A BBC Christmas Collection: 30 Festive Dramas and Stories by Alexander McCall Smith

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.