (1875-8). He died in 1910.
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Elizabeth Gaskell

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Jeremy Front

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