Sir Derek Jacobi headed the cast for Classic FM’s Christmas Day 2013 Drama. Part thriller, part magical comedy, The Bethlehem Tales retells the Christmas story, from Annunciation to the Flight into Egypt, from the point of view of contemporary eye-witnesses. Interwoven with music drawn from the best of three centuries of Christmas Cantatas and Oratorios, the family radio play offers a different perspective on the Christmas story.
Political tension is building in Israel following the Roman census. A series of confused rumours about signs and forewarnings in the City of David are going around. Somewhere on the road from Bethlehem, a merchant – one of Herod’s agents – stops at an isolated inn. Here a group of travellers heading towards Egypt is whiling away the evening telling stories. Each of the travellers witnessed a different part of the events surrounding the Nativity. Now, during this one night, these Bethlehem Tales try to convince Herod’s informer to abandon his calling and follow a new star.
Written by David Spicer and directed by Frank Stirling, The Bethlehem Tales was the third Christmas drama made by Unique for Classic FM in association with Jerusalem Productions. It was broadcast on Christmas Day 2013.