Watch The Darkness record a special 20th anniversary performance of their 2003 single Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End) with an "angelic" 12-piece choir

The Darkness at Maida Vale
(Image credit: BBC Music YouTube)

The Darkness have gifted the world a very special Christmas treat by recording a new, extra-festive, version of their yuletide cracker Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End) to mark the 20th anniversary of its December 15, 2003 release. 

Accompanied by a 12-piece choir, the Hawkins brothers' band performed the song, a number two hit for the quartet in the UK, at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios for Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley's show.

Posting photos from the performance on their social media channels, the band wrote, 'Today is Christmas Time (don’t let the bells end) 20th Birthday. In honour of this you can now watch our full BBC performance over on BBC Music’s YouTube Channel! Thank you so much to the wonderful Jo Whiley and her fantastic BBC Radio 2 team for having us and of course to Mark Delisser's angelic sounding 12 piece choir. Beautiful.'

Watch the performance below:

When released in the UK in December 2003, the single racked up first-week sales of 222,561 but was pipped to the Christmas number one spot by Californian singer/songwriter Gary Jules' cover of Tears For Fears' 1982 single Mad World, which had featured in the 2001 film Donnie Darko

Read Classic Rock magazine's career-spanning interview with The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins here.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.