Winner of the 2021 BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition is crowned on air as Tamiko Dooley from Surbiton by Breakfast presenter, Petroc Trelawny in another record breaking year of entries. Attracting nearly 1000 entries this year, the winning composition was voted for by the public and performed live by the BBC Singers directed by Owain Park on BBC Radio 3 and will feature on  Christmas Day on the station and on BBC Sounds .

Tamiko Dooley’s carol triumphed among six shortlisted compositions each setting  the words of Christina Rossetti’s seasonal classic Love Came Down at Christmas.

Dooley is a lawyer and a mother of two. She learnt to play the piano as a child and this has then become the dominant hobby throughout her life. Music has always been her main interest: at school, she took part in the annual carol services; at University, she was part of a group that put on a musical at the Edinburgh Fringe. Since lockdown, she’s also started writing poetry, and has been published in some small on-line journals. 

This year’s competition launched in September and  as in 2020, submissions were  open to  all musical styles, from gospel to pop; jazz to folk; and beyond – with tunes delivered as notated scores or mobile phone-generated voice recordings.  

A star-studded judging panel was chaired by organist, conductor and broadcaster Anna Lapwood, and the judges included The Kingdom Choir founder, conductor and workshop leader Karen Gibson; Church of England parish priest, musician, journalist, and radio presenter Reverend Richard Coles; jazz singer and broadcaster Jumoké Fashola; and BBC Sport commentator and choral music lover Alison Mitchell.  Composer and choral director Ken Burton was tasked with turning the six shortlisted tunes into fully-arranged carols.

Tamiko Dooley says: Thank you BBC Radio 3 for the opportunity and thank you to everyone who voted! I am delighted to know that people listened to my carol and enjoyed it. The experience of going through the competition has been truly memorable and this result will encourage my song writing in all forms. Thank you again!”

Ken Burton says“Each contestant was a pure delight to work with. Every melody  captured the essence of the text in a unique way, and they are accessible. The test of a good melody is whether you find it hard to get out of your head, and I found myself in the privileged position of having six earworms to contend with! All six tunes are worthy of a place in the canon of carols.”

Petroc Trelawny says: Nearly 1000 people entered the carol competition this year. The fact that so many took part seems to me a clear illustration of the  passion for singing and making music amongst Radio 3 listeners. We ended up with a shortlist that was rich and varied, half a dozen fine tunes, brought to life on Breakfast by the BBC Singers and arranger Ken Burton.  There is no way I could have selected a winner – so I am so glad listeners voted with such enthusiasm.  And so, in these dark, uncertain times,  we have a new carol that brings light, joy and hope.”

The winning carol, alongside the other shortlisted entries, are available to listen to on the BBC Radio 3 website and BBC Sounds.