Shop RNIB Donate now

Famous face lends voice to classic Christmas poem for RNIB’s Talking Books

Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, Belgravia and Gosford Park, has recorded a special version of the festive poem ‘The Night Before Christmas’ for children with a vision impairment to enjoy this Christmas.

Lord Fellowes is a Vice President of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), as well as President of the charity’s Talking Books Library.

He was delighted to record the poem, also known as ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’, which is a festive favourite of his. He is passionate about ensuring literature is accessible to children with a vision impairment living across the UK.

Lord Fellowes said: “I’ve always liked The Night Before Christmas poem. I remember seeing a Joan Crawford interview where she and her children did The Night Before Christmas, and it has stuck in my mind ever since. I was very pleased to have the chance to record it at RNIB’s new studio, and to visit the studios for the first time.

“I’m very honoured to be one of RNIB’s Vice Presidents. I first got involved with RNIB after knowing family members who were losing their sight. I became very aware of how dependent I was on sight, and how much of my life was governed by sight.

“RNIB is a positive organisation that believes in making things better for those losing their sight, and I drifted into their embrace. RNIB’s Talking Books is an antidote to loneliness, and I’m glad to see the organisation thrive.”

Daryl Chapman, Head of Specialist Content at RNIB, said: “We’re delighted to have Lord Fellowes’ reading of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ available for children with a vision impairment and their families to enjoy this Christmas.

“Having Lord Fellowes’ support of our Talking Books Library is integral to ensuring we have a wide range of titles and formats available for people with sight loss to access for free.”

Lord Fellowes’ reading of The Night Before Christmas’ will be available through RNIB’s Talking Books Library for DAISY CD and USB sticks from Friday 1 December. It will also be available to download through RNIB’s Reading Services on

People must be a member of RNIB’s Talking Books Library and RNIB’s Reading Services to access the book. To become a member and find out more information, contact RNIB’s Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email [email protected].

RNIB’s Connect Radio will also be airing the reading and an exclusive interview with Lord Fellowes in the run up to Christmas Day. Listeners will be able to hear the recordings between 5pm and 6pm on Friday 22 December and at 8pm on Christmas Eve.

Tune into Connect Radio on Freeview Channel 730, online streaming, smart speakers, or 101FM in the Glasgow region.

Notes to editors

All media enquiries to Emily Peachey-Tanner on 07517 996109 or [email protected]. Or, for urgent enquiries out-of-hours, please call 07968 482812.