The majority of shows on the slate, one of the BBC’s largest of the year, have already been announced, and The Wonder of Song from Mike Birkhead Associates is one of two Attenborough films that will air this December. The other is Windfall Films’ Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard (working title).
Wonder of Song will see the much-loved 95-year-old presenter choose songs from the largest lemur to the humpback whale and the lyrebird — all recorded in his lifetime, the oldest, when he was just 5 and the most recent from a few years ago. Attenborough’s longtime collaborator Mike Birkhead is writer, director and producer alongside Beth Jones.
The only other previously unannounced BBC Christmas shows are a Christmas and New Year edition of Love Productions’ established factual-entertainment format The Great British Sewing Bee.
The drama slate includes Sarah Phelps’ A Very British Scandal starring Claire Foy and Paul Bettany, psychological thriller The Girl Before featuring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and David Oyelowo, and the long-awaited Around the World in 80 Days adaptation that counts David Tennant as lead.
Olivia Colman and Matt Smith also appear voicing main characters in Julia Donaldson adaptation Superworm, the annual Christmas offering from BBC Children’s.
“Christmas 2021 is a time to reunite with friends and family once more, and this year’s lineup of must-see shows will bring everyone together to share the festive season on the BBC,” Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore said.