What’s on Bedford: 16 – 31 December 2021

We’re bringing you a bumper what’s on guide this week, covering everything that’s on for the rest of the year.

From Love Actually and The Grinch to panto, Parkrun, church services, comedy, Santa’s Grotto, shopping, theatre and live music – there’s something for everyone.

Merry Christmas!

Until Friday 31 December

Theatre: It’s a Wonderful Life
The Place Theatre @ 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Tickets from £12

Christmas Eve. George is contemplating ending his life: he never got out of Bedford Falls, the bank is on the verge of closure, Potter is closing in and his blasted kids won’t stop practising the infernal piano.

It’s all too much. Now only Clarence Odbody, Angel Second Class, can save him and finally get his wings…

For Christmas 2021, The Place Bedford and Mangled Yarn will bring this all-time Christmas classic to life as you have never seen it before: filled with magic, music and Holiday spirit!

Four actors will take on every character using live music, puppetry and a sack load of Christmas magic to bring Bedford Falls to Bedford. Prepare to have your heartstrings tugged, your sides split and your disbelief suspended.

Thursday 16 December 2021

Community: Christmas church services
Carol Service @ 7pm
St Peter’s, De Parys Avenue

Thursday 16 December 2021

Live music: The Upbeat Beatles
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

The Upbeat Beatles are second to none – powerhouse vocals, precision harmonies and tight musicianship.

The show takes you through the Fab Four’s long and winding road from the early Cavern days through Beatlemania, America, Sergeant Pepper to Abbey Road, with narrative and full multi-media presentation.

If you love the Beatles you’ll love this show, and if you don’t love the Beatles you’ll love this show!

Thursday 16 December 2021

Comedy: Castle Comedy Christmas Special
The QUarry Theatre @ 8.15pm
Tickets: £15

Comedy is back at The Quarry Theatre with a Christmas Special. The show will feature star names, mince pies, crackers and loads of Christmas cheer!

The headline act is Ricky Grover. He is quite literally and in more ways than one, one of the biggest names in modern British comedy. Born and bred in the East End of London, Ricky was an ex-champion boxer and hairdresser before taking the comedy scene by storm.

He is an award-winning writer, comedian, as well as an acclaimed actor, appearing as Andrew on Eastenders and as the lead role in his 2011 film ‘Big Fat Gypsy Gangster’.

His numerous TV credits include This Way Up, Porridge, Zapped, Black Books and Red Dwarf, as well as co-starring in cult BBC2 series ‘Orrible’, written by and starring, Johnny Vaughn. His best-known and loved character role is Bulla – gangster and social commentator– who was the star of the 11 o’clock show and even interviewed by Michael Parkinson on his chat show.

Also on the bill is Tom Houghton, the Edinburgh Fringe’s favourite posh boy, star of Comedy Central’s ‘Roast Battle’ and critically-acclaimed star of BBC and Channel 4 and First Dates! Tom is the ultra-privileged master of making the seemingly unrelatable, relatable. He is currently supporting Milton Jones on his theatre tour. The Daily Mail declared him a ‘crafty idiot’.

The show will feature full support and Castle Comedy favourite Paul Revill will host the show.

Friday 17 December 2021

Live music: The World Famous Elvis Show
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £26

Chris Connor, along with his 12-piece band The Steels and backed by the Sweet Harmonies, will be recreating two huge concerts performed by Elvis in the 1970s – selling out venues world-wide.

This show respectively and authentically recreates The King at his very best. You will simply feel that you have been transported back in time. If you were not lucky enough to see Elvis live, you will walk away from this concert feeling that you have!

Friday 17 December 2021

Theatre: The Ghost of a Smile
Quarry Theatre @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £14.50/£12.50

From the team that brought you “Spitfire Solo”, “Bond!”, and “The Six-Sided Man”, comes the perfect ghostly experience as we head towards Christmas.

Two of Charles Dickens’ creepy tales – with a comic twist. Tales with a tingle, but also a giggle; two yarns to chill but also charm!

Like “The Woman in Black” – but funnier, and with fewer people…

Friday 17 December 2021

Live music: Missing Andy
Bedford Esquires @8pm
Tickets: £12

Missing Andy is a five-piece BritPop rock guitar band from Essex that has gone from strength to strength following the release of their long-awaited debut album ‘Generation Silenced’ in 2011.

This industrious band has built a strong, dedicated and diverse fan base, often appealing to entire families, bringing the older generation music they could believe in once again, and something with real substance to a new generation who have known nothing more than the superficial, conveyor-belt class of music that plagues today’s charts.

Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 December 2021

Santa’s Grotto
Harpur Centre from 10am every weekend before Christmas and daily from Monday 20 December
one child………….£4.00 | £3.20 (with discount code BI1)
two children…….£7.50 | £6.00 (with discount code BI1)
three children…….£10.00 | £8.00 (with discount code BI1)
four children…….£13.50 | £10.80 (with discount code BI1)

Don’t miss your chance to meet Santa in his Grotto at the Harpur Centre this year. All good children will receive a special gift on entry and the chance to buy a photo with the main man himself.

Don’t forget to use our exclusive BI1 code to receive a 20% discount.

Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 December 2021

Family fun: Festive fun in Harpur Square
Harpur Square
Free all day

As Christmas draws near, head to Harpur Square for some festive cheer. With hot drinks and seasonal treats on sale, there will be seating in the square and live music and carols to set the mood. The perfect way to relax and soak up the Christmas atmosphere before the Big Day gets underway.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Community: Christmas church services
Nine lessons and carols @ 4pm
St Paul’s church

Saturday 18 December 2021

Family fun: Santa’s Special’ Grotto
Lidlington Church Hall @ 10:30am – 4:30pm (last entry 4 pm)
Free, but please register here

Come and see Santa on his special visit to the Marston Vale railway line; this year at Lidlington Church Hall (just 100m from Lidlington Station).

Free entry and Santa will be taking Christmas requests and giving a gift to each child. There will also be a face painter, balloon modeller, a model railway and live music with special guests Chasing Deer! (All subject to availability). Refreshments on sale.

You can catch the train to Lidlington at the following times:
From Bedford Midland at 11:14, 12:55 13:55 & 14:55
From Bedford St Johns: 11:18, 12:59, 13:59 & 14:59
Download the timetable here.

Donations are invited for Motor Neurone Disease Association. Please put your donation in the bucket outside the grotto.

Normal train fares apply. Rail tickets are valid on any Marston Vale Line service during the day.

Rail tickets can be purchased in advance from any manned railway station or online here.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Afternoon Tea
3 St Peter’s @ 12.45pm – 4pm
£29 / £34 with prosecco / £37 with Champagne

Ease into the last week before Christmas with afternoon tea at 3 St Peter’s. Enjoy your choice of Champagne or Prosecco to accompany savoury and sweet canapés from their special menu.

An experience to be savoured in this unique and stylish setting in the heart of Bedford.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Live music: The Devout – Depeche Mode tribute band
Bedford Esquires @ 8pm
Tickets: £12

Approximately 10 years ago, a group of Depeche Mode fans started recreating their favourite songs to play to fans like themselves as Speak and Spell.

In 2018 the lead singer decided to hang up his waistcoat and with that a major evolution for the project started to take place.

This meant a new frontman and two new members to deliver enhanced productions of the Speak and Spell shows. Out of respect for the history of Speak and Spell, this also means a new operating name, The Devout whose sole focus is to bring a performance that is worthy enough to transport the audience back to a Depeche Mode gig, at their peak, at their most powerful.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Live music: One Night in Dublin
Bedford Corn Exchange @ 7.30pm
Tickets: £20

Murphy’s Pub comes to Bedford Corn Exchange this month for One Night in Dublin. The multi-award-winning Wild Murphys promise a glorious night of high-energy Irish Music and more than a little bit of Irish Craic. In their own inimitable style, the band perform classic tracks including Galway Girl, Tell Me Ma, Dirty Old Town, The Irish Rover, Brown Eyed Girl, Seven Drunken Nights, Sally MacLennane, When You Were Sweet Sixteen, Whiskey in the Jar, Wild Rover, Molly Malone… and maybe even that classic Christmas number!

Guaranteed to have your hands clapping and toes tapping all night long.

Sunday 19 December 2021

Community: Christmas church services

Nine Lessons and Carols @ 6pm
St Andrews Church, Kimbolton Road

Family Nativity Service @ 9.30am
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols @ 6.30pm
John Bunyan Meeting

Sunday 19 December 2021

Live music: The Big Band at Christmas
Quarry Theatre @ 3pm
Tickets: £18/£16

Jazz up those Jingle Bells and enjoy all your favourite Christmas songs with the dynamic Big Band treatment from Glenn Miller, Sinatra, Basie, Nat King Cole and more.

Featuring Simone from the Ivy Benson Orchestra, and Chris Smith (Jnr) composer and arranger for the BBC Radio Big Band, Herb Miller Big Band (Glenn’s brother), plus Tony Bennett’s trombonist.

Monday 20 December 2021

Film: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Place Theatre @
Tickets: Pay what you can

Join the Bedford Young Film Programmers in their Christmas film event, How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000).

Get in the festive spirit and enjoy free hot chocolate, cookies and mince pies with this modern Christmas classic.

Covid-19 guidance: Temperatures will be checked on arrival, mask-wearing is highly encouraged for those who are not exempt.

Wednesday 22 – Friday 31 December 2021

Theatre: Beauty and the Beast
Bedford Corn Exchange (for times, please check website)
Tickets: £18/£16.50/£15/family of four £57

Update: Due to a number of suspected covid cases among the cast of BEauty and the Beast, the show has been postponed until December 2022. Please visit the Bedford Corn Exchange website for further details and refund information.

The classic tale of Beauty and the Beast is given the pantomime treatment this month at the Corn Exchange. Traditional audience participation throughout!

The 5pm performance on Thursday 30 December will be a soft performance with no loud banging noises.

Wednesday 22 December

Film: Love Actually
Cinema at 3 St Peters @ 7pm
Tickets: £9/£10.50/£12

The UK’s best-ever Prime Minister. Fact.

Richard Curtis’ Christmas classic features nine intertwined stories that examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love.

With an all-star cast and featuring the UK’s best-ever Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) this is the perfect start to Christmas.

Christmas Eve 2021

Community: Christmas church services

2.30pm, 4.30pm and 6.30pm Carol Services (tickets from Eventbrite)
11:30 pm Midnight Mass
St Andrews Church, Kimbolton Road

4pm Family Crib Service
11pm Midnight Mass
St Paul’s Church, St Paul’s Square

2.00pm Mayhem in the Manger (Free tickets via Eventbrite or email stpetersbedford@googlemail.com)
3.30pm Mayhem in the Manger (Free tickets via Eventbrite or email stpetersbedford@googlemail.com)
11.30pm Midnight Service on Zoom only (please check the website for the link)
St Peter’s Church, De Parys Avenue

Christmas Day 2021

Community: Bedford Parkrun
Bedford Park @ 9am

Parkrun of Christmas Past

The perfect way to start your Christmas Day. Parkrun is a free, fun, and friendly weekly 5km community event that takes place every Saturday in Bedford Park. Walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate – it’s up to you. Christmas fancy dress encouraged!

Christmas Day 2021

Community: Christmas church services

8am Holy Eucharist. 10am All Age Eucharist
St Andrew’s Church, Kimbolton Road

10am Christmas Morning Service
Bunyan Meeting, Mill Street

10.15am All Age Festival Eucharist
St Paul’s Church, St Paul’s Square

10.15am Christmas Day service
St Peter’s Church, De Parys Avenue


Wednesday 27 December 2021

Film: When Harry Met Sally
Cinema at 3 St Peters @ 7pm
Tickets: £9/£10.50/£12

In 1977, college graduates Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) share a contentious car ride from Chicago to New York, during which they argue about whether men and women can ever truly be strictly platonic friends.

Ten years later, Harry and Sally meet again at a bookstore, and in the company of their respective best friends, Jess (Bruno Kirby) and Marie (Carrie Fisher), attempt to stay friends without sex becoming an issue between them.

Until 22 January 2022

Exhibition: Edward Bawden: Architectural Elements
Higgins Bedford
Edward Bawden Gallery, Free Entry

Explore the passion for architecture of influential British artist and designer, Edward Bawden, displaying his originality, wit and skill in giving character to the buildings featured in his work.

Until March 2022

Exhibition: Going to Town – 200 Years of Bedford’s Art
Higgins Bedford
Wixamtree Gallery, Free Entry

Celebrate artists views of Bedford and the surrounding area with a number of watercolours, oils and prints from the past two centuries, some of which haven’t been seen by the public eye in several decades.

The exhibition includes artworks by JMW Turner, Dora Carrington, Thomas Fisher and Stanley Orchart, highlighting their fascination with the town and River Great Ouse.

Until October 2022

Exhibition: Warden Abbey Revealed
Higgins Bedford
Outside Settlement Gallery, Free Entry

Research by the Old Warden History and Heritage Society alongside the results of the geophysical survey by MOLA (Northampton) have revealed the grandeur of the medieval Cistercian abbey.

The reconstruction illustration by Peter Dunn based on this work will be on display with a selection of archive items.

Theatre highlights by Paula Walker


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