WTTW, one of the Midwest’s premier public media organizations, announced its annual slate of holiday programming on WTTW11 that will air beginning on Saturday, December 9. Notable programs include new holiday specials from the British drama series Last Tango in Halifax (in two parts on Sunday, December 17 and 24, 7:00 pm) and Call the Midwife (Monday, December 25, 8:00 pm), and on the local front, Wheaton College Christmas Festival: Love Divine (Thursday, December 21, 8:00 pm). The complete list:
Rick Steves Special: European Christmas
Saturday, December 9 from 4:00-7:00 pm; Saturday, December 23 from 5:00-5:30 pm
From manger scenes and mistletoe to wintry wonderlands, this program celebrates the Christmas season throughout the European continent. In this special, Rick visits friends and families in England, France, Norway, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy to reveal their customs and practices of the holiday season. He begins his travels in England, where the Christmas pudding is the real centerpiece of a traditional English holiday meal. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower heralds the season with its red, twinkling lights. And in the countryside of Tuscany, villagers stack neat pyramids of wood for great bonfires. The lighting of the fires is a signal to villagers – dressed as shepherds - to come and sing old carols. Rick offers a colorful, musical celebration of Christmas across Europe where you will learn about customs from "the old countries," hear local choirs, and discover holiday family traditions.
The Great British Baking Show: Christmas Masterclasses (NEW)
Thursday, December 14 from 8:00-9:00 pm; Saturday, December 16 from 11:00 am-12:00 pm, 11:00 pm-12:00 am
Saturday, December 23 from 11:00 am-12:00 pm
Join Great British Baking Show judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood for these two specials. First, they detail how to make perfect mince pies, Christmas pudding, and Christmas cake, and introduce some tasty treats for the holiday season. On the 23rd, they prepare a Pavlova wreath, and a Chelsea bun Christmas tree. Mary makes decadent trifle layered with fruit compote and a rosace a l'orange. Paul puts leftovers to use in turkey and ham pie, and closes the show with a towering pandoro.
A Chef’s Life: Holiday Special (NEW)
Thursday, December 14 from 9:00-10:00 pm; Saturday, December 16 from 12:30-1:30 pm
Join Vivian Howard as she serves up the best of her Southern cooking heritage and the Chanukah traditions of her husband Ben. From humble Hoppin' John to elegant red velvet cake, sample a charming and delicious holiday celebration.
European Christmas Markets
Friday, December 15 from 8:30-9:00 pm
Discover Europe's Christmas Markets, where the town center, market square, or just the narrow, cobblestone streets of the cities and towns of Europe come alive in winter with festively decorated wooden stalls offering all sorts of treats and delights, as the Kingston Trio provides special folk arrangements of traditional Christmas carols.
Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Featuring Rolando Villazon (NEW)
Friday, December 15 from 9:00-10:00 pm; Thursday, December 21 from 9:00-10:00 pm;
Sunday, December 24 from 11:00 pm-12:00 am
Celebrate the holidays with the renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This season's cross-cultural spectacular features the world's leading tenor, Rolando Villazon, and seasonal favorites.
Saturday, December 16 from 7:00-8:00 pm
This holiday special from the U.K. is based on David Walliams’ bestselling book, telling the story of Chloe, a lonely little girl who meets the malodorous tramp Mr. Stink (Hugh Bonneville) and his clever dog Duchess, and lets them live in the family's garden shed.
Making a New American Nutcracker
Saturday, December 16 from 10:00-11:00 pm; Sunday, December 17 from 6:00-7:00 pm;
Saturday, December 23 from 7:00-8:00 pm; Sunday, December 24 from 1:00-2:00 pm
For generations, The Nutcracker has been a holiday tradition for audiences of all ages. In 2016, Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet gave the work an ingenious makeover and a new setting: the fairgrounds of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Now, WTTW takes you behind the scenes to reveal how it was made and introduce the A-list creative talents who made it happen. They and many of the performers share anecdotes about the process and recall their first experiences either seeing or performing in The Nutcracker. The film is narrated by actress Neve Campbell.
Lidia’s Kitchen: A Special Occasion (NEW)
Sunday, December 17 from 12:30-1:00 pm
Lidia shares some of her best recipes for the perfect holiday feast.
Last Tango in Halifax Holiday Special (Part 1 of 2) (NEW)
Sunday, December 17 from 7:00-8:00 pm
Caroline's new headmistress position involves moving the family to a ramshackle farmhouse in time for Christmas. Alan has a difficult conversation with Gillian, who's consumed by thoughts of the afterlife, convinced she's being haunted by Eddie.
Wheaton College Christmas Festival: Love Divine (NEW)
Thursday, December 21 from 8:00-9:00 pm; Sunday, December 24 from 6:00-7:00 pm
This new special draws tells the story of a long-awaited child – a king of glory born into the humblest of circumstances, a story that changed human history. Join the Wheaton College Concert Choir, Men's Glee Club, Percussion Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Women's Chorale, and guest artist Claire Holley for a selection of pieces spanning the centuries, including "Wolcum Yole," "A Rhapsody on Christmas Carols," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," and "Gloria."
Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf Choir
Thursday, December 21 from 10:00-11:00 pm
This Christmas special was filmed in Trondheim, Norway's magnificent Nidaros Dom cathedral, one of the oldest Gothic cathedrals in the world. Featured performers include the renowned voices of the St. Olaf Choir, the premier mixed voice choral ensemble from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, conducted by Anton Armstrong and Jentekor, the girl choir of Nidaros conducted by Anita Brevik.
Mike Leonard’s “Nothing Special” Holiday Special
Friday, December 22 from 7:30-8:00 pm
This year, Mike enlists his family in folly, giving grandchildren free rein of the holiday lighting. More joy in giving is shown through Top Box volunteers, the old-fashioned customer care of Wilmette Sports Shop, and a nostalgic but botched "‘Twas the Night Before Christmas."
Christmas on the Danube
Friday, December 22 from 8:30-9:00 pm
This special travels the majestic Danube River as it passes through stunning European landscape, history, and culture, visiting cities along the Danube that are particularly spectacular at Christmas.
Christmas at Belmont
Friday, December 22 from 9:00-10:00 pm; Sunday, December 24 from 10:00-11:00 pm
Join Grammy-winning host Sheryl Crow and almost 700 student musicians, Belmont School of Music faculty, and the Nashville Children's Choir for a production of traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music, and lighthearted seasonal favorites.
Christmas in Christ Chapel at Gustavus (NEW)
Sunday, December 24 from 2:00-3:00 pm
More than 300 students, faculty, and staff bring this program to life each year through the use of music, dance, spoken word, and the visual arts. The theme for the concert is "Ubuntu, Jesu: From the Cradle of Humankind to the Ends of the Earth."
Christmas at Concordia: Gather Us In, O Child of Peace (NEW)
Sunday, December 24 from 3:00-4:00 pm
Under the artistic leadership of world renowned composer and conductor Rene Claussen, 400 student musicians perform music including traditional favorites such as "Silent Night" and "I Saw Three Ships" to an original composition by Rene Claussen.
St. Thomas Christmas: So Bright the Star (NEW)
Sunday, December 24 from 4:00-5:00 pm
Recorded before a live audience at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, this program celebrates the Advent and Christmas season by drawing from a songbook of familiar traditional carols and innovative contemporary selections.
Festival of Carols with Sylvia McNair (NEW)
Sunday, December 24 from 5:00-6:00 pm
Grammy-winning soprano Sylvia McNair joins the 150-voice Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and the Chamber Orchestra at The Palladium at The Center for The Performing Arts for the 25th anniversary of this holiday favorite, which includes familiar carol classics such as "Joy to the World," "The First Noel" and "O Holy Night."
Last Tango in Halifax Holiday Special (Part 2 of 2) (NEW)
Sunday, December 24 from 7:00-8:00 pm
Caroline tells Gillian the truth about why she took the new headmistress position. Gillian's mounting guilt over Eddie's death drives her to make a life-changing decision.
Antiques Roadshow: Naughty or Nice (NEW)
Monday, December 25 from 7:00-8:00 pm
Highlights from this special holiday compendium of favorites from previous seasons includes an 1863 Temperance lithograph illustrating the evils of imbibing spirits, and a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in the film Some Like It Hot valued at $150,000 to $250,000.
Call the Midwife Holiday Special 2017 (NEW)
Monday, December 25 from 8:00-9:30 pm
Join the midwives as they battle snow, ice, power cuts, and frozen pipes to provide patient care during the coldest winter in 300 years. Valerie helps a young couple who experience a traumatic birth and Sister Julienne tries to reunite a family.
Live from Lincoln Center: New York Philharmonic New Year's Eve - Bernstein on Broadway (NEW)
Sunday, December 31 from 8:00-10:00 pm
Ring in 2018 with a celebration of Leonard Bernstein's best-loved works for Broadway, including West Side Story, featuring the New York Philharmonic and special guests.
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