BBC HD outlines Christmas schedule

Monday, December 7 2009, 13:48 GMT

By Andrew Laughlin,

The BBC has confirmed plans to air children's story The Gruffalo and ballet The Tsarina's Slippers as part of the BBC HD Christmas schedule.

The channel will also carry HD versions of comedies The Royle Family and Gavin and Stacey, along with a remake of science fiction classic Day Of The Triffids.

Writing on the BBC Internet Blog, head of BBC HD Danielle Nagler said that the Christmas schedule conjures some difficult commissioning decisions as seasonal programming may have limited opportunity for repeats.

Nagler said that festive specials can therefore be viewed as "less sound HD investments" compared to programming which is playable all year round.

However, she added: "Most HD-enabled [TV] sets are the main set in the home, and given that the holiday period is a key time when families and friends gather round the set together, we recognise that the HD Christmas schedule is an important part of what we deliver to our audience, and we need to get it right.

"I'm really delighted that this year the vast majority of drama and comedy shows made for the holiday period are available in HD on BBC HD."

Nagler revealed that the channel will carry David Tennant's final two appearances as Doctor Who on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, along with the Doctor Who: Dreamland animation first shown on the BBC Red Button.

BBC HD will further broadcast a variety of films, including The Incredibles on Christmas Day (after the Queen's Speech) and Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End on Boxing Day.

On Christmas Eve, the channel will carry a performance of ballet The Tsarina's Slippers from the Royal Opera House. It will also air Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo on Christmas Day, Top Gear's trip to Bolivia on December 27 and Jools Holland's Hootenanny on New Year's Eve.

"There is more - of course - both new and old. The schedule comes together through a lot of hard work from a lot of people across and beyond the BBC, and the BBC HD team," said Nagler.

"We hope you feel it brings you the best of what is on the BBC's channels over the holiday weeks, and more than anything that you find something in the mix to enjoy."

She added: "We are starting broadcasting at around midday throughout the holiday period, and aiming of course to simulcast as much as possible with the other BBC channels showing the programmes we have in HD. Almost certainly there will be frustrations for you as viewers about what we're not showing, or not simulcasting.

"Making choices about what we can't do is one of the toughest parts of getting the schedule together - although somewhat inevitable when you are trying to showcase content from across the rest of the BBC channel family."