Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Music and Radio, said: “BBC Sounds lets us bring seasonal cheer to everyone in a new way through an unparalleled mix of world class on demand audio – from podcasts which tell us something about the world to music that moves us.
“Since launch there have been over 5 million weekly plays with people listening to more than 2 million hours. For the first time this Christmas and New Year listeners can indulge in box set specials as well as festive podcasts and music mixes on BBC Sounds.”
On Boxing Day, BBC Radio will wish listeners “Happy Box Set Day” – get it? – to mark the back catalogues of podcasts being made available, from Best of Live Lounge and Wise Women interviewed over Christmases past to Curious Under the Stars.
Some of the most popular podcasts on BBC Sounds will also have Christmas specials, including Russell Kane’s Evil Genius, Strictly Come Dancing and Fortunately with Fi & Jane.
There will be new festive music mixes, including from Matt Lucas, Little Mix and Cheryl, plus a new podcast series on surrogacy from Dustin Lance-Black, another lifting the lid on UK drag culture, and another on Worst Dates with Luke Franks and Arielle Free.
Investigative podcast fans can also look forward to The Hurricane Tapes, investigating the brutal murders of three people in a New Jersey bar in 1966, which saw the conviction of Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter – a boxer who spent 18 years in prison before his release, insisting he’d been framed.
Another series, Fall of The Shah, is a nine-part drama charting the downfall of the Shah of Iran in the late 1970s and “the rise of a forceful new Islamic Republic”.