EXCLUSIVE WORCESTER Cathedral will be the setting for two prestigious live broadcasts on BBC1 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The city has been selected by the broadcaster as this year's location for the filming of the Christmas Midnight Eucharist and Christmas Day Eucharist.

A spokesman for the BBC said: "Worcester Cathedral is a stunning location and a magical place to celebrate Christmas with a great community."

Hundreds of people are expected to pack out the cathedral for both services, which will be screened live across Britain.

Susan MacLeod, operations manager at Worcester Cathedral, said: "We are delighted that we have been selected by the BBC for the broadcasts. We expect that both services will be very well attended and would encourage people to turn up early to get a seat."

The Christmas Midnight Eucharist is due to start at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve.

The doors to the cathedral will open at 10.30pm and people need to be seated by 10.55pm ready for a rehearsal at 11pm.

Music will include Messe de Minuit (Charpentier), Gloria from Bach's Christmas Oratorio and traditional carols; O Come All Ye Faithful, On Christmas Night, and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

The Christmas Day Eucharist starts at 10.30am with doors opening at 9am and the rehearsal starts at 9.30am. Music for this service will include the traditional carols O Little Town of Bethlehem, God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman and Once in Royal David's City Midwinter.

The services will be conducted by the Very Rev Peter Atkinson, the Dean of Worcester, and the Right Rev David Walker, Bishop of Dudley.

The Dean said: "We are delighted that BBC Television will broadcast live both the Midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve, and the Christmas morning services, from Worcester Cathedral; and we look forward to sharing our Christmas worship with millions of viewers."

This year marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Edward Elgar and Mrs MacLeod said the broadcasts were a fitting way to end a year of celebrations.