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BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast Christmas Carol Competition opens

BBC Radio 3 brings back its 2023 Breakfast Christmas Carol Competition and this year entrants are to write a tune or melody to new festive lyrics by Simon Armitage.

BBC Radio 3 Carol Competition

Do you think you could write the tune for Simon Armitage’s artic-inspired Polaris? if so the BBC wants to hear from you!

Last year saw Maurice Walters from York won the Carol Competition live on air by Breakfast presenter, Petroc Trelawny and now its back for 10th year running.

The BBC Radio 3 Christmas Carol competition will welcome novice composers, aspiring songwriters, and music enthusiasts to write a tune or melody to new lyrics (inspired by a visit to the Arctic) by Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage.

Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage says: “I was thinking about the concept of a white Christmas, and how snow is so much a part of our festive imagery despite there being less and less of it in the UK at that time of the year. I’d just returned from a trip to the Arctic and didn’t see much of it there either – the lyric describes Christmas in a warming world. I was hoping to write something that might appeal to people of different backgrounds and different ages, with a narrative and maybe a slight nursery rhyme or nonsense feel to it, but with a serious and timely message at its heart. I don’t think there are any other carols that begin with the words “The police…!”

A first for the competition will see a brand new 11-15 category which will run alongside the regular 16 and over category, with a winner being named in each category.

A star-studded panel of judges including TV presenter Clive Myrie and presenter of Blue Peter, Mwaksy Mudenda. Also on the panel are Daniel Hyde, and Beverley McGeown. Chairing this year’s illustrious set of judges is Abimbola Amoako-Gyampah from the Coronation Gospel Choir, who performed at the Coronation of King Charles III.

Four entries from each category will be shortlisted to go through to the second phase of the competition, which will have the chance to work with one of the country’s top arrangers Iain Farrington.

The eight arranged carols will then be recorded professionally by the BBC Singers, and performed live on BBC Radio 3 Breakfast on Thursday 14 December, opening the public vote and will be heard across BBC 3 programs.

Voting closes on 21st December with the winning carol announced in Radio 3’s Breakfast show on Thursday 21 December and played on Christmas Day and throughout the festive season.

To find out more about how to enter and to submit melodies for BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition 2023, music lovers are invited to visit the competition website at bbc.co.uk/carolcompetition. The deadline for entries is 11.59pm on Tuesday 1 November.