Pick of the Christmas season

Morning Movie:

The Nun’s Story

RTÉ 1, Sat, Dec 20, 7.55am 

(1959) Audrey Hepburn, Peter Finch. Director: Fred Zinnemann. Gabrielle Van Der Mal gave up everything to become a nun. But her faith and her vows are forever being tested.

In Concert: Sing Noel! A Christmas Concert

EWTN, Sat, Dec 20, 11am & Christmas Day 8am

From Ottawa, Canada, the Thirteen Strings Candlelight Orchestra and the Seventeen Voyces choir perform Fantasia on Christmas Carols and the Christmas Oratorio; French Noels sung by the Children’s Choir from the École Sécondaire de la Salle.

Documentary On One: The Outsiders – Our Teenage Life Behind Barriers

RTÉ Radio 1, Sat, Dec 20, 2pm

Natasha and Minahil  have spent much of their childh     oods growing up in the direct provision system for asylum seekers.


RTE Lyric FM, Sun, Dec 21, 8am

Seasonal music in a traditional vein.


RTÉ 1, Sun, Dec 21, 11am

Fr Peter McVerry SJ celebrates Mass on the 4th Sunday of Advent in the RTÉ studios, Donnybrook, with music from North Dublin Community Gospel Choir.

Film: Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit

BBC 1, Sun, Dec 21, 1.30pm & RTÉ 1, St Stephen’s Day, 1.30pm 

(1993) Deloris Van Cartier, now a successful entertainer, is persuaded to become Sister Mary Clarence again in order to take up a music teaching post at an inner-city school.

Joe Duffy’s Spirit Level

RTÉ 1, Sun, Dec 21, 5pm

Joe Duffy immerses himself in the Yuletide spirit as he looks back at childhood Christmases through the eyes of a host of special guests from all over Ireland and beyond.

Songs of Praise

BBC 1, Sun, Dec 21, 5.25pm

Katherine Jenkins and Jermain Jackman in the Royal Albert Hall for a glorious celebration of the first Christmas, featuring the Swingle Singers and Sol3 Mio.

Film: The Bishop’s Wife

BBC 2, Mon, Dec 22, 8.25am

(1947) Family comedy drama about an angel who assumes human form to help a bishop repair his marriage and achieve his dream of a new cathedral. Starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven.

What in The World?

RTÉ 1, Mon, Dec 22, 11.20pm

People with disabilities in poorer countries are often among the most forgotten, very often hidden away, perceived as a curse on the family, as a social embarrassment and a cultural/religious defilement.

The Tree of Life

Channel 4, Mon (night), Dec 22, 1.55am

(2011) Terrence Malick’s experimental, Oscar-nominated drama places a man’s midlife doubts in the context of the origins and very meaning of life on Earth. Malick’s central theme is the tension between brute nature and spiritual grace.

The Word is Born: Christmas with the Louisville Chorus

EWTN, Tues, Dec 23, 8am & St Stephen’s Day, 5.30pm

The Louisville Chorus celebrates the sounds of the season in this special presentation of Christmas favourites. The choir performs in the historic Saint Martin of Tours Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

Matinee: The Nativity Story

RTÉ 1, Tues, Dec 23, 4pm

(2006) Keisha Castle-Hughes, Shohreh Aghdashloo. Director: Catherine Hardwicke. A drama that focuses on the period in Mary and Joseph’s life where they journeyed to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

Icons: Windows onto Heaven

EWTN, Tues (night), Dec 23, 12.30am

Word Made Flesh: Fr Jacob Restrick explains Our Lord’s birth in the cave as a beacon of light in a world of darkness, the midwives washing of the child as a ‘real’ human in need of care and the devil as an old man tempting St Joseph into disbelief.

Morning Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

RTÉ 1, Christmas Eve, 8.30am

(1946) James Stewart, Donna Reed. Director: Frank Capra. An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.

Carols from Kilkenny Castle

RTÉ 1, Christmas Eve, 6.15pm

A glorious evening of carols, Christmas songs and more, in the atmospheric surroundings of Kilkenny Castle. Presented by Mary Kennedy.

Carols from King’s 1954: A Festival of Lessons and Carols

BBC 4, Christmas Eve, 7pm

The 44-minute recital from 1954 was recorded and has now been digitally re-mastered to offer today’s audience a unique glimpse into the beginnings of this Christmas institution.

The Lyric Concert with Paul Herriott

RTÉ Lyric FM, Christmas Eve, 8pm

This Christmas Eve, Paul Herriott presents one of the greatest works in the secular choral repertoire – Handel’s Messiah, in a concert recorded at the Danish Radio Concert House, Copenhagen.

Solemn Mass of Christmas Eve in Rome

EWTN, Christmas Eve, 8.30pm

Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord: Mass with Pope Francis from St Peter’s Basilica.

The Priests in Concert in Armagh Cathedral

TG4, Christmas Eve, 9pm

The Priests singing group in a 2008 concert.

Midnight Mass

RTÉ 1, Christmas Eve, 11.05pm

St Mel’s Cathedral has risen from the ashes and the people of Longford will once again celebrate Christmas in their beloved cathedral. Main Celebrant: Bishop Colm O’Reilly, retired Bishop of Ardagh & Clonmacnoise.

Midnight Mass from Arundel Cathedral

BBC 1, Christmas Eve, 11.45pm

A traditional Christmas Eve Mass from the picturesque town of Arundel in West Sussex, including the familiar carols O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night and Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.

Call the Midwife

BBC 1, Christmas Day, 7.50pm

Christmas Special. Drama about a group of midwives in 1950s London, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth.

Mass for Christmas Day

RTÉ 1, Christmas Day, 10am

Bishop Francis Duffy, the new Bishop of Ardagh & Clonmacnoise will celebrate Mass in the newly opened and restored St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford.

Urbi et Orbi

RTÉ 1, Christmas Day, 11am  (also EWTN)

Live coverage of Pope Francis’ Christmas message “to the city and the world”, from St Peter’s Square in Rome, with English translation and commentary by Fr Thomas McCarthy OP.

Scannán: The Secret of Kells

TG4, Christmas Day, 11.45am

Well-received cartoon treatment set in monastic times.

A Christmas Message from the Archbishops of Armagh

RTÉ 1, Christmas Day, 12.15pm

Archbishops Eamon Martin and Richard Clarke share their thoughts and prayers for the Christmas season.

Christmas Carols from Dublin Castle

RTÉ 2, Christmas Day, 1.50pm 

Mary Kennedy introduces a glittering, festive show from Dublin Castle.

Choral Meditations on the Nativity

EWTN, St Stephen’s Day, 11.30am

From the basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC, USA. Musical composition for the Birth of Our Lord.

Donal Walsh – My Story

RTÉ 2, St Stephen’s Day, 8pm  

By the time he died of cancer, aged just 16, Donal Walsh from Blennerville in Tralee, Co. Kerry had touched the whole nation with his simple message – it’s good to be alive.

Saturday Matinee: Sound of Music

RTÉ 1, Sat, Dec 27, 2.40pm 

(1965) Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer. Director: Robert Wise. A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a naval officer widower.

Morning Movie: Chariots of Fire

RTÉ 1, Mon, Dec 29, 9.40am 

(1981) Ben Cross, Ian Charleson. Director: Hugh Hudson. Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics.

The Longford Phoenix

RTÉ 1, Tues, Dec 30, 6.30pm

RTÉ’s Midlands Correspondent Ciarán Mullooly, and Would You Believe? filmmaker Birthe Tonseth chart the long and arduous process of transforming St Mel’s Cathedral from a roofless ruin back to its former glory.

Pat Kenny: Out With the Old – In With the U

UTV Ireland, Thurs, Jan 1, 8.30pm

Pat Kenny returns to television on the launch day of UTV Ireland. In this hour-long documentary, Pat looks forward to the year ahead, charting the issues and events that will shape 2015.


NOTE: All times subject to change.