Celebrate the Holidays All Month Long!

Celebrate the season with sacred music, festive baking, children’s specials and holiday dramas airing throughout December on Idaho Public Television! Here are the highlights of new and encore shows airing on the IDAHO channel. Consult our online schedule for additional encores airing on the PLUS, CREATE and WORLD channels. All times are MT/PT:

Sesame Street Christmas

In America’s Home Cooking : Holiday Side Dishes (Saturday, December 2, at 9/8 AM), host Chris Fennimore welcomes home cooks who prepare a favorite side dish, including mushroom sour soup, Sweet Sally’s collard greens, brussel sprouts with cranberries, and more.

Jim Brickman: A Joyful Christmas (Saturday, December 2, at 4:30 PM) brings the spirit of the season into your home with carols, Christmas classics and original songs, featuring tenor Russell Watson, singer Anne Cochran, actress Jane Lynch, legendary actor Dick Van Dyke, and winner of The Voice Jordan Smith.

Rick Steves Special: European Christmas (Sunday, December 3, at noon/11 AM) celebrates the Christmas season throughout the European continent. Steves visits friends and families in England, France, Norway, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy to reveal their customs and practices of the holiday season.

In The Three Tenors Christmas (Sunday, December 3, at 5 PM), Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo sing traditional and classical Christmas songs including “White Christmas,” “Oh Tannenbaum,” “Ay! Para Navidad,” “Ave Maria” and “Jingle Bells.”

European Christmas Markets (Sunday, December 3, at 10:30 PM) travels through Germany, France and Switzerland to discover Europe’s Christmas markets, where town centers, market squares, and cobblestone streets come alive with festively decorated wooden stalls offering all sorts of treats and delights.

The Great British Baking Show: Christmas Masterclass (Friday, December 8, at 8:30 PM) joins judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood as they detail how to make perfect mince pies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, and introduce some tasty treats for the holidays.

In Christmas at Concordia: Gather Us In, O Child of Peace (Friday, December 8, at 9:30 PM), Concordia College reimagines the Christmas message with music embracing peace and reconciliation. Songs explore the themes of virtue in the community, including tolerance, compassion, and unity.

Christmas on the Danube (Friday, December 8, at 10:30 PM) travels the Danube River as it passes through the European landscape, history and culture on its 2,000-mile journey to the sea. There are stops at cities along the way decked out for the holiday season.

Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas (Monday, December 11, at 8/7 AM) finds George and The Man in the Yellow Hat preparing for Christmas, but each has no idea what to give the other for a present. They follow each other around town, hoping to discover clues. Repeats December 15, 17 and 25.

In Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas (Monday, December 11, at 10/9 AM), it’s Christmas Eve on Sesame Street! After putting out cookies for Santa, Elmo’s dad tells him a bedtime story about his great-great-grandmonster and how Sesame Street was once an unfriendly place with no holiday spirit. Repeats December 12-15, 25, 27 and 29.

Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas (Monday, December 11, at 4:30/3:30 PM) finds the Kratt brothers taking a break from creature adventuring to celebrate. But when they get an alert that their favorite creatures are disappearing around the globe, their holiday party turns into a rescue mission. Repeats December 15 and 25.

In The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! (Tuesday, December 12, at 10:30/9:30 AM), The Cat, Nick and Sally journey around the world to help a lost reindeer find his way home to Freezeyourknees Snowland in time for Christmas. Repeats December 14 and 17.

Christmas With the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Featuring Rolando Villazon (Friday, December 15, at 8:30 PM) is a musical celebration of the holidays with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This season’s cross-cultural spectacular features the world’s leading tenor, Rolando Villazon, and seasonal favorites. Repeats December 23.

Travelscope: Christmas in Switzerland (Friday, December 15, at 10:30 PM) journeys with host Joseph Rosendo to Lausanne, Montreux and Basel to bask in the glow of a Swiss-style Christmas at holiday markets, on a scenic train ride, and atop a Ferris wheel.

In the Last Tango in Halifax Holiday Special (Sunday, December 17, at 8 PM), Caroline’s new headship involves moving the family to a ramshackle farmhouse in time for Christmas. Alan has a difficult conversation with Gillian, who’s consumed by thoughts of the afterlife, convinced she’s being haunted by Eddie. Repeats December 24.

A BYU-Idaho Christmas (Monday, December 18, at 8 PM) features special guests David Archuleta and Nathan Pacheco along with the symphony orchestra, choirs and dancers from Brigham Young University-Idaho performing a variety of Christmas music, ranging from holiday favorites to hymns and carols. Repeats December 23.

University of Idaho Holiday Concert (Tuesday, December 19, at 9 PM) is a celebration of the holidays, Idaho-style! Local school choral groups, along with orchestras, bell choirs, flute choirs, and jazz ensembles, perform holiday classics together with the Lionel Hampton School of Music. Repeats December 22.

Boise author Samantha Silva discusses her debut novel Mr. Dickens and His Carol on a new Dialogue (Friday, December 22, at 7:30 PM). The story reimagines how Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol.

Christmas at Belmont (Friday, December 22, at 9 PM) is an annual Belmont University tradition celebrating the holiday season and the rich talent of the university’s School of Music. The concert features a collage of familiar carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites.

In a new Call the Midwives Holiday Special (Monday, December 25, at 8 PM), the nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House battle snow, ice, power cuts and frozen pipes to provide patient care during the coldest winter in 300 years. Valerie helps a young couple who experience a traumatic birth and Sister Julienne tries to reunite a family. Repeats December 30.

An encore of the 2016 Call the Midwives Holiday Special (Monday, December 25, at 9:30 PM) follows the Nonnatus House family to South Africa after they receive an SOS call from a mission hospital that’s understaffed, underfunded and threatened with closure.

The Sultan and the Saint (Tuesday, December 26, at 8 PM) tells one of the great, lost stories from history. Two men of faith, one an itinerant Christian preacher, the other the ruler of a Muslim Empire, buck a century of war, distrust and insidious propaganda in a search for mutual respect and common ground.

Live From Lincoln Center‘s New York Philharmonic New Year’s Eve: Bernstein on Broadway (Sunday, December 31, at 9 PM) rings in 2018 with a celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s best-loved works for Broadway, including West Side Story, featuring the New York Philharmonic and special guests. Repeats at midnight.

ACL Hall of Fame New Year’s Eve (Sunday, December 31, at 11 PM) is Austin City Limits’ annual special celebrating inductees into its hall of fame. 2017 inductees Roy Orbison, Rosanne Cash and The Neville Brothers are honored by performers including Neko Case, Brandi Carlile, Trombone Shorty, Raul Malo and Ry Cooder.



Enjoy a Weekend of Music, Arts and Outdoor Adventure During DecemberFest!

Tune in to Idaho Public Television for a weekend filled with arts and entertainment, musical performances, scenic outdoor adventure, and health and lifestyle programming during DecemberFest, December 1-3.

DecemberFest Schedule

Here are the highlights of shows airing on our IDAHO, PLUS, CREATE and WORLD channels during DecemberFest (all times are MT/PT):


7:30 PM [IDAHO]: Dialogue host Marcia Franklin talks with cyclist and Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong.

8 PM [IDAHO]: Idaho Reports begins its 46th season interviewing lawmakers, stakeholders and lobbyists involved in Idaho politics.

8/7 PM [PLUS]: The 80s (My Music) takes a joyful jump into the 1980s, when music videos by Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen and others ruled the airwaves. Hosted by former MTV veejay Martha Quinn.

8:30/7:30 PM [CREATE]: Carole King Tapestry Live From Hyde Park, London, recorded at the 2016 Summer Festival at Hyde Park, captures the prolific songwriter performing her breakthrough album Tapestry in its entirety.

8:30 PM [IDAHO]: The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years explores the history of the Fab Four from their early days in Liverpool to their last concert in San Francisco in 1966. The 2.5-hour Ron Howard film reveals how the foursome united to become the global phenomenon that was “The Beatles.”


8/7 AM [IDAHO]: Forever Painless With Miranda Esmonde-White provides information on chronic pain and its causes, and offers a new approach to pain management.

9/8 AM [IDAHO]: America’s Home Cooking: Holiday Side Dishes welcomes home cooks who prepare favorite side dish recipes including mushroom sour soup, pumpkin dumplings and more.

11/10 AM [IDAHO]: Qi Gong for Anxiety guides viewers into the eastern healing practice of Qi Gong, which combines principles from medicine, philosophy and martial arts.

Noon/11 AM [IDAHO]: New Rules of Food With Kristin Kirkpatrick teaches simple, life-changing steps to get your diet, weight, energy and overall health back on track.

Noon/11 AM [PLUS]: America’s Home Cooking: B Is for Bacon spotlights the ingredient that has become a national obsession and demonstrates bacon is not only for breakfast!

1:30/12:30 PM [IDAHO]: National Park Symphony – The Mighty Five celebrates the grandeur and majesty of Utah’s five national parks set to glorious music from the Utah Symphony.

2:30/1:30 PM [IDAHO]: Bob Hope: American Masters explores the entertainer’s life, including writings, clips from his body of work, and interviews with fellow entertainers.

4:30 PM [IDAHO]: Jim Brickman: A Joyful Christmas brings the spirit of the season into viewers’ homes with carols, Christmas classics and original songs, featuring special guests. (Pledge your support during the program for tickets to see Jim Brickman when he visits Boise!)

6 PM [IDAHO]: Shen Yun – Music and Dance features the classical Chinese dance and music company with original orchestral arrangements, dances, handmade costumes and painted backgrounds. (Pledge your support during the program for tickets to see Shen Yun when they visit Boise!)

7 PM [IDAHO]: Lawrence Welk: Precious Memories is two hours of spiritual hymns, inspirational songs and gospel medleys performed by the Welk Musical Family.

8/7 PM [PLUS]: The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years explores the history of the Fab Four from their early days in Liverpool to their last concert in San Francisco in 1966. The 2.5-hour Ron Howard film reveals how the foursome united to become the global phenomenon that was “The Beatles.”

8/7 PM [CREATE]: Carol Burnett’s Favorite Sketches features the comedienne’s  personally selected favorite moments from her long-running comedy series, including sketches from the first five years of the show not seen in decades.

8/7 PM [WORLD]: Suze Orman’s Financial Solutions for You shows viewers how to “find financial solutions for you” with advice based not just on numbers, but on a critical understanding of themselves and their emotional needs.

9 PM [IDAHO]: Idaho From Above from local producer Wide Eye Productions captures Idaho’s remote and rugged landscapes from the air. (Sponsored by Air St. Luke’s.)

10 PM [IDAHO]: The Highwaymen Live at Nassau Coliseum features Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson (the “Mt. Rushmore of country music”) in a concert recorded in 1990.


Noon/11 AM [IDAHO]: Rick Steves Special: European Christmas visits Steves’ friends and family in England, France, Norway, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy to reveal their customs and practices of the holiday season.

2/1 PM [IDAHO]: 2Cellos Live at the Sydney Opera House features theme music to some of the biggest epics in movie history performed by Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, accompanied by the prestigious Sydney Symphony.

3:30/2:30 PM [IDAHO]: Carole King Tapestry Live From Hyde Park, London, recorded at the 2016 Summer Festival at Hyde Park, captures the prolific songwriter performing her breakthrough album Tapestry in its entirety.

5/4 PM [PLUS]: Idaho From Above from local producer Wide Eye Productions captures Idaho’s remote and rugged landscapes from the air. (Sponsored by Air St. Luke’s.)

5 PM [IDAHO]: The Three Tenors Christmas features Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo singing traditional and classical Christmas songs.

6:30 PM [IDAHO]: Idaho Experience: First Look gives viewers a sneak peek of what to expect from IdahoPTV’s forthcoming original series, Idaho Experience.

7/6 PM [PLUS]: Renee Fleming – Christmas in New York joins the classical soprano with guest performers for songs drawn from her recent holiday album.

7 PM [IDAHO]: Outdoor Idaho: Into the Pioneers explores the low lands and the highest peaks of Idaho’s Pioneer Mountains, along the way interviewing ranchers and geologists, outfitters and miners, biologists and explorers.

8/7 PM [PLUS]: Christmas With Daniel O’Donnell joins the Irish singer with special guests for a winter wonderland of yuletide carols and seasonal favorites in this concert filmed in Dublin.

8/7 PM [CREATE]: Journey in Concert: Houston 1981 features one of rock’s most enduring bands at the height of their popularity performing some of their greatest hits in this 1981 concert.

8:30 PM [IDAHO]: Celtic Woman – Homecoming: Ireland celebrates the timeless emotion of Ireland’s centuries-old heritage in this live concert filmed in Dublin. (Pledge your support during the program for tickets to see Celtic Woman when they visit Boise!)

9/8 PM [PLUS]: American Epic Sessions features Jack White and T Bone Burnett leading an epic recording session using the only 1920s wax-disc recording device in existence.

9/8 PM [WORLD]: 50 Years With Peter, Paul and Mary celebrates the impact the musical trio has made on America, starting with its debut album in 1962 and featuring performances that start with the group’s emergence in Greenwich Village.

A Night for Trekkies on IdahoPTV!

On Saturday, November 25, Idaho Public Television features two specials for fans of the original Star Trek series and its 1980s relaunch, The Next Generation.

Remembering Leonard Nimoy (7/6 PM MT/PT on the WORLD channel) is an intimate journey into Leonard Nimoy’s personal life, featuring stories from his childhood growing up in Boston, his early career in Hollywood, his big breakout role on the Star Trek series, and highlights from his remarkable career — and then focusing on his remaining years during which he battled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The film features interviews with Nimoy’s closest family members, including his children, Julie and Adam; his wife, Susan; his stepson, Aaron; and his six grandchildren, all sharing poignant stories and special memories of the man who personified the role of Spock and of a devoted family man.

Later that night, William Shatner takes viewers behind the scenes of the tumultuous creation of the series relaunch in William Shatner Presents: Chaos on the Bridge (11 PM on the IDAHO channel). Star Trek: The Next Generation is a series adored by fans around the world, but the path to becoming a classic was anything but simple. Shatner, who famously played Captain Kirk in the original 1960s version, takes viewers inside the creation of the 1986 relaunch. Doubts about the show’s success were rampant: not only did the new series exclude the characters Kirk, Spock and McCoy, but the original creator, Gene Roddenberry, was not a part of production. Through cast interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, the film reveals the drama, chaos and controversy that ultimately led to another beloved entry in the Star Trek franchise.

‘Girl From God’s Country’ Explores the Career and Legacy of Film Pioneer Nell Shipman

Nell Shipman on location in the Idaho wilderness
Nell Shipman on location in the Idaho wilderness. Photo: Boise State University Albertsons Library Special Collection and Archives

Nell Shipman — silent film writer, director and star — came to Idaho’s Priest Lake from Hollywood in 1922 with her 10-year-old son, her ill-fated lover-producer, a future Academy Award-winning cinematographer (Joseph Walker) and a personal zoo of 70 animal actors that included bobcats, bears, elk, eagles, deer and sled dogs. She was the first of her kind: a female independent filmmaker who refuted Hollywood’s mistreatment of animals and refused the assured trappings of a studio contract to instead produce her own films on location in the Idaho wilderness.

Emblematic of an entire lost generation of female producers and directors in silent film, Shipman’s legacy remained a buried treasure in film history for decades.

Professor Tom Trusky at Boise State University stumbled upon Shipman’s existence in 1984 and began a transatlantic search to restore her forgotten and brilliant body of work. His scholarship included a redigitization of Nell’s “obtainable” films from 1912 forward and the publishing of her dusty autobiography, The Silent Screen and My Talking Heart. Dr. Trusky, however, died in 2009 before he could bring Nell her deserved accolades. Once again, although somewhat remembered in her Canadian home country, the “girl from God’s country” fell into obscurity in the U.S.

Now, nearly 100 years after the zenith of Nell Shipman’s career, a new documentary by filmmaker Karen Day and an all-female crew from Idaho tells the story of this unrelenting, unrepentant artistic talent and self-reliant film pioneer. Girl From God’s Country airs Friday, November 3, at 8 PM on Idaho Public Television.

“As female filmmakers in Idaho, Nell Shipman and my all-female crew are exceptions to the norm, even in Hollywood today,” says filmmaker Karen Day. “It’s wonderful that IdahoPTV supports our artistic efforts by sharing the amazing story of this Gem State pioneer of gender equality.”

Read more about the remarkable life of Nell Shipman and the efforts to restore her forgotten and brilliant body of work here.

Hungry for Holiday Viewing?

Idaho Public Television’s festive lineup of holiday specials has something to satisfy every viewer’s appetite for entertainment and inspiration.


The 10-part BBC series Dickensian (Thursdays beginning November 9 at 10 PM) is a bold reinvention of Charles Dickens’ timeless novels, where his most iconic characters — Tiny Tim Cratchit, Oliver Twist, Miss Havisham and a cast of others — live side by side in the same Victorian London neighborhood. As Inspector Bucket investigates the murder of Ebenezer Scrooge’s partner, Jacob Marley, Dickensian delivers twists and turns that will delight viewers to the final episode.

In the 90-minute children’s special Thomas & Friends: Journey Beyond Sodor (November 20 and 23 at 1 PM/noon MT/PT), Thomas the Tank Engine and James challenge each other to a competition to be considered the favorite tank engine — until a perilous adventure reminds them both that the most important thing is being thankful for friends.

Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas

In an hourlong Sesame Street special, Elmo’s father spins a tale about a dreary Sesame Street of yesteryear, a place so unfriendly not even Santa Claus would visit — until a new monster moves into the neighborhood, bringing kindness and cheer. Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas airs November 22, 23 and 24 at 10/9 AM and November 22 and 24 at 1:30/12:30 PM MT/PT.

Hymns of Thanksgiving 2017 (November 23 at 4/3 PM MT/PT) kicks off a festive holiday afternoon. Now in its 15th year, this annual musical celebration in Boise features performances by a combined choir and orchestra, along with vocal and instrumental soloists.

Anne of Green Gables

Ella Ballentine returns as Anne Shirley in the second installment of the classic Lucy Maud Montgomery story of a free-spirited teenager on Prince Edward Island, Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars (November 23 at 7 PM). Anne turns 13 and faces complex situations with friends, learns from inspirational adults, and experiences an escalating friendship with Gilbert. Her carefree nature is challenged by her perceived need to be sensible, a journey fraught with confusion and some unfortunate — albeit amusing — mishaps. An encore of 2016’s Anne of Green Gables follows at 8:30 PM.

In Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn – The Broadway Musical from Great Performances (November 24 at 8 PM), the Roundabout Theatre Company presents a Broadway adaptation of the classic 1942 movie musical that starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, showcasing a score bursting with Irving Berlin originals. The heartwarming classic with a contemporary sparkle features thrilling dance numbers, laugh-out-loud comedy, and a hit parade of Berlin songs.

Stay tuned for more holiday specials in December . . .

Teacher Shares the Fruits of IdahoPTV Summer Coding Camps

Kari Wardle, IdahoPTV’s teacher ambassador, has seen her share of classrooms this year.

As one of only five educators nationwide selected for the inaugural PBS Teacher Community Program, Wardle has been helping teachers in rural Idaho school districts incorporate technology and digital media in the classroom. She’s also been helping them gain access to professional development through virtual field trips, webinars and teacher meet-ups.

Recently, the Twin Falls Times-News reported on Wardle’s work in the Wendell School District. They caught up with her on “Tech Talk Thursday” as she demonstrated creating and sharing digital documents using Google Docs — a tool teachers can use both to collaborate with other teachers and to give students quick feedback on assignments submitted digitally.

If you’re curious what the long-range results of Wardle’s efforts look like in the classroom, check out these photos sent in by a teacher in Marsing.

A Marsing third-grader codes an animated Mayflower scene. Photo: Ken Price
A Marsing third-grader codes an animated scene aboard the Mayflower. Photo: Ken Price

Over the summer, Wardle taught “coding camps” to teachers in southwest Idaho utilizing ScratchJr, an animated coding app that helps students create interactive stories and games. She discussed with Marsing teacher Ken Price ways to implement coding into the curriculum.

Price reported back a few months into the school year that students were enthusiastically embracing their creative coding skills.

“What you see in these pictures are kids writing code to depict scenes and characters found in Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims,” Price said. The book, a historical novel for young readers written by Rush Limbaugh, tells the story of a middle-school history teacher named Rush Revere who travels back in time to the deck of the Mayflower.

“In one picture you have a third-grade student writing code to produce his idea of the Mayflower,” Price said. “The other one is another third-grader who created the characters Liberty the talking horse and Rush Revere in his coding work.”

“Thanks again for all your support in advancing the learning of Marsing youth,” Price said. “Now you see in these photos that your efforts are bringing about some amazing activities.”

Another Marsing third-grader creates a scene with Rush Revere and his talking horse. Photo: Ken Price
Another Marsing third-grader creates a scene with Rush Revere and his talking horse. Photo: Ken Price

‘H Is For Hawk’ Screening Features Live Birds of Prey

Audiences will get a bird’s-eye view of some majestic Idaho raptors during a screening of the Nature documentary H Is for Hawk: A New Chapter.

Falconers and raptor biologists from the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey and Boise State University’s Intermountain Bird Observatory will be on hand with live hawks and will answer questions from the audience.

The event takes place Tuesday, November 14, from 6 to 8 PM in the Meridian Middle School auditorium [map]. This all-ages event is free to the public. No registration is required.

A raptor featured in the "Nature" documentary "H Is for Hawk: A New Chapter." Photo credit: Rahoul Ghose/PBS
A raptor featured in the Nature documentary H Is for Hawk: A New Chapter. Photo credit: Rahoul Ghose/PBS

Idaho Public Television will present a screening of the one-hour Nature documentary H Is for Hawk: A New Chapter, which features the continuing saga of author Helen Macdonald.

After the unexpected death of her photojournalist father, Macdonald overcame her grief by training an adult goshawk, one of nature’s most notoriously wild and free-spirited birds of prey. She had trained birds before, but never this goshawk named Mabel. Macdonald found healing in that cathartic experience, which became the basis for her 2014 memoir, H Is for Hawk.

Now, 10 years after training Mabel (who died of an untreatable infection just before the author finished writing her book), Macdonald is ready to take on the challenge again, prompted by watching how a pair of wild goshawks reared their chicks in an English forest. This Nature film accompanies her on visits to the pair’s nest to observe the latest developments and follows Macdonald’s emotional and intimate journey as she adopts a young goshawk and attempts to raise it as her own: feeding, nurturing, and training her new charge in the hopes the months of preparation will culminate in a successful first free flight.