Lucy Worsley's Christmas Carol Odyssey
Lucy Worsley is one of the nation's favourite TV historians and judging by her ubiquitous presence on our screens she must one of the hardest working too.
For, believe it or not, she has a pretty demanding day job as Chief Curator of Royal Households and also of course gives regular talks on the Clive Conway Productions circuit.
Having recently celebrated Queen Victoria’s 200th birthday with a series of evenings designed to reassess the popular view of what Victoria was actually like you might think Christmas would afford an opportunity for Lucy to put her feet up.
Not a chance. This evening finds her presenting her own Christmas Carol Odyssey, a festive treat on BBC4 that features both the Kingdom Choir and the Hampton Court Choir. The programme reveals that there’s much more to our best-loved carols than meets the eye.
What unfolds is a fascinating history of carol singing. How, with origins rooted in pagan ritual, door-to-door singing and wassailing were adopted by Christianity and rebranded ‘Christmas’.
The practice didn’t have an easy ride though. The Puritans thought it all far too frivolous and tried to ban Christmas all together. Happily the carol survived outside the Church which finally realising the power of celebration eventually embraced the idea.
*Lucy Worsley’s Christmas Carol Odyssey is on BBC4 at 9.00pm this evening.