SATURDAY 19th DECEMBER
10:30 Radio 4 Here We Come
They were the first manufactured boy band, you know, although that they didn't play their given instruments on recordings didn't become common knowledge until after they'd started doing so. By then they'd overthrown their founder, who formed the Archies on the basis that cartoon figures couldn't rebel. Then they made Head. Then Michael Nesmith was instrumental in the formation of MTV. It's a fascinating tale, one we hope is gone into deeply on this documentary, featuring a now rare Davy Jones interview. Oh, and it's not Tipp-Ex, it's Liquid Paper.
11:00 C4 Hollyoaks Music Show
'Unsigned band' is a horrible nebulous concept these days, and if you remind us in January we'll explain why. This thing, which seems to be the only idea television has for putting music in its own show now, has been running an unsigned band competition, presumably because MobileAct Unsigned never worked, and the winner is declared here.
13:00 Radio 2 Pick Of The Pops
1977, with Jonathan Richman's Egyptian Reggae, and 1985, with the debuts of Last Christmas and Walking In The Air.
14:30 Sky Arts 1 Donovan: Sunshine Superman
15:00 Radio 2 Dermot O'Leary
Featuring carols by Dermot's Choir Of Angels, listed as "three indie female stars". If one of them is Pixie Lott, we're going to the IBA.
18:30 ITV1 Take That: The Circus Live
Wonder if they have an exit strategy at all, given this idea of "coming back to claim what wasn't rightfully theirs but their original audience need something to be excited about" can't last forever. The fastest selling tour in UK history gets ninety minutes of prime-time, followed by a behind the scenes account on ITV2.
19:00 Sky Arts 1 Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out
Stewart Copeland unearths his Super 8 collection.
20:00 Radio 2 Even Better Than The Real Thing - The Top Of The Pops Albums
Not actually connected with the telly show, because the Beeb forgot to patent the title and Pickwick Records picked it up. Doing a documentary on them is therefore big of them. Noddy Holder voices, and discussion of the Pretty Vacant cover is promised, which isn't that audacious as the chords and vocal style are quite easy to replicate. Cover volume 45's version of Autobahn, at least!
21:00 Sky Arts 1 Gary Moore: One Night In Dublin
A 2005 one-off tribute to Phil Lynott, Moore joined by a number of ex-Thin Lizzy members. Followed at 22:20 by Thin Lizzy Live And Dangerous at the Rainbow Theatre.
21:55 BBC3 Move Like Michael Jackson
Yeah, cos everyone remembers that Mitchell Brothers track. Parts three and four, so they're shoving this out ASAP, of the dancing competition kind of given away in the title, with judges Jamelia, Jermaine Jackson and the alliteration buggering Mark Summers. That's the dancing casting agent to the stars, not the bloke behind Magic Roundabout sampling novelty rave hit Summer's Magic. But imagine if it was. Final Sunday at 21:00, the finalists' (oh christ) journey at 21:00 Monday.
00:15 C4 Live From Abbey Road
This seemed such a good idea when Channel 4 launched it, but the lineups consistently fail to impress. Tonight Michael sodding Buble, Little Boots and bane of Amelia Fletcher's life the Temper Trap.
SUNDAY 20th DECEMBER
10:40 Sky Movies Indie Shine A Light
Scorsese's 2008 Stones documentary, Jack White, Buddy Guy and Christina Aguilera propping up - literally, perhaps - two dates from their last world tour.
14:30 Sky Movies Indie Control
15:30 6 Music A Month of Matinees
6 Music has been filling this slot with guests while they wait for Stephen Merchant to come back. December's theme is people in films, ergo Edgar Wright gets a turn.
16:00 Radio 1 Radio 1's Chart Show
Fuck you, they won't do what they tell you.
20:00 Absolute Geoff Lloyd
Substantial chat with Trevor Horn.
20:00 6 Music Dave Pearce
Substantial chat, as well as DJ selections, with Horn's mates the Pet Shop Boys.
21:00 Sky 1 George Michael Live In London
If he doesn't fall asleep backstage.
21:10 BBC4 Cardigans At Christmas
We're being far from ironic when we say that when the Tories get rid of BBC4 next year this is the sort of thing we'll miss. This is actually a repeat documentary about light entertainment festive specials, followed by the best of The Andy Williams Christmas Show, a Val Doonican Show special from 1976 and the recentish Queens Of British Pop documentary.
MONDAY 21st DECEMBER
16:00 6 Music Hamish & Andy
With over two million listeners, Hamish Blake and Andy Lee's unique comedic style has made them Australia's most popular DJs. This is the first time they've broadcast in Brit... wait, is this some sort of injoke? (checks) No, apparently not. Why on earth are they doing this, then? "The show finds its humour in everyday stories and situations", apparently, but then so does Andy Parsons'. Jamie Oliver and Ricky Gervais guest.
17:30 Sky Movies Indie High Fidelity
Avant fact: Ian Williams of Don Caballero and Battles is in the celebrated Beta Band scene.
19:00 Five Studio Five's Jacko Tribute
God, Ian Wright's tribute to Michael Jackson, can you imagine?
19:00 Radio 1 Festive Festival
Now they've got shot of Lamacq, it's Nick Grimshaw's turn to host an all-eveninger at Maida Vala, featuring Simian Mobile Disco, Mumford & Sons, Plan B, The XX (or, as the original press release said, XX Teens), Enter Shikari and Marina & The Diamonds.
20:00 BBC2 University Challenge
Featuring the University of Manchester team, one of whom runs Cherryade Records and another is one of our co-contributors to The Line Of Best Fit.
20:00 ITV4 Freddie Mercury: Magic Remixed
Another favourite obsession of documentary commissioners with no ideas, Robbie Williams, McFly and Mike Myers discuss Freddie's legacy alongside home video footage and rare interviews.
20:00 Sky 1 Michael Jackson's Private Home Movies
Actually from 2003, part of Fox's damage limitation following the Bashir interview.
20:00 Sky Arts 1 My Music: Seth Lakeman
Overambitious push as 'the folk James Blunt' long gone, Lakeman discusses his influences.
21:00 Five Michael Jackson: The Last Days
22:00 Five Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Concert
23:50 Five Michael Jackson Not For Sale
First and last here won't be tawdry in the slightest, being a reconstruction of his last movements and an examination of belongings recently auditioned off. In the middle is a 2001 concert, the brothers' first reunion in two decades plus the usual selection of appropriately demographic crossing guests.
TUESDAY 22nd DECEMBER
16:30 Radio 4 Great Lives
The station's regular series commemorating the significant dead reaches Vivian Stanshall, with Neil Innes and Viv's widow Ki Longfellow. Pop fact: Viv and Ki found, moored and converted what is now the Thekla in Bristol.
19:00 Radio 1 Review Of The Year
Nihal runs through this year of years.
19:00 6 Music Marc Riley
The annual all-in Christmas bash, also featuring Guy Garvey, Jesca Hoop and Liz Green.
22:00 BBC4 We Need Answers
Mark Watson, Tim Key and the other one's post-post-post-post modern quiz welcomes beKangoled guest Neil Innes.
22:45 BBC2 The Culture Show: Michael Jackson Special
23:45 BBC2 Michael Jackson Live In Budapest: The Dangerous Tour
He died, you know.
WEDNESDAY 23rd DECEMBER
17:00 Radio 2 Chris Evans
Chris' last proper show before he takes over Wogan's seat, from the O2 featuring live Proclaimers, Ting Tings and Scouting For Girls.
19:00 6 Music Marc Riley
Highlights of his 2009 sessions.
19:30 BBC2 TOTP2 Christmas Special
They've given the narration to Mark Radcliffe! Yes! Beyond that, the predictable.
20:00 Radio 2 Radcliffe & Maconie
Thea Gilmore, whose Christmas album Scrawn sings on, does the festive special.
20:00 ITV1 The Nolans: In The Mood For Dancing
It must be like a permanent Loose Women staff night out with Lambrini on tap at those gigs.
20:00 Sky Arts 1 My Music: Kate Rusby
22:45 Sky Arts 1 My Music: Eliza Carthy
23:30 Radio 4 Take Two
In a series about famed double acts, Richard Coles discusses Steely Dan.
00:30 C4 Editors Live At Fabric
Does it really matter where it is?
16:00 6 Music The Best Of Adam & Joe
18:30 6 Music Guy Garvey's Encore
This went out in the lunchtime docu-oddity slot on Radio 4 a few weeks ago, but it was worthwhile just to hear recordings of how Garvey wanted Elbow fans to summon an encore on their last tour. It's about the development and conventions of the tacked on bit of the gig, featuring Everything Everything among others.
20:00 Sky Movies Christmas (wut?) Mamma Mia!
20:00 Sky Arts 1 Songbook: Ray Davies Special
Part one of two, the second at this time on New Year's Eve. The Songbook format is Will Hodgkinson talks to a guest in a makeshift rehearsal studio about influences and songwriting and they then play acoustic versions of some of their songs. It works, actually.
20:00 Radio 2 Robbie Williams' Line Of Enquiry
Kate Thornton puts your questions to him for two hours. You'd run out soon enough.
21:00 Sky Arts 1 Queen Rock Montreal
23:05 Five Simon Cowell: Where Did It All Go Right?
Assuming it did go right for the greater good, there.
23:15 Radio 3 Late Junction
The latest in their series of one-off collaborations brings together excellent Brighton folkie Mary Hampton, storyteller Debs Newbold and theatrical composer Dave Price.
00:40 BBC2 Comedy Songs - The Pop Years
Originally shown on BBC4, it doesn't cover everything it could but is a pretty good effort at tracking how comedy and music have intersected over the last forty years.
04:00 Radio 1 Huw Stephens' Weird And Wonderful Christmas
Weird for that time, certainly. He did something similar to this last year, if memory serves, at about the same timeslot and they didn't even put it on iPlayer for whatever reason.
10:00 Radio 1 The Tinsel Takeover/Radio 1's Christmas Gifts
Helpfully different sources give different titles. Seems a bit of a mutually helpful filler too, giving 24 listeners fifteen minutes' airtime each. According to the station's blurb, that's three whole songs, one of which has to be festive.
10:00 6 Music Derek Smalls
Harry Shearer is a more than capable radio host, as you may know from Le Show on KCRW, and we'd like to hear him transplant that sort of thing to Britain even if just for a one-off. But no, it has to be Tap-related. When they put their album out this year, it was promoted in America with a Guest/McKean/Shearer acoustic Storytellers-style tour of Tap and Folksmen songs, and in Britain with a load of in-character interviews that didn't work. So here's Derek Smalls, with the rest of the band on the phone. Trust us, this won't be as fun as it sounds.
10:35 C4 Beyonce: I Am... Yours
Ambitiously billed as "an acoustic set".
12:00 6 Music Jimmy Page and the BBC Sessions
Not an exciting new supergroup but Page introducing Led Zep session tracks and in conversation with Shaun Keaveny.
13:00 6 Music Beth Ditto
Deepening threat she'll just play a load of bad electro rather than what she actually bred her band's style on.
13:15 Sky Arts 1 Freddie Mercury: The Tribute Concert
The Wembley event from Easter 1992, featuring David Bowie's in no way cloying Lord's Prayer recital. Also, Spinal Tap played.
14:00 BBC1 Top Of The Pops Christmas
Seriously, wouldn't you rather not have this charade than this Sun sop once a year, still presented by the same Cotton/Yates team that took the show under? Diversity are on, and they aren't even a musical group.
14:00 Absolute Christmas With Christian
They value O'Connell enough to give him a prime Christmas Day highlights spot. But then they also let him do a show for 5 Live.
15:00 6 Music Lammo's Mercury Highlights
Pick of winners and nominees, apparently. His Mercury's in retrograde.
16:00 Radio 1 Story Of The Noughties
They've been running this series of instant nostalgia throughout the last ten weeks, and now they're being shoved out back to back.
16:00 6 Music Don Letts' Reggae Christmas
18:05 Sky Arts 1 Roy Orbison Live In Australia
"At the peak of his career", it says in the blurb. Well, he peaked in 1963-64 and this was recorded in 1972, so within the decade.
20:00 Sky Arts 1 ELO Live At Wembley
The huge Out Of The Blue gig, introduced by Tony Curtis. Now there's flash.
20:00 Radio 2 Suzi's Motown
Ms Quatro is American, ergo.
21:00 Sky Arts 1 Soul Power
Alongside the Rumble In The Jungle in Zaire in 1974 was a three day concert starring James Brown, the Detroit Spinners and BB King. The footage has only recently been found and sifted for this recently released documentary.
21:00 Five The Abba Years
22:00 Five Mamma Mia!: Where Did It All Go Right?
23:00 Five Abba The Movie
That's the trouble with Five, they get one idea in their head and they have to chase it down as far as they can go.
00:30 BBC2 Never Mind The Buzzcocks: Where Are They Now?
Like those end of series specials, except without Amstell's ideas. Repeated at a nearly earthly time (11pm) on the 30th.
10:00 6 Music Adam & Joe
Their last show for quite a while (pre-recorded, so the last proper show is on the 19th) for a while while Joe Cornish goes and directs a film.
10:00 1Xtra 1Xtra's Chart Of The Decade
100 tracks of ten years stretched out across the day.
13:00 Radio 2 Pick Of The Pops
1962, with Telstar, Chris Montez and Rolf Harris' Sun Arise, and 1981, headed by Don't You Want Me with appearances by Ant Rap and, oh go on Dale, Altered Images' I Could Be Happy.
13:00 6 Music Hail Hail Rock 'N' Roll With John Harris
Harris has just put out a book of historical rock and roll factoids, and here he'll run through some of them with illustration.
15:00 6 Music A Man Like Curtis
Curtis Mayfield died twenty years ago this day, so Lenny Kravitz takes over most of the day, with Craig Charles butting in at one point, with a series of documentaries paying tribute to his life and influence.
17:00 Sky Arts 1 Marvin Gaye: Greatest Hits Live
Recorded in Amsterdam in 1976.
17:00 Radio 2 Bon Jovi's Guide To Rock With Richie Sambora
Ha ha ha ha ha. (Mirthless laughter there)
19:00 Sky Arts 1 Johnny Cash Christmas Special 1979
Last year Sky Arts showed a lot of the Cash family gatherings, and this year they're reshowing them all. This is new to the channel, though, featuring a guest slot for Andy Kaufman.
20:00 Radio 2 The Record Producers
In the latest of Radio 2's seemingly bank holiday only series Smokey Robinson talks about his career, Steve Levine analyses it.
23:00 Radio 1 Most Hip-Hop
Repeated from last year, Westwood and Lowe list hip-hop's thirty most important names.
23:00 Radio 2 Gospel According To The King
Elvis won three Grammys, and they were all for gospel recordings. Jerry Hall - well, the natural choice - opens two weeks of programming leading up to what would have been Presley's 75th birthday by examining his gospel links.
SUNDAY 27th DECEMBER
09:55 C4 Chipmunk T4 Special
Brap Pack. We mean, fucking hell.
11:15 Radio 4 Desert Island Discs
David Tennant, who you may know took his stage name from Neil, takes to the mythical island with an inexhaustible power supply but little cultural materials.
15:00 Radio 2 Pirate Johnnie Walker
Walker actually does pretend he's broadcasting from a pirate ship station, the ambitious fool. The best of the end of 1966 in this one-off, presumably, revival.
17:00 6 Music Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone – 1969
For some reason the next four days on the station are dedicated to the last year of the last four decades. This makes a kind of sense, though.
20:00 6 Music Bob Dylan Changing Times
Part one of a three parter, the others being at 7pm over the following days, on what Dylan was up to in those corresponding themed years. Nashville Skyline, Slow Train Coming and Oh Mercy, if you must know, all changes in their own ways.
00:40 C4 Hits And Headlines: Christmas No. 1s
Not sure what that title's about if it's not a strand, and not sure what they're really going to find new to say about the Spice Girls and Westlife, only taking the top spots from 1995 onwards. Maybe Gary Jules won't just be given passing short shrift.
MONDAY 28th DECEMBER
13:00 Radio 1 The Chart Of The Decade
Nihal takes over this slot for the next four days, covering the decade's top selling albums on this day and singles for the next three. That's no fair slanting.
14:00 Radio 2 The Great British Songbook Of The 60s
Nobody outside Radio 2 seems to be entirely sure what the Great British Songbook entails - isn't it just the same catalogue of Great Songs again? Regardless they're running with it for the next five days in this slot, one for each decade, with relevant hosts. It's the none more stereotypically happy happy 60s sound of Tony Blackburn and Cilla Black today, Noddy Holder and Kiki Dee for the 70s on Tuesday, Chris Tarrant and, wow, Nik Kershaw on Wednesday, Zoe Ball and Melanie C Thursday, Alan Carr and Nadine Coyle Friday.
21:00 C4 The Greatest Songs Of The Noughties
And no deviation will be accepted. Decided, since you ask, by public poll - well, we weren't asked - and critical survey. How do they leverage those two together, then?
21:00 Sky Arts 1 Elvis '56 Special
22:30 C4 The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year 2007
All the Big Fat Quizzes are being reshown during this period, but this one's notable for a truculent Lily Allen and a guest appearance on video from a Muttley-laughing Thom Yorke.
23:30 Radio 2 Elvis – Movie King Or Celluloid Sellout?
Another multi-parter, the second half at the same time on Tuesday. Reliable old Paul Morley is in charge, wondering what Presley's film career did for his reputation.
TUESDAY 29th DECEMBER
12:00 Radio 1 Radio 1 Live - Arctic Monkeys
Recorded for the Beeb in August, repeated here for your convenience.
18:00 Radio 2 The Class Of 2009
Really strange annual event, this, where Paul Gambaccini completely ignores received opinion about who's done best the year just finishing and interviews the people he thinks have achieved the most. This year that means Paloma Faith, Jay Sean, Ingrid Michaelson, Eric Hassle and
22:30 Radio 2 Elvis And Dewey – Red, Hot And Blue
Gambo again, with a profile of Dewey Phillips, the motormouth king of Memphis radio and the first person to play Elvis on the radio.
22:50 BBC1 Sting's Winter Songbook
He's going to do some carols. Lordy.
WEDNESDAY 30th DECEMBER
12:00 Radio 1 Radio 1 Live - Dizzee Rascal
His not great full band set from the Electric Proms. Still, it fills this slow day up.
17:00 Radio 2 The Beatles – Here, There And Everywhere
It's a Gambaccini Christmas! This, again, is the first of a two part special the second of which is the same time tomorrow in which he gives the Beatles corpse another kick by talking about their legacy with, among others, George Martin, Brian Wilson, Cameron Crowe, Grohl, Jeff Lynne, Mika, Tom Petty, Slash, Jackson Browne, Mark Ronson and Rick Rubin.
21:00 Sky Arts 1 Elvis Lives! The 25th Anniversary Concert
In 1997 Elvis' TCB Band toured with a large screen on which was shown footage of Presley singing live. And you thought Queen & Paul Rodgers was unneccesarily ghoulish.
NEW YEAR'S EVE
10:00 6 Music Sound Of 2009
Lauren Laverne's year end review.
20:00 Bio Bryan Ferry
21:00 Bio Amy Winehouse Live: Eurockennes Festival
22:00 Bio Franz Ferdinand Live
For some reason the Biography channel is contravening its basic idea and running a day's worth of concert footage from midday, but this is the very last thing we're writing for this so we can't be arsed to list all the Buble, Cliff, Knopfler and Tina Turner. Check the listings guides.
16:00 6 Music Lamacq's Top 40 Of 2009
As voted for by you. Unless you didn't know about the vote.
18:30 BBC1 Top Of The Pops New Year's Eve
Mopping up the rest of the year's achievers.
20:00 Radio 2 Mika
Promising a "party playlist". Oh, we wonder.
21:20 BBC4 Guitar Heroes At The BBC
A different selection to that from earlier in the year but with a lot of the expected names. "Mick Ronson hardly gets a look-in during Starman" Radio Times sniffs, somehow unaware that that TOTP performance is notable for slightly different reasons.
22:00 6 Music 6 Mix Superstar DJ NYE Special
Andrew Weatherall, Marc Hughes, whoever he is, and Erol Alkan.
22:20 Sky Arts 1 The Story Of The Clash
22:50 Five The Cheryl Cole Factor
There must have been some point at which Five - a terrestrial channel, don't forget - must have decided it couldn't be bothered to attempt to get names of any size on board personally.
23:00 BBC2 Jools' Annual Hootenanny
Sir Tom Jones, Dizzee Rascal, Lily Allen, Kasabian, Boy George, Roger Daltrey, Paolo Nutini, Shingai Shoniwa, Florence Welch, Paloma Faith, Dave Edmunds, Ruby Turner, Rico Rodriguez and the First Battalion of Scots Guards. Jools' Rhythm & Blues Orchestra regulars Edmunds, Turner and Rodriguez aside, all seems fairly unimaginative, doesn't it?
00:00 Radio 1 New Year's Eve Essential Mix Live
Deadmau5, Eric Prydz, Justice and Plump DJs see in 2010 at great expense.
01:10 BBC2 Best Of Glastonbury 2009
Ooh, keep in that impromptu glockenspiel solo Neil Young attempted at the end of his set.
NEW YEAR's DAY
10:50 C4 Mariah Carey: Under The Skin
And you think Rick Edwards is going to get the sort of access and insight that title suggests?
13:00 6 Music Lauren Laverne's Sound Of 2010
16:00 6 Music Lamacq's Almanac
Lots of clued-in DJs looking forward today, as expected.
17:25 Sky Arts 1 Johnny Cash: Half A Mile A Day
It's Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison day on the station - the Big O we'll get back to - and the highlight of the Cash output is this oddly titled documentary featuring Willie Nelson, Billy Bob Thornton, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Lee Lewis and so on.
19:00 Radio 1 Huw Stephens
Can we wish Huw wouldn't use so many sound effects and comedy features in 2010? It's very unbecoming of the new music DJ in a frankly nigh-on DLT style, especially when he puts clip-clopping noises over Pulled Apart By Horses records.
19:30 Radio 2 Friday Night Is Music Night – Ella, Aretha, Dusty & Me
The BBC Concert Orchestra, Guy Barker and his Big Band and singers Madeline Bell, Liane Carroll and Kym Mazelle work through the catalogues of Fitzgerald, Franklin, Springfield and, erm, me. It says here.
21:00 BBC4 Guitar Heroes At The BBC
23:35 BBC4 Guitar Heroes At The BBC
Different selections to the selection with the same name from a couple of months ago but with a lot less of the expected names. The Radio Times gets oddly sniffy about this, moaning that they've picked Starman as Mick Ronson's showcase when he's not on screen much - no, but the moment he is is very, very famous - and for the second part claiming "The New York Dolls are less convincing than Alice Cooper", somehow unaware that they came at rock'n'roll performance from different angles.
21:00 Sky Arts 1 Roy Orbison And Friends: A Black And white Night
While the highlight of half a day's Orbison is a 1988 special in which he played the hits with a band including Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, kd lang, Bonnie Raitt and James Burton.
21:00 6 Music Bruce Dickinson Friday Rock Show – Led Zeppelin Special
22:00 BBC4 Queen: The Legendary 1975 Concert
Did Queen ever just have a bog-standard concert?
22:00 Radio 2 In The Lounge With Justin Lee Collins
Did his album ever come out?
22:50 BBC4 The Faces: Sight And Sound In Concert
00:35 BBC4 Rock Goes To College: Tom Petty
Newly unearthed transporting of American classic rock to the Oxford Polytechnic studes.
01:20 BBC4 Les Paul - Chasing Sound
02:50 BBC4 Peter Green - Man Of The World