It’s a Wonderful Life has been voted by Radio 2 listeners to be their favourite Christmas film of all time.
A long list of 25 classics to choose from was created by the network’s resident movie critic, James King.
It’s A Wonderful Life endures
“It’s a Wonderful Life is what Christmas is all about: friendship, kindness and the importance of family, even in the toughest times” king said.
“I’m so happy that it’s still warming hearts of all ages 74 years after it first came out and it feels especially poignant after a tough 2020 for so many.
“It’s great to see other vintage favourites such as White Christmas and Scrooge in the Top 12 too, proving that we’re happy to ignore what’s new or cool in the festive season and just wallow in nostalgia.
“And as for Die Hard in the runner-up spot? Well, it should finally answer the question as to whether John McClane’s antics in the Nakatomi Plaza constitute a Christmas film or not. Yippee-kay-yay!”
The top 12 festive films of all time will feature in the countdown programme presented by James is available to listen now on BBC Sounds and on Radio 2 on Christmas Eve at 9pm.
The show will feature plenty of seasonal songs from the silver screen and the thoughts of those who created these classic movies.
Top 12 Christmas films as voted for by Radio 2 listeners (with UK release dates):
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1947)
- Die Hard (1989)
- The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
- Home Alone (1990)
- Elf (2003)
- Love Actually (2003)
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1990)
- Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
- White Christmas (1954)
- The Polar Express (2004)
- Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
- Scrooge (1951)
Celebrating ‘A Wonderful Life’
In the show, King will be celebrating It’s A Wonderful Life with exclusive interviews with Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey in the film – the little girl who delivered the famous line “Every time a bell rings an angel get his wings” – as well as Kelly Harcourt, Jimmy Stewart’s daughter, talking about her father’s memories of starring in it.
Plus he talks to Richard Curtis about the legacy of Love Actually, and Steve Whitmire who played Kermit, Rizzo the rat and other roles in The Muppets Christmas Carol. A BBC Audio production.
Fan of The Muppet Christmas Carol can also tune into The Muppets at Christmas: It’s Time To Play The Music (Friday 25 December, 7pm-8pm, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds) where OJ Borg celebrates four decades of The Muppets in music with CeeLo Green, Ricky Gervais, Bret McKenzie and more.
From Elton John’s performance of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road through to Julie Andrews singing the Lonely Goatherd to Miss Piggy out-Celine’ing Celine Dion, you aren’t anyone in music unless you have appeared with The Muppets.
Christmas Day special
In this special Christmas Day broadcast, life-long fan OJ Borg traces their careers in music, with insight from the Muppets plus fresh interviews with the artists who have recorded with them.
Special guests include CeeLo Green, who recorded with The Muppets for his first Christmas album and performed the legendary Bein’ Green with Kermit on The Voice, and Ricky Gervais who performed alongside the cast in Muppets Most Wanted.
OJ also hears from actor, comedian and musician Bret McKenzie, who worked as Music Supervisor on two Muppets films and won an Academy award for his track, Man Or Muppet, as well as Petula Clark and Leo Sayer, who both fondly recall performing songs on the show in the 70s.
The show is an Audio Always production.