Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham Will Host This Year’s Apple Christmas Extravaganza

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Apple has just launched its 2023 Christmas special, a “musical extravaganza” starring Hannah Waddingham of Ted Lasso fame, joined by a lineup of special guests, just in time to kick off the holiday season.

Waddingham is perhaps best known as the team owner Rebecca Welton on Apple’s hit comedy series, a role that earned her a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. This year’s one-hour special, Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas, was recorded live at The Coliseum in London and will feature Waddingham “ringing in the season with musical performances of beloved Christmas classics.”

Apple has also announced that a companion soundtrack album is launching simultaneously with the special and is available on all major music streaming platforms — not just Apple Music. The Apple TV+ special, however, is available solely to Apple TV+ subscribers.

In a cute twist, Apple also posted a promo clip on X (formerly Twitter), with a cameo by Jason Sudeikis possibly reprising his role at Ted Lasso “back in England for another job” — in this case, driving Hannah Waddingham to the gala.

Waddingham will be joined on stage by several guests, including Ted Lasso alum Phil Dunster (Jamie Tartt) along with Sam Ryder, Luke Evans, and Leslie Odom Jr. Additional performances include the English National Opera, the London Gay Men’s Chorus, and The Fabulous Lounge Swingers, plus an 18-piece band to back everything up.

While the entire special is now available to Apple TV+ subscribers just in time for post-turkey relaxation, Apple also released a trailer earlier this month for those who want a sneak peek at what they can expect.

This year’s Christmas musical marks a return to the format by Apple, which took a hiatus last year after two back-to-back years of Mariah Carey specials. Instead, Apple focused on kids’ specials for the 2022 holiday season, including Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock and the Oscar-winning The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.

While Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas is intended to ring in the holiday season, Apple is also debuting The Velveteen Rabbit today, a mixed live-action and animated adaptation of the timeless classic children’s book by Margery Williams.

“The Velveteen Rabbit” celebrates the magic of unconditional love. When 7-year-old William receives a new favorite toy for Christmas, he discovers a lifelong friend and unlocks a world of magic.

Apple is also re-releasing last year’s holiday feature film, Spirited, in theatres this weekend and will begin streaming a new sing-along version on Apple TV+ on December 1 so the whole family can join in.

Apple also has a few other holiday shows in store as we get closer to Christmas, including some seasonal episodes of family shows like The Snoopy Show, and this year’s feature holiday film, The Family Plan, set to premiere on December 15. Naturally, all of Apple’s previously released holiday content is still available, including the previous Mariah Carey and Fragile Rock specials and, of course, the slate of Charlie Brown Holiday Classics, from the original 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas to 2003’s I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown and the Apple Original, Snoopy Presents: Auld Lang Syne.

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